Saturday, October 31, 2020
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FCCPC signs MoU with EFCC, FTC to curb cross-border consumer fraud

Babatunde Irukera, Chief Executive FCCPC formerly CPC

In its bid to curb cross-border consumer fraud and ensure adequate consumer protection in Nigeria, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC, has signed an updated tripartite Memorandum of Understanding, MoU with Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and United States foremost competition and consumer protection authority, the Federal Trade Commission, FTC.

The MoU, which was signed on October 28th, 2020, is jointly tagged ‘the Agencies’ and the purpose of the MoU is to strengthen cooperation and collaboration in addressing mutual cross-border consumer protection/fraud concerns and problems. 

Speaking after the MoU was signed, Babatunde Irukera, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, FCCPC said, “The updated MoU reaffirms the Agencies’ intention and willingness to deploy their capacities to work together, share information, and assist one another in relevant investigations. It also establishes a Joint Implementation Committee to develop joint training programmes and provide assistance with regards to specific investigations.”

“The MOU also affirms the Agencies’ continuing support for econsumer.gov;  a joint project of similar  agencies from 40 countries for reporting international online scams. The MOU is a framework for voluntary cooperation that does not change existing laws in either country,” said Irukera.      

Irukera, Mohammed Umar Abba, Acting Executive Chairman, EFCC and, Joseph Simons, Chairman, FTC all signed the updated MoU on behalf of their respective agencies. 

Commenting further on the MoU, the EVC/CEO, FCCPC said “this cross-border collaboration is perhaps one of the most vital tools for combating criminal conduct and consumer protection violations which now transcend territories. Indeed, criminals and exploiters specifically create arrangements and devices to exploit consumers globally from remote locations in order to escape justice and retribution.  This framework strengthens our joint abilities and efforts to address this”.

FCCPC discharges its mandate of protection by both preventive and remedial action including complaint resolution, investigations and enforcement action, while the EFCC investigates and prosecutes financial crimes including frauds perpetrated on consumers. The FTC is the United States government’s equivalent of the FCCPC with a mandate to regulate competition and enforce consumer protection laws.

This MoU is consistent with FCCPC’s mandate and strategy to cooperate with counterpart agencies and other regulators to protect consumers and promote market competition in Nigeria.  

Corporate Service expert, Okigbo trains SMEs on crisis management

Corporate Service and crisis management expert, Tobechukwu Okigbo recently joined other experts to upskill SMEs on stakeholder and crisis management at The Revv Programme masterclass. The masterclass themed, “The Resilient Small Business – A Stakeholder and Crisis Management Perspective” held virtually.

Other experts at the masterclass include Prince Arthur Uche, CEO, Beyond Clothing; Nkechi Ali-Balogun, Principal Consultant, Necci Consulting; Peter Bankole, Director, Enterprise Development Centre, Pan-Atlantic University; and Cyril Ilok, Chief Risk & Compliance Officer, MTN Nigeria. The masterclass was moderated by Amina Dambatta, General Manager, Regional Operations, MTN Nigeria.

With almost three decades experience in corporate service management, Tobechukwu Okigbo provides leadership for stakeholder management solutions and practices aimed at driving corporate brand equity.

Tobechukwu has been the Chief Corporate Services Officer of MTN Nigeria since 2017. Under his leadership, MTN Nigeria has won several awards, including the LaPRIGA 2019 awards for Best in Crisis Management and Excellence in Internal Communication. A results-oriented business leader, he has a record of accomplishment for out-of-the-box and innovative approaches to the attainment of objectives. Tobechukwu’s stellar leadership qualities at MTN Nigeria have been evident in the manner the company has managed its diverse stakeholders through different seasons.

Speaking at the masterclass on CSR in crisis management, Tobechukwu said, “CSR is simply a company giving back to the community in which it operates. CSR is used to earn the social right to operate. Where you have embedded yourself in the community through CSR programs, your corporate social responsibility (CSR) becomes corporate social investment (CSI), because the community will help you transition and survive the crisis”.

The Revv Programme was created to reach over 10,000 small business owners using a four-pronged approach, which includes masterclasses, access to new markets, productivity tools support and expert advisory. Through the programme, MTN Nigeria aims to help entrepreneurs rethink and retool their businesses in order to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Firmus, Infinity Mortgage Bank, win Africa Finance Awards 2020

Mr. Emeka Iloelunachi, MD Fast Credit presenting Africa Finance award 2019 plaque to Olabanjo Obaleye, MD Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank plc at the awards dinner

Names of high profile companies in financial and investment sectors have emerged as winners of 2020 Africa Finance Awards. Some of the companies include Firmus Limited, KCB Bank, Infinity Mortgage Bank Plc, Crystal Finance, Norremberger, Marvellous Mike Press, and Landwey Investment.

It would be recalled that the 2020 edition of Africa Finance Awards, which was initially slated to hold in April this year but was postponed due to the Covid 19 pandemic will now take place in December 2020 in Lagos..

According to Africa Finance Awards Project Director, Mr. Abidemi Adesanya, “The award that is in its 9th year will reward excellence and outstanding achievements in various business sectors across Africa and it includes Banking,  Real Estate, Marketing Communications, Public Sector,  Security Services, Oil & Gas, Telecoms,  ICT among others.”

Some winners of the coveted award this year include NNPC Retail a subsidiary of NNPC, Firmus Limited, Hygeia HMO, Infinity Mortgage, Norremberger, Marvellous Mike Press, Landwey Investment, CreditVille, Xymbolic Development, Ghana Union Assurance among several other leading brands.

The 2020 award dinner will follow all Government laid down Covid 19 protocols to ensure that all our executives attendees from within and outside the country are protected during and after the award ceremony.

Hope PSBank announces board appointments

Chairman, Hope PSBank-Alhaji Sheu Abubakar

Hope PSBank, Nigeria’s premier Digital-first Bank and a subsidiary of Unified Payments has and announced key appointments for the bank.

The board has approved the appointment of Alhaji Shehu Abubakar as the Chairman and Ayotunde Kuponiyi as Managing Director. The list of other Directors includes Agada Apochi, Ochanya Dan-Ugo, Festus Eze Ikediasor, Ano Anyanwu and Nana Fatima Mede. While Mrs Mede and Mr Anyanwu are Independent Directors,  Apochi, Ikediasor amd Dan-Ugo are non Executive Directors.

Alhaji Abubakar has over 30 years of experience in the banking industry during which time he held strategic positions in different Banks. He worked at different times in International Merchant Bank, FSB International Bank, Fidelity Bank and Keystone Bank where he retired as an Executive Director.

Until he was appointed the Managing Director of Hope PSBank, Kuponiyi held various leadership roles in both the Banking and Telecoms Industries where he was Director, Telebanking, Globalcom Nigeria and the Head of the Consumer Distribution Department in Ecobank Nigeria .

At Ecobank Nigeria, he led the team that implemented the upgrade of the bank’s core banking application across 33 countries in Africa while at Globalcom, he was responsible for launching the first Mobile Money Service, Glo TxtCash, in Nigeria, in partnership with UBA Plc and Stanbic IBTC Bank.

Kuponiyi, who obtained academic degrees from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, has attended several courses and programme both local and abroad.

Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Mobile Payments Scheme Board, having been appointed by the Central Bank of Nigeria in recognition of his role in advancing and strengthening alternative payment platforms in the country.

He holds the membership of major boards among which are Payment Systems Strategy Board and the Payment Infrastructure Coordinating Committee in Nigeria and the Governing Board of the Committee of e-Banking Industry Heads (CeBIH). He is expected to bring his robust wealth of experience in the banking and Telecom sectors in his new role.

Advertising, media, PR bodies, condemn attacks on #ENDSARS protesters

Steve Babaeko, Chairman, Heads of Advertising Sectprak Group/President AAAN

Some key stakeholders within the integrated marketing communications, (imc) industry, media and public relations, have come down hard on the military, state and federal government over the handling of the #ENDSARS protests that greeted the nation, and which resulted to soldiers allegedly shooting at the protesters on Monday night.

In a statement made available to Sunday Independent, the Heads of Advertising Sectoral Group, (HASG) that comprises of Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria (EXMAN), Media Independent Association of Nigeria (MIPAN), Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN), Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria, (BON)  and the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), said “Yesterday,  across  different  parts  of  the  country,  we  observed  with  shock,  reported  cases  of  military  force  against  protesters in Lagos and other parts of the country”

The statement, which is signed by all the presidents of the member association of HASG further stated that the group have watched with concern,  multiple  violent  attacks  across  the  country,  as  young  Nigerians  trooped  out  peacefully  to  protest  police  brutality.

“We condemn, in every way possible, police brutality, citizen harassment, and the use of force by the army on innocent, unarmed citizens who are exercising their constitutional-ly-guaranteed rights to peaceful gathering and protest.

“.Our prayers, and sympathy goes out to every Nigerian affected directly, or indirectly, and we commiserate with families who have lost loved ones to this avoidable violence.,” Steve Babaeko, President of AAAN said.

According to the Chairman of the body, Sir Abuchi Anueyiagu, “We are worried that the attacks could lead to heavy loss of jobs and financial investments at a time of severe economic headwinds in the country.”

Advertising, media, PR condemn attacks on #ENDSARS protesters, a body of senior journalists of Southeast of Nigeria origin, condemned in the strongest terms the attacks on media houses  (The Nation newspaper, Television Continental (TVC), Lagos State Television and Channels Television) in Lagos.

“We stand in firm solidarity with our colleagues in the media houses that have suffered these attacks, while calling for immediate stop of such evil acts,” Anueyiagu stated.

IZUNWANNE expressed the suspicion that such evil attacks could be an attempt to muzzle the media, attack the freedom of the press and diminish the right of individuals and groups to freedom of association and the right to establish organs for free expression.

For Public Relations Consultant Association of Nigeria, (PRCAN) in a statement titled, ‘Lekki Toll Gate Attack By Soldiers, PRCAN Demands Probe,’, the body said, “PRCAN aligns itself with the global outrage against the mindless attack on peaceful protesters demanding sweeping police reforms at the Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos on Tuesday 20th October 2020. We condemn this barbaric action by officers and men of the Nigerian Army and hereby demand an urgent probe into the operation.”

In a statement co-signed by Mr. Israel Jaiye Opayemi, president and Mr. Bolaji Abimbola, publicity secretary, PRCAN said, “As a body of professionals, while we remain circumspect on the actual fatality figures, we hasten to say, the denial by the Nigerian Army seems to be in character when we remember similar atrocities in ZakiBiam and Odi respectively.”

 Till date,”We are not aware that any soldier has been brought to justice for those atrocities. It is an insult on the collective intelligence of Nigerians for the Army Headquarters to claim no soldiers were at the scene of the Lekki Toll Gate incident. Are they unknown soldiers yet again,” PRCAN queried.

The body wishes to tell the army, ‘you have messed with the wrong sub-national jurisdiction and the wrong people’. This is Lagos, the epi-centre of the struggle to end military dictatorship in Nigeria”.

According to HASG, “Not only is this a breach of the fundamental rights of Nigerians, this incident has brought yet another layer of stain, on our country’s reputation, threatening to destroy years of hard work by government, corporate organisations, sports men, and the creative/media/marketing industry in showing the world the great, beautiful Nation that is Nigeria.”

“It is not too late to arrest this situation and turn it positively to get the country back on track. We as a group will be happy to work voluntarily with all parties in developing the right people-centred strategy for the short and long term interest of our dear Nation,” Babaeko said.

Life Lager injects N40million life support for small businesses in the east

Life Lager is set to support over 200 businesses with a cumulative sum of over 40 million, in the “Chop Life” Experience.

In a similar vein to the acclaimed Progress Booster campaign, the Chop Life Experience will see Life Lager empower its consumers with cash to support their businesses. This will be done through in-bar activations that will span across southeastern cities like Enugu, Aba, Uyo, Warri, Onitsha, and Port Harcourt from September 27 to October 25, 2020.

Speaking on the Chop Life Experience, National Trade Marketing Manager, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Funso Ayeni, expressed his delight at the launch of the initiative saying;

“As a brand, Life Lager believes in progress, and the Chop Life Experience is our way of empowering our consumers. We recognise that sometimes all we need is financial support to get our dreams off the ground, and help us progress. We share this sentiment, and we are humbled to have the opportunity to support businesses across the southeast.”

Life Lager has had a stellar year with remarkable initiatives such as its brand relaunch, as well as the widely acclaimed lighting of the Niger Bridge and the release of its theme song titled “Chop Life” featuring Phyno and Flavour.

Unveiled on August 1, 2020, the Niger Bridge lights further established Life Lager as a truly progressive brand, while its timely message of self preservation; “Ndu Ka” was widely praised for its relevance and significance, particularly during the lockdown period of the pandemic.

NECCI Roundtable on the role of PR in venture capital funding holds Oct 29

The twentieth edition of NECCI Public Relations Roundtable scheduled to hold in Lagos this  month themed: ‘Raising the Venture Capital Funding Clarion – The Role of Public Relations in Growing the Enterprise Base through Venture Capital Funding ,  will focus on the role public relations plays in venture capital funding in growing enterprise.

 This year’s marks the 20th edition and due to the ongoing social distancing, the event will be held both physically and live-streamed across various digital platforms. The 3-hour event will kick off at 10.00am organisers have said.

According to the Convener Nkechi Ali-Balogun, Principal Consultant/CEO, the theme will expound the new frontier of enterprise development through venture capital funding, especially with a focus on the part of Nigeria’s demography that has the least access to funding from the capital market, namely women and youth.

Pix from left Dr Maria Onyia, Human development Expert; Hajia Lami Tumaka, Director, Corporate Communication, NIMASA; Toro Oladapo, representing Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy; Professor PLO Lumumba, Chief Executive Officer, Kenya School of Law and Guest Speaker; Nkechi Ali-Balogun, Convener during the 16th edition of NECCIPR Roundtable held in Lagos. Photo Lamidi Bamidele

“It will define applicable means for venture capital funding targeted at upstarts, idea-driven innovative ventures and small businesses within the Nigerian economy. More importantly, it will highlight the role of public relations in driving funding for business upstarts as the most viable means to building and sustaining an enterprise base for Nigeria” she said.

Mrs. Balogun believed that this will be a wakeup call that will tremendously boost the acceleration of the creation of this fund for sustainable economic growth and job creation. In alignment with the roundtable’s advocacy for youth inclusion, she further stated that emerging entrepreneurs and students in tertiary institutions would be supported with the provision of data to attend the conference.

Confirmed to speak at the roundtable are , Prof. Joseph Nnanna, Chief Economist, Development Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Biodun Adedipe, Chief Consultant, B. Adedipe Associates Limited (BAA Consult), His Excellency, Peter Obi, former Governor of Anambra State and a host of others.

Out-of-home practitioners urge LASAA to stop charges on vacant hoardings

Goddie Ofose

The stakeholders in the Out-of-home advertising industry in Nigeria has called on Lagos Signage and Advertisement Agency, (LASAA), to demonstrate sincerity if it’s truly desired to offer practitioners palliatives by waiving fees on vacant boards.

Some industry stakeholders who spoke after LASAA had announced palliatives for outdoor advertising practitioners in Lagos said that the regulator has displayed concern towards the good of the industry by reeling out some palliatives to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic but waiver on vacant board should have sufficed.

Last month, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of LASAA, Prince Adedamola Docemo, had said that the agency has decided to waive the permit fees for outdoor practitioners spanning three months from April to June 2020, following the approval of the state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu. “This represents 25 percent of the outdoor practitioners’ bill for the year 2020.”

He added that the agency is also willing to offer a special discount to all outdoor advertising practitioners that are ready to offset their 2019 outstanding bills completely and immediately. “This will, however, be done on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

Speaking to Sunday Independent, the president of Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria, (OAAN), Mr. Emmanuel Ajufo said, “As Nigerians, any good gesture should be appreciated.  So we are indeed very grateful and a formal letter has been sent to LASAA to that effect.”

 “However we expect more. For a long time now, the first quarter is usually slow for our business. It peaks up in the second quarter. But we all know that the second quarter of this year came with all the Covid 19 restrictions,” Ajufo added.

The OAAN president stated that the Covid 19 pandemic created a chain reaction, so much so, that when government started gradual reopening of the economy, our advertisers used the third quarter to look at their plans in line with the Covid 19 realities and those that could afford it gradually started coming back on our platforms.

“In reality therefore, it is actually the fourth quarter that we’ll have a semblance of normalcy all things being equal. It is based on this scenario that I’ve painted that we’ll ask for more palliatives.”

Similarly, he said, “We have been on the issue of vacant sites for so long and we want government to make a statement on them now. This is because most of the debts we owe LASAA are as a result of charges on vacant sites. These debts will get even worse this year as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic.”

 The government has shown from their actions so far that it is a listening government and we therefore hope that they will address our issues with the listening ears we have known them for, adding that “On our part, we will continue to collaborate with government and offer our services for the good of the society,” Ajufo reinforced.

While thanking LASAA for the overture made to the practitioners, Mr. Bidwell Nkemakolam Okere, CEO/MD, LUZO DN & Media Limited, said that “But looking at the offer you would see the emptiness of it with all due respect. April to June 2020, when the so called offer is to cover and anchored on was a lock down period. Most advertising campaign was cancelled and the economy shut down,” he stated.

“So, the question is, what is LASAA offering by using such peril period to give a bate? Is this the economic stimulus and tax/rate rebate other smart states and industries are giving to help business get back,” Okere queried.

“That LASAA offer is like the proverbial mermaid offer; bring a human head to gain a monkey head.”.

CEO of LUZO DN & Media Limited said, “Regulators are supposed to be looking for ways to support business and ensure survival of industry. Outdoor advertising industry is hemorrhaging and regulators kneel are on its neck.”

Africa Banking Brands Awards 2020 holds in Lagos October 30th

The African Banking Brands Awards 2020, a platform designed to celebrate leadership, innovation and growth of Banking Brands in Africa will honour Banking and Finance Brands, Payment Solutions providers, their CEO’s, Products and Services and others Personalities that have made significance contribution to the Growth the industry over the years.

The Africa Banking Brands Awards is scheduled to hold at  Banquet Hall Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria on 30th of October, 2020 by 6pm, the organizers said.

The Winners would have made outstanding contribution to the development of Banking and Financial Services Brand of the continent, the economic aspiration of its citizenry and the transformation of Africa’s image in the International market while displaying high standard of good citizenship, social and environmental responsibilities. The Award brings together prominent Banking and Finance Personalities, Government Official, Regulators and other Stakeholders.

The Africa Brands Magazine as Leaders in Brand Journalism will provide an exclusive reporting the entire Award winners and showcase their Brands Strategies/Policies through interactive platform and profile their Brand Achievement. Also for the benefit of comprehensive reportage we shall conduct interview of different Bank CEO’s/Regulators and Stakeholders for the benefit of our readers.

Desmond Esorougwe, Editor-In-Chief, The Africa Brands Magazine, said, “The Africa Banking Brands 2020 Research represents the most comprehensive Banking Brands study in Africa.      It is a consumer-led survey establishes Best Banking Brands preferences across the continent. The study is independently concluded by The Africa Brands Magazine, Geopoll, the leader in providing fast, high Quality research from emerging market with strategic analysis and insight and Fast Track Brand Communications & strategy-Africa premier Branding Advisory Firm.

In the 2019-2020 periods the survey was conducted in 23 countries which cover all African economic regions and collectively represent at least 75% of the population and the GDP of Africa. These countries Best Banking Brands are often the most dominants Banking Brands across Africa or within their regions.                                                                                       Since 2019, the Best Banking Brands has been using geopoll multimodal survey platform to collect data via SMS rather than face-to-face method.

Joel Nettey emerges first African IAA president

Joel Nettey - IAA World President and Chairman

Joel Nettey, a Ghanaian and the first African to hold such position, has been elected as the Chairman and World President of the International Advertising Association (IAA), the global compass for marketing and communications. His election was held virtually during the World Board Meeting of the International Advertising Association on October 5th 2020.

Srinivasan Swamy has handed over the baton of the Chairman and World President to Joel E. Nettey, CEO, Innova DDB, Ghana.

Others that will serve alongside with Mr. Nettey are Senior Vice President: Sasan Saeidi, Global Client Leader for Nestle at Wunderman Thompson Dubai; Secretary:  Carol Schuster, Business Information Advisor at Lafayette 148 New York (New York) and Treasurer: Venanzio Camarra from Milan.

A thoroughbred marketing communications professional, Joel Nettey has over twenty years of experience leading, creating and shaping campaigns for some of the most iconic brands. Joel has been Chief Executive of various multinational marketing communications agency affiliates in Ghana including DDB, Saatchi & Saatchi and Publicis. He also served as the President for the IAA’s chapter in Ghana, The Advertising Association of Ghana. His passion for building relationships and his penchant for achieving extraordinary marketing and communications goals have resulted in the agencies he has led over the years being partners for a myriad of blue-chip companies both multinational and indigenous.

In November 2010 the Network Journal USA (www.tnj.com) recognised his sterling qualities when it named Joel as one of the inaugural 20 honorees from across Africa in its “TNJ 40 under Forty Africa” Awards.

He holds a Master in Business Administration (Marketing) and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Economics and Psychology degrees from the University of Ghana.

Speaking after the election Nettey outlined his plans for the two years ahead, “We will focus on four key pillars – Diversity & Inclusion, Creativity & Innovation, Regulatory Issues and Education. Together as a team we will take the steps required to ensure that the IAA remains the most recognizable, relevant and impactful marketing and marketing communications association across the globe, while ensuring that we attract and provide opportunities that engage and nourish the next generation of marketing game changers”.

Srinivasan Swamy, the Immediate Past President and the Chairman of Presidents’ Council said, “I have worked with Joel over the last two years when he was Senior Vice President at IAA. His understanding of the issues at IAA is amazing, as is his commitment level to deliver on what is required. I am sure IAA will flourish over the next two years under his stewardship and I am happy to actively support his initiatives that will build IAA further”.

In his congratulatory message to the new World President, the President, IAA Nigeria Chapter and Executive Vice Chairman of Verdant Zeal Group, Dr Tunji Olugbodi noted that, “IAA Nigeria Chapter celebrate and felicitate with you on this feat and epoch making occasion. In showing the way as the first Global President from the African continent to be bestowed this honour in the 80 year history of the IAA, we are conscious of your sterling qualities and heritage as a seasoned administrator and team player”. “Nigeria is proud to identify with you and you can be rest assured of our support and best wishes now and always”, he added.

Eagleserve to unveil ‘The Hedge Foundation’ at 4th anniversary

Abuja based brand building and marketing communication company, Eagleserve Consulting has announced the establishment of its Corporate Social Responsibility initiative known as The Hedge Foundation to mark its four years of delivering exceptional marketing communication services to clients and other partners.

The Hedge Foundation, according to the company is to assist the less privilege individuals in the society to achieve their goals, and to help accomplish ideas that they believe could not be achieved in the nearest future.

Eagleserve, an all-round marketing communication agency known for creating cutting edge services through research based solutions was established in 2016 to assist in building bands and deliver profitable growth to clients.

Speaking on the 4th anniversary, Managing Director of the agency, Prince Shola Rotimi said, ‘’As we mark 4 years of operation in the Nigerian marketing communication industry, we will continue to strive our best to be more innovative and impactful in the Nigerian marketing communication industry market.’’

‘’In our four years of operation, and the only agency based in the north, we have strategically positioned ourselves to deliver outstanding marketing communication solutions to our clients because we have the lens, the compass and the map to navigate through this region.

‘’As we grow in the society, we want to begin to carry along the less privilege individuals in our society. We want to try as much as possible to assist them achieve things they believe could not be achieved.

‘’We always pride ourselves as the first advertising agency in Abuja and the entire North of Nigeria, and as the only certified agency in the north by the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) to practice the business of advertising and marketing communications in the region,’’ he said.

Rotimi added that, ‘’In our short period of existence, we have been able to work on accounts mainly for government agencies, federal and state ministries, office of the Secretary to the Federal Government, amongst others.

‘’These achievements were made through the use of great analytical skills to determine best media mix for our client’s target audience. Our media planners build platforms around consumer insights which separate brands from competition in the marketplace.’’

‘’Our agency identities unique story angles and media opportunities to finding the right media outlets to reach target audiences laced with extensive experience in planning and managing special events,’’ he noted.

Media debt comes under review as APCON, NBC move to sanitise Ad, media industry

The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) and National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the two government agencies regulating advertising practice and the broadcast media have agreed to collaborate in ensuring the resolution of the age-long industry debt, adherence to advertising code among other critical industry issues.

This was part of the agreement reached during the courtesy visit of APCON management to the leadership of NBC.

The APCON Registrar/Chief Executive, Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo recently met with the Acting Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission, Professor Armstrong Idachaba to seek collaboration and promote policies that will improve the advertising industry and strengthen intersectoral relationship.

The APCON Registrar hinted on the plan by APCON to develop a new business framework and Standard Operating Procedure for the advertising industry. He stated that the business framework will be comprehensive and will address critical industry concerns which include industry debt, payment policy, inter and intra sectoral relationships among other issues.

The APCON Registrar stated that NBC is expected to make substantial input and adequately participate in the formulation of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the industry. While the SOP will require stakeholders’ participation, the APCON Registrar sought the mutual collaboration of NBC as a government regulatory agency to support and ensure compliance. He also solicited the support of NBC in ensuring that all broadcast media organisations comply and enforce the advertising code.

The APCON Registrar noted that the visit is in line with the directive of the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, requesting that all agencies regulating the advertising and media industry should collaborate and seek solution to the age-long media debt.

The Acting Director General of NBC, Professor Armstrong Idachaba expressed delight at the call for collaboration by APCON. He reaffirmed the commitment of NBC to partner with APCON in every area of interest that will improve the long-standing relationship and the respective mandate of the two government agencies.

He assured the APCON Registrar on the support and participation of NBC in the formulation and implementation of the SOP. He further sought the support of the APCON Registrar on Zero Debt Tolerance policy of the broadcast media and the revised broadcast code.

The two regulatory agencies agreed to sign a MOU and work together to promote a healthier business environment for all stakeholders.

Lack of APCON governing council posed challenge to my tenure, says Iyoha

Ijedi Iyoha

The immediate past acting Registrar/Chief Executive Officer of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON, Mrs. Ijedi Iyoha has revealed that the biggest challenge she faced at the apex regulatory body in the integrated marketing communication in Nigeria was the lack of APCON council.

She disclosed this in an exclusive chat with 789marketing.ng after the federal government announced Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo a substantive registrar/chief executive officer of APCON.

She said, “Navigating the tides of supervising the activities of industry and carrying out our statutory mandates without a subsisting Governing Council was a major challenge encountered.”

Describing her time as acting registrar, Mrs. Iyoha said, “It has been a worthwhile experience for me to act on that capacity. The industry is a vast and interesting sector of the economy with peculiar challenges.”

“I will adjudge my tenure as a successful one, thanks to the very tremendous support I received from the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Deaconess Grace Gekpe, the management and staff of APCON and all the sectors in the Advertising industry,” she added.

Reacting to the appointment of the Dr. Fadolapo, the immediate past acting registrar stated that “Being the most senior officer in APCON I was appointed to act in the capacity of overseeing the affairs of APCON pending the appointment of a substantive Registrar. It naturally follows that I will revert and continue in the position I was prior to that appointment. I am a career officer,” she enthused..

When asked, if given opportunity again and what she will love to improve upon, she said, “I will continue to build and improve on the works I have done with my team.”

Reacting to the appointment of the substantive CEO, she said “Dr. Fadolapo has for many years been of valuable support to APCON and to the advertising industry in general. I am confident that he will excel in his new role.”

She added that he has in the past worked in various capacities for APCON and has never performed below expectations in any of the duties he has been part of. We are exceedingly delighted that he was found worthy to be appointed the Registrar. He is going to get outstanding support from APCON and advertising stakeholders.”

Phillips Consulting introduces Bite-Sized Micro-Courses to fuel the future of work in Nigeria

Work as we knew it was always poised to undergo a massive transformation driven by several developments. It was characterized by conflicting information and rooted behaviours for almost a decade.

This left plenty of room for debates across the advancement of technology, the talent evolution, the data boom, and more. The reality, however, is that the transformation of work is painting an even bigger picture than we envisioned or planned for. The creative destruction of Coivd-19 has ultimately led to an acceleration of said changes and workplaces have been taken over by radical innovation.

Offices are becoming smarter and talent more competitive. Softer skills like hosting online meetings, running successful teleconferencing, and collaborating via social media apps have become the mainstay. Geopolitical transformations are having an unprecedented impact on the daily changes we see. “Several mega-trends are bringing a radical shift to the way we work, live, and learn. We are looking, listening, learning, and creating banisters for all genres of the corporate world to transition smoothly on the unprecedented path to the future of work”, said Fokanferanmi Okojie, Senior Consultant Learning Innovation

Despite emergence from the pandemic lockdown, our unemployment rates are skyrocketing daily, youth are shaken and those currently employed are clearly unprepared for the future that is speedily presenting itself. The systems designed to support learning at all levels are just as inadequately prepped for the change. The quality of our long-term professional talent pool is dwindling and the influx of youth into the workforce only fails deeper when they are onboarded to a corporate system with no plan for the future of work.

This opportunity has presented itself for workable accessible solutions to bridge the knowledge and competence gap that currently exists in Nigeria. This must be done with a sense of purpose in contributing towards shaping the change that must take place.

According to Nwaji Jibunoh, Head of Training at pcl “Nigeria is at the inflection point where the name of the new game is how best prepared you are for the future. Upskilling yourself will no longer be about fulfilling requirements but about survival”. As technology continues to evolve and adoption accelerated, moving closer and closer towards fully automated systems, the future of work and the emerging technology skillsets required, are no longer conversations for tomorrow, but rather, for today. COVID-19 has forced us to reimagine the way that we work digitally, and it has brought the reality into our lives in many unimaginable ways. The growth of the digital workplace will continue unabated!

Rob Taiwo – Managing Director Phillips Consulting stated that “Covid-19 has accelerated the rate of technology adoption. Recent pandemic GDP indicators in Nigeria suggest that we will continue to see ICT growth. However, whilst we expect the impact to remain fairly low in the manufacturing sector, we can expect major disruption in financial services and logistics. Policy change and training are powerful tools that the public and private sector can use to prepare human capital for the impending disruption”.

As an innovative and tech-driven company, Phillips Consulting has developed a solution that shall address the challenges this current environment faces. The pcl. Micro Courses is a Virtually led interactive learning intervention. The unique and innovative price point of each course is designed to enable accessibility for the busy corporate professionals, students, unemployed graduates, and lifelong learner, etc.

Our learning team will psychometrically profile learners and guide them to courses they genuinely need for their development. Every course offered is an opportunity to interact with hundreds of minds per bite-sized session and active learners are prioritized into the pcl. talent pool for job opportunities. These courses will inspire, educate, and shape learning for the future, whilst disrupting a stagnant career trajectory.

Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana businesses, others win 2020 Africa Finance Awards

Mr. Emeka Iloelunachi, MD Fast Credit presenting Africa Finance award 2019 plaque to Olabanjo Obaleye, MD Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank plc at the awards dinner

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC Retail), KCB Bank Kenya and Ghana Union Assurance are some of the African top businesses that have won the 2020 Africa Finance Awards.

Other winners mentioned in a statement by the organisers include Credit Ville, Infinity Mortgage Bank Plc, Norremberger, Hygeia HMO, Crystal Finance, Xymbolic Development, Marvelous Mike Press, Landwey Investment, McDon Security  and several  others.

Emeka Iloelunachi Fast Credit MD with the 2019 Africa Finance Award trophy for Fast Credit

The 2020 edition of Africa Finance Awards, which was initially postponed due to the COVID 19 pandemic, has now been scheduled to hold in December 2020.

According to the Project Director, Africa Finance Awards, Mr. Abidemi Adesanya, “The award which is the benchmark for celebrating excellence, innovation and professionalism in Africa will honour some great brands that have been outstanding in their market segment in the course of the challenging.”

He said, “The highlights of this year’s award night include executive presentation session covering different sectors, red carpet, and other side attractions.”

Olabanjo Obaleye, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank Plc present award to MacDanielles Ighedosa of Medallion Communications Limited at the 2019 award night

Some of the past winners of the award include Keystone Bank Plc, Vitafoam Nigeria Plc, La Casera, Powergas Africa, First Registrar, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, Orange Insurance Brokers, Medallion Communications, International Health Management Services Limited, PAC Capital, Fast Credit, among several others.

GTBank, Dangote, FirstBank, Airtel, others celebrate Nigeria @ 60 through creative advertising

Brands celebrate Nigeria @ 60

Goddie Ofose, Lagos

Nigeria has attained a milestone of 60 as a nation, the milestones according to Bolaji Alausa, Executive Creative Director at Noah’s Ark Communications, has always been an avenue for brands to connect with their audience. By connecting the iconic moment with their brand narrative, they strengthen their bond with the consumer.

Therefore, in Nigeria @ 6o celebration, major brands across the nation have exhibited this strength through creative nuances on all the media channels such as print, electronic and digital.

Notable sectors that have shown greater interest in celebrating Nigeria @ 60 through creative advertising are financial institutions- banks and insurance companies, fast moving consumer goods, telecommunications, PayTV and other related industry.

Leading the pack are FirstBank, GTBank, Fidelity Bank, Polaris Bank, Zenith Bank, Dangote, Nigerian Breweries, Glo, MTN, Airtel, Seven Up companies, Coca-Cola and UBA.

In most of the newspapers on October 1, 2020, these brands took time to express their affinity, love, heritage of the Nigerian brand through creative advertising albeit lamely.  

FirstBank featured in almost all the national dailies. Its advert played basically with the nation’s natural endowments. The ad exalted the country rich agricultural endowment, mineral resources, trade and manufacturing and sport. Having lived in Nigeria for 125 years, the bank said, “We have powered the ambitions of our nation 60 years post-independence, we are still here, putting ‘You First’ today and enabling your dreams of tomorrow.”

Fidelity Bank opened with “Here is to 60 years of depending on each other”. A bank that pride itself on faithfulness went ahead to wish the country and its citizens a happy independence with a beautiful reminiscence on the nation’s cultural heritage and people.

Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Dangote and UBA did not stretch their creative skills too much. It looked like they were a bit cautious not to ‘offend’ by staying with the usage of Nigeria at 60 logo and the nation’s flag. While Zenith Bank puts it *966# forward, Access Bank preaches strength from more possibilities.

The UBA creative ad basically said, “We are there in 60, when calls for liberty became a celebration of freedom,” it stated.

The celebration logo was generously used in the UBA ad with the bank signing off with its mantra of unity by saying “We are here today, as the celebration of our independence reminds us of our responsibility to remain united as a nation.

APCON Ad for Nigeria @ 60

Dangote used the platform to encourage Nigerian to continue to observe the safety protocol against the COVID-19 pandemic. The ad again made use of celebration logo generously with a payoff “let us stay safe as we celebrate our 60th independence anniversary.”

GTBank ad reminds us of the milestones achieved by Nigeria. The only ad that is more creative enough to be referred to as creative advertisement. From the 1999 when the nation returned to democracy to Agbani Darego winning Miss World, the ad reminded us of all the good records we have achieve as a nation.

It is a good piece of historical document that should be recommended to anyone who may have lost touch with the country’s past achievements. Though a bit crowded, this may be due to the limited space but in the end, the bank made it count by signing off with “Here’s to more memories”.

GTBank Ad for Nigeria @ 60

Others that have shown great support to the celebration include 7Up bottling, ALAT, Nigerian Breweries, Cosgrove, Churchgate, Glo, Air Peace, and MTN.

Remarkably, 7up popped up with an inspirational message, “7up and Naija, all the way up”. The brand made use of its green colour in a near perfect nature. The ad reassured Nigerians that there is more to look forward to.

MTN Ad for Nigeria @ 60

For the telecoms brands, MTN rendered a strong message that resonates with the time. The telecom giant as usual with its creatives, expressed love by using Nigeria’s flag luxuriously with the message top left corner of the paper saying, “Like a DIAMOND, Tough times polish us into a nation shining with greatness.”

MTN ad is a classic work from professionals from an ad agency. The use of less words and gracious use of the nation’s symbol- green white green showed that the brand place emphasis on the celebration rather than the brand.

NB Plc Ad for Nigeria @ 60

Airtel ad for the celebration was even more remarkable. The brand chose National Theatre to drive home it celebratory messages. It carefully created a beautiful ambience that led to the iconic structure with years of notable achievements littered the street to the theatre.

Airtel crowned the beautiful work of art with an incisive messaging in caps, “The journey to 60 is one to be thankful for.” It is by all standards a handsome ad and industry experts voted for it as the best.

Lagos State Ad to celebrate Nigeria @ 60

Speaking on whether ad agencies that created these ads are losing creative steam due to lack of aspirational advertisement, Alausa said, “I wouldn’t say we’re losing our steam. A lot of brands approach this from different perspectives. Some take the simple, informational route; others add a little spice beyond print and even scale online. Traditionally, we see a lot, but a few will always rise to the top of the pile.”

Nigerian advertising creative ecosystem has seen quite a lot in recent times. Most banks create ad in house and rarely engaged advertising agencies. A renowned advertising practitioner who pleaded anonymity said, “The reason you see some of these half-baked creative works are that, these companies particularly, banks and insurance companies do not allow professionals to do these work.”

AIICO Ad for Nigeria @ 60

“We will continue to see this trend as long as these organizations keep creating these ads in-house” he added.

Reacting to exodus of the creative egg heads to client side, the executive creative director of Noah’s Ark Communications, Alausa said, “It’s a small industry; talent is scarce, so naturally turnover will be higher than the average. But I believe governing bodies and even agencies have started taking  training more serious. I say no need to panic.”

Bluebird Communications Ad for Nigeria @ 60

Bschool plans ‘immersive experience’ Bootcamp for stakeholders in advertising, marketing

Bschool, Africa’s Pop Culture Academy, has finalized plans to host 202 Strategy Bootcamp tagged ‘Immersive Experience”, from October 21 to 24, 2020 in Lagos. The strategy Bootcamp would impact practitioners in advertising, creative industry, marketing and related sector, The Industry on Sunday Independent gathered.

BSchool is a strategy and innovation school set up for to provide an unconventional learning system for business, marketing and creative professionals. It is the “New School” for entrepreneurs, admen, marketers, and corporate executives.

In October 21st-24th, Bschool will be running a series of live workshops. It’s a 4-day virtual getaway for senior marketers, brand custodians and business leads, who are planning to hold strategy retreats and to develop business transformation plans as we move closer towards the last quarter of the year.

The course modules include AI Marketing, CX Strategy, Behavioral Economics, Business Model Innovation, Product Design, Cultural Foresight and Trend Codes, Scenario Planning, and Customer Engagement. Organizations looking to send delegates can view the programme schedule at its website.

The webinar will be hosted by Frankline Ozekhome, the head of strategy and digital at Insight Publicis, where he will unpack mega-industry themes, consumer insights and the dynamics that apply to sectors like Retail and Ecommerce, Home and Personal Care, FMCG, and financial services. He will also be sharing business propulsion toolkits and innovation playbooks that will help organizations to successfully navigate the phenomenal changes that have affected every single industry.

Frankline Ozekhome, Convener Bschool Bootcamp

According to Ozekhome, “we have witnessed more shifts – economic, technological, social, cultural – in 6 months than we have in over 5 years. Now, it’s time to make sense of these changes and the attendant impact on business, markets and consumerism.”

The Strategy Bootcamp is a bespoke event designed to help businesses and brands rebound as future-determining entities that are focused on being viable, sustainable, and admired by employees, customers and competitors. The curriculum – curated by Ozekhome who is also the founder of Bschool, and Dean of Studies at Orange Academy – is premised on creating practicable ideas and executing new experiences that capture top-line and bottom-line growth.

Ozekhome is a pop culture maven and is a globally acknowledged expert on consumer trends and cultural intelligence. He has led multidisciplinary teams through the development of award-winning campaigns, product design initiatives and innovation platforms for multinationals, SMEs and startups. Over the years, he has worked with brands as diverse as Visa, Heineken, Google, Emirates, Tecno Mobile, Pepsi, MTN, Dangote, Vitafoam, Smile, Airtel and Samsung.

Bschool was founded in 2017 and already boasts an alumni network of 500+ students from varied backgrounds, disciplines and organizations.

AAAN president to speak on influencer marketing at virtual ad week confab September 30

Steve Babaeko

The President of Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, (AAAN) and CEO / Chief Creative Officer at X3M Ideas Group, Steve Babaeko, will be speaking on influencer marketing at this year’s Advertising Week’s (AW2020) immersive virtual conference on Wednesday September 30, 2020.

The AW2020 starts from September 29 till October 9, 2020.

Advertising Week is a worldwide gathering of marketing, advertising, technology and brand professionals. From daytime seminars and workshops featuring some of the industry’s brightest minds to organized networking and world-class entertainment, Advertising Week which is a one-of-a-kind experience crosses the globe with events in New York, London, Tokyo, Mexico City, Sydney and Johannesburg.

The inclusion of Babaeko, the president of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) to bring his exposure and experience to bear when talking about influencer marketing does not come as a surprise, as he was also named among Adweek’s 100 Most Fascinating People in Marketing, Media and Culture for 2019. This is in line with Adweek’s practice of celebrating the Creative 100, a roster of gifted professionals who inspire current and future generations not only with their work but also their passion for creativity across advertising, media, art, literature, animation and more.

Babaeko is renowned for his creativity and consistency as he has successfully taken one of Nigeria’s most innovative creative agencies, X3M Ideas to greater height, establishing X3M Ideas SA PTY to serve the business interest of the agency in the Southern African region.

The X3M boss began his career in 1995 with MC&A Saatchi & Saatchi where he worked for five years, then to Prima Garnet Ogilvy, where he also worked for another five years. He also spent 7 years at 141 Worldwide, where he worked as creative director before establishing X3M Ideas in 2012.

He has served on the Grand Jury of the New York Advertising Festival, as well as being a keynote speaker at the 2018 International Advertising Association conference. His impressive stint in the International advertising scene also saw him act as judge on the 2017 The Loerie Awards.

BrandEye Media makes key changes at the mgt level

The responsibility of running Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria, (MIPAN) bestowed on Femi Adelusi, the Managing director/chief executive officer of BrandEye Media, has inadvertently created a vacuum at the top management level in the company hence the elevation of former Associate Director, Strategy & Planning, Demola Salami to chief operating officer.

Salami will be playing key role to ensure that the agency achieve its objectives and to deliver incremental share of the future to its clients and associates through strong partnerships, processes and ideas that are anchored on integrity, a statement from the agency stated.

In addition, he will also be ensuring that the agency continues to deploy cutting-edge research technique and expertise to achieve winning strategies and buying solutions for brands.

Salami, whose excellent presentation and client servicing have earned him an admirable level of respect in the media and advertising industry, as wide experience managing top brands such as Airtel, Guinness, Axa Mansard, Promasidor, PZ Cussons, Suntory and others.

The new COO began his career at BrandEye as Senior Manager and within a short time he was promoted to the position of Associate Director, Strategy & planning before his elevation as the agency’s COO. 

Recall, he started his career as Quality Assurance Manager at 2Sisters Food Group, located Nottingham, United Kingdom. At the company, he handled customer complaints, ensured that the company’s business practices complied with the UK health and safety code, performed and reviewed process auditing on a daily, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis.

After his UK experience, he joined mediaReach OMD Nigeria as Account Planning Executive and was instrumental for providing strategic media planning and buying solutions to help major corporations achieve their marketing objectives.

Also, he served as key account handler for major FMCG companies. He was later elevated to the position of Senior Executive before leaving the agency to join Capital Media Limited as Assistant Manager, Strategy and Planning.

Thereafter, he rejoined mediaReach OMD Nigeria as Deputy Manager and became Manager before joining BrandEye Media.

Salami holds a B.Sc. Biochemistry from Lagos State University and Master’s degree in Pharmacology from The Nottingham Trent University. Also, he holds a Certificate in Professional Marketing from Simon Page Business School and Diploma in Marketing Management from Association of Business Executives, United Kingdom.

Original story featured on Brandcom

Lagos based business man wins TYLgames N1million grand prize, brand promises transparency

L-R: Managing Director/CEO, Cognitio Communications, Sam Osunsoko; former SA to Lagos State Governor on Revenue and Taxation, Bola Shodipo; Winner of N1million, Emmanuel Umoga; Deputy Director/Coordinator, National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Priscilla Onuzulu; and Managing Director, Humber International, Andrew Humber-Osofisan, at the Grand launch and Cheque presentation of TYLGAMES in Lagos...yesterday

A Lagos based young entrepreneur, Emmanuel Umoga, has emerged the first N1million grand prize winner at the inaugural draw and cheque presentation ceremony of the lottery platform, TYLgames in Lagos.

The TYLgames grand launch and cheque presentation that took place at Calabar Hall in Surulere, Lagos at the weekend saw another 29 gamers being presented with their winning cheques ranging from N10, 000 to N500, 000.

TYLgames, a gaming (Lottery) platform is designed to positively touch gamers’ lives one game at a time. The focus is on gamers rather than on the gaming platform; placing in their hands the power to transform their lives with each game they play hence the acronym “TYL”.

TYL is an Instant Play, Instant Win, instant cash out game played on SMS, USSD, and Mobile Web platforms with the short code 33088. There are currently two games available to choose from, an instant numbers game tagged “SHOKI” and “SHAFFLE” which is a daily raffle game. With N100 game cost, a player can win up to N100,000 instantly and up to N1,000,000 in 24 hours by dialing or texting to 33088 or *33088# for USSD respectively.

 According to the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Humber Group, owners of TYLgames, Mr. Andrew Humber-Osofisan, “TYLgames is an innovative luxury product that is designed to positively touch gamers’ lives in real time.”.

L-R: Managing Director/CEO, Cognitio Communications, Sam Osunsoko; former SA to Lagos State Governor on Revenue and Taxation, Bola Shodipo; One of the Winners Kehinde Sadik; Deputy Director/Coordinator, National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Priscilla Onuzulu; and Managing Director, Humber International, Andrew Humber-Osofisan, at the Grand launch and Cheque presentation of TYLGAMES in Lagos…yesterday

“You can change your life with N100”, Andrew Humber-Osofisan said. “Currently, there are two games available to choose from, SHOKI and SHAFFLE. SHOKI is an instant number game while SHAFFLE is a daily raffle game. Every time you dial *33088#, you win a SHAFFLE ticket that qualifies you for a draw that will be done every night, making you stand to win up to N1 million. Every successful play is charged N100.”

On transparency, he said, the regulatory authorities and Lagos State government are fully involved hence the platform desire to be credible and transparent

The Managing Partner of Cognitio Communications, Mr. Sam Osunsoko, referred to TYLgames as a vision of empowerment due to the fact that it came at a time when the economy has suffered at the hand of COVID 19 pandemic.

“TYLgames gives you the opportunity to win different range of prizes that can help you cushion the effect of the current economic hardship” he said.

Mr. Bola Shodipo, Former Special Adviser to the Lagos State government on Revenue and Taxation,  who encouraged and mandated the managers of TYLgames to make sure the platform is fair to the gamers, stated that state government is to ensure growing opportunities that can increase the GDP of the state. “TYLgames is an economic activity that can grow the GDP of Lagos State and by extension, the Federal government”, he said.

The Deputy Director/Coordinator National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Lagos Zonal Office, Mrs. Onuzulu Priscilla Nkiru, ascertained that TYLgames is approved and that Humber Group has been doing the right thing from day one. She encouraged gamers to shout out if there is any reneging on promises made.

L-R: Managing Director/CEO, Cognitio Communications, Sam Osunsoko; former SA to Lagos State Governor on Revenue and Taxation, Bola Shodipo; One of the Winners Opeoluwa Ogundibo; Deputy Director/Coordinator, National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Priscilla Onuzulu; and Managing Director, Humber International, Andrew Humber-Osofisan, at the Grand launch and Cheque presentation of TYLGAMES in Lagos…yesterday

An elated Umoga who narrated his experience said, “I saw the game online and I played. I played only once and my number was picked. It is very refreshing to know that game like this exist in Nigeria. I want to encourage Nigerians to play this game because it is valid,” he said.

Amongst the thirty winners who emerged during the inaugural draws Umoga, the grand prize  winner of N1 million, Mr. Opeoluwa Ogundibo and Mr. Kehinde Sadik were present at the cheque presentation ceremony.

Lilvera Group Boss, Buchi Johnson advocates 80% budget for digital marketing amid pandemic

Buchi Johnson, CEO/MD, Lilvera Group

The Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director of Lilvera Group, Mr. Buchi Johnson, has urged clients and corporate organisations to review their marketing plans and budgets as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that has redefined the dynamics of the Nigerian marketing communications environment.

The London Business School alumnus, who spoke to journalists in his Lekki office recently, said that there will be new opportunities post pandemic that brands can pivot to be a part of. Technology is making it very easy for us to get a lot of things done and presently, any business that wants to make it has to create strategies using technology to achieve success online.

“Going forward, a serious minded organisation that wants to achieve great success for its brand and products must adopt an 80% to 20% budget planning for its marketing activities. This is as a result of the COVID-19 impact on bottomline as well as government regulations,” Johnson said.

The Lilvera Group boss, who believes that brands must make a conscious effort to understand their consumers’ online needs, said, “Understanding your consumers’ online behaviors will help any brand align with their needs. To achieve this, brands must ensure their teams are social media savvy to meet consumers need.”

“Their understanding of tech tools will help manage sales channels and consumer conversations. They will also be able to understand what influences consumer decisions in the present situation as well as what influence new business and partnership,” he said.

L-R, Goddie Ofose, Chief Executive Officer, December 29 Media, Habeebat Raji, Business Executive, Lilvera Nigeria Ltd, Buchi Johnson, Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Lilvera Group And Paix Otene, Head Administration, Lilvera Nigeria Ltd, at the Lilvera Nigeria Limited Media Interactive Session in the company’s headquarters in Lekki Phase 1 Lagos at the weekend.

Buchi Johnson advised that it is important businesses begin to take crisis communication and management seriously as pandemic continue to bite harder.

“It is also important that businesses should have a crisis management plan on hand, the pandemic is a huge crisis that a lot of businesses did not envisage and could not manage. This, caused a lot of businesses to shut down or lay off workers. It is important now more than ever to have a crisis management plan,” Johnson stated.

As a marketing communications expert with over 12 years experience, Buchi said, “I have come to understand that change is permanent and to stay relevant, one most understand the trends and stay steps ahead of uncertainty.”

Speaking on the impact of pandemic on retail marketing space, the CEO of Lilvera Group said, “the retail sphere would be impacted no doubt but brands that adopt digital marketing would conquer this space and make greater success out of it despite the effect of the pandemic.”

“I am an early adopter of technology and an advocate of it as well, I think up ways to use technology to build my business and it has been the best strategy so far during the COVID-19 issue. We literally kept working during the lockdown, found new ways of doing things and offering our clients new ideas, which saw us grow through the lockdown to this present time.”

African Consumer Care enters Nigerian surface cleaning market segment with Dazzl Disinfectant

Consumers sampling Dazzl disinfectant floor cleaner at the market activation in Lagos

 African Consumer Care, a subsidiary of Dabur International has strengthened the Dabur footprint in Nigeria with the introduction of the surface cleaning product, Dazzl Disinfectant floor cleaner in the Nigerian market.

In Nigeria, African Consumer Care Limited (AFCC) is one of the most trusted and reputable manufacturing companies, which has been successfully operating its business in Nigeria for last 18  years. Dabur Herbal Toothpaste, Odomos, Sani Fresh, Odonil, Medimax and ORS Olive Oils are brand names, trusted by Millions of Nigerian Consumers.

African Consumer Care Limited has launched Dazzl shield disinfectant to make an entry into the Nigerian fast-growing disinfectant market.

Dabur’s entry into Nigerian Surface Care market was unleashed through the recent launch of Dazzl Disinfectant Floor Cleaners. The product is an All Surface Cleaner + Disinfectant with 99.9% Germ Kill Claim.

The launch comes during a time when the demand for disinfectant household solutions are surging in Nigeria as COVID-19 health protocols requiring regular washing and disinfecting to curb the spread of the virus.

Dazzl can be used on Surfaces like Mosaic,  Granite, Marble, Marbonite, Kota and Vitro Ceramic to remove 99.9% Germs, dirt and grimes. What else? It also comes with long lasting floral fragrance that keeps the environment smelling fresh. 

Dazzl is now available in all key Hypermarkets, Supermarkets, Open markets as well in retail outlets across PAN Nigeria in 500ml, 1 Litre pack sizes. For institution/heavy users, it is also available in a large 4.5 Litre pack size.

The launch was supported by Open Market Consumer Engagements in Lagos, which included Brand detailing by the DJ, Anchor and brand Ambassadors,  Live Floor cleaning Demo with Dazzl Disinfectant, Free Sampling, Quiz and Q&A. 

Mr. Venkat R Reddy, Head of Business AFCC/Dabur West Africa mentioned in an event in Lagos Oke Arin market that Dabur is committed to bring New Innovation evaluating the relevance and local Consumer needs. Dazzl being a Disinfectant floor cleaner will also support the initiatives of the Federal and State Governments as well as the local communities for their current Fight against Covid-19 situation.

African Consumer Care is a subsidiary of Dabur International, which is the International business division of Dabur India, world’s largest Ayurveda or Natural Healthcare Company. With an overall turnover of over US$ 1 Billion and a market capitalization of ~US$ 11 Billion,Dabur’s International Business Division in Dubai, UAE is the cornerstone of its growth strategy, delivering outstanding growth year on year.

Despite COVID-19 disruptions, Comercio Partners keeps leveraging bright investment prospects

Steve Osho, Co- Managing Partner Comercio Partners and MD/CEO at Comercio Partners Capital

The Nigerian economy is currently in dire straits with major economic indicators looking grim due to increasing external shocks.

The COVID-19 as well as the drop in crude oil prices, the country’s major source of revenue, indeed exposed Nigeria’s weak underbelly.

Crude oil represents over 80 per cent of Nigeria’s export revenue and a downturn in the market for the commodity always has a ripple effect on the economy.

Often, this shock has a pass-through effect on the foreign exchange market thereby leading to depreciation of the naira exchange rate and putting pressure on external reserves as seen in recent times.

Indeed, as predicted, due to these external shocks, Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2020 contracted by 6.1 per cent, which was the first negative growth since the first quarter of 2017.

This has been the trend globally due to the impact of the virus, as countries such as South Korea (-3.3%), Singapore (-41.2%), US (-9.5%), Germany (-10.1%), had earlier reported GDP contraction in Q2.

More worrisome is the projection that the country will plunge into a severe economic recession this year, the worst since the 1980s, according to the World Bank.

In fact, the World Bank has projected that the pandemic would push about five million more Nigerians into poverty this year, adding that while before the pandemic, the number of poor Nigerians was expected to increase by about two million largely due to population growth, the number would now increase by seven million.

Owing to the gloomy outlook, analysts at Comercio Partners noted that the impact of the pandemic and its unprecedented consequences has taught the global economy an important lesson on the need for brands to be innovative and agile.

They pointed out that the global economy is in an era of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity), adding that the uncertainty has been heightened by the destabilisation of financial markets, protracted ultra-low interest rates, and changes in international affairs.

An integral part of Comercio Partners is empathy. Guided by this commitment as a brand, the firm acknowledges the facts and realities occasioned by the current pandemic.

NNAMDI NWIZU, Co-Managing Partner at Comercio Partners Limited and MD/CEO at Comercio Partners Trading

It pointed out that even though the full effect and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic is still unknown, though it appears to have peaked in certain countries, most countries are still in a constant state of flux.

The world continues to reel from the effect of the COVID 19 pandemic, which has created a new world order for businesses around the globe just as governments, brands and consumers are struggling to survive the deleterious effects of the virus.

But despite concerns in the global economy, the company’s Head Financial Advisory/Co-Managing Partner, Steve Osho, said: “We see a great future in Africa, occurrences such as the pandemic is a reminder of this assertion. We like the dream of the future better than the history of the past; our words, messages, actions, services, businesses further confirm our belief in Africa’s business ecosystem.”

On his part, Head of Trading/Co-Managing Partner, Nnamdi Nwizu, noted that, “the world as we know it changed over the last six months. Comercio Partners is ready to partner with you and lead you to the new tomorrow. Now more than ever, the current situation has made the market more dynamic. We, therefore, owe our clients, the obligation to provide innovative financial products, by investing in traditional and alternative asset classes in various geographies across currencies for our proprietary and client portfolios.  We will leverage our broad array of strategic, international partnerships to expose our proprietary and client portfolios to assets in the international financial markets.

Similarly, the Head of Investments/Co-Managing Partner, Tosin Osunkoya, pointed out that, “leveraging our depth of resources to provide stability to your growing wealth and the right partnership to the financing demands to support your strategic business growth we remain your anchor to the future.”

According to Comercio Partners, “the impact and facts are starring at us in the face as the world slides into a global recession; the coronavirus pandemic is having devastating impacts across global market and wiping out trillions in asset value. Invariably, businesses are closing, people are losing income daily, families are being painfully separated by death, and life is taking a turn to what this generation has not experienced before.

“Admittedly, these are the facts, but are they the truth? The long age question of seeing the water in the cup as being half empty or half full comes to mind at this point. Let us delve a little bit more between truth and fact.

“The animals who survived the apocalypse are not the strongest, they are the ones that are able to adapt, they are able to separate fact from truth, they are the ones who were able to unlearn, relearn, forecast and took a stand for survival.”

The firm expressed optimism that if the world survived the First World War, survived the Spanish flu and the Second World War and other ‘socio-economic pandemics,’ it would also overcome the Covid-19.

TOSIN OSUNKOYA, Co-Managing Partner at Comercio Partners Limited and MD/CEO at Comercio Partners Asset Management

“As an organisation, a collection of people, beliefs, and mindset; as a brand, we have studied, unlearned, relearned and we quite seriously, acknowledge the facts and realities occasioned by this pandemic. We acknowledge that the situation will change and reshape a lot of things, we also, quite convincingly, know that a fact is transient while the truth is constant.

“The truth is that we irreversibly believe in the sheer audacity of hope that exist particularly in Africa, hope that authenticated by the possibilities and potentials that pervade Africa’s business landscape. We hold so strongly to this truth at Comercio Partners to the extent that it has inspired us to reinforce and re-emphasize our philosophy, our processes, and to reposition our brand as one that sees a greater future ahead of Africa especially in the financial services eco-system.

“Moving forward, our words, messages, actions, services, businesses will confirm our belief in Africa’s business eco-system. In making decisions in life, you will not only face the limits of time and imperfect knowledge, but the existence of multiple, complex and often conflicting goals. You will also face inner conflict of emotion, attitudes, and beliefs.

“We have seen all of that during this pandemic with various conspiracy theories flying around from 5G to G7conspiracy but the search for the truth is ours and only ours to solve,” the firm added.

Fadolapo’s era at APCON kicks off with a major project, seeks to collaborate with NILDS on legislative branding

The newly appointed Registrar/Chief Executive of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo, who led a delegation from APCON and Brandmark Communications Limited to pay a courtesy call to the Director General of National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Prof. Abubakar O. Suleiman, has disclosed that the apex regulatory body is exploring the opportunity to partner with the institute on legislative branding.

 The visit was to review the extent of progress made on the proposed collaboration by the two federal government agencies to further deepen democracy in Nigeria and legislative branding.

Other areas of mutual interest covered in their discussion includes re-branding and Integrated Marketing Communications support for the legislative arm of the government through the institute, IMC training and education etc.

In his address, the Director General, Abubakar Suleiman stated that NILDS is a capacity building and think tank organ for legislators in Nigeria and indeed the ECOWAS sub-region and beyond.He noted that the expansion of the mandate of the Institute has made it necessary for the institute to collaborate with Civil Society Organisations and other arms of government to further deepen democracy in the country.

Dr. Fadolapo while expressing his thanks to the Director General, Prof. Suleiman, noted the importance of the legislative arm of the government and the efforts of the Federal Government in establishing a positive and distinct reputation for trustworthiness and a positive set of valuesfor all government arms and agencies. The Registrar assuredthe Director General that APCON will do its best in providing IMC support to the institute and the legislative arm of the government.

The two institutions are currently working on an MOU and framework to define the scope and areas of mutual interest.

In attendance at the meeting were Head, Abuja Zonal Operations, APCON, Mallam Ahmed Yelwa, Head of Legal and Executive Assistant to the Registrar/Chief Executive, Mr.ChukwudiEzeaba, Mr. TundeAshaolu and Mr. ChidiebereOnwumereboth of Brandmark Communications Limited for APCON and Director, Special Duties,  Dr. AdeyemiFajingbesi, Director, Democratic Studies, Dr. AdewaleAderemi, Head, Bills and Legislative Drafting, Professor Yusuf Arowosaye, Acting Director, Training and International Cooperation, Hajia Amina Bibi-Farouk and Special Assistant to the DG on Administration, AlhajiSarafadeenAlabelewe for NILDS.

Nigeria 6oth anniversary logo unveiled

Ahead of Nigeria’s 60th anniversary on October 1, President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday unveiled the logo and theme for the country’s Diamond Jubilee celebration.

President Buhari who disclosed that the word, “TOGETHER,” is the single-minded proposition around which the entire anniversary celebration would revolve, also unveiled the Diamond Jubilee anniversary logo during the Federal Executive Council Meeting (FEC) held at the Council Chambers, Aso Villa on Wednesday, September 16, 2020.

He said: “Celebrating sixty years of independence really calls for pomp and pageantry, but the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced all nations in the world to think and act differently, has also foisted on us the imperative of a low-keyed celebration.

​“Operating within the limitations placed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we created an internet challenge for Nigerians to make a choice from a set of four pre-selected logos that would appropriately define the theme. Of these four options, Nigerians from all walks of life participated in making a choice and I am happy to let you know that the logo I would be unveiling is a product of choice from the Nigerian people.”

President Buhari added that, “I am informed that the selected option depicts our togetherness, a country of over 200 million people whose natural talent, grit and passion glitter like the precious DIAMOND we are. This, to me, is a special appreciation to our most precious asset – our people. Everywhere you go, Nigerians are sparkling like diamonds in the pack, whether in Academia, Business, Innovation, Music, Movie, Entertainment, Fashion and culture.

​“Furthermore, I am also made aware that the neatly encrusted Diamond on the Nigerian Map symbolizes our age of treasure, the worth of the Nigerian people with our sparkle to the admiration of the world. In the same vein, the pear green and dark green colours should respectively remind us of our warmth, welcoming spirit and love as well as the abundant wealth inherent in our human capital and the richness of our land. All these properties make us unarguably the most prosperous black nation in the world and Africa’s largest economy.

​“It is, therefore, with a deep feeling of national pride that I hereby announce to you, that TOGETHER shall be the theme of our Nation’s Sixtieth Anniversary Celebration. Our founding fathers, In spite of the differences in faith, tribe and tongue came TOGETHER to fight for Nigeria’s independence. This shall be a befitting tribute to the struggles of our heroes past.”

The selected logo which was one of the 15 options developed pro bono for the Federal Government by a consortium of marketing communications and productions companies comprising Chain Reactions Nigeria, a leading Public Relations and Integrated Communications Consulting firm, The Temple Management Company, a talent and event management agency, and TBWA Africa, one of Africa’s leading advertising agencies.

The anniversary identity was crafted around imagery of a giant figure 60 superimposed on the Nigerian map with the figure zero comprising several glittering crystals into a giant sparkling diamond. The logo symbolises Nigeria’s treasured age, worth of our people and our land, together; and how we sparkle together, to the admiration of the world.

Giving the creative rationale behind the logo, the Lead Consultant for the consortium and Managing Director, Chain Reactions Nigeria, Israel Jaiye Opayemi, said diamond is from the root word, “Adamas” which means invincible or unconquerable and enduring.

“These are the dominant traits of the Nigerian Spirit. We are invincible, unconquerable and enduring. The imagery of the diamond is in celebration of the resilience our people are known for. Diamonds are formed under pressures. It is a metaphor for how the Nigerian Spirit comes forth brilliantly under pressure,” he said.

Opayemi further explained that the logo is a celebration of the over 200 million Nigerian people whose natural talents, grit and passion glitter like the precious diamond that we are.

He said, “This is a special nod to our most precious asset, our people. It is etched in our DNA. Everywhere you go, Nigerians sparkle like diamonds in the pack; we are colourful people.”

Nigeria became independent from Britain on October 1, 1960. The 60th-anniversary celebration is an 11-month event featuring several commemorative activities.

Reshaping realities: Africa’s post-pandemic recovery is likely to be prolonged and uneven, but could also be transformative

  • Risk-reward scores across African continent nosedive

Specialist risk consultancy Control Risks  and independent global advisory NKC African Economics, the Africa-focused subsidiary of Oxford Economics, have launched the fifth edition of the Africa Risk-Reward Index.

The 2020 Africa Risk-Reward Index and graphics can be downloaded here: https://bit.ly/3hwa13P

The index offers a comparative snapshot of market opportunities and risks across the continent. It provides a grounded, longer-term outlook of key trends shaping the investment landscape in major African economies, which should inform the strategies of organisations looking to invest in or grow their business in Africa.

Investors seeking to minimise risks and maximise rewards are cautioned not to focus on headlines, but rather on specific country, sector and project contexts.

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly eroded the overall improvement in risk-reward scores seen across the African continent in recent years, but this should not deter investors. Africa’s recovery may be prolonged and uneven, but it could also be transformative.

The pandemic’s huge economic cost has triggered a universal drop in our reward scores, but the impact on risk scores has been more varied. Ethiopia has seen the largest ratings drops as COVID-19-induced challenges combine with escalating ethnic tensions in the context of a delayed election.

Egypt’s risk score has remained relatively steady, but its reward score has been badly hit by the triple blow of the pandemic, low oil prices and plummeting tourism revenues. Algeria’s risk score has improved since the mass protests and landmark elections of 2019, but challenges for its oil-dependent economy have still dragged down its overall score.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis, but Africa’s recovery will be slower and more uneven than most,” warns Barnaby Fletcher, Associate Director at Control Risks. “However, this recovery will be an opportunity for governments across the continent to address structural constraints and promote new solutions. We are already seeing signs that they are doing so, and for investors this opens up some interesting opportunities.”

This 2020 edition of the Africa Risk-Reward Index examines the longer-term implications of COVID-19 on Africa. The first article looks at the longer-term impact of COVID-19 and imagines a post-pandemic landscape, while the second explores the role that African tech can play in revitalising more traditional industries.

The last article covers the growing efforts by both external and domestic actors to manipulate the public debate in Africa through influence operations and disinformation campaigns, and the risks these efforts pose to commercial companies.

Post-pandemic: The impact of COVID-19 and outlooks for Africa’s recovery

The immediate impact of COVID-19 will see Africa experience its first recession in 25 years, but more worrying is the lack of fiscal headroom available to African governments to engage in stimulus spending. For many countries, economic recovery will have to be driven by their private sectors, which were already weak and have only become weaker during the pandemic.

“The economic impact of COVID-19 will be varied but the recovery will be even more so” says Jacques Nel, Head of Africa Macro at NKC African Economics. “The optimists will hope to see a race to the top as governments undertake desperately needed reforms, while the pessimists will see a continent set back more than a decade. The reality will be somewhere in between, with each country finding a unique spot on this spectrum.”

However, there are already indications that the scale of this crisis is prompting some welcome reforms. Faced with a volatile global landscape, African governments have a pressing need to develop downstream manufacturing, regional supply chains and domestic capital markets. There are also indications that large portions of the workforce are entering the formal economy to access government financial support and cope with pandemic containment measures. Some of these trends were set in motion before its outbreak, but COVID-19 seems to have accelerated them. Investors who stay with Africa despite the current downturn will not only have an important role to play in its recovery, but will also see some exciting changes and opportunities.

The great enabler: How Africa is using new digital solutions to revitalise old industries

Investment into African tech has reached record levels in recent years. These are likely to fall in 2020, a consequence of both recent high-profile sector struggles and the impact of COVID-19 on external finance. However, any such decline should be viewed as an opportunity to reset expectations and approaches, not as an indication that the affected sectors are becoming less attractive.

COVID-19 has served to emphasise the need for tech and digital solutions across the continent. It has sparked the development of healthcare apps to help fight the pandemic, e-commerce platforms to facilitate life under lockdown, and new payment and microinsurance systems.

Digital and tech is set to play a far greater role in post-pandemic Africa than it ever did before. The wave of informal workers and companies entering the formal economy will need access to basic financial and legal services, which are likely to be provided through online or mobile platforms. Digital solutions may also help facilitate the growing push to build regional supply chains.

Hostile narratives: Reputation and African geopolitics in the age of influence operations

Africa has always struggled to set its own narrative and get past generalisations that cast the entire continent as beyond redemption or the next economic powerhouse. This struggle is becoming more acute as internal and external actors actively push false narratives through influence operations and disinformation campaigns.

President Muhammadu Buhari

Foreign powers engaged in such tactics are motivated the geopolitical competition over Africa, which has steadily intensified over the past decade. African governments are also building their own capacity to mount such campaigns.

Investors should not assume that such activities impact only governments. Foreign investment is frequently the subject of political debate in African countries, and when that debate is distorted by external actors, individual companies face significant reputational risks.

Not only that but disinformation campaigns have been used by militant groups for recruitment and to cause peaceful protests to escalate into violence, posing security threats to commercial operations.

The risk posed by influence operations in Africa should not be overstated, though the trend is growing as social media is adopted more widely across the continent. Just as grasping the political and business landscape can help investors avoid pitfalls and maximise their chances of success, understanding the information landscape – what the narrative is and who is seeking to influence it – will become increasingly important.

Methodology

The Africa Risk-Reward Index is defined by the combination of risk and reward scores, integrating economic and political risk analysis by Control Risks and NKC African Economics, the Africa-focused subsidiary of Oxford Economics.

Risk scores from each country originate from the Economic and Political Risk Evaluator (EPRE), while the reward scores incorporate medium-term economic growth forecasts, economic size, economic structure and demographics.

African Leaders for Nutrition urges continent leaders to embed nutrition within COVID-19 response and recovery plan

The African Leaders for Nutrition  (ALN) have unveiled a position paper calling upon African Heads of State and Governments to ensure that financing for nutrition is included in their country’s COVID-19 response and recovery plans. The position paper, titled “Embedding Nutrition within the COVID-19 Response and Recovery,” was sent to African member states by His Majesty King Letsie III of the Kingdom of Lesotho, an ALN “Nutrition Champion”.

Embedding Nutrition within the COVID-19 Response and Recovery recommends that countries maintain and increase the level of funding allocated to nutrition to safeguard previous efforts to address malnutrition, and ensure there are no gaps within their multi-year nutrition programmes in immediate, medium-term and post-pandemic recovery COVID-19 responses.

The paper emphasizes the role of high-level political leadership, in particular Heads of State and Ministers of Finance, as Nutrition Champions. The Champions aim to ensure that actions and economic stimulus packages developed to combat the pandemic include plans to secure healthy and nutritious foods are made available and affordable to all.

The pandemic has created major global health and economic shocks, with unprecedented impacts on people’s health, nutrition and livelihoods. As a result, Africa is experiencing negative economic growth, primarily as a result of the sharp decline in productivity, jobs and revenues. At the same time, recent data shows that Africa has the highest prevalence of malnutrition and may soon overtake Asia as the region with the fastest-growing number of hungry and undernourished people [1]. Nutrition cannot be left behind in the COVID-19 response in Africa.

“As COVID-19 cases rise in Africa, the impact on nutrition and food systems cannot be denied. The threat of this new virus requires us to adopt new ways of looking and overcoming malnutrition,” said former President of Ghana John Kufuor, an ALN founding member and Nutrition Champion.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a chance for Africa’s leaders to reshape and spearhead high-level sensitization, advocacy and resource mobilization efforts towards securing increased investments in nutrition.

Embedding Nutrition within the COVID-19 Response and Recovery forms part of the African Development Bank’s COVID-19 Response Facility to deploy financial and technical measures to cushion African economies and livelihoods against the health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic.

The African Leaders for Nutrition Secretariat is hosted by the Bank to foster opportunities for high-level engagement to drive policy changes in Africa.

Insurance firm seeks to guide SMEs on risk management, cyber security in virtual workshop

FBN Insurance Brokers, a subsidiary of Nigeria’s leading financial services group, FBN Holdings Plc, has announced a webinar to sensitise SMEs on risk management and cyber security. Spearheading discussions at the webinar are seasoned experts on insurance brokerage, cyber security and risk management.

The event is themed Risk Management and Business Continuity amidst COVID19 and scheduled for 10:00am on Thursday, 17 September, 2020. 

Perspective participate are advice to log on in to the company’s website to register to attend.

 Olumide Ibidapo, MD/CEO FBN Insurance Brokers will speak on Risk Management; Harrison Nnaji, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), FirstBank will drive conversation on Cyber security and Jamie Eaton, Regional Director, Financial Lines and Client Management, Howden One Insurance Brokers will focus on Cyber Insurance as a risk transfer option for cyber risks.

Speaking on the event, Olumide Ibidapo, MD/CEO FBN Insurance Brokers said; “SMEs remain the engine of growth of any economy, especially developing ones like ours and we recognise the indelible roles they play at creating jobs and meeting the economic and social needs of individuals.

We are excited with this webinar and implore every business owner to participate, as they will be exposed to very vital information to keep their business afloat and overcome various risks as well as operational challenges, including cyber security threats that have been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Nitro 121 boss, Omoyele tips to take SMEs through brand marketing post COVID-19 at UBA Series

Lampe Omoyele, MD Nitro 121

The managing director of Nitro 121, Lampe Omoyele today by 2pm will be on a driving seat to take small and medium enterprises and business owners through brand positioning and marketing for business post COVID-19 era at the UBA Business series.

The series is a quarterly UBA initiative designed to support the growth of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and equip them with the necessary tools to strengthen and sustain their businesses.

The third topic is tagged ‘Brand Positioning and Marketing for Businesses Post COVID 19’, and it will hold on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 via Microsoft Teams.

According to the Bank, “UBA will be hosting the Managing Director, Nitro 121, Lampe Omoyele, a brand management professional, who will give business leaders and upcoming entrepreneurs tips on the best ways to ensure their businesses survive especially in the wake of the pandemic.

Omoyele who is also the Founding Partner, The Lucent Consulting Company, is a widely respected business leader and mentor in the marketing and advertising industry of sub-Saharan Africa.

The UBA Business Series which is held quarterly, is an MSME Workshop and a capacity building initiative where leading business leaders share insights on best practices for running successful businesses in the face of huge economic challenges.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic presented a huge challenge to many entrepreneurs and to help mitigate potential losses, UBA through its business series has been providing businesses with essential tips that would help re-evaluate their models and strategies as they wade through these uncertain times.

The event which is open to all participants will be held virtually starting at 2pm WAT today and interested participants can register here, or via http://bit.ly/UBABusinessSeriesReg.

UBA’s Group Head, Consumer and Retail Banking, Jude Anele, who spoke ahead of the workshop, said with his vast experience in brand management, Omoyele will point small business owners in the direction needed to galvanise their brands and position it in such a way as to attract the right customers.

Anele pointed out UBA’s unending commitment and deep passion to help small businesses, which according to him, remains the engine of any developing economy. “We are well aware that small businesses are the backbone of the economy in every country. In many climes, businesses with fewer than 100 employees account for 98.2% of all businesses. This no doubt aptly captures the importance of SMEs to a thriving economy which is why UBA is committed to seeing them flourish.”

UBA’s Group Head, Marketing and Customer Experience, Michelle Nwoga, said the bank’s passion is hinged on ensuring that customers and entrepreneurs run businesses that can stand the test of time with requisite knowledge and experience required to take their businesses to the next level.

She explained that the seminar is open to all business owners and leaders across Nigeria, adding that intending participants can register quickly to be part of the invaluable experience.

TYLgames collaborates with 9mobile, MTN to offer unique lottery experience

L-R: Product Manager, 9Mobile, Mr Olaniyi Adefabi; Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State Lotteries Board, Mr Bashir Are; CEO, Humber International Lottery (promoters of TYL Games), Mr Andrew Humber-Osofisan; and Assistant Director, Lagos Zonal Office, National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Mrs Joy Okum, during the soft launch of TYL Games in Lagos recently

A new gaming platform named TYLgames has partnered with two telecommunication giants, MTN and 9monile to offer unique gaming proposition in the Nigeria’s lottery industry. TYLgames has turned the focus away from gaming, and now placing it in gamers’  hands the power to transform lives with each game they play hence the acronym “TYL”.

TYLgames, a gaming (Lottery) platform that is designed to positively touch gamers lives one game at a time. The focus is on gamers rather than on the gaming platform; placing in their hands the power to transform their lives with each game they play hence the acronym “TYL”.

TYL is an Instant Play, Instant Win, Instant Cashout game played on SMS, USSD, and Mobile Web platforms with the short code 33088. There are currently two games available to choose from, an instant numbers game tagged “SHOKI” and “SHAFFLE” which is a daily raffle game. With N100 game cost, a player can win up to N100,000 instantly and up to N1,000,000 in 24 hours by dialing or texting to 33088 or *33088# for USSD respectively or log on to  company’s website.  

TYL brings financial relief to the masses by providing the avenue to win instant cash to cover day—to-day living costs. With just N100, a player can win and cash out a minimum of N1,000 instantly, several times a day. The best part of it is that a player can do this privately and confidentially, 24 hours of the day.

To deliver a dynamic and a superior gaming experience, different from other available gaming or betting platforms in a transparent manner to the masses, Humber Lottery, promoter of TYLgames has collaborated with Telecommunication giants 9Mobile and MTN to touch as many lives, reinforce the brand’s authenticity, and to deliver its promises.

Founder and CEO of Humber Lottery, Mr. Andrew Humber-Osofisan gave his statements as TYLgames launched. “TYLgames is committed to ensuring that people play responsibly and that they are rewarded accordingly”, he said. He also stated that “TYLgames is much more than a gaming platform. It’s a way to distribute wealth, mitigate individuals’ daily cash-flow issues, and address some of the societal issues plaguing the masses. We do not claim to make people overnight millionaires, but we guarantee every player a chance to be fairly rewarded daily. TYLgames is that window of opportunity which they can seize to get the reward they deserve”.

He further spoke on the COVID 19 pandemic and why TYLgames is launching at this time. “The move to launch TYLgames at this time is strategic…”, he said; “…as fear, hopelessness, and depression from the pandemic overwhelms, I feel for the people and believe that TYLgames is a spark to rekindle hope for people to get back up and win again!” he added.

Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State Lotteries Board, Mr Bashir Are; CEO, Humber International Lottery (promoters of TYL Games), Mr Andrew Humber-Osofisan; and Assistant Director during the soft launch of TYL Games in Lagos recently

He talked about the “Winning Code”, 33088. “We call 33088 the winning code because, with it, you can positively change a life. 33088 is like medicine you take to relieve financial/money issues. As paracetamol can relieve headache, body pain or fever so is dialing 33088 can relieve hunger, brokenness, poverty, and all cash-flow symptoms. Just dial the code 33088 for relief”, he said.

Lauding the company, the Acting Director of Marketing 9mobile Mr. Olayiwola Onafowokan said, “TYLgames will address a problem plaguing the Nigerian gaming industry.”

He also stated that “TYLgames is a gaming platform that’s incredibly unique and innovative. It is not just providing opportunities but also entertainment to people to be rewarded for their participation in a fair and transparent manner.”

Corporate organisations may not have fought a ‘good’ covid fight

President Muhammadu Buhari

On May 7 and 8, 2013 at the Responsible Business Summit in London, the editor of HRZone, Jamie Lawrence said, “Businesses cannot be successful when the society around them fails.” This cannot be farther than the truth.

The recent pandemic has given credence to this assertion from Lawrence, a prominent media and human resources professional in the United Kingdom. It is apparent that without corporate organisations and non-governmental organisations, Nigeria state would have lost the fight against COVID-19.

Dissimilar to other countries that have had a marshal plan to curtail the spread of the virus, the federal government of Nigeria at the initial outbreak of the virus in the country, looked helpless and to a large extent hapless and ill-prepared in terms of fund and action to confront the pandemic headlong.

It is worth the note that it was actually the first time in my 15 years of reporting brands and marketing as well as covering over a thousand corporate social responsibility projects in the country that every business from multinationals, large local corporates, small and medium scale enterprises and non-governmental organisations would be in agreement to pursue a course. 

There was no competition whatsoever. Every single organisation believes that it was a fight worth supporting hence the little fatal impact recorded in the country so far. This is against the Bill and Melinda Gate prediction that corpses may litter the streets of Africa if advanced nations would not help the continent.

Permit me to single out some organisations, in no particular other, to thank for the N36.3 billion raise so far in response to combat the dreaded virus. Though, federal government has already spent 84 percent of the N36.3 billion since April to July making it a whooping N30.5 billion.

It is not clear what the government would do with the 16percent left in its coffers . From the analysis of the expenditure by the Accountant General of the Federation did not actually captured what they spend on palliative, it is pleasing to see a bit of accountability on the part of the government this time.

Businesses that donated include UBA Plc, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Multichoice Nigeria, Airtel, Glo, FirstBank Nigeria, Felix King Foundation, Access Bank, GTBank, Union Bank, Nigerian Breweries, Guinness Nigeria, UAC Restaurants, Heritage Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc and Nestle Nigeria.

There are quite a number but let me stop here for the lack of space. It is a good gesture that corporate Nigeria took a queue behind the government; however none of this company prepared for the virus despite that fact that these organisations knew Coronavirus was ravaging China.

It was shocked to find out that no organisation in the country made any budgetary allocation in its corporate social investment portfolio in preparedness for COVID-19 despite it ravaging effect in China. If government did not do it, which was not a surprise, corporate bodies did not expect to miss that.

Therefore, when Coronavirus eventually got into the country on February 27, through an Italian index case, panic button was press and every organisation began to scamper and made indiscriminate donations to government and its agencies.

Folake Ani-Mumuney, President of Advertisers Association of NIgeria (ADVAN)

Private sector organisations are notable for proper planning and adequate arrangement but the COVID-19 exposed everything all. Neither of private sector nor public sector made plans and adequate arrangement to curtail the spread of the virus hence everybody was scuttled to impress the government rather than impacting their key stakeholders- consumers and/or customers.

From manufacturing to financial sector organisations, none of them made adequate preparation to ameliorate the impact of COVID-19 on the customers and consumers. All attention was on donation to the government. This left a void and the consumers suffered untold hardship.

There was no better time or period to give back to the customers and consumers than the COVID-19 particularly when the government could not provide for the citizens. Imagine the social capital a bank will gain by crediting its customers’ accounts through Bank Verification Number identification with just N5000 at mid-night.

First off, if the bank has two million active customers and it gives N5000 each that would actually amount to N10 million. This amount is even far less to that of a bank that donated N1 billion to the federal government.

The social capital that would be generated from the ‘good deed’ for the bank would probably reposition the bank hence grow it equity as well as increased number of customers.

It shows that most CSR department in most organisations are not thinking right.

Apart from helping the bank to grow and repositioning it as the real customer-centric organisation, the deed would also substitute the organisation’s CSR project for the year without affecting its image.

But now, most organisations have suspended every CSR activities scheduled to happen this year because of the Covid-19 donation. According to senior CSR personnel in one of the top banks, who pleaded anonymity, “We have cancelled every CSR project this year because all the budget and more was donated to the government.”

The mad dash in who donate the biggest fund was unnecessary. It is like robbing Peter to pay Paul. These organisations pay taxes and more. Why didn’t we see a similar trend in other part of the world? Why was it happening only in Nigeria?

Perhaps, we may have learned a few things or we may not have learned anything, we are not praying for another pandemic but we live in the world that disaster occur almost every time, organisations must plan and not just plan but adequate planning to execute project that really touch the people.

Just like Mr. Lawrence said, “When we inspire people by explaining why the destination is important, they develop the motivation to see the race through.”

The piece is written by Goddie Dgreat Ofose and he can be reached through 08099400139

FG spends 84% of N36.3billion corporates’ COVID-19 response donations

Finally, the Federal Government has come out with details spending of corporate organisations’ donations to fight Coronavirus pandemic in the country with the whooping N30.5 billion spent so far out of N36.3 billion realised.

According the FG N30.5 billion spent between April and July to boost the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

Giving the detail account of the expenditure, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris, disclosed this in response to the Freedom of Information request dated 10 August 2020, sent to the government by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project and Connected Development.

It will be recalled that at the outbreak of the virus in Nigeria in March, top corporate organisations across all sectors had donated billions of naira to the government at all level to aid fight against COVID-19.

Some of the notable corporate figures that made mouthwatering donations are Multichoice, UBA, Access Bank, Felix King Foundation, GTBank, First Bank, Union Bank, Nestle Nigeria, and Nigerian Breweries.

Others include, Ecobank, First City Monument Bank, Fidelity Bank,  Stanbic IBTC Bank, Dangote Group, Lafarge, Unilever Nigeria and Zenith Bank plc to mention but a few.

 While giving the breakdown, the AGF said the FG received a total of N36.3billion in COVID-19 fund donations and that the N30.5billion spent, represented 84 per cent of the total amount.

The AGF also noted that some of the funds came from the public funds and donations from Banks, Nigerians, and non-governmental organisations, among others.

“We spent N30, 540,563,571.09, representing 84percent of the N36.3 billion public funds and donations received to respond to COVID-19 between 1st April 2020 and 31st July 2020, leaving the balance of N5.9 billion,” he said.

However, in their response, SERAP and CODE urged the SGF to respond to other information highlighted in the FoI letter, which includes information on projects which the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 purportedly spent N22bn, and those that benefitted from them.

In the letter to Idris, dated September 4, and jointly signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare and CODE Chief Executive, Hamzat Lawal, the NGOs noted that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 spent N22 billion, while 36 states spent N7 billion to support their COVID-19 initiatives.

“We also note that the Nigerian Air Force spent N877 million for the deployment of assets in support of COVID-19 operations; while the Nigeria Police spent N500 million on personal protective equipment. N17, 865.09 was paid as bank charges.

“However, we also note that the documents sent to us do not contain other significant details as indicated in our FoI request dated 10 August 2020, including details and breakdown of the number of Nigerians who directly or indirectly have benefited from the spending, and details on plans to spend the balance of N5.9 billion in the COVID-19 Eradication Support Accounts.

“It is refreshing to note that 115 ordinary Nigerians donated between N1 and N100 to support the authorities’ efforts to fight COVID-19, despite the fact that it is the country’s poorest and most disadvantaged sectors of the population that continue to bear the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a huge lesson for public officials and politicians about the idea of public service to one’s country.

“It also sends a powerful message about the need for politicians to see public office as an opportunity to serve and give something back to the country, and not a place to mismanage, steal or divert the people’s commonwealth into private pockets for personal benefits.

“We welcome your demonstrated commitment to transparency and accountability, and hope other public officials and institutions would emulate and learn from the good example you have shown by honouring and respecting FOI Act as a matter of routine and practice.”

“We would therefore be grateful to receive more specific details and additional information on the spending of N34.4bn between April and July, and details on plans to spend the balance of N5.9 billion in the COVID-19 Eradication Support Accounts.

“Of the N36.3bn public funds and donations received, N1.4bn came from Nigerians and companies through accounts at the First Bank; Access Bank; GTB, Zenith, and UBA, while N536m donations were made through the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“The N536 donations comprise of N89m and N279m from the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively.

“In addition, China General Chambers of Commerce in Nigeria donated N48m; the Petroleum Equalization Management Board gave N50m while the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board donated N70m.”

SERAP and CODE further stated in the letter that they await the additional information, which is expected to be provided within seven days on receipt of the letter.

“We would be grateful if the requested details and additional information are provided to us within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP and CODE shall take all appropriate legal actions under the Freedom of Information Act and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to compel you to comply with our request,” the letter stated.

It may be recalled that in March, SERAP gave the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the Federal Ministry of Health a week to publish the weekly details of funds and other resources deployed so far in the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria.

In two separate Freedom of Information requests sent to the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, and Director-General of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, SERAP asked the Federal Government to disclose information on the exact number of tests carried out on high-ranking public officials and politicians, statistics of people currently in self-isolation as well as the number of tests done on the generality of Nigerians.

The request was later followed by a lawsuit filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, over failure to explain how the funds received were spent by the two government parastatals.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/616/2020, the Lagos-based rights group sought “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus to direct and compel Ehanire and the NCDC to publish details of the funds received from federal, state governments, private sector and details of how the funds have been spent.”

SERAP also sought an order of mandamus to direct and compel the Minister of Health and the NCDC to publish details of the funds and resources from federal and state governments as well as the private sector.

Mandamus is a judicial remedy in the form of an order from a court to any government, subordinate court, corporation, or public authority, to do some specific act which that body is obliged under law to do, and which is in the nature of public duty, and in certain cases one of statutory duty.

Coca-Cola’s ‘Catalyst for Change’ berths at Magboro, empowers 1000 women

In what could be described as a feast of empowerment, Coca-Cola Foundation through its corporate social responsibility programme, Catalyst for Change, empowered one thousand women in an Ogun State suburb, Magboro Makogi community.

In over 4 weeks, the foundation trained these women on relevant skills with more than 200 empowered to start their own businesses.

It is not news that in Nigeria, there are twice as many women below the poverty line than men, and with the outbreak of COVID-19, it became even more pertinent to provide women with opportunities to become financially independent.

A Nigerian based NGO, Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation, recognised this gap and sought to fill it. The Foundation launched a capacity building programme tagged, “Catalyst for Change”, to help equip 5000 women with relevant vocational skills and business training across five locations in Lagos State.

 With funding from The Coca-Cola Foundation, the programme has seen a total of 1,048 trained in relevant skills with over 200 of them receiving kits to kickstart their own businesses.

In addition to providing vocational skills training, the women of the Magboro Makogi community were also schooled on how to access grants and loans for their businesses by The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).

Coca-Cola Foundation empowered 1000 women in Magboro community

Over the next few months, Catalyst for Change will visit the Sangotedo, Iwaya, Oworonshoki, and Ogijo communities to continue this good work.

By the end of this community-wide outreach, the Foundation will have empowered 5,000 women with relevant skills while providing 1,000 of them with Start-up Kits to begin their own businesses.

Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation is a non-profit established in 2017, with a vision to empower women and girls across the rural demographic. The funding of the Catalyst for Change programme by The Coca-Cola Foundation will help Coca-Cola achieve its 5by20 initiative to empower 5 million women economically by the end of 2020.

OOH practitioner calls on APC to reconcile N500m Buhari/Osinbajo billboard campaign

The managing director/chief executive officer of Spread Out Media, Mr. Churchill Nwagwu, on social media, Twitter, called out the Lagos State All Progressive Congress leadership as well as Lagos State government to fulfill its promise by paying outdoor agencies over N500 million Buhari/Osinbajo campaign in 2015.

Nwagwu said, “I am calling on APC reconciliation committee to reconcile the Buhari/Osinbajo billboard campaign account of 2015 and pay off Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria members their outstanding bills.”

When our reporter called to inquire why the contract has not been honoured, Nwagwu said that “they have not agreed to pay anything. They keep passing the bug. Akinwunmi Ambode refused to pay because the contract was not issued by him.”

According to him, in all fairness, Babatunde Fashola has continued to wonder why his successors have refused to pay despite OAAN ability to present all documentations.

A member who pleaded anonymity said he is being owed N4.5million.  “Some members are being owed N8million and even more. Business is bad and we calling on government and the party to honour a simple gentleman agreement,” he said.

These companies ensured that President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode billboards took over 95% of the available billboards in Lagos have not been paid up to 5% of their payments for the job.

The outdoor advertisers lamented that they were invited by the former Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) managing director, George Noah during the election campaigns to do the jobs but only one or two who insisted on being paid were paid partially, with more than 70 companies remaining in limbo.

According to findings, the contract was facilitated by Mr. George Noah, the then managing director of Lagos Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) and Fashola as the governor of Lagos State.  Successive MDs of LASAA have continued to refuse to pay this outstanding fee that is estimated to be N500 million.

“We won’t take briefs from corporate until they pay N.5m pitch fee’

Tade Adekunle, EXMAN President

The members of Experiential Marketers’ Association of Nigeria (EXMAN) have maintained a hard stance over the issue of pitch free and said; members would no longer take briefs from organisations that refuse to pay them N.5 million as pitch fee.

 According to the association, this N.5million pitch fee should be paid to agencies that were unsuccessful at the pitch exercise. The position was taken at the 2020 Experiential Marketing Conference tagged innovation and collaboration in Lagos.

The association at its annual general meeting in a resolution said, rejection fee be paid to its members after attending a pitch, considering the level of research, creativity and funding that goes into the ideas presented to clients.

Some members believed that some organisations used some of the ideas presented at a pitch without giving them credit or paying for it.

EXMAN President, Tade Adekunle said “When you invite 17 or 18 agencies to come and pitch for a business they will only take one or two agencies and thereafter you will start seeing some of the ideas that some of the rejected agencies have given. Also, when agencies go for pitch they incur cost on research, creatives and others.

“So, the association has decided that clients can ask for the profile of the various agencies, and then they can say this agency is good enough to work for us instead of calling 20 agencies to come and pitch.”

Adekunle stated further that the association has come up with the resolution that “If you are inviting any EXMAN member to come and pitch be ready to pay rejection fee of N500, 000 for those not picked”

He explained further that if organisations write back that they can’t pay rejection fee, no EXMAN member would partake in such pitch, stating that “If corporate organisations champion corporate governance, then it will be unethical to ask agencies to wave rejection fee.”

He added that member must have informed the association secretariat that they are invited for a pitch and EXMAN would write the client who must have agreed to pay the fee before embarking in the pitch process.

However, he stated that members cannot say they don’t want the rejection fee from client, if such happens they would have to face disciplinary committee.  “For our members, the resolution taken here today, you can’t wave that right and say I would not collect rejection fee. The association is saying you cannot wave that right. If you don’t collect it you will face the disciplinary committee of EXMAN,” he revealed.

PR Report revealed Nigeria agencies are struggling

Jaiye Israel Opayemi, PRCAN President

Nigerian PR Report funded by Black House Media (BHM), has revealed in its fourth edition of its annual PR report that over 50% of PR agencies in Nigeria are reporting revenues of less than N5 million.

The Nigeria’s first-ever Public Relations annual report,  which is dedicated exclusively to chronicling data on trends, perceptions, challenges and prospects within the dynamic industry was unveiled in Lagos recently.

Since its debut five years ago, the PR Report has lived to its billing as the most authoritative voice in PR measurement and evaluation in Nigeria and has supported practitioners in navigating their careers and the PR space in general.

Replete with verified facts and statistics on the Public Relations industry, practitioners have deployed the resources and recommendations contained in these reports year on year to build better careers and business models, designed to enhance and deliver value to all stakeholders. And since 2015, there have been remarkable transformations in the PR field as evidenced findings in this year’s report.

A cursory look at some of the findings from the report shows that the insights presented are prognostic at the very least, creating a framework for practitioners to successfully manoeuvre these momentous times brought about by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Adun Okupe, Lead Researcher, Compass Insights, “The Nigeria PR Report does not come at a better time than this. The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the world and now more than ever, PR agencies are having to prove their worth to their clients leaving consultancies with unanswered questions as to how to make sure that their businesses are providing the right services and the 2020 Nigeria PR Report helps to shape thoughts in this direction.”

Speaking on Nigeria PR Report 2020, the Founder and CEO of BHM, Ayeni Adekunle captured the volatile nature of the year for the PR industry.

“When we planned for the 2020 Nigeria PR Report, we had no idea of how the year would turn out. These are very unique and interesting times as our choice to have the report focus on sustainable growth has now come into focus with the adverse effects of Coronavirus.’’

“The importance of the report to the Public Relations industry in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. By modeling well-founded world reports such as the Holmes Report, World Development Report, Relevance Report, the Nigerian PR Report team continues to hope to create a standard global report that can easily be used for referencing details, instances and facts about the industry,” he said.

Insights from the report highlight the pedigree of some of the PR agencies in Nigeria. To be sure, 12% of Nigerian PR agencies have been in operation for five years, 19% have been in operations for more than 5 years and less than 10, whilst only 9% have been in operation for over 20 years.

In addressing the improvement made to counter gender imbalance and the need for improvement on the same, the report shows that the industry remains male-dominated with a record of 74 percent while women constitute just 26 percent of the industry. Younger agencies under 5 years old seem to have a higher proportion of men with women comprising only 21 percent of women PR professionals working in these agencies. Older agencies that have been practicing for 11 to 20 years parade 44percent of women professionals as their staff.

Most of the PR agencies are within the SME band, with the 64% of respondents qualifying by the number of employees as micro-enterprises based on the number of employees as defined by The Small and Medium Enterprises Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN). 56 per cent of PR agencies in Nigeria are reporting revenues of less than N5 million (five million naira). Together with the new entrants into the industry corroborating this finding, it is reported that 64 per cent of the new agencies have fewer than ten employees, 14percent are small enterprises with 11- 20 employees and 22 per cent with more than 21 employees.

LASAA MD, Docemo seeks to collaborate with industry bodies, cautions ADVAN against debts

 The newly appointed Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency, LASAA, Prince Adedamola Docemo, has extended hand of followership to industry practitioners, particularly those in out-of-home industry, a clear departure from previous occupants of the office.

Prince Docemo, who delivered a good will address at the recently concluded annual general meeting of Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria, OAAN in Lagos, said “Under my leadership, LASAA will explore all available benefits of this new virtual arrangement as a catalyst to accelerate the partnership between LASAA and OAAN and make it better.”

“One of such high point is the joint OAAN/LASAA Committee,” he said.

According to the LASAA boss, “All players in the value chain of the outdoor advertising business must live up to their commitments and responsibilities. This is because to whom much is given, much is expected,” he added.

Speaking on debt settlement, Prince Docemo stated that, this industry can only grow when debts are settled promptly rather than allow it becomes protracted. “I want to use this opportunity to appeal specially to the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) and the Media Buyers I.e. Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria to correct some of the anomalies associated with debt settlements.”

“This way, according to him, outdoor advertising practitioners can meet their several obligations to LASAA and other statutory bodies. A situation where debts are protracted and forcefully discounted after exposures are executed must stop as a model and practice for this industry to flourish, he cautioned.

On the COVID-19 pandemic, Docemo said, “You will agree with me that this pandemic has brought upon on us a “new normal”, which has altered our ways of living as well as mode of doing business. But as humans, we will surely navigate ourselves through this uncharted territories and surmount this many challenges.

LASAA Lgogo

Few years back , many of us would not have imagined that  meetings and especially Annual General Meetings of this status  will be conducted  virtually.

“Let me restate that as practitioners we must all brace up to adopt these new norms in our business practice,” he said.

Advertising body commends FG appointment of Fadolapo as APCON CEO

The Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) has commended the Federal Government on appointing, Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo as Registrar /CEO of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON). Dr. Fadolapo was part of the nine Chief Executive Officers appointed recently by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammad Buhari.

The President of the Association, Mr. Steve Babaeko in a statement described the appointment as the right move in the right direction based on Dr. Fadolapo’s experience and background as the Executive Director of the Association and as a member of the Immediate Past Governing Council of APCON.

The AAAN President particularly commended President Muhammad Buhari on this laudable appointment, saying “the appointment of Dr. Fadolapo could not have come at a more appropriate time as efforts are being made to reconstitute the APCON Council as well as reposition the Advertising Industry. As an experienced and competent advertising practitionerwith over two decades in the industry, we have utmost confidence that under his leadership, APCON will strive to much greater heights and achievements.”

The appointment, according to the Vice President/Chairman, Government Relations Committee of the Association, Mr. Jenkins Alumona, showed that the Federal Government is attentive to the needs of the industry and willing to collaborate with practitioners on making meaningful impact in the industry.

Dr. Fadolapo’s appointment has elicited support from all sectors of the Advertising industry based on his antecedents and wealth of experience.

A graduate of Economics from Ogun State University (now Olabisi Onabanjo University), Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo, holds three master’s degrees, and a PhD in Marketing Communications. He is a registered Advertising Practitioner, a Chartered Accountant, and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).

Dr. Fadolapo before his appointment was the Executive Director/CEO of Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN). He has served the Association and APCON in various capacities, including:

Future Brand Idol holds second edition, gives scholarship to student creative

The Second edition of Future Brand Idol 2020 which was held on 5th September, 2020, recorded yet another milestone giving out another scholarship in partnership with 02 academy, Lagos.

The contest, which sought to discover and breed young creative talents in Nigerian Tertiary institutions, had six finalists pitch for the ultimate prize out of several entries from different institutions across the country.

At the final pitch, Oni Eniola Priscillia of University of Lagos, emerged the second Future Brand Idol, Emmanuel Dairo from

Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ) came second while Faithful David from Nigerian Institute of Journalism emerged third.

In his speech, the team lead Abdullahi Ahmed applauded the stakeholders in the integrated marketing communication industry for their support in the sustainability of talents in the industry in order to groom students who will grow to be future brand solution providers.

He further reported that Future Brand idol is not an annual event and series of activities has been mapped out to afford students access to practical knowledge about their courses via interaction with professionals through trainings, seminars and workshops.

Future Brand Idol

The grand juror, Olalekan Akinyele lauded the efforts of the team for their effortd, while encouraging the participants to remain focused and learn the rudiment of skill acquisition and creative solutions to enable them thrive in the industry.

The jury member include: Olalekan Akinyele, Ademola Adeshola, Funke Adekola, Otega Ogra and Ozorbemem Uche.

The finalist include: Abdulrahman Toheeb. Fountain University Oshogbo, Faithful David (NIJ), Yakubu Joan Ifeoluwa (NIJ), Pelumi Naomi Ogunade (NIJ), Emmanuel Dairo (NIJ) and Oni Eniola Priscillia University of Lagos.

Graveyard of brand extension in Nigeria

  • How Harp Lime, Maggi Machop, Indomie Relish, others fared

Goddie Ofose,

Nigerian corporate organisations particularly the fast moving consumer goods segment of the manufacturing sector, has had a fairly infamy reputation towards brand extension marketing strategy. Most products given birth to, as result of this marketing exercise usually frequently experienced hiccup on the way hence their early exit from the market.

 Brand extension or brand stretching is a marketing strategy in which a firm marketing a product with a well-developed image uses the same brand name in a different product category. The new product is called a spin-off. Organizations use this strategy to increase and leverage brand equity.

This, in Nigeria, has been a more frequent marketing activity. Prominent brands are usually the first to jump at the idea of line extension, either to consolidate on the existing equity or wade off competition. Most often than not, the resurgence in competition mostly in pricing will give rise this effect.

Besides trying to consolidate on the existing marketing segment or wading off competition, line extension can also seek to recreate new market environment for the brand. For instance, a telecommunication company can branch out to financial segment with the same operating name such as MTN Bank, Airtel Bank and even Glo Bank or GTBank Telecom, Access Mobile aand so on.

For most brands, rather than consolidate their positions, most of them tend to lose their equity, market share and never recovered from the setback even for the mother brand.

Examples abound for brands that jumped into the murky waters of line/brand extension. Some of the brands that tried unsuccessfully to brand extend are Gulder for Gulder Max, Star Lager for Star Lite, Star Triple X, Coke for Coke Zero, Maggi for Maggi Signature- Jollof, Miya and Pottages, Maggi Machop, Pepsi for Pepsi Lite, Foreign Extra Stout for Extra Smooth, Harp Lager for Harp Lime, Classic Indomie for Relish, Pepper Soup, Heineken for Heineken Magnum and several other instances.

According to a book: Pitch: Debunking Marketing’s Strongest Myths written by a foremost brands and marketing journalist, Ikem Okuhu, he said, “A line extension can be a way to make a brand more relevant, interesting and visible. In doing so, it can create a basis for differentiation, build audience for the advertising of a tired brand and stimulate sales.

In most cases, before the line extension takes place, the mother brand should have characteristics of a formidable and dominance brand in terms of market leadership, market share, equity, acceptability and strong enough to fund the activity of the extended brand.

Organizations that have felt prey to this attractive but slippery marketing exercise are Nigerian Breweries Plc with Gulder for Gulder Max, Star Lager for Star Lite and Star Triple X, Guinness Nigeria with Extra Smooth and Harp Lime, Maggi with several variants and Maggi Machop and Indomie with Indomie Pepper Soup and Relish.

Other very unsuccessful brands that jumped into the murky waters of line extension include Coke Zero, Pepsi Lite, and Heineken Magnum.

Gulder had done well in its segment particularly when it chose to bankroll a reality tv show property, Gulder Ultimate Search, (GUS), which had been rested. Maybe, because of how the show was viewed by consumers, the brand decided to introduce Gulder Max, a stronger version of the Gulder lager beer. Consumers however could not comprehend the concept behind Max since Gulder lager was already a “Man’s” beer.

Supported with huge marketing outlays, the new innovation, as it was called enjoyed 360 marketing communications introduction but could not make beyond few months because Gulder is already a masculine larger. The MAX however died and was buried.

Heineken Magnum was caught in the same web. A hugely successful line extension in other markets, Magnum could not excel in the Nigerian market because of our drinking culture. An average Nigerian beer consumer loves ‘body count’ that is bragging over numbers of bottles consumed but Magnum did not offer them such opportunity.

the company quickly saw the arithmetic and withdrew Magnum earlier than expected from the shelves.

Indomie has been a success story in the Nigeria new market development experiment. The brand enjoyed absolute monopoly until recently. To further protect its territory, Indomie began to get involved in a unnecessary brand extension and ended competing against itself.

Pepper Soup and Relish are yet the most unsuccessful in the venture. Today, these products are lying uninspiring in the shelves. It is, however, gathered that Indomie has concluded plans to finally withdraw these products from the market in order to pave way for new introduction in coming months.

Maggi made a terrible mistake with Machop. Machop is alien to the African market and it could not fly despite several marketing campaigns. Although, the brand was a massive success in American market, its introduction in the Nigerian market was seen as a miscalculation.

The launch of Machop was a funfair as well as a drainpipe for the Maggi brand. Nestle Nigeria could have used the outlays to push other Maggi variants but decided to introduce a Machop to proved to be a drainpipe on the already shoestring budget.

Guinness Extra Smooth currently enjoying Guinness Nigeria’s marketing communications attention through the brand’s sponsorship of English Premier League has been a ‘sick’ line extension for the dark beer brand.

Guinness Nigeria introduced extra smooth to wrestle the female segment of the market from Legend extra stout that was seen to be appealing to the younger female dark beer category.

Investigations have revealed that extra smooth is yet to generate income to embark on its on marketing campaign.

Several campaigns embarked upon by the brand has been bankrolled by the Guinness Extra Stout revenue hence the new campaign to sustain conversation and generate income from the brand.

Another misstep from the Guinness Nigeria family was the introduction of Harp Lime. From the stable of popular but struggling Harp larger beer, Harp Lime was introduced. Launch in 2012, Harp Lime struggled from the get go and was discontinued in 2013.

According to a beer consumer, Taiwo Alabi, Guinness didn’t think through the gains and consequences of introducing a lime beer. Nigerian beer drinking market is very sensitive to what they consume therefore, Harp Lime was not appealing to this segment at all.

Coca-Cola premium soft drink brand, Coke is very popular because of its taste. Like the saying goes, ‘If it’s not Panadol it can never be Panadol”. Coke wanted to appeal to the elderly segment by drastic reduction of sugar or sweetener in Coke.

This, according to experts, backfired with Coke Zero. Coke Zero ended up tasting like a different brand causing consumers to query the brand line extension strategy and development. Same goes for Pepsi Lite.

Apparently, Pepsi, a major Coke competition wanted to wrestle that segment with Coke Zero by introducing Pepsi Lite. Coke and Pepsi are unique in their own ways and that is the reason both brands are sitting atop the ladder, therefore diluting the sugar or sweetener in the normal Coke or Pepsi bottle or PET would end up diluting the market equity of both brands.

Many brands have failed to learn from the frequent failure in brand/line extension hence several grocery stores are adorn with brand extension brands and products.

Experts said, “Today, 9 in every 10 new grocery products are extensions. The reason why brand extensions are so popular is obvious: when a company has saturated a market with one product, it has two options for future growth.”

“Either it expands into a new market or a set of markets or it launches a new product. If the firm chooses the latter option, it is choosing to exploit, perhaps, the most important asset owned by a business- the brand,” Darlington Okere, a communications expert said.

Marketing experts, Jack Trout and Al Ries spent most of their writing careers arguing that line extensions cost market share and can devalue the identity of the brand in the long term. But the success of extensions like Diet coke, Gillette shaving cream and almost everything the virgin brand has done (except Virgin Cola, of course) has proven that brand extensions, if well executed can work.

Comercio Partners leverages ‘new normal’ to bring best experience to investors

Comercio Partners, a leading investment banking firm in Nigeria is poised to leverage the new business environment in the country, occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic to bring the best investors’ experience through its depth of resources.

It has been observed that Nigerians have a lax propensity to saving. However, this is not necessarily true. What mostly is lacked is the ability to make the right investment decisions. Many Nigerians are either not aware of the financial asset products available to them or lack the knowledge to build a diversified investment portfolio for the rainy day.

Speaking to bringing new experience to investors in the new normal business environment, the Head Financial Advisory/Co-Managing Partner of Comercio Partners Limited, Steve Osho said, “We see a great future in Africa, occurrences such as the pandemic is a reminder of this assertion.”

“We like the dream of the future better than the history of the past, our words, messages, actions, services, businesses further confirm our belief in Africa’s business ecosystem,” Osho stated.

Osho said, “By leveraging on our wealth of experience, skills and knowledge of the market, we will continually explore opportunities to create significant value for our clients, Adding that “as portfolio managers, we design investment strategies based on our clients’ investment objectives, risk appetite and time horizon.”

According to the Head of Trading /Co-Managing Partner, Nnamdi Nwizu the World as we know it has changed over the last 6 months. Comercio Partners is ready to partner with you and lead you to the new tomorrow.

The dream of Comercio Partners has always been to be a unique investment bank in Africa committed to financial products trading and value creation hence its task to build an investment ecosystem of choice with the strategic intent of empowering minds in Africa while creating and delivering professional, and superior value across all asset classes to all our stakeholders.

Added to that is the Head of Investments/Co-Managing Partner, Tosin Osunkoya, who said, “Leveraging our depth of resources to provide stability to your growing wealth and the right partnership to the financing demands to support your strategic business growth we remain your anchor to the future.”

To bridge the knowledge gap of where to invest for returns, fear, distrust and access to capital – which has restricted many firms from gaining advantage and increasing their revenue – the services of an investment firm such as Comercio Partners Limited that focuses on trading fixed income securities, derivatives, alternative assets and equities, and provides financial advisory and asset management services are needed.

Nitro121 promises bespoke offerings to clients, celebrates 15th anniversary

Lampe Omoyele, MD, 141 Worldwide to speak on how marketing can help Nigeria reinvent herself

The leading brand-building and marketing communication company, Nitro 121 (formerly known as 141 Worldwide, turns fifteen on the 1st of September 2020 and promises to continue to deliver  bespoke marketing communications services to clients and other partners.

Founded in 2005, the Agency is known for creating cutting edge and engaging experiences across touchpoints that have helped to build brands in the marketplace to deliver profitable growth.

Managing Director, Lampe Omoyele said, “As we mark 15years of operation wherein we have gone through transitions and transformation, one thing remains constant: our unwavering commitment to serve clients with uncompromised professionalism in line with our act RIGHT values, Responsible, Integrity, Gusto, Harmony and Transparency, as well as a continuing drive to be innovative and impactful in the marketplace.”

Chairman, Lolu Akinwunmi added, “Nitro 121 has a heritage of excellence and integrity that continues to drive the Agency’s performance and the future is certainly bright”.

Nitro 121works with clients and brands such as British-American Tobacco (BAT),Multichoice, Bajaj, Honeywell, First Bank, FBN Insurance, Total, British Council, Cadbury and Bayer amongst others. It is noted as the agency that helped launch Etisalat (now 9mobile) into Nigeria and worked on the brand for ten years.

Nitro 121 has a strong team of highly skilled personnel with several years of experience across different industries and markets and offers a full bouquet of through-the-line marketing communication, which includes planning and strategy, creative development, brand management, digital services, media planning and buying, radio/TV production and experiential.

Loud whispers as GTBank chief executive, Segun Agbaje allegedly steps aside

Agbaje

There is unease whispering within the industry that the influential and daring chief executive officer of Guaranty Trust Bank plc fondly called GTBank has retired. The central Bank of Nigeria guideline made it compulsory for every bank CEO to retire after 10 year tenure.

Agbaje, who assumed the leadership position of the bank in April 2011 after a prolonged sick leave granted to former late CEO, Tayo Aderinokun, had successfully settled in the running of the bank.

Agbaje alleged departure may not be unconnected to the apex bank guideline that requires every MD of a bank to serve a mandatory 10 years.

He exit may be a year of mandatory 10 years hence huff puff within the bank and the industry at large.  Agbaje, who used his 9 years at the helms to develop the bank digital ecosystem, has made GTBank one of the sought after in technology and digitalisation.

It is during Agbaje’s era that the bank experienced some revolutionary strides particularly, the USSSD code campaign 737.

GTBank that has commended in the industry for adopting a crisis free succession plan and management, seems to have plunged into the succession trap as the bank’s stakeholders are at the loss on you will replace Agbaje and match his stellar performances.

However, some frontrunners have emerged as 789marketing takes a look at 3 very serious contenders for the top job. Demola Odeyemi, Executive Director of the bank, who joined the board on October 19, 2011, is a chartered accountant.

Odeyemi joined the bank joined Guaranty Trust Bank Plc in 1997 and later worked with First City Monument Bank as Head of Financial Control and Strategy, and Chief Operating Officer for four (4) companies in the FCMB Capital Markets Group in 2002.

The attraction of having an accountant chief executive officer is fast fading. Most organisations basically, financial institutions are keen to having a marketing focus CEO due to the realities of time, therefore, Odeyemi may be a remote contender as result of his career background.

Recently, Fidelity Bank plc broke the ice by appointing a female CEO and many experts have said that, that may be the beginning of female dominance in the financial sector.

It appears Miriam Chidiebele Olusanya; another executive director in the bank has thrown her hat into the ring for the top job at GTBank. Olusanya has over 20 years banking experience that cuts across Transaction Services, Asset and Liability Management, Financial Markets, Corporate Finance and Investor Relations.

Mrs. Olusanya is the Group Treasurer and Head, Wholesale Banking Division of the Bank had served as a Non-Executive Director on the Board of Guaranty Trust Bank (Gambia). Her chances however, looks brighter as many board members are keened to having a female MD.

Haruna Musa, Executive Director, who over twenty-three years experience, which spans through Retail & Commercial Banking and Public Sector looked a good fit for the position said, an insider in the bank.

He joined the Bank in 2001 and rose through the ranks to become an Assistant General Manager and Group Head Public Sector, North East Division in 2006. He left the Bank briefly in 2008 to pursue his Masters Degree in Finance and Management at Cranfield University, United Kingdom, after which he returned in 2009.

He holds a Bachelors’ Degree in Agriculture from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1991), a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Bayero University Kano (1998) and a Masters Degree in Finance and Management from Cranfield University, United Kingdom (2009).

Buhari appoints AAAN executive secretary, Fadolapo CEO, Registrar APCON, approves eight other agencies

President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Olalekan Fadolapo, the executive secretary of Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, AAAN as the new Registrar/CEO of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON).

According to the approval letter, which was conveyed to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to the President, on Tuesday, Mr. Fadolapo’s appointment takes effect from 1 Sept. 2020.

The federal government also approved the appointment of other Chief Executive Officers for eight other agencies under the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture. The appointments will take effect from 1 Sept. 2020 as well.

Prior to Alhaji Garba Bello Kankarofi retirement in 2018, Mrs. Ijedi Iyoha was appointed the acting registrar/CEO to avoid a vacuum in leadership in the regulatory body.

The CEOs and their respective agencies are: Mr. Buki Ponle, Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria and Mr. Nura Sani Kangiwa who was named the Director General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism.

Mr. Francis Ndubuisi Nwosu was appointed the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Press Council; Mr. Ebeten William Ivara, Director General, National Gallery of Arts and Prof. Sunday Enessi Ododo, General Manager/CEO, National Theatre.

Others are Mr. Ado Mohammed Yahuza, Executive Secretary/CEO, National Institute for Cultural Orientation; Prof. Aba Isa Tijjani, Director General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments and Mrs. Oluwabunmi Ayobami Amao, Director General, Centre For Black And African Arts And Civilisation.

Recall that for long, APCON has remained without a governing Council or board. Concerns had been raised in the past, with practitioners in the sub-sector raising alarm about the sensitive and pivotal role the Council plays in contributing to the peace and economy of the country.

An active APCON Council comprises of Advertising Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), Association of Advertising Agencies in Nigeria (AAAN), Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN), Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN), Federal Ministries of Information and Communication and Federal Ministry of Health as well as universities/polytechnics offering advertising-related courses.                     

Philips Consulting CEO Report predicts August 2021 normalcy for Nigerian businesses

Mr. Robert Taiwo, MD of pcl. being presented with an award

Following the devastating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses globally and locally, the Philips Consulting CEO Report has forecasted August 2021 normalcy for business environment in the country to fully activate and operate optimally.

 Phillips Consulting Limited recently engaged 100 Nigeria business leaders on the current economic landscape and presented the insights in its “CEO Report”, which stated that 57 per cent of CEOs expect that the earliest possible time for the business environment in Nigeria to normalize will be August 2021.

According to the report, CEOs are increasingly taking responsibility for their companies, and are not necessarily looking up to the government for solutions to the problems occasioned by the pandemic.

For a greater awareness on political leadership in the country, the survey showed that as against the 79 per cent CEOs who voted in the 2019 general elections, only 67 per cent CEOs have reported that the pandemic would make them more interested in the outcome of the 2023 election.

Speaking on the CEO Report, Philips Consulting’s CEO. Rob Taiwo said, “Results from our survey showed that the Nigerian government and business leaders should pay close attention to the post-COVID19 policies and strategies of the United Kingdom, China, and the United States of America as these will have the most profound impact on the Nigerian business environment.”

He said, “At pcl., we are committed to working with our clients and partners to build and develop people’s capabilities, technology systems and processes, effective and robust strategies, and business continuity plans. Let us work with you to future proof your business in the next normal.”

On managing money matters, Taiwo said, “Our 2020 Mask in the Air report states that “the most significant impact of COVID-19 is the restriction in movement, having its direct and detrimental impact on the local and global aviation industry”.

 An already bleeding hospitality industry will experience slow recovery, as 68 per cent of CEOs identified travel and tourism as their number one cost-cutting area. 55 per cent of companies are considering reducing staff allowances and bonuses, while 40 per cent and 30per cent will cut rental costs and staff training respectively.

On the matter of fiscal adjustments, only 22 per cent of CEOs have laid off staff, as most of them found proactive ways to keep their workforce engaged and economically productive. However, due to reduced cash flow, 46 per cent of companies had to roll out pay cuts for their workers. The decision to employ pay cuts rather than termination as a cost reduction strategy is advisable to ensure that culture is not diluted, talent is retained, employees are not demotivated, and the company projects an excellent corporate image, the report highlighted.

The report also highlighted challenges facing the real estate industry in Nigeria and posited that the industry may be the worst hit among others.  In the report, 84 per cent of CEOs agree that the real estate industry, especially companies in the business of office rentals, will be badly hit by this disruption.

 About 83 per cent  and 55 pe cent of CEOs adopted a Work From Home Strategy and Standby Model Strategy respectively, and are beginning to question the need for large office spaces. Only 46 per cent of CEOs are considering retaining their current offices, while others will seek smaller and cheaper offices, shared offices, or adopt an entirely virtual working model.

 In commercial cities like Lagos where massive high-rise office complexes are commonplace, real estate players must be ready for a shift in demand. They might be forced to repurpose their buildings or provide new services to suit the new mode of work.

Speaking on which industries benefit from the crisis, Taiwo, a transformational leader said, “Globally, the IT sector experienced a surge in the wake of the pandemic, as a result of the shift to remote working. This resulted in a heavy reliance (or dependence) on IT products for both personal and business purposes. 

Nigeria is no exception, he stated, “From our survey, 86 per cent of CEOs reported that the pandemic led to them improving the IT infrastructure of their organizations. Our respondents predict that Nigeria’s healthcare, agribusiness, and manufacturing industries stand to benefit from the next normal.”

“They expect the professional services industry to experience comparatively minimal disruption. This is primarily due to their vast array of services, relatively low operational expense, lean and agile business model, and legacy clients.”

On the levels of preparedness for the pandemic, the Report said, only 6 per cent of CEOs reported that their organizations were prepared for the pandemic. Hence, it comes as no surprise that 55 per cent of Nigerian businesses are currently operating below 50 per cent of their operating capacity.

The 6 per cent mentioned above stated a strong leadership team as the most critical factor of their preparedness. Other important factors include having a robust business continuity plan, government support, and a well-articulated business strategy.

On forging ahead into the next normal, the CEOs Report revealed that 57 per cent of CEOs expect that the earliest possible time for the business environment in Nigeria to normalize will be August 2021.

CEOs are increasingly taking responsibility for their companies, and are not necessarily looking up to the government for solutions to the problems occasioned by the pandemic. As against the 79 per cent of CEOs that voted in the 2019 general elections, only 67 per cent of CEOs reported that the pandemic would make them more interested in the outcome of the 2023 election.

Taiwo said, “Results from our survey showed that the Nigerian government and business leaders should pay close attention to the post-COVID19 policies and strategies of the United Kingdom, China, and the United States of America as these will have the most profound impact on the Nigerian business environment.

Philips Consulting CEO Report exposes real estate industry’s worst fears

Managing Director, Robert Taiwo PCL

About 84 per cent of chief executive officers in Nigeria have agreed that real estate industry in Nigeria is plagued due to the pandemic, especially, companies in the business of office rentals. This revelation is contained in the recently published CEO Report, a Philips Consulting initiative for 100 Nigerian business leaders.

The pcl. CEO Report further stated that 83per cent and 55 per cent of CEOs have adopted a ‘Work From Home Strategy’ and ‘Standby Model Strategy’ respectively, and are beginning to question the need for large office spaces.

“Only 46 per cent CEOs are considering retaining their current offices, while others will seek smaller and cheaper offices, shared offices, or adopt an entirely virtual working model,” added the Report.

 In commercial cities like Lagos where massive high-rise office complexes are commonplace, real estate players must be ready for a shift in demand. They might be forced to repurpose their buildings or provide new services to suit the new mode of work, the Report recommended.

The pcl. survey that recently engaged 100 Nigeria business leaders on the current economic landscape and presented the insights in its “CEO Report” said, “One word that best describes today’s business environment is “uncertain”. The ‘new normal’ occasioned by the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic is gradually fading away and being replaced by what is termed the ‘next normal’.

Amidst the frenzy of realigning strategies to better position businesses for recovery after the pandemic, the Philips Consulting’s CEO, Rob Taiwo mentioned that “We have been hit with the harsh reality that the Coronavirus might be here to stay. There is no going back to normal; instead, we have a next normal that is unpredictable.”

He said, the conversation to be had now is how to prepare for a future full of unknowns. 

Speaking on which industries benefit from the crisis, Taiwo, a transformational leader said, “Globally, the IT sector experienced a surge in the wake of the pandemic, as a result of the shift to remote working. This resulted in a heavy reliance (or dependence) on IT products for both personal and business purposes. 

Nigeria is no exception, he stated, “From our survey, 86 per cent of CEOs reported that the pandemic led to them improving the IT infrastructure of their organizations. Our respondents predict that Nigeria’s healthcare, agribusiness, and manufacturing industries stand to benefit from the next normal.”

“They expect the professional services industry to experience comparatively minimal disruption. This is primarily due to their vast array of services, relatively low operational expense, lean and agile business model, and legacy clients.”

On the levels of preparedness for the pandemic, the Report said, only 6 per cent of CEOs reported that their organizations were prepared for the pandemic. Hence, it comes as no surprise that 55 per cent of Nigerian businesses are currently operating below 50 per cent of their operating capacity.

The 6 per cent mentioned above stated a strong leadership team as the most critical factor of their preparedness. Other important factors include having a robust business continuity plan, government support, and a well-articulated business strategy.

On forging ahead into the next normal,  the CEOs Report revealed that 57 per cent of CEOs expect that the earliest possible time for the business environment in Nigeria to normalize will be August 2021.

CEOs are increasingly taking responsibility for their companies, and are not necessarily looking up to the government for solutions to the problems occasioned by the pandemic. As against the 79 per cent of CEOs that voted in the 2019 general elections, only 67 per cent of CEOs reported that the pandemic would make them more interested in the outcome of the 2023 election.

Taiwo said, “Results from our survey showed that the Nigerian government and business leaders should pay close attention to the post-COVID19 policies and strategies of the United Kingdom, China, and the United States of America as these will have the most profound impact on the Nigerian business environment.

“At pcl., we are committed to working with our clients and partners to build and develop people’s capabilities, technology systems and processes, effective and robust strategies, and business continuity plans. Let us work with you to future proof your business in the next normal.”

FirstBank leads other brands to bankroll ‘The Voice Nigeria’

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has keyed into the massive value proposition presented by The Voice Nigeria by announcing its lead sponsorship of the TV reality musical talent show Season 3.

The talent show which is organised by UN1TY Nigeria is created to discover, nurture and bring to the fore musical talents amongst the next generation of Nigerian youth.

The Voice Nigeria will be produced for the first time in Nigeria and will be aired on DSTV channel (Africa Magic) Startimes and terrestrial TV channel (AIT), amongst other leading television stations in the outside the country. Nigerians can expect to see the very best talents on stage in the course of the competition.

The musical talent hunt show would start with blind auditions to be submitted upon being shortlisted after a successful registration, then battle auditions which then move out of the rooms and straight into the arenas, with hopefuls having to perform in front of an arena audience from the start in the hope of making it through to the next stage.

The Voice Nigeria will be hosted by Denola Adepetun (aka Denola Grey), Nancy Isime, Toke Makinwa and the coaches are Dare Art Alade, Folarin Falana (aka Falz), Yemi Alade and Aituaje Iruobe (aka Waje).

Interested participants are to register via the link www.thevoicenigeria.com with their FirstBank account number as a requirement. Should one not have an account with the Bank, then dial the Bank’s USSD code, *894*0# to be a FirstBank account holder. The audition is open to individuals within the age of 18 -50 years who are have been residing in Nigeria for 12 consecutive months. The registration for audition is open from 25 August – 19 September 2020.

There are numerous awesome prizes up for grabs. The winner of the show will be go home with whooping ten million naira cash; a brand new car and an exciting one-year recording contract reward with Universal Music.

Speaking on the talent hunt show, Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, FirstBank, said “we are delighted to be the lead sponsor of The Voice Nigeria, this partnership is hinged on our Brand’s passion to empower and invest in our youths. FirstBank has given voice to the young and indeed all Nigerians for the past 126 years, and will continue to give voice to Nigerians by creating employment, economic empowerment in the country through our products, services and initiatives. We remain committed to strengthening the creative industry which is fast growing into a multibillion-dollar business, with potential to be a leading contributor to Nigeria’s GDP in the near future.”

We commend UN1TY Nigeria for The Voice Nigeria as our sponsorship is in recognition of the vast talents Nigeria is blessed with which we are delighted to promote, thereby having a positive impact the Nigerian entertainment industry. We enjoin everyone to follow our social media channels for more details on the programme, whilst also staying locked on their TV screen. More details would be provided in the course of the weeks through our social media channels.

“The show promises to be engaging, full of surprises and with fun-filled excitement to our viewers” he concluded.

According to research disclosed in PWC’s recent Entertainment & Media Outlook report, Nigeria’s entertainment is expected to rise from $4.46 billion in 2018 to a $10.5 billion market by the end of 2023. In addition, with this initiative and other sponsored events targeted at the youth, the premier Bank in Nigeria, FirstBank, is committed to strengthening its contribution to the development of the entertainment industry in the country.

Stakeholders reiterate need for APCON Council at OAAN conference

Front row from left: Mrs Deola Odesanya, Dr. Charles Chijide, Mr. Kole Ademulegun, Mr. Emmanuel Ajufo, Mr. Tunde Adedoyin and Mrs Dupe Adewuyi. Back row from left: Mr Sola Akinsiku, Mr Akinola Dosu, Mr. Churchil Nwagwu, Mr. Babatunde Oyekan, Mr Babs Fagade, Barr. Rufai Akanbi, Mr George Onwujiariri, Mr Felix Ehinkweme, Mr Omo Abunene, Mr Olufemi Ogala and Mrs Chiddy Ibiam during the 35th AGM of OAAN held virtually on 28/07/2020.

In order to curb the challenges diminishing the growth of advertising in Nigeria, members of Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria, OAAN and other key stakeholders in the Nigerian marketing communications industry have reiterated the need for the Nigerian government to constitute a board for the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON.

This was part of the highlights at the OAAN’s 35th Annual General Meeting (AGM) themed, ‘’OOH Business and Emerging Realities” held virtually, thereby joining the league of other sectoral bodies that have embraced the new normal by holding their AGMs digitally.

The meeting, which had heads of key sectoral bodies in attendance, addressed both the protracted and Covid-19 pandemic-induced challenges bedeviling the industry, and proffered solutions capable of lifting the advertising sub-sector out of its present doldrums.

Addressing the meeting, Emma Ajufo, the OAAN President said that the association organised the virtual AGM in line with the new normal, adding that the webinar would welcome and apply all creative contributions and recommendations made by participating practitioners and stakeholders in the advertising sub-sector given the mounting challenges posed by the global coronavirus pandemic.

The OAAN boss also decried the rudderless state of the advertising industry, citing the prolonged absence of APCON Council as the bane of the sub-sector. He, however, wondered what a comparatively operational APCON without a Council would do if a Council were constituted.

“Our industry is like a flock of sheep without a shepherd. This is because APCON has no Council, and this had been going on even before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Meanwhile, APCON without a Council is doing fairly well. One can only imagine what will happen if there were a Council,” Ajufo said.

The APCON Acting Registrar, Mrs. Ijedi Iyoha, during her presentation, thanked the OAAN leadership and captains of other sectoral bodies who were present at the meeting for living up to the billing despite the daunting challenges presented by the pandemic.

“I must commend OAAN and all the sectoral bodies for meeting the challenges, posed by the global pandemic, head on. Let me mention that OAAN, through the current leadership, has been steering the ship of the association in the right direction,” she noted.

On his part, Jude Odia, the Managing Director of Starcom Media Perspectives, emphasised on audience measurement, stating that for Nigeria’s out-of-home to take pride of place in the advertising sub-sector, accurate measurement technology must be put in place. He noted that the days of competition among marketing communications practitioners were dead and urged OAAN to go beyond creating awareness to nurturing an environment that would encourage industry collaboration.

‘We must understand that the reason why we are in business is because of the consumer. So, collaboration is the new normal because at the end of the day, we have only one industry to build,” he said.

Corroborating Odia’s position on audience measurement, the President of Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), Bunmi Adeniba called on the industry practitioners to embrace data-driven marketing, adding that accurate measurement, especially in the out-of-home, will help to drive growth in Nigeria’s SMEs sector.

During his presentation, the MD/CEO of Lagos State Signage and Advertising Agency (LASAA), Prince Adedamola Docemo thanked OAAN for organising the digital AGM. In his passionate appeal for cooperation among industry practitioners and stakeholders, the LASAA boss said: “It is my belief that we can win together when we work together.”

Speaking in the same vein, Dr. Babagana Adams, Director, Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage (DOAS), urged practitioners to be professional in their practice, while incorporating world best practices. He warned that the proliferation of boards and the presence of non-registered practitioners would no longer be tolerated, especially in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Steve Babaeko, the President of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), in his concise presentation, denounced the non-constitution of an APCON Council, cataloguing the challenges such prolonged absence of authority poses to the entire ad industry. He, however, expressed optimism on the OAAN AGM webinar, saying that it was a sign of a great thing to come in terms of creative collaboration.

On his part, Femi Adelusi, the President of the Media Independents Association of Nigeria (MIPAN), noted that the global out-of-home industry, Nigeria inclusive, had been doing well up until the outbreak of the pandemic. He expressed confidence that the advertising sub-sector will emerge victorious out of the current crisis.

Adelusi hinged his confidence on the possible innovation that the pandemic-induced crises may foster among practitioners, while hoping that governments will do more in the areas of financial incentives and relaxing certain regulations.

Otunba Kole Ademulegun, the OAAN Chairman of the board of trustees, in his vote of thanks, advocated a level playing field for the industry practitioners, believing that such will create a vibrant out-of-home industry in Nigeria.

A bitter-sweet review of Azuh Arinze’s duology by Emeka Oparah

Emeka Oparah

An Encounter with Success

A Review of Azuh Arinze’s duology-“Encounters: Lesson from my journalism Career” and “Success is NOT served a la carte.”

By Emeka Oparah

Mr. Chairman,

The Author, Mr. Azuh Arinze and his lovely wife, Edith, and beautiful children, Nekene and Mesoma,

Please permit me to stand on already established protocols and say Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen including the Gentlemen of the Media

Let me begin, as is the tradition, by thanking my brother Azuh Arinze for finding me worthy to review his books. I consider that a privilege and I will not take the honour for granted. By the way, I have a combination of admiration and envy for Azuh. This double paroxysm of emotions is fuelled by the success he has made in his relatively young but rich journalism career. I speak particularly of the weblike network of lucrative contacts and useful friends. I could have been like him, but I took off after studying the same Mass Communication Azuh studied and now look at him and look at me! Azuh has done exceedingly well, by all journalistic and human standards, and deserves a resounding applause. He is tenacious, conscientious, committed, courageous, and industrious. I am truly proud of you, my brother.

As we say in my hometown, Mbaise, if the music changes, the dance step also changes. These are not normal times hence the paranormal setting of this book launch. I have, therefore, also taken the cue and settled for an abnormal approach to the book review. I will avoid the old school textbook chapter-by-chapter in-depth style which, ironically, has the tendency to discourage people from investing their own time in reading a new book. So, come with me as I serve you a la carte some of the lessons I learnt from my successful encounter with these two amazing books.

Where do I begin, ladies and gentlemen? Let me begin from Encounters. I read all of the 60 stories he told very well in this book, and I dare say all of them were unputdownable. From the opening shot, which was a highly edited version of how he (truly) met and wooed his wife, Edith, to the last, though not the least, which was about the irrepressible UK-based Dayo Olomu, the author poured his energy into torch-lighting the lessons we should learn from those encounters.

Azuh was generous to both himself and the people he used to spin his beautiful yarns. He was also generous to the reader by the way he plotted the stories to make them free-flowing and easy to grasp. In doing so, his personal authenticity and the integrity of the stories could, therefore, not be questioned. One particular virtue that stuck out in every single story was GRATITUDE. Without spelling it out, Azuh, by his Encounters, is saying to the reader, when you show gratitude to people, they will go the extra mile to do more for you. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a time-tested truism. Gratitude and reciprocity make the world go round.

Azuh Arinze, publisher Yes International Magazine and author, Encounter and Success is not served A La Carte

I am particularly touched by the story of Julius Agwu, “a genius slowed by ill-health”. Isn’t it remarkable their relationship grew from professional to family and Julius is the godfather of Azuh’s daughter? I personally know Julius. Like Azuh, he’s a wonderful human being. As kindred spirits, it was, therefore, easy for them to take their friendship to the next level (apologies to the APC). That is a great message right there. Look out for kindred spirits and bring them closer!

Another great story is that of the man we all call KB, Kunle Bakare, a very highly understated but eminently talented journalist and man of class and style. Hear Azuh: “Taking me under his wings, he offered and taught me practically everything-from journalism training to exposure, life lessons to guidance and even discipline, whenever I was beginning to derail. And for 17 unforgettable years, I humbly learnt at his feet.” You know how it is in these parts of the world, to break out and go into the same line of business as your boss and mentor. However, KB and Azuh’s case has been remarkably different. And we are talking about an Igbo and Yoruba. The stereotypical tales of betrayal and sabotage were rather supplanted by stories of love, appreciation and support as you would see, when you read Encounters.

By the way, I saw Azuh’s employment letter from National Encomium at an Annual Salary of N78,000 as Senior Staff Writer in 1997. He went on to become the Editor for 8 years, leaving in March 2011, according to his resignation letter, also published. If that is not hard work and commitment and recognition, then you may please tell me what is.

Another noteworthy story is that of KOK-Kanayo O. Kanayo, the legendary actor, who reputedly plays the don or godfather in every Nollywood movie with money rituals. Azuh and KOK could have ended up enemies because of an unfavourable story he (Azuh) wrote about him (KOK). But Azuh’s humility and act of contrition saved the day. Sorry is still a magic word. Azuh deployed it honorably and admirably and was able to save a friendship that would have hit the rocks. KOK, himself, did not show gracelessness. Two good men, who understand the amazing power of apology and forgiveness. I should quickly lay claim to KOK as my brother being himself an Mbaise man like me.

Azuh set out in this book to share lessons in building networks, self-confidence, tenacity, professionalism, having an attitude of gratitude, reciprocity, building and sustaining friendships, etc, etc. Whether you are reading about the Elegant Stallion, Onyeka Onwenu or Corporate Titan, Broadcaster, Teacher and Diplomat, Dr. Christopher Kolade, or renowned Sportscaster and Brila FM Founder, Larry Izamoje or the other eminent and accomplished men and women featured in this book, you will be richly blessed with the knowledge and wisdom creatively weaved into beautiful stories.

If you pay close attention, you may easily relate with some of the stories. They are simply magical.

Success is not served a la carte is as interesting as Encounters, if not more. Here, the 30 POWERFUL personalities he featured spoke for themselves. This is a sort of Who’s Who in Nigeria carefully selected from various spheres of life. And that’s the magic and essence of the book. The author not only introduces you to 30 absolutely successful Nigerian men and women, he guides you into their lives, their thoughts and their works without passing verdicts or giving his opinions. In a country that’s suffering from a scarcity of so many things including that of icons and mentors, this is indeed a great intervention meant to surface these rare gems amongst us.

I could not but read the opening interview over and over again-and I will tell you why, presently. I’m talking about the interview with Dr. Christopher Kolade who, by the way, also featured in Encounters. Dr. Kolade was my former boss. I can confidently make that claim. He was the Executive Chairman of Cadbury Nigeria, when I joined the company in 1994 as Media Relations Manager. I was in the team that organised the ceremonies for his first retirement from the company in 1998. I was also in the team that organised his send forth for his second retirement, when he relinquished the Chairmanship of the company to become Nigeria’s Representative at the Court of St. James otherwise known as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. By the way I was the one who delivered his letter of acceptance of that appointment to the then President Obasanjo at the Villa-unbeknownst to me.

Chief Olusegun Osoba, cahir the launch

I will not be saying anything new today, if I say Dr. Kolade is a LIVING LEGEND and a HUMAN ENCYCLOPEDIA, but I can assure you there is great knowledge and wisdom, management, leadership and diplomacy packed into the first chapter of this book dedicated, I should say strategically, to this sage. Listening to his many sagacious speeches at company events back nearly made me a Professor of Management! My father told me if I bought a book and managed to read only one chapter that I have achieved something major. Imagine if you bought 50 books and read one chapter of each. So, I want to tell you the same, ladies and gentlemen: if you buy or get gifted this book and you manage to read only Chapter One, the one on Dr. Kolade, you have achieved something truly major.

The book features two pastors-Anselm Madubuko of Revival Assembly and Wole Oladiyun of Christ Livingspring Apostolic Ministry)-one after the other-like the author was trying to compare them, but I know he was not. Same thing with Lolu Akinwunmi and Steve Babaeko-two advertising giants-present and past Presidents of AAAN-with Lolu ahead of his protege, Steve. There is a fascinating interview with my brother and good friend, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, right behind that of the Legal Amazon, Funke Aboyade, SAN. The story of Adegboruwa’s rise from nothing to something is one you must make the time to read.

The author took his time to extend his tentacles to the various professions with heavy bias for the media and entertainment and, to some extent, Law, business and sports. On a lighter note, I noticed he featured Evans Akere popularly known as Vanskere, a tailor, and Ayeni Adekunle, one of the rising stars in Public Relations in Nigeria, but he didn’t feature me-a Tailor and PR practitioner rolled into one. On a more serious note, he should have found a Medical Doctor, a banker, a creative Artist, a Musician, a FinTech person, a royal father, etc, just to expand and deepen the variety of knowledge and information in the otherwise wonderful compendium. Hopefully, the follow-up edition will take care of this obvious lacuna.

It was Andre Breton, , the French Poet, who wrote and I quote: “Of all the arts in which the wise excel, nature’s chief masterpiece is writing well”. Azuh Arinze by sheer hard work and dedication has so mastered the art of writing well that he does it effortlessly and passionately. Particularly Encounters, where he wrote from his heart and not what he recorded on his tape recorder, Azuh showed he has come of age in the business of storytelling. After all, 20-something years is NOT a joke!

According to Francis Bacon, the English Philosopher, “reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man”. If anyone was ever in doubt of his exactitude, Azuh has proven himself with these two books and the one before them, The CEO Bible 1&2.

But for a few typos and other minor snags here and there, which I believe will be corrected in future prints, the Author did a magnificent job. In Encounters, the author featured color and black and white photos. I didn’t like it. If he went black and white ostensibly to save costs, then he must stick with it, like he did in “Success is not served a la carte”. Even so, the photos could have been crispier on art paper than they do on the off-cut.

Finally, I don’t know exactly what the author meant by a la carte in the circumstance but let me guess. As a culinary terminology with a French etymology, a la carte means food which is priced and can be ordered as separate items rather than part of a set meal. The question now is this: can Success come as a whole or part of a whole? To me, the author is saying read the whole book to get the whole message. Or something like that.

Oba Adedokun Abolarin

Just before I end this review, I just remembered how hard I laughed at the cheeky headline the author used for the story of his encounter with Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity. He entitled it “Femi Adesina: A good man in Aso Rock”, like that place is NOT meant for good men. Azuh Arinze can be mischievous and sometimes diabolical with his sense of humour.

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I strongly recommend these two books to everyone, especially students and young graduates, who are looking for direction as well as the more experienced professionals who are looking for inspiration. Of course, everyone should have a copy of these books for there is something for everyone chapter after chapter.

Once again, I congratulate you, my brother, Azuh Arinze, and I thank you all for your time and attention.

God bless you immediately.

Emeka Oparah

Vice President Corporate Communications & CSR

Airtel Nigeria

Lagos

Nigeria

August 23, 2020.

Top dignitaries unveil Azuh Arinze’s 2 books via webinar

Chief Olusegun Osoba, cahir the launch

Following the unveiling of his two new books, Publisher and Editor in Chief, ‘Yes International’ Magazine, Azuh Arinze hosted media professionals, dignitaries and avid readers to an exclusive virtual book launch on Sunday, August 23, 2020.

At the event, Azuh Arinze announced the release of his books titled, Success Is Not Served A La Carte and Encounters – Lessons From My Journalism Career, to the general public.

Mr. Udeme Ufot

Compered by multi-award-winning Nigerian actor, comedian, radio and TV presenter, Gbenga Adeyinka the event had dignitaries like Former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba who also chaired the occasion, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, Orangun of Oke-Ila, HRM Oba Adedokun Abolarin, Special Adviser, Media And Publicity to the President, Mr Femi Adesina; GMD SO&U Advertising, Mr Udeme Ufot; EVC, Verdant Zeal, Dr Tunji Olugbodi; and General Overseer, Revival Assembly, Apostle Anselm Madubuko present.

Apostle Anselm Madubuko

Other notable individuals at the event include; Vice President Corporate Communications and CSR, Airtel Nigeria, Mr Emeka Oparah – who reviewed the books and Chairman Bison Communications, Prince Bisi Olatilo – who was the Chief Host and Chairman, Ovation Media Group, Bashorun Dele Momodu – who presented the new books.

Azuh Arinze’s first book, Success Is Not Served A La Carte, is an enlightening collection of one on one interview sessions with 30 high-profiled individuals in the country including; Christopher Kolade of Cadbury/LBS, Tony Ezenna of Orange Drugs, Anselm Madubuko of Revival Assembly, Steve Babaeko of X3M Ideas, famous footballers Kanu Nwankwo, Footballer and Austin Okocha, Film director, Tade Ogidan, veteran actors, Olu Jacobs, Pete Edochie and Dele Odule, to name a few. The book explores the success stories of these individuals, and also provides critical insights into their lives.

Azuh Arinze, Publisher

The second book, Encounters – Lessons From My Journalism Career, chronicles the experiences of the author throughout his career. Through this book, Azuh Arinze allows readers to examine 20 years worth of journalistic experience in 60 captivating chapters. By flipping through the pages of this book, readers will see how the author earned his trademark and reputation as a quintessential interviewer and journalist with an eye for details.

Oba Adedokun Abolarin

Speaking at the book launch, the author, Azuh Arinze, expressed his appreciation to guests for gracing the occasion, saying, “I’ll like to express my gratitude to everyone here today and everyone that made this event a success. I do not take your contributions for granted. These new books are intriguing and captivating, and I am eager for everyone to experience them.”

Before founding  ‘Yes International!’ Azuh Arinze served as the Editor of Encomium Weekly from 2003 to 2011. Before that, he had edited Reel Stars Magazine. He is also the proud publisher of three other books which are, Tested and Trusted Success Secrets of the Rich and Famous, and The CEO’s Bible volumes 1 and 2.

Mr. Steve Babaeko

Fintech Africa Brands Awards debuts

The leading financial technology and brands marketing publication in Africa, Africa Brands Magazine, has concluded plans to hosts the continent biggest Fintech Brands Awards in Lagos Nigeria in August, 28, 2020.

The most innovative Fintech Brands Africa Awards is a celebration of Africa’s Fintech Innovators and Leaders in 2020. The award is an initiative founded on the idea that Fintech can unleash unprecedented economic growth in Africa as oil continues to a challenge.

The event is scheduled to hold 28th of August, 2020 at Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Ikeja Lagos, Nigeria.

According to the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine, Mr Desmond Esorougwe, invited guest will be made to observe government protocols against COVID-19.

Speaking on the Awards, Esorougwe said, “The event is an initiative of The Africa Brands Magazine in collaboration with Fast Track Brand Communications & Strategy. A special feature of this event is the grand unveiling of a special edition of the magazine on the 50 Most Innovative Fintech Brands in Africa and an interview of the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele on the impact of fintech brands in Africa.

He said, Africa Brand Magazine is as a bi-monthly publication has established itself as a leading publication on brand management and branding, adding that “As the premier Brand focused magazine, its mandate is to organize Brand information and make Brand News/Knowledge accessible to Africa while staring innovative ideas with Brand custodians”

“The Innovative Fintech Brands Africa 2020 research report is the most comprehensive fintech Brands study in Africa. It is a consumer-led survey that establishes innovative fintech Brands preference across the continent. The study is independent concluded by The Africa Brands Magazine, Geopoll and Fast Track Brand Communication & Strategy,” he stated.

 Conclusively, the list of the 50 Innovative Fintech Brands have been nominated as winner of this award. Overall, The 50 Innovative Fintech Brands is on the most region consumer-led methodology consistent with global best practices and comprehensive study and ranking of Fintech Brands in Africa

Mr Bigg’s takes delicious experience to Command area of Alimosho

Mr Bigg's Express in Ajasa-Command

Consumers within the Ajasa-Command area in Alimosho local government of Lagos were ecstatic following the arrival of Mr Bigg’s express in the area.

Few days after the outlet had opened for business, findings reveal that consumers were trooping in and purchasing the meal of the choice, particularly, the snacks.

According to a consumer who spoke to 789marketing on the condition of anonymity, he said, “The location of Mr Bigg’s outlet in this area has been long overdue, and we are very excited it has finally come to pass.”

Customers approaching Mr Bigg’s Express outlet in Ajasa-Command, Alimosho

A Mr Bigg’s lover, Mrs. Taiwo Abimbola, who was also at the outlet to make some purchase, stated that Mr Bigg’s being the first and most renowned in contemporary and local meals, the brand remained the best in terms of customer service.

“You can see how staffers are attending to customers with ease,” she pointed to outlet where customers were being served.

Mr Bigg’s and Debonair Pizza recently celebrated first anniversary of northwest store near Victoria garden city, Lekki amid COVID-19 lockdown, where Ikota Primary Health care and Ajah market  were supported through distribution of facial masks, meals, pizza and others.  

Mr Bigg’s Express Ajasa-Command Alimosho outlet

Felix King Foundation launches $1million ‘better life for rural African women’ relief fund

.As the world is smarting out from COVID-19 pandemic, the Felix King Foundation, has restrategised its rural community engagement programmes for African women by setting aside a new $1million fund for the better life for rural African women scheme.

This scheme is to ensure that the most vulnerable women are not left behind in this recovery process.

This program is the continuation of the ‘rural market moni’ scheme  but now rechristened “Better Life for Rural African Women”, in line with present objective of ensuring that women, mostly,  in rural communities have a platform to reset their lives.

According to the founder of the foundation, Dr. Felix King Eiremiokhae, “Rural communities are the most hit during this period with cases of malnutrition and malaria rising in numbers, and sources of income depilated.

In 2019, the foundation launched goal 36, 000 by 2029. This initiative is a target to reach and impact thirty-six thousand women in 10 years and despite the effect of the pandemic, the foundation still believe in the goal.

He said, “Much has been achieved through the rural women market moni and WIFARM schemes, but with COVID-19 pandemic, the need to re-access the programme with a strategy that works with present reality made it possible to this modification,” he stated.

To hit the ground running, the founder revealed that an initial $350,000 has been released for the Edo State phase, which is scheduled to kick-start in September, as approved by the governing board.

On how the balance will be raised, Dr. Eiremiokhae mentioned that the balance of the funds will be raised through a dollar for dollar match system.

Dr. Felix King Eiremiokhae, founder Felix King Foundation

Speaking on the empowerment of women, he said, “We believe that when you provide women with capital and convening opportunities to network, you have empowered voices that speak and make the communities peaceful, prosperous and great.”

“The programme will help secure a place for rural African women to thrive and lead their families, communities, and the continent into a new arena of hope and progress, as nations recover from COVID-19.”

He said that women will be supported through a cooperative based programme, which has been an old age tradition women use to support each other in the rural communities.. Registration of meeting groups   is starting the first week in September and Edo state will be the launching pad , Dr. Eiremiokhae revealed.

To achieve this, meeting groups will align women of common interests into a meeting group and pitch their group’s interest for the foundation to attain to their needs according to these groups’ interest.

 In the early days of the pandemic in Nigeria, the foundation had announced a N25million palliative emergency programme in Edo State that saw lots of women supported with 10,000 naira and 20,000 naira feeding money. In additional to a huge support given to Edo State Government covid-19 relief scheme”

Prior to the establishment of Felix King Foundation, Dr. Eiremiokhae, an industrialist and philanthropist of international repute had commenced philanthropic works early in life.  The CEO of Nigeria’s only 100 percent owned multi- billion naira biscuit company, MABISCO. 

In 2018, Eiremiokhae earned the Honorary Georgia Citizen, USA, and a recipient of President TRUMP’S lifetime achievement award, as well as Honorary Doctorate from Trinity University USA.

Felix King Foundation was set up in 2014 by Dr. Eiremiokhae and his wife , Aderonke  in his desire to see that no woman is left behind. The Foundation has been involved in several programmes such as the annual International Widow’s Day symposium to address the challenges of widowhood in Africa,  the Widows Market Moni, Rural Women Cooperative Scheme and The Startup Africa conference aborted by COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

Dr. Eiremiokhae, a firm  believer  in the empowerment of rural African women, believed that Better life for rural African women will bring hope, progress , prosperity and development to the  hardworking but disadvantaged women and their communities as the world recovers from covid-19.

Westgate Technologies unveils 600 capacity  CBT centre in Asaba

L-R: Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Westgate Technologies , Casmir Ezeudu, Delta State governor representative/Commissioner for Science and Technology, Matthew Itsekiri and Delta State Commissioner for Finance, Fidelis Tilije commissioning Westgate ICT Centre in Asaba at the weekend.

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has commissioned a Westgate ICT Centre in the state capital, Asaba and restated the desire of his administration to continue to provide the enabling environment for investment to thrive.

The Governor urged potential investors to take advantage of both human and natural resources of the state as well as its peaceful ambience to invest in several of human endeavour across the state.

He spoke at the inauguration of privately driven ICT center by Westgate Technologies Store with a 600 capacity Computer Based Test (CBT) centre, retail shop, training centre among others in Asaba.

Okowa who was represented by the Commissioner for Science and Technology, Matthew Itsekiri described the Westgate ICT centre as inspirational while noting that the government is proud to be associated with the achievement of Westgate.

He said the presence of the hub in Asaba will save government the cost of going to Lagos and other parts of world for standard ICT products.

“We are pleased to have this here, it will save us cost of going to Lagos for ICT products which was not the case before now. As a government, we are ready to make Delta State a smart city in terms of ICT. I call on private entrepreneurs to support this drive in the development of ICT,” he said.

Chairman of Westgate Technologies Store, Casmir Ezeudu in a remark, said they will not just sell products but meaningfully contribute to the growth of the host community.

Ezeudu promised that the company will train 2,000 students drawn from public schools in ICT free of charge, and organise technology summit for youths within the host communities to develop their talents.

“Most of our employees will drawn from here. And for a start, there will be free computer training for 2,000 students drawn from public schools because we want to assist those who ordinarily cannot afford these facilities,” he said.

Partners like Intel, HP, Crown, APC, OMEN, Canon, among others pledged their continued partnership with Westgate Technology to move the State and ICT to a level where it will not only boast the economy of the state but the country at large

Apple & Pears store sealed over expired Laziz vegetable oil

A well known retail/storage store in Abuja, Apple & Pears Limited has been sealed for allegedly by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, (FCCPC) for selling expired and sub-standard Laziz vegetable oil to unsuspected consumers, 789marketing can authoritatively report.

 On August 11, 2020, FCCPC became aware of representations appearing to show that a consumer, (and presumably others) purchased Laziz vegetable oil in sachets produced by Apple & Pears Ltd from their retail/storage location in Abuja.

The representation suggested that the food products purchased were expired, even at the time of purchase.

According to the chief executive officer of FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, “Upon further investigation and reconnaissance, FCCPC discovered the company’s primary facility on the Lagos-Ibadan Express Way.  Although locked, innocuous and without signage, the commission also identified the specific location in Abuja where the company had stored its products.”

In a press release signed by the chief executive officer, he said, having sufficient initial evidence to proceed on enforcement, the Commission conducted investigations at both the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and Abuja locations.

“The Commission discovered unreasonably large and inexplicable inventories of Laziz salad cream, Laziz mayonnaise, Laziz vegetable oil in sachets, and Laziz Thousand Island salad cream.  In addition, the Commission uncovered what appears to be unapproved and unsafe production, decanting, or repackaging of vegetable oil at the Abuja location,” Irukera stated.

According to the Commission, the location in Abuja is currently under seal by the Commission, and will remain so until the Commission and NAFDAC have confiscated the expired or unwholesome products, and are otherwise satisfied that Apples and Pears can, and will operate safely and legally.

 The Commission has commended the patriotism of those who bring these pieces of information to the Commission’s attention and encourages consumers to exercise their prerogatives and discretion to notify the Commission of conduct that is considered unsafe, illegal, or unsatisfactory.

Irukera urged consumers to take courage to report unwholesome products in the market. He said, “If you see something, say something. Our public access channels are at the bottom of this Release.”

Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA): Pursuant to Sections 17(g), (m), (s), (t), (x); 123(1)(c); 131 of the

Europa League Semi-Final: Man U, Inter Milan matches air live on StarTimes

Affordable pay-TV provider, StarTimes has lined up exciting top-flight soccer events to the delight of football fans.

In terms of European events, StarTimes, the exclusive broadcaster of the UEFA Europa League, will broadcast the semi-final matches between Sevilla and Manchester United on Sunday at 8 pm; while Inter Milan will battle Shakhtar Donetsk on Monday at 8 pm. The final will be played on August 21. At the same time, the 2020/21 Europa League season will kick off on August 20 with the Qualifying.

Manchester United’s pace is something Sevilla must be wary of heading into their Europa League semi-final, according to Sevilla captain, Jesus Navas. Navas spent four seasons playing for Manchester City in between spells at Sevilla and is no stranger to the Red Devils.

From September 3, StarTimes will air the UEFA Nations League. The second edition of UEFA’s newest national-team competition will begin with great clashes such as Germany vs. Spain, Sweden against France and titleholder Portugal vs. Croatia.

The digital TV operator recently acquired LaLiga broadcasting rights (French commentary). The exciting Spanish league will be shown on the StarTimes sports channels starting from the first 20120/21 season matchday on September 12.

StarTimes will also broadcast other European cups like the Coppa Italia, exclusive in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Spanish Copa del Rey and The Emirates FA Cup, among others.

Through ESPN, StarTimes also broadcasts The English Football League Championship (EFL), Major League Soccer (MLS), Belgian Pro League, Netherlands Eredivisie; Basketball tourneys – NBA and The EuroLeague.

“We are excited to bring more sports offering to our subscribers. Football lovers in Nigeria can now look forward to uninterrupted actions on their screens,” explained StarTimes PR Manager Lazarus Ibeabuchi.

“Active subscribers can watch on the go by downloading StarTimes ON mobile app and linking it to their decoders, at no extra cost, to access the same content they subscribe for on their decoders.

“Also, non-subscribers can also watch live sports for as low as N400 weekly, with an option to subscribe with their MTN airtime, via the StarTimes ON mobile app.”  

FCCPC battles Inner Steel Company over Unfair employment practices

Babatunde Irukera, DG FCCPC

  • Begins investigation in to the standard and quality of Inner Steel Company products

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC, has locked a battle with an Abia State based steel company, Inner Steel Company Limited over the company’s alleged discriminatory employment practices against Nigerian workers.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, who explained what had transpired, he said, on Wednesday August 12, FCCPC became aware of credible reports of unfair treatment of Nigerian employees at Inner Steel Company Limited located at Obehie, Ukwa-West Local Government Area, Abia State.

He said, “The information received alleged unscrupulous and potentially illegal treatment and working conditions at Inner Steel’s factory. Although it was unclear how the subject conduct falls within the mandate of the FCCPC,” he wondered.

“Regardless, the Commission proceeded in an abundance of caution, considering treatment of citizens was implicated in the report, and the urgency required made it expedient to deploy anyway,” Irukera stated.

As at yesterday, August 13th, operatives of FCCPC from the South-East and South-South zonal offices conducted an investigatory stop at the company’s location in Abia State. Company executives and representatives were cooperative and provided requested information.

From initial findings, FCCPC established that employees are housed on work premises in less than ideal boarding conditions and some employees felt restrained on-site and unable to leave, even though going home has been their preference.

 Highlighting some of the findings established, the CEO of FCCPC said, “A workplace injury previously occurred and led to an amputation with respect to an employee. Employees were required to work non-stop shifts of 11 hours with inadequate breaks, and there are possible questions about the company’s compliance with prevailing standards for the steel/iron products it makes.”

Although the vast majority of the conducts discovered are labour relations and not consumer issues, FCCPC secured an express and urgent commitment from the company to immediately and forthwith, take steps to improve the living conditions of on-site employees including immediately purchasing foams/mattresses for their bunk beds, and cooling fans.

Other agreements reach include that the company should modify required working hours from 11 to 8 hours daily effective immediately. While immediately discontinue mandatory quarantine on-site for employees who desire to depart the facility as well as improved on-site medical access and responsiveness.

With respect to the work-related accident that led to serious injuries (amputation), considering the circumstances are currently subject of litigation, the company was disinclined to make statements.

Regarding the quality of the company’s products, FCCPC has opened an active investigation and is commencing materials testing to determine compliance with prevailing standards.

The company recognizes it is under monitoring and supervision pending the satisfactory resolution of all outstanding or open issues.  The Commission is making a fuller report and transmitting to the more relevant Ministry/Agency for follow up, monitoring and compliance.

The enforcement mechanisms including penalties (where applicable) under relevant laws and processes of the appropriate ministry, department or agency, for violations in these circumstances should take their course.

FCCPC commended the courage and commitment of the investigative journalist who followed this through, and welcomes credible intelligence that leads to robust enforcement of its competition and consumer protection mandate.

Dangote Cement is #9jaSuperbrandOfTheMonth for July – BrandEscort

Group Chief Commercial Officer, Dangote Industries Limited, Rabiu Abdullahi Umar; Group Managing Director/CEO, Dangote Cement Plc, Michel Puchercos; Marketing Director, Dangote Cement Plc, Funmi Sanni; and National Sales Director, Dangote Cement Plc, Adeyemi Fajobi, during the Dangote Cement Bag of Goodies 2 National Consumer Promotion press launch in Lagos, on Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The management of BrandEscort has nominated Dangote Cement Plc as its #9jaSuperbrandOfTheMonth for July.

Dangote Cement was nominated  for launching a campaign that promised to make 1,000 Nigerians millionaires, not minding the challenges faced by businesses globally, as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.

Dangote Cement Plc. on July 15, 2020 launched the Dangote Cement Bag of Goodies Season 2, targeted at making 1,000 Nigerians millionaires to cushion the economic hardship caused by COVID-19.

At the unveiling of the promo in Lagos, the company’s Group Managing Director,

Mr Michel Puchercos, said the promo was instituted to reward its loyal customers.

Puchercos gave the assurance that the company, through the promo, would change the standard of living of its consumers and end users during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that 1,000 lucky Nigerians would win a star prize of one million naira each, over a period of 16 weeks of the promo.

Puchercos, who observed that many families lost their sources of livelihood as a result of the pandemic, said that the company launched the promo to alleviate the pains.

He said that the company opted for cash prize to enable the beneficiaries to set up small businesses in the face of COVID-19.

Puchercos said that the Season 2 Promo, launched following a huge success recorded in the 2019 promotion, would run from July 15 to Nov. 15.

He said that the company was determined to reward the consumers and add value to their economic well being, with the promo.

According to him, other prizes to be won apart from one million naira cash, include tricycles, refrigerators, television sets, generators, goodies packs, smaller monetary prizes and airtime.

Other brands such as MTN Nigeria, First Bank, Amber Energy Drink Ltd etc. also made significant impact in the lives of the consumers in July.

For instance, MTN Nigeria on July 15 became the first telecommunications company to launch eSim technology for mobile phone users in the country.

FirstBank in July activated Free Fuel Promo in collaboration with Verve International and Oando Plc to reward its customers.

Stallion boss, Vaswani accuses Zenith Bank of malpractice

The Stallion Group boss, Sunil Vaswani has allegedly accused Zenith Bank Plc for unprofessional ism and malpractice, as the rift between both organisations continued to take twist.

In a new development, Vaswani said that the alleged indebtedness of over N23 billion owed by his organisation has been manipulated by bank to the tune of N18, 369, 960 billion in excess.

He said the alleged illegality and fraud were committed on Stallion Group accounts through unauthorized and unlawful interests charges, illegal management fees, COT-VAT fees, finance charges and LC charges.

Vaswani position was contained in the counter affidavit he filed in opposition to the originating summons filed by Zenith Bank Plc asking for an order of the court entering judgment against the defendant (Vaswani) in the sum of N23, 388,188, 765. 49 billion, being his outstanding indebtedness on account of the guarantee given by Vaswani in respect of various sum advanced to Stallion Nigerian Limited which has remained unpaid as at 12th May 2020 in spite of repeated demands.

In the counter affidavit deposed to by Stallion Group’s Director of Administration, Mr. Tajudeen Olalere, filed and argued by his counsel, Mr. Uchenna Njoku, Vaswani denied any indebtedness  to Zenith Bank and urged the court to dismiss the suit instituted by the bank for been false, unfounded, unsubstantiated, unjust and unwarranted and an  abuse of court process.

Vaswani in the counter affidavit averred that haven noticed the inexplicable refusal of Zenith Bank to have account reconciliation exercise,  Stallion suspicious  that  Zenith Bank might have  been manipulating its accounts  decided to undertake the  audit of its accounts with the bank  beginning from the year 2012.

The defendant said  to Stallion’s utter chagrin, it was discovered through the audit  that the bank had charged illegal, unauthorised and unlawful interests, management fees, COT-VAT fees, finance charges and LC charges to the tune of N18, 369, 960 billion.

He further averred that  Zenith Bank’s allegations and contentions of being owed the sum of N23, 388, 188, 765.49 billion, as at May 12, 2020 by Stallion are false, adding that the entire false package of allegations of indebtedness put together by  the bank are part of a deliberate stratagy to humiliate Stallion and Mr. Vaswani and terrorise them into backing down from their legitimate demand  that there should be a reconciliation of all the accounts of Stallion in the bank or a third patty audit of the accounts of Stallion with the claimant.

Vaswani, who denied any indebtedness of Stallion Group  to Zenith Bank, said  that contrary to the false claims by the bank, Stallion has not only repaid its debt to the bank,  but has overpaid the bank by several billions of naira for which cause Stallion has been calling for account reconciliation or third party auditing of its accounts in Zenith Bank.

It would be recalled that Zenith Bank Plc has dragged the Chairman Chief Executive Officer of Stallion Groups of  Companies, Mr. Sunil Vaswani before an Igbosere High Court  Lagos,  over alleged unpaid N23, 388, 188, 756. 049 billion debt.

Zenith Bank in the suit marked LD/3945GCMW/2020, filed against Mr. Vaswani was filed due to his alleged failure or refusal to pay the alleged debt despite several and repeated demands.

The  Zenith Bank Plc through its lawyer, Mr. Kemi Balogun (SAN), who leads Chidozie Ndukwe, Babatunde Olanipekun and five others is asking for an order of the court entering judgment in the sum of N23, 388,188, 765. 49 billion  against Vaswani, being his outstanding indebtedness  on account of the guarantee given in respect of various sum advanced to Stallion Nigerian Limited which has remained unpaid as at 12th May  2020 in spite of repeated demands.

The bank is also seeking for a declaration that having regard to the clear and unambiguous provisions of the Deeds of Personal Guarantee and the statement of net-worth executed by Vaswani in its favour over the facilities advanced to Stallion Nigeria Limited, who has failed together with the defendant upon several and repeated demands to liquidate the debt that has arisen there from, it is entitled to judgment against the defendant in the sum of N23, 388,188, 765. 049 billion, being  Vaswani’s outstanding indebtedness to it, as at  May 12, 2020, and interest at the rate awarded by the court from the date of judgment until final liquidation of the said sum.

The bank further asked the court for an order vesting in it, all the rights attached to Vaswani’s assets, landed properties and all other forms of real estate wherever located within the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the United States of America, United Arab Emirates, particularly and not limited to the properties known as L9, Lailak Street, Emirates Hills, Emirates Living, the United Kingdom, particularly and not limited to the property known as 40, Avenue Road, London, NWH 8 6H5, and all countries of the European Union (EU), and any other jurisdictions worldwide.

Peace, security remained focus of 7th Lagos NIPR conference, Lai Mohammed to speak

Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture

 

The Lagos State Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations has announced that national peace and security will be the thematic focus of the webinar edition of the seventh Lagos Public Relations Stakeholders’ Conference, holding on Thursday, August 27, 2020.

Distinguished speakers headlining the Conference, themed: Adopting Proper Communication Strategy, Channels and Technology for National Peace and Security, include the Minster of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Programme Specialist, Women, Peace and Security, United Nations Women, Peter Mancha. Other speakers expected include the Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, RT. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; Executive Secretary/CEO, Lagos State Security Trust Fund, Dr. Abdurrazaq Balogun; President, African Public Relations Association, Mr. Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, amongst others.

The Chairman, Lagos NIPR, Segun Mcmedal, said that the Conference is going virtual this year following government directives on social distancing to check the spread of the COVID-19 ravaging the globe. The virtual conference offers the opportunity to reach a wider audience in an online community before, during and post Conference.

The Project Coordinator and Lead Consultant, Addefort Limited, Olabamiji Adeleye, said that, “The Conference will identify dependable channels for public engagement towards achieving national peace and stability in Nigeria.”

The Conference will engage government, corporate organizations, national security agencies, women leaders, groups, media and communication professionals. It will discuss government policies, communication strategies, and technological applications that will help to achieve improved national peace and stability in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

The annual Conference has evolved over the years to become a bridge-building talker-shop for stakeholders to interact, discuss and proffer solutions to the social, political and economic challenges plaguing our nation.

The Lagos Public Relations Stakeholders’ Conference is the creation of Addefort Limited – a public relations and concept development firm. This edition is coming in collaboration with Lagos NIPR and Peace and Conflict Resolution Resource Centre (PEACrEc).

National Broadcasting Commission hammer falls on Nigeria Info FM, gets N5m sanction

The National Broadcasting Commission hammer has felt heaving on a leading news radio station, Nigerian Info FM for falling to guide its guest during an interview session.

The Commission fines the radio station N5 million, for a comment made by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Obadiah Mailafia during the show..

This was contained in a statement signed by the NBC management on Thursday titled, ‘The National Broadcasting Commission Fines Nigeria Info 99.3 For Unprofessional Broadcast’.

Mailaifa was interviewed on Monday during one of the station’s programmes, Morning Cross Fire. He had talked on the killings in Southern Kaduna, one of the parts of the North-West region worst hit by banditry.

“Some of us also have our intelligence networks. I have met with some of the bandits; we have met with some of their high commanders – one or two who have repented – they have sat down with us not once, not twice.

“They told us that one of the northern governors is the commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria. Boko Haram and the bandits are one and the same. They have a sophisticated network. During this lockdown their planes were moving up and down as if there was no lockdown.

“They were moving ammunition, moving money, and distributing them across different parts of the country,” the former Presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress said during the programme.

He was later invited by the Department of State Services in Jos on Wednesday and was grilled for six hours.

Reacting on Thursday, the NBC said, “The National Broadcasting Commission has noted with grave concern, the unprofessional conduct of Nigeria Info 99.3FM, Lagos, in the handling of the Programme, “Morning Cross Fire”, aired on August 10, 2020, between 8.30am and 9.00am.

“The station provided its platform for the guest, Dr. Mailafia Obadiah, to promote unverifiable and inciting views that could encourage or incite to crime and lead to public disorder.

“Dr. Mailafia Obadiah’s comments on the “Southern Kaduna Crisis”, were devoid of facts and by broadcasting same to the public, Nigeria Info 99.3FM, is in violation of the following sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code:

“3.1.1. No broadcast shall encourage or incite to crime, lead to public disorder or hate, be repugnant to public feelings or contain offensive reference to any person or organization, alive or dead or generally be disrespectful to human dignity;

“3.1.2. Broadcasting shall promote human dignity, therefore, hate speech is prohibited;

“3.3.1 (a). The broadcaster shall ensure that any information given in a programme, in whatever form, is accurate;

“3.3.3.1(b). The Broadcaster shall ensure that all sides to any issue of public

interest are equitably presented for fairness and balance;

“3.11.1(a). The broadcaster shall ensure that language or scene likely to encourage or incite to crime, or lead to disorder, is not broadcast;

“3.11.1(b). No programme contains anything which amounts to subversion of constituted authority or compromises the unity or corporate existence of Nigeria as a sovereign state;

“5.4.1(f). The Broadcaster shall not transmit divisive materials that may threaten or compromise the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a sovereign state.

“Consequent on these provisions and in line with the amendment of the 6th edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, Nigeria Info 99.3FM Lagos, has been fined the sum of N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira), only.

“This is expected to serve as a deterrent to all other broadcast stations in Nigeria who are quick to provide platform for subversive rhetoric and the expositions of spurious and unverifiable claims, to desist from such.

“The Commission wishes to put it on record that it will not hesitate to suspend the Broadcast Licence of broadcast stations that continue to breach the Code.

“Stations are, by this statement, admonished to desist forthwith, from airing unwholesome content, or be ready to face appropriate sanctions.”

Group tackles MTN over alleged anti-labour antics

The Telecommunications and Communications Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PTECSSAN) has expressed frustration over what it described as demoralising anti-labour activities by MTN Nigeria and issued a 14-day ultimatum for the company to address the concerns raised.

The President and Secretary of PTECSSAN, Opeyemi Tomori and Okonu Abdullahi, respectively in a joint media briefing on Wednesday said the Chief Executive Officer of the company whose priority should be organisational growth and sustainability, has abandoned this vital responsibility.

They also stated that the CEO has rebuffed several calls by the workers and their union to meet with him on critical issues facing workers in the company.

They further explained that all attempts to address the concerns with the CEO of the company had failed, noting that such actions portend great danger to the industrial relations within MTN Nigeria.

They remarked that issues relating to remuneration of workers, exit packages for long-term staff, employee relations practices, and abuse of expatriate quota, and others are the burning issues, adding “that the company should change its way towards the union and its members in the organisation.”

LG OLED: Creating reality of stadiums from the living room

The triumphant return of major sporting activities across countries, after several months of lockdown came as a big relief to all anxious sport lovers, who have had to face the unpleasant reality the cancellation caused.

Korean baseball was the first to return to action in June, followed by the English Premier League (EPL), Spain’s La Liga, Brazil and Mexico’s top football leagues, among others that followed suit.

Upon the return of the games, one thing that was so conspicuous was the emptiness of stadiums. Though the development was considered as part of the ‘new normal’ but it is strange and unreal, creating a huge gap that needs to be filled in the mind of the fans. So what better way to recapture the excitement of a match than upgrading one’s living room setup? As you know, not all televisions are designed with sports in mind but definitely not LG TVs.

Through its innovations, LG Electronics, a global leader in consumer electronics has come to fill the vacuum, to prove a point through the LG OLED’s self-emitting pixels that empty stands don’t mean games have to be silent.

LG Electronics has proved beyond reasonable doubt that a larger TV will always do the job of watching action played across giant fields better, by displaying zoomed-out footage in amazing details, as the sporting events slowly makes their returns to the TV. Bigger displays also deliver wider viewing angles so family and friends can watch the big game together without huddling on the sofa, says the General Manager, Home Entertainment Division at LG Electronics West Africa, Mr. Vanjamin Kim.

“OLED delivers the widest viewing angles in the game, the 88-inch LG SIGNATURE OLED 8K TV is the pinnacle of home spectating, while its smaller 48-inch sibling delivers the same wide viewing angle to smaller rooms.

With LG OLED’s self-emitting pixels in 4K and 8K, viewers have the prospect of seeing every feature, down to each blade of grass, while decreasing motion blur and flickering as every pixel illuminates independently.

The TVs possesses AI Sound Pro and up-mix game audio for realistic sport sounds, they are also Bluetooth Surround Ready for easy connection with LG’s powerful XBOOM speakers or wide selection of sound bars.

“For sports, gray uniformity is everything. Staring at the same color for hours means a TV must maintain a single block of color at a realistic brightness and without distracting dark patches. LG OLED TVs has continued to garner rave reviews for best-in-class uniformity,” Kim said.

It is interesting to note that sports lovers the world over were curiously awaiting the arrival of the 8K to the 2020 summer games before it was postponed. Even with the games delayed until 2021, LG OLED owners are assured of experiencing superior 8K via LG’s upscaling technology, which uses deep learning to deliver vivid and accurate 8K images to near perfection.

The 88-inch class LG SIGNATURE 8K OLED (model OLED88Z9)1 and 75-inch class LG 8K NanoCell (model 75SM9970)1, with suggested prices of $29,999 and $4,999 respectively, are available at select LG-authorized retailers starting today.

“It’s obvious a TV was designed with fans in mind. If it features Sports Alert notifications! New to LG TVs, users are updated on their team’s latest news and kick-off times, so not even a second of exciting play is missed. And with all the technology in today’s TVs, setting up a TV correctly for a big match would normally be a chore.

“However, with LG OLED TVs’ α9 Gen3 AI Processor, the TV does most of the hard work for you by cleverly detecting when you’re watching sports and then optimizing picture quality accordingly via Auto Genre Selection. Basketball and its fast-paced action can make motion blur and flickering more pronounced on a regular TV,” Kim said.

 LG’s new OLED Motion Pro and TruMotion, on top of light-speed 120Hz response time, was made to ensure heightened image accuracy and precision for viewers to easily follow small objects, catching every basket, goal and score.

From the testimonies of owners, with the TVs, empty stands don’t mean that games have to be silent, because the LG’s TVs not only boast AI Sound Pro and up-mix game audio for realistic sport sounds, they’re also Bluetooth Surround Ready for easy connection with LG’s powerful XBOOM speakers or wide selection of sound bars.

Interestingly, LG products can be found behind the scenes of sports as well. For instance, the enormous displays located in Spanish giant Atléticode Madrid’s expansive Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, which give fans perfect, crystal-clear replays of every tackle and goal.

The brand’s unique tech also found its way to North London where Tottenham Hotspur’s match against Burnley was filmed in glorious 8K to capture super high-quality football footage and captivate customers watching the content play out on LG’s range of OLED and NanoCell 8K televisions.

Mr. Kim explained that LG OLED is even taking some sports virtual, with an all-new take on competitive racing. “Pro racing drivers are using OLED-powered simulators to compete in Australia’s BP Supercars All Stars Eseries, LG partnering with Kelly Racing to give their drivers the best chance to claim its inaugural title. Using LG OLED TVs, the impressive racing simulator achieves realistic racing experiences that every racer can easily relate to.

“Esports’ incredible rise to mainstream has young and old alike searching for the best gaming arsenal to gain the competitive edge online. And with next-generation game consoles due by the end of the year, the epic battle between PlayStation and Xbox fans is set to hit new heights.

 “LG’s 4K Ultra HD OLED 48CX not only offers 4K resolution and 120 frames per second, it also features auto low latency mode (ALLM), enhanced audio return channel (eARC) and variable refresh rate (VRR) for the serious gamer.”

Being the first TV in the world to be NVIDIA G-SYNC Compatible, graphics of these TVs are rendered perfectly, increasing players’ sense of immersion by adapting the TV’s refresh rate to the frame rate of the connected hardware. OLED preserves a game’s highest quality imagery with HDR settings; amazing black levels and superb contrast all without sacrificing crucial latency performance for games rewarding instant reactions like Call of Duty and Overwatch.

For esport professionals, there’s UltraGear. LG UltraGear 4K monitors feature technology engineered for the otherworldly experience of 4K gaming. With exceptional response times and 1ms Nano IPS screens that cover the professional film industry’s 98 percent of DCI-P3 color space standard, online battlefields have never been more vibrant and freer of unpleasant blur and ghosting that ruin the gaming experience.

Jobberman’s free webinar promises to be packed with new recruitment trends and secrets

The talent recruitment agency, Jobberman has announced plans to host a free webinar titled ‘Hiring the best fit for your company’ for employers and HR professionals on Thursday, August 13, 2020, at 12 Noon WAT via live video platform, Crowdcast.

For some businesses, COVID-19 has caused a complete recruitment freeze, for many – essential service providers in particular – it has resulted in fast, high-volume hiring. This virtual webinar promises to be power-packed with insights and secrets into recruitment trends and challenges since the advent of the pandemic.

Recruiting quality employees and filling certain types of jobs can be a challenging task in uncertain times like this. Jobberman Nigeria Head HR, Foluso Agbaje has teamed up with the Head of Human Capital, Letshego MFB, Emmanuel Micheal, to review the new tools needed for a perfect hiring process, latest trends in the world of recruitment, and the importance of using tests to shortlist.

Another major highlight of the webinar is the spotlight on the much talked about Jobberman Skills Assessment product, a much-needed tool for recruiting during a pandemic, considering the fact that remote work is on the rise – every recruiters hiring solution right now.

Participants will have the opportunity to get real-time feedback from talent experts who have solved complex talent management issues for multinational corporations.

Business leaders and HR professionals can join the stimulating session on Thursday, August 13 2020 by visiting www.jobberman.com/talking-talent to register.

StarTimes to broadcast Man U, Inter Milan Europa League Q-Final matches

Affordable pay-TV StarTimes will air the quarter-final matches of Europa League on its World Football and Sports Premium Channels.

On Monday, Odion Ighalo’s Manchester United will play against Copenhagen; while Victor Moses’ Inter Milan will face Bayer Leverkusen. On Tuesday, Shakhtar Donetsk will face Basel; while Wolves battle Sevilla. All matches will air at 8 pm.

Manchester United Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping his side will be able to go the distance in the Europa League after booking a place in the quarter-finals.

The Reds completed an emphatic 7-1 aggregate victory over LASK in the round of 16 after Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial added their Old Trafford strikes to the five which had already been scored in the first leg in Austria back in March.

Now United head to Germany where FC Copenhagen will provide the last-eight opposition in Cologne on Monday night. The ultimate aim for the Red Devils is to replicate their 2017 success in the competition, albeit with a very different feel to the proceedings.

This is FC Copenhagen’s first-ever European quarter-final appearance, while they are the first Danish side to reach a major UEFA European quarter-final since Brondy IF in the 1996-97 UEFA Cup.

Not only will the remaining matches in the tournament be played without fans, of course, they will also have the same one-legged format and will all take place in less than a fortnight with the final falling on Friday 21 August.

Hopes are high amongst Manchester United’s fans for a trophy this season after failing to clinch any in their domestic leagues.

Manchester United are looking to reach only their second European semi-final since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, doing so in 2016 -17 when they went on to win the Europa League under Jose Mourinho.

COVID-19: MMF floats MedAssist Partner Line

The Murtala Muhammed Foundation (MFF) has launched a telecommunication medical line to assist the NCDC in its drive to reach those with the Covid-19 virus who are unable to access the designated Isolation centres across the country.

The project named, the “MMF Medassist Covid Partner Line,” is part of the effort to provide access to relevant and necessary medical information and support for those who may have been exposed to the Covid 19 virus, across the 36 states of the country.

The CEO of the Foundation, Mrs Aisha Muhammed Oyebode noted that “this initiative offers virtual healthcare delivery in circumstances fast becoming our new normal, in collaboration with the NCDC helpline.

“This is a response to the NCDC’s request for additional call centre support during the COVID-19 pandemic, to support end-users, to prevent a health crisis. The helpline will allow callers to consult with medical professionals virtually, who will be able to prescribe necessary treatment to forestall an escalation of symptoms.”

Recently, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, stated that many patients who tested positive with the Corona Virus refuse to go to the isolation centres and prefer to self-medicate/treat, with some remaining untraceable having left incorrect contact information.

Mrs Oyebode noted that records show that about 75% of those infected refuse to present themselves for admission at Isolation Centres in Lagos State alone, “making it imperative for MMF to come up with this support.”

The dedicated Med Assist Telemedicine Hotline – 08180640000 – is poised to launch in the 36 states of the country,” Muhammed Oyebode stated.

The Murtala Muhammed Foundation (MMF) is a non-profit organization, founded on the ideals of the Late Gen. Murtala Muhammed, a former Head of State of Nigeria (1975-76).

MMF is dedicated to improving the quality of life of Africans. The Foundation specifically focuses on engendering self-reliance and fulfilment by working tirelessly on policy and advocacy for issues that impact on ethics, equity, good governance and economic empowerment, encouraging business development, education and providing medium term disaster relief. It is for this reason the Foundation established a response plan to COVID-19 pandemic.

Union Bank begins search for the Next Robotics Legend

The Next Robotics Legend is an initiative designed by Edu360, Union Bank’s education platform, in collaboration with Awarri, a pan-African technology company, to infuse Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the education of the Nigerian child. This stems from the realisation that the solutions to some of our most complicated problems as a nation lie in the education of our children today.

This first-of-its-kind robotics training and competition for students aged 11 to 16 will focus on identifying and nurturing young potential inventors and creators who will receive necessary training to solve some of the challenges facing the Nigerian society with the aid of robotics and AI.

To enter, take a 30 second video of your child telling us what they like about robots. Upload on www.edu360.ng and fill the accompanying consent form. 25 of the most creative andpassionate entries will be selected to participate in the robotics training.

Awarri-X-Edu360-KV-2

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At the end of the free training programme, participants will be required to identify a need in their community, and apply the skills learnt to proffer a solution. The student with the best solution will be admitted for a mentorship program with Awarri, the advanced AI and robotics company owned by Silas Adekunle – top international robotics engineer renowned for creating the world’s first intelligent gaming robot.

Schools are not left out! To ensure the sustenance of the initiative, Edu360 will partner with four secondary schools by providing robotics toolkits and training for their teachers to enable them include robotics in their curriculum.

Entries will be received from August 7th to 21st, 2020.  Visit www.edu360.ngfor more information.

#NextRoboticsLegend

FIRSTBANK backs FINTECH development, to promote growth, reinvention of banking technology in Nigeria

  • Echeruo, HopStop founder to deliver keynote paper

 First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s leading financial inclusion services provider, has announced that the 2020 edition of its annual FinTech Summit is scheduled to hold on Thursday, 6 August 2020 by 12.00 noon. The event will be virtually held via Zoom Meetings.

The 2020 edition of the summit, which is the fourth in its series is themed; “How Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence will Disrupt FinTech in Nigeria” and will be discussed by experts, key and leading players, policy influencers and regulatory officials in the Nigerian financial, banking and technological climate. To participate in the event, click the link https://www.firstbanknigeria.com/business-banking/smeconnect/fintech-summit/registration/ to register. 

Chinedu Echeruo, founder of HopStop which was sold to Apple for $1billion will be leading the discussion as the Keynote speaker alongside other panelists; Musa Itopa Jimoh, Director, Payments System Management Department and Aminu Maida, Executive Director, Technology & Operations, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS). 

Representing FirstBank in the panel of discussants are Callistus Obetta, Group Executive, Technology & Services and Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products 

Speaking on the event, Mr. Gbenga Shobo, Deputy Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said; “at FirstBank, we have been at the forefront of employing technology in the delivery of financial services in the country exemplified by our various products and services such as FirstMobile, USSD Banking services, FirstMonie Wallet, FirstMonie Agent Banking, FirstAdvance loans provisions

FisrtBank hosts FinTech Summit 4.0

 The 2020 edition of our FINTECH summit will build on the successes achieved in the last three editions. We welcome the panelists as we look forward to the shared knowledge which will be integral to deepening the continued growth of banking technology, especially its impact on the Gross Domestic Product of Nigeria and the continent at large.

 Technology continues to play a fundamental role in driving financial inclusion and strengthening the growth of SMEs that contribute significantly to the development of the country.

We encourage members of the public, players in the fintech and financial climate to register, as there is knowledge for everyone,” he concluded.

Life Lager lights Niger bridge as the brand preaches progress, self preservation

Following the launch of a new bottle and the ‘Nduka’ campaign, Life Lager Beer has continued to spread its strong message of hope and resilience to consumers, this time with decorative lighting on the popular Niger Bridge.

The groundbreaking lighting project which was unveiled recently, is a new initiative from Life Lager Beer as a climax to the brand’s relaunch activities.

As the novel Coronavirus spread across Nigeria, Life Lager Beer launched the ‘Nduka’ campaign as a means of encouraging its consumers to keep hope alive even as they stay safe at home. The campaign theme which translates to “Life is Greater” saw Life Lager engage in a number of communication activities to pass its message of choosing life in these uncertain times creatively.

With its new lighting initiative, Life Lager is now spreading the importance of resilience, and self-preservation as the words “Enjoy Life Responsibly” appear boldly on its new lighting construction along with other brand signages.

Life Lager liights the Niger Bridge

The unveiling of the lights display which was done at an evening event, had in attendance the Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency Willie Obiano, who referred to the initiative as a progressive one and used the opportunity to encourage everyone to keep following the right precautions to stay safe.

Sales Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc., Uche Unigwe, also expressed delight at the launch of the new project stating that it is very significant work. He added that; “this project couldn’t have come at a better time and hopefully the message resonates with the brand’s consumers and inspires them to keep living right.”

The choice of the Niger Bridge for this project was once again a testament to the brand’s attachment to its southeastern roots, as it remains unapologetic about demonstrating its belief in the industrious nature of the people and their steady drive for progress. Life Lager Beer was first produced in 1981 in Onitsha, Anambra State, as a regional Eastern beer and has since grown to become the biggest beer brand in Nigeria. Life Lager Beer is made from the choicest grains, hops and the purest waters, with the core brand belief that “Life is better when shared and when life is shared, there is progress”.

StarTimes, NBCUniversal International Networks launch DreamWorks in Sub-Saharan Africa

One of Africa’s pay-TV operator StarTimes and NBCUniversal International Networks (NBCUIN, has  announced the launch of DreamWorks – the 24-hour channel dedicated to kids and family entertainment – on StarTimes platform across Sub-Saharan Africa. The DreamWorks channel is available starting 3 August bringing the best in animated TV series to African viewers.

Speaking about the upcoming launch, Lee Raftery, Managing Director, NBCUniversal International Networks, EMEA commented: “Collaborating with StarTimes on bringing DreamWorks channel’s award-winning shows and beloved characters to Sub-Saharan Africa is a key milestone for our business. We look forward to bringing young viewers the DreamWorks experience, with its compelling slate of adventurous and imaginative animated series, all in one family destination.”

Lily Meng, head of StarTimes Media Division, said, “We are excited to bring DreamWorks to Africa. This launch demonstrates our continuous commitment to providing premium content to African families. And it comes at a very timely moment, while most kids and parents are staying home.”

DreamWorks offers quality animation and storytelling, taking viewers on fantastical adventures as they come face to face with more dragons than anyone has ever imagined in Dragons: Race To The Edge; whilst over in Madagascar, the party continues with the world famous dancing lemur, in All Hail King Julien.

Viewers can join adrenaline-fueled snail, Turbo, and his snail crew in Turbo FAST; and follow the world’s favorite feline hero, Puss, as he protects the hidden city of San Lorenzo in The Adventures Of Puss In Boots.

Meanwhile in Dawn of the Croods, the world’s first family navigate their way through modern-day life. And entertaining families across the country, The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show will see the world’s smartest dog and his boy, Sherman, host their zany late-night comedy program, jam-packed with great musical acts and very special historical guests. Younger viewers can look forward to a world of giant creatures that are ‘half dinosaur, half construction vehicle in Dinotrux and follow Noddy and his friends as they solve cases in in Toy Land, in Noddy Toyland Detective! Meanwhile, young viewers can get ready to roar with Raa Raa The Noisy Lion, cub and his friends in the Jingly Jangly Jungle.​

UBA provides $200m for Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry, timely financing for post COVID economic growth

  • Acts as Lead Arranger for $1.5 Billion Facility to Boost Nigerian Oil Production and Government Revenue

The United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), the leading pan-African financial services group, has acted as the lead arranger of a consortium of Nigerian commercial and international banks in a $1.5 Billion Pre-Export Finance Facility for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its upstream subsidiary, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).

UBA is providing $200 million (Naira equivalent) to support investment growth and liquidity requirements.  The facility will provide much needed capital for investment in NNPC’s production capacity, which is of strategic importance to the Nigerian economy and the country’s leading source of foreign exchange earnings.  UBA’s position as Lead Arranger recognises the Group’s strength in structuring and deploying financing to the oil and gas sector, and the depth and liquidity of the Group’s balance sheet.

The $1.5 billion facility is structured in two tranches.  The first tranche of $1 billion, to be repaid over a period of five years, will be provided in dollars, with UBA acting as the Facility Agent Bank. The second tranche of $500 million, will be provided in local currency, over seven years, with UBA acting as Lead Bank, providing $200 million in Naira equivalent.

Both facilities will be repaid from an allocation of 30,000 barrels per day of NPDC’s crude oil.  UBA has a strong track record in the resources sector across Africa, having facilitated oil prepayment deals with the NNPC, including its 2013 $100 million participation in the PXF Funding Limited transaction, and a further $60 million in the 2015 Phoenix Export Funding Limited transaction.  In Senegal, UBA was responsible for the EUR 240m revolving crude oil financing facility for the Société Africaine de Raffinage and in Congo Brazzaville co-funded the $250m crude oil prepayment facility for Orion Oil Limited.

Other participants in the NNPC deal include Standard Chartered Bank, Afrexim Bank, Union Bank and two oil trading companies, Vitol and Matrix.

Speaking on this most recent support for the Nigeria’s petroleum industry, UBA Group Chairman, Tony O. Elumelu stated ‘This has been one of the most economically challenging years that Nigeria has witnessed.  With the sharp drop in the price of oil and the ensuing hardship that followed the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the private sector must come together and contribute meaningfully to the economy.  This facility is clear evidence of this – UBA is providing investment that will significantly improve Nigeria’s production capacity and in doing so also demonstrating the strength, depth, and sophistication of our commercial banking capability.  I believe that together, working with governments, we can create more jobs and more wealth for people, not only in Nigeria, but across Africa’.

The United Bank for Africa is one of the largest employers in the financial sector on the African continent, with over 20,000 employees and serving over 20 million customers.  UBA operates in 20 African countries and globally in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and France, providing retail, commercial and institutional banking services, leading financial inclusion and implementing cutting edge technology.

MultiChoice introduces Enhanced Decoder to keep customers informed

For its continuous effort at keeping its customers informed and updated with innovations from the company, DStv has launched of Enhanced Decoder Notification (ED) functionality, which aims to address communication issues for subscribers and take the admin out of viewing, so, consumers can get back to being entertained.

This new functionality will provide viewers with streamlined access to important subscription information, including rewards notifications, payable subscription amounts, methods to avoid late payment and disconnection.

This will be done by displaying icons that represent the different types of notifications on top of Live TV and will be available on the DStv decoders. The message will also be added to the Mail Messages screen. 

 “In the ever-advancing world of video entertainment, innovation is a key driver of the business. MultiChoice is always dedicated to delivering innovative resources to ensure continuous improvements in our products” said John Ugbe, Chief Executive Officer MultiChoice Nigeria.” 

Through a myriad of innovations that ensure customers satisfaction as well as guarantee a rewarding journey for all our subscribers – MultiChoice continues to position itself as one of Africa’s major entertainment sources, and now, with the introduction of the new EDN service ensures fewer interruptions during viewing.   

FCCPC investigates Health Plus, Ebus, H-Medix, other pharmacies over price gouging on Hydroxychloroquine

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) in furtherance of continuing oversight and in response to multiple social media posts about what appeared to be excessive and unconscionable pricing of potentially vital medication that is perceived or presented as efficacious therapy in addressing Covid-19 conducted enforcement activities today (August 4, 2020).

Specifically, there have been a rash of posts representing Hydroxychloroquine to costing between N50, 000.00 and N75,000.00.  One of the posts showed the medicine and a price tag of N50, 000.00 of Ebus Pharmacy in Port-Harcourt.  The Commission has also become aware of price display of N75, 000.00 by HealthPlus Limited.

Between 10.00A.M. and 6.00P.M. today, the Commission conducted simultaneous on-site investigations on Ebus and Avis Pharmacy, both in Port-Harcourt; multiple locations of Health Plus Limited in Lagos and Abuja, Tonia Pharmacy, H-Medix and New Health Pharmacies, all in Abuja.

Although investigations are progressing, preliminary findings show that HealthPlus Limited indeed has carried at least two brands of Hydroxychloroquine with internal control documents showing sale prices of N33,000.00 and N75,000.00. Ebus admits the veracity of the posts showing its price at N50,000.00. There is evidence that New Health Pharmacy has sold Hydroxychloroquine between N50,000.00 and N65,000.00.

In addition, in some of the targets of this investigation, the Commission discovered what appeared to be inconsistent pricing of other products that are considered relevant to managing Covid-19 with most being sold at margins between 66% and 89%.

According to Babatunde Irukera, Chief Executive Officer of FCCPC, the investigation is at early stages and the Commission has not made any final findings. However unreasonable, unjust and irrational prices or margins are a criminal offence under the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act and the Commission is currently prosecuting some pharmacies and supermarkets for this. 

Babatunde Irukera, DG FCCPC

It is unconscionable, exploitative and predatory to take opportunistic advantage of citizens on account of a pandemic and consumer apprehension.  The Commission again reiterates its previous advisories and admonitions while reinstating its commitment, desire and will to enforce the law.

Movie star, Sola Sobowale, attributes new lifestyle to regular use of Mouka foam

Top Nollywood celebrity, Sola Sobowale affirmed that her present physical fitness, which supports her active lifestyle is due to regular use of the Mouka brand, from her early days to date.

The screenwriter, producer and director, made this assertion in an interview. She said the Mouka Wellbeing brand which consists of the Wellbeing Regal Orthopaedic and Wellbeing Regina Semi Orthopaedic mattresses have also contributed to her enviable youthful looks and have been a source of ultimate sleep satisfaction.

She said the use of Mouka brands had been an endearing family tradition and that it has enhanced her sleep over the years, helping to support her lower back, hips, spine and other pressure points, thereby preventing aches and pains.

“At a very tender age, I met my parents using Mouka mattresses, even back in those days when my father was a school principal, and my mother was a headmistress.  They see Mouka as their choice brand and recommended them to students, and that was what I used in my school days to date. It enhances your posture, the next morning, you wake up very active and ready to perform your daily activities,” the screen goddess stated.

She added, “As an actress and producer when I am on a film location, l always rent an entire building, furnish it with Mouka mattresses for my shoots. We have been able to attain the much-desired comfort for all members of my crew, as well as deliver powerful performances.”

While rating Mouka brand as the best thing that has happened in Nigeria’s bedding and mattresses industry, the award-winning screen idol, who is also the Face of Mouka Wellbeing mattress expressed confidence about the product’s consistent high quality.

According to the Ondo State-born celebrity, Mouka mattresses have been in Nigeria for decades, and their products are of a very high standard, this, she said, had endeared the brand to her. “Ever since I have come of age until now, Mouka’s quality has not changed. I describe the brand as having a heritage of unrivalled quality.”

Narrating how she felt when called to be Mouka ambassador, the award-winning superstar, who had her big break in 2001, in the premiere of Nigeria’s popular TV Drama Series; Super Story had this to say.”I laughed because l have been using the company’s products over the years. Then l told them to visit my house, that I have over 100 pieces of Mouka mattresses, they didn’t believe until they came.”

Reflecting on her feeding routine, Sobowale points out that she only eats natural food that contains fibre and a lot of vegetables, as well as oats, and not processed food. A proper diet, coupled with sufficient rest on the right mattress, which is no other than Mouka, is her secret to total wellbeing.

Phillips Consulting to empower entrepreneurs, startups with new Micro Courses

Managing Director, Robert Taiwo PCL

The managing director of Philips Consulting, Rob Taiwo has stated that the democratization of learning is fast  merging with an increasingly globalised workforce, and  the future would belong to those who can learn at pace and deliver a unique set of skills, from anywhere and to anyone.

Mr. Taiwo stated this at the launch of the Virtual Instructor-Led Training (V.I.L.T) platform tagged Micro Courses launched in Lagos recently.

According to him, “With a mission to drive the future of work in corporate Nigeria by democratizing learning, Philips Consulting  has launched a bouquet of services designed to help individuals, teams, and corporates prepare for the necessary change.”

He said, “They include tools that motivate people to thrive in the workplace, whilst learning about emerging technologies of the future.  Our micro course platform was recently launched to cater to the different categories of learners in Nigeria to upskill the employed, create more employable youth, and drive national growth and business sustainability.”

Speaking at the launch, the managing director said that there is a huge window of opportunity to understand, manage and transition into this new future that will lead the fourth industrial revolution in Nigeria. Preparing for this requires a high level of agility and responsiveness, as well as timely and deliberate actions to drive businesses forward. You must adapt and continuously innovate. Here are a few pointers that will shape our new working realities, he stated.

People need to be inspired to work in the future of work, he added.  “This future is driven by a gig-economy where everyone can figure things out in a few clicks, posts, or tweets. This economy has radically reshaped the labour market, and because of this, talent is less inspired to remain committed to formal employment. The core areas of focus for employees should be the employee experience, flexible modes of work, innovative engagement, and a virtuous well-being cycle.”

According to him, people need to know “how to work” in the “future of work”. Working in a new revolution with a multigenerational workforce requires higher technical, social, cognitive, emotional, and adaptive skills. The most critical of them is the need to unlearn, learn and iterate on the fly.

“Hybrid leaders are in higher demand than ever to tackle new and undiscovered problems. The top skills needed for this New Normal must be accessible to anyone who seeks to thrive. Therefore, people from all backgrounds and demographic must take a new approach to continuous, bit-sized, scalable, and accessible virtual-enabled learning that equips them with these new skills,” he enthused.

Mr. Taiwo said, “Nigeria was 6th in the world for the highest number of internet users in Q1 of 2020, this clearly demonstrates that when provided with the opportunity, the ability of the average Nigerian to harness technology is beyond contestation, but such endeavour must be geared towards using digital learning to up-skill our workforce and empower entrepreneurs and startups”.

Speaking on the new innovation, Fikunayomi Aluko, Programme Lead, Innovation & Investment at Philips Consulting said,  “The mass equipping of young Nigerians with relevant and high-demand workplace skillsets will not only guarantee a bright future for the youth but a great future for the Nigerian economy.”

He said, “Businesses need to embrace accelerated digitalisation: Artificial intelligence, automation and the Internet of Things have powered the greatest changes in this new world of work. While the digital transformation has created a skill shift, made processes more seamless and redefined the expectations of employees towards work, it has also led to process complexities, cultural change, and corporate disruption,” he added.

However, the head of training at pcl. Nwaji Jibunoh said, “Given the complexities of the Nigerian environment, our services offer an opportunity for people from all walks of life to quickly develop themselves with skills that shall prepare them for the future. These services are affordable, easily accessible and delivered by highly experienced individuals.”

StanChart launches deposit products for business banking clients in Nigeria

  • Positioned to help SMEs grow through savings

Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria has launched new deposit product, through its Business Banking business, that gives small and medium scale businesses the advantage of saving cost and earning interest. Products offer Zero local transfer, Zero SMS, Zero Account Maintenance fee and Interest earnings on Business Accounts.

Speaking on the products, Head of Business Banking, Benjamin Dike said, “It is with much excitement that we launch our new deposit products. These deposit products are part of our commitment as a Bank to consistently anticipate and respond to the needs of our clients.”

The major benefit of the new offering is the opportunity for growing earnings as high as 2%, on a business’ current and savings account (CASA). These include the Business Hybrid Account that pays an interest earning of 2% without requiring no a minimum account opening or operative balance and the Business Premium account that pays 1% interest earning on average daily balances for clients that meet the minimum operative balance requirements.

These products have been built around cost savings, liquidity management and lifestyle benefits and help to reiterate our commitment to be Here for good as we continuously support the growth aspirations of our esteemed clients.”

According to the Head of Business Banking, the new deposit products are designed to help businesses during this time to focus on what is important to the development of their businesses while achieving cost savings. All sectors of the economy including education, manufacturing, retail services etc. can benefit from the new deposit product offerings as these also provide loan offering opportunities with very attractive interest rates available to all clients.

He said, “This solution builds on the Bank’s client obsession agenda to bring the best, fastest and most convenient services, solutions and products such as the Digital Bank that support overall transacting experience of clients.”

Standard Chartered Bank announced the launch of its Digital Bank in Nigeria in December 2019 with the SC Mobile 2.0 app.

 Mr. Dike stated that the Digital Bank offers savings accounts, current accounts, fixed deposits (with the option of joint accounts) along with Lending and Wealth Management solutions. For both existing and new to bank clients, various benefits to be enjoyed on the app include Zero charge on all interbank transfers; Zero charge on SMS Notification, Zero charge on ATM withdrawals, Performing funds transfer without adding beneficiaries and Generating a soft token for all transactions, Free bank card delivery nationwide and account management and service request.

APCON changes syllabus for professional diploma in advertising

The General Manager, Business Development, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Mrs Francisca Sonaike with the Acting Registrar of APCON, Mrs Ijedi Iyoha during the former's courtesy visit to the Council recently

The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON, the advertising and related marketing communication industry regulator, has announced the introduction of a new syllabus for the Professional Diploma in Advertising beginning in December 2020.

Letting this out to the media, the Ag, Registrar/Chief Executive of APCON, Mrs. Ijedi Iyoha said, “This is to announce the introduction of a new syllabus for the Professional Diploma in Advertising (PDA) The syllabus, which takes effect in December 2020, replaces the one that has been in use since2010.”

Accordingly, she said, part 1 of the PDA examinations for the November/December 2020 diet will be based on the new syllabus.  Candidates  previously  enrolled  in  the  PDA,  who will be proceeding to parts 2 and 3 of the examinations will continue to be examined on the former syllabus until May/June 2021 when they are expected to have exited the programme,” she added.

The  new  syllabus  provides  for  five  courses  in  each  of  the  three  parts  of  the programme as hitherto with adjustments in the course titles and contents to reflect contemporary knowledge and skills requirements of the Advertising Profession.

Meanwhile, the  new  syllabus  is  a  product  of  a  painstaking  review  of  the  curriculum  for  the Professional  Diploma  in  Advertising  involving  inputs  and  technical  reviews  by distinguished  Advertising  practitioners  and  scholars  chaired  by  Dr.  Josef Bel-Molokwu,  former  Registrar  and  Chief  Executive  Officer  of  APCON  and  spanning  a period of two years.

Mrs. Iyoha stated that “Prospective  candidates  for  the  Professional  Diploma  in  Advertising  (PDA)  are requested to acquaint themselves with the new syllabus which is available at APCON offices  across  Nigeria  and  provided  to  the  candidates  upon  their  enrolment  for  the examinations.”

The Professional Diploma in Advertising (PDA) is the statutory academic qualification for registration as Advertising Practitioner in Nigeria apart from a Bachelors Degree or  Higher  National  Diploma  in  Mass  Communications,  Marketing  or  Graphic  Arts obtained from an APCON accredited department Institution.

Block Makers emerge first winners of Dangote Cement Season 2 consumer promo

Dangote Cemnet management staff and winner in Dangote Cement Season 2 Consumer Promo

  • . Group lauds Dangote for empowering Nigerians

Barely a week after its launch, two Block makers from Lagos and Oyo States have become first star prize winners of N1 million each in the ongoing Dangote Cement Bag of Goodies Season 2 Consumer Promo that was recently launched.

The promo, which the management said was partly to reward loyal customers and ameliorate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on consumers, offered the winners cash prize apart from other commercial and household items is expected to run from July 15 to November 15, 2020.

Besides, the National Secretary of Block Makers Association, Apostle I.I. Aina has commended Dangote Cement for investing on its consumers through the national promo.

A block maker based in Lanlate, in Ibarapa East local government area of Oyo State, Ojediran Kayode Stephen, who emerged the first N1 million winner in the“Spell Dangote and be a millionaire” promo, said he got the winning letters from among the 500 hundred bags of cement, which he bought to make blocks for customers.

Apart from the N1million, Ojediran said that he also won several recharge cards and extra N2000 in the promo.

On what he would do with his winnings, he explained that he is going to invest the N1 million to expand his block making business.  Said he:“I am very happy for becoming one of the first sets of people to win in the Dangote Cement Promo.  I intend to use the money to expand my business.  I am going to buy more bags of cement to produce more blocks. 

“I thank Dangote Cement company for organizing this promo in this era of COVID-19 and I believe the money will go a long way to reduce the pain of the pandemic in the country”, he added.

Another lucky winner, the Managing Director of Afolabi Adefila Block Industry, said that he has been a user of Dangote Cement since the inception of his business, which he started several years ago.

According to him, he buys over 300 bags of Dangote Cement weekly for his block factory located in Lagos. “I patronize only Dangote Cement. This money is timely, most especially during this era of COVID-19.  Dangote has been doing a lot to ameliorate the challenges of COVID-19 on Nigeria. I am aware of what the company has been doing to reduce hardship in Nigeria.  The promo is just an added effort to what Dangote has already done in terms of poverty alleviation”, he said.

Reacting to the news of the first winners, the Block Makers association Secretary, Mr. Aina said that he is excited that members of his association have emerged as the first set of winners of the ongoing Dangote Cement promo.

He described Dangote Cement as best in terms of quality, saying the promo would help improve the association’s members’ revenue.

He lauded the company’s innovate efforts of producing best product for building construction from the stable of Dangote cement.

Marketing Director of Dangote Cement, Mrs. Funmi Sanni had during the launching of the promo in Lagos explained the Spell and Win promois expected to produce 1,000 millionaires within 16 weeks while many consumers also stand a chance to win tricycles, motorcycle, television sets, refrigerators, Dangote Food Goodies packs, recharge cards and many other exciting gifts.

To be a part of the promotion, she explained, “all the consumer needs to do is to buy any promo bag of Dangote Cement during promo period, pick out the scratch card inserted in the bag, scratch open the inserted card to see what you have won, go to the nearest redemption center to collect your prize. To win a million naira, the consumer is expected to collect cards to spell, D-A-N-G-O-T-E and win star prize of N1million”, the company disclosed.

FirstBank offers support to SMEs in education sector through the pandemic

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has offered to give financial support to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Education Sector to cushion the effects of the COVID -19 pandemic. Mr. Bankole Adediran, Head, Transaction Banking Products, FirstBank, made this known at the Bank’s SMEConnect webinar with theme: “Managing Your School through the Pandemic: Engagement and Retention Strategies”.

Adediran said that the Bank was ready to partner with SMEs in the education sector through the period of the novel coronavirus pandemic to sustain their businesses.

“FirstBank, as an institution, is very passionate about education, and will continue to support the sector,” he said.

He said that the Bank would continue to reinforce its leading role at enabling the growth of the educational sector in the country.

Adediran said that the Bank had an array of financial products that could be accessed by SMEs in the educational sector in the period of COVID -19.

He said SMEs in the sector could key into FirstEdu Loan targeted at private nursery, primary and secondary schools to assist the schools in achieving their desired growth in medium and long terms.

According to him, the product provides funding advancement of up to N20 million for schools with a minimum of 100 students with school fees collection domiciled at FirstBank.

Adediran said that, with the product, school owners/proprietors could stay ahead to make learning easy and conducive for students.

He said the Bank had launched various interventions and initiatives to support the sector to navigate through challenges occasioned by COVID -19.

He noted that FirstBank recently launched an e-learning initiative aimed at reaching out to one million students across the country to ensure they would be academically engaged while at home.

Adediran also said that the Bank supported 10 universities and three secondary schools across the country with major infrastructure projects.

He added that the Bank donated 20,000 e-learning devices to the Lagos State Government to promote online learning for students in the public schools.

Adediran urged schools must learn from the COVID -19 pandemic by embracing automation to plug leakages in the sector.

Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, Commissioner for Education, Lagos State, who was a panelist at the webinar, commended the Bank for donating 20,000 devices with six months data, to the state for e-learning.

Adefisayo said the state reached out to many companies for support at the wake of the pandemic and that FirstBank came to its aid.

She disclosed that all the schools were not prepared for the situation, noting that most children in public schools did not have device and data for online learning.

“This pandemic has been a terrible thing, and one lesson from it is that we have not invested enough in solutions we can deplore at a time like this,” Adefisayo said.

She said that the pandemic had forced Nigerians to be more creative and innovative, adding that schooling would no longer be the same again.

Adefisayo called on teachers to change their teaching and learning strategies, saying that COVID -19 had changed learning.

Also, Dr. Yomi Otubela, President, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), said the association had responded greatly by interfacing between government and its agencies since the beginning of the pandemic.

Otubela said the Central Bank of Nigeria was working out modalities for palliatives for schools and teachers who had not been receiving salaries since the pandemic started.

He noted that there had been an increase in rape, kidnapping and robbery as a result of COVID -19.

Mr. Wale Abioye, Team Lead, Customer Practice in Management Consulting (KPMG), said the pandemic had impacted negatively on many sectors of the economy, especially education.

Abioye highlighted some of the negative impacts of the pandemic to include financial/economic, structural, social and policy challenges.

He said many SMEs in the educational sector could be out of business due to the pandemic, thereby increasing unemployment rate.

Mr. Babatunde Vaughan, Education Lead, Modern Classroom, Microsoft Nigeria, said the company had introduced a lot of products to make online learning easy and interesting.

“COVID -19 is a very unique period for everyone, change has come and we will continue to experience change.

“We must be more proactive than reactive,” Vaughan urged.

Culled from NAN

Dangote Cement rakes in N162.9bn profits in 6 months

  • As Winners emerge in consumer promo

Africa’s largest cement producer, Dangote Cement plc has announced a Profit Before Tax (PBT) of N162.90 billion for the six months ended June 30, 2020 even as two block makers have emerged winners in its ongoing Spell and Win a million national consumer promo.

According to the unaudited results of the company released on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the declared profit was 4.7 per cent higher than N155.49 billion in the corresponding period of 2019. The results indicate a resilient half-year 2020 performance despite the impact of COVID-19.

The Group revenue went up to ₦476.9 billion, Group Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) was ₦218.1 billion representing a 45.7 per cent margin while Pan-Africa EBITDA was up by 31.6 per cent to ₦31.5 billion; a margin of 21.7 per cent. 

The period under-review saw the maiden clinker shipment from Nigeria via the Apapa Export Terminal to Senegal in June while plans are on track to ship more vessels of clinker to West and Central Africa in the second half of 2020.

Speaking on the results, Group Managing Director, Dangote Cement, Michel Puchercos, said: “I am humbled by the fact that we continue to be in a strong position despite the economic downturn that the world is facing due to COVID-19. Although April was greatly impacted by lockdowns and restrictions across our operations, we experienced a strong quarter. We achieved a record high volume and EBITDA margin in Pan-Africa of 4.7Mt and 21.7 per cent respectively. Group EBITDA was up slightly despite the impact of COVID-19.”

He added, “I am particularly pleased to announce that Dangote Cement shipped its first clinker cargo to Senegal from our new cement terminal in Apapa, Lagos. It has been a long journey for Nigeria, from being one of the largest bulk importers of cement, to being self-sufficient in cement production, and now an exporter of clinker.

“We are on track to ensure West and Central Africa are cement and clinker independent, with Nigeria as the main supply hub. We want to continue developing regional and continental trade between the ECOWAS countries and beyond.”

On the company’s measures against the COVID-19 pandemic, Puchercos stated, “We are committed to protecting our team members and communities by being fully compliant with health and safety measures. We remain focused on adapting to the rapidly evolving markets in which we operate. We continue to deploy our efforts to maintain our cost competitiveness while ensuring that our balance sheet is resilient.”

Barely a week after its launch, two Block makers from Lagos and Oyo States have become first star prize winners of N1 million each in the ongoing Dangote Cement Bag of Goodies Season 2 Consumer Promo.

The promo, which the management said was partly to reward loyal customers and ameliorate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on consumers, offered the winners cash prizes apart from other commercial and household items, and it is expected to run from July 15 to November 15, 2020.

A block maker based in Lanlate, in Ibarapa East local government area of Oyo State, Ojediran Kayode Stephen, who emerged the first N1 million winner in the “Spell Dangote and be a millionaire” promo, said he got the winning letters from among the 500 hundred bags of cement, which he bought to make blocks for customers.

Apart from the N1million, Ojediran said that he also won several recharge cards and extra N2,000 in the promo.

On what he would do with his winnings, he explained that he is going to invest the N1 million to expand his block making business. Said he: “I am very happy for becoming one of the first sets of people to win in the Dangote Cement Promo. I intend to use the money to expand my business. I am going to buy more bags of cement to produce more blocks.

“I thank Dangote Cement company for organizing this promo in this era of COVID-19 and I believe the money will go a long way to reduce the pain of the pandemic in the country”, he added.

Another lucky winner, the Managing Director of Afolabi Adefila Block Industry, said that he has been a user of Dangote Cement since the inception of his business, which he started several years ago.

According to him, he buys over 300 bags of Dangote Cement weekly for his block factory located in Lagos. “I patronize only Dangote Cement. This money is timely, most especially during this era of COVID-19. Dangote has been doing a lot to ameliorate the challenges of COVID-19 on Nigeria. I am aware of what the company has been doing to reduce hardship in Nigeria. The promo is just an added effort to what Dangote has already done in terms of poverty alleviation”, he said.

Reacting to the news of the first winners, the Block Makers’ association Secretary, Mr. Aina said that he is excited that members of his association have emerged as the first set of winners of the ongoing Dangote Cement promo.

He described Dangote Cement as best in terms of quality, saying the promo would help improve the association’s members’ revenue. He lauded the company’s innovate efforts at producing the best products for building construction from the stable of Dangote cement.

UBA reiterates importance of small businesses, plans MSME workshop

Kennedy Uzoka, GMD UBA Plc

In its continuous bid to support the growth of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises(MSME) and equip them with the necessary tools aimed at strengthening and sustaining their businesses, Pan African Financial Institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc is set to organise another MSME Workshop for entrepreneurs.

The workshop which will hold on Wednesday via Microsoft Teams, will host professionals who will share their experiences and give essential tips to MSME and business owners on how to their businesses to the next level.

This Workshop which will be in two separate sessions, will specifically target financial record keeping in business which has been established as one of the major challenges that business owners face and it promises to be an eye-opener to participants.

The Founder, Accounting Hub, Chioma Ifeanyi-Eze, will take the first session as she gives insights and shares practical knowledge on Bookkeeping and Accounting Basics for Small Businesses, while in the second session, UBA’s Group Head, Tax Management, Emeka Amadi, will take participants though practical steps om Tax Management for Small Businesses.

UBA’s Group Head, Consumer and Retail Banking, Jude Anele, who spoke on the bank’s deep passion to help small businesses, explained that as the engine of any developing economy, MSMEs should be armed with the necessary tools that will help galvanise their businesses, adding that this necessitated the regular MSME workshops organised by the bank to assist both its customers and non-customers to boost their businesses.

He said, “UBA is committed to the overall growth of its customers beyond banking services, and the bank’s passion is hinged on ensuring that customers and entrepreneurs run businesses that can stand the test of time with the knowledge and experience required to take their businesses to the next level.

“Because of our interest in Businesses and customers, we conceptualised the SME workshop to fill the existing gaps observed in businesses thus assisting them to learn new ways of doing business and how to package their businesses for increased patronage,” Anele noted.

UBA’s Group Head, Marketing & Customer Experience, Michelle Nwoga, said the seminar is open to all business owners and leaders across Nigeria reiterated its important because of the long-term impact which range from strengthened confidence, skills, knowledge, and resources.

Participants who register for the Teams session here, will be trained in record keeping, cost reduction, stock compiling, financial and taxation planning, maximising opportunities, financial planning and projections.

Nwoga explained that the bank is on the constant look-out for top business personalities who are able to share their growth strategies with other upcoming business owners, adding, “Our business leaders for this workshop are experienced in every sense of the word and willing to share insight with others on how to grow their business.”

Emeka Amadi is a seasoned Chartered Accounting and Tax professional with14 years’ experience. He has facilitated several seminars and training to Finance professionals and sensitising SMEs on the importance of Tax and Accounting function in business value creations.

Chioma Ifeanyi-Eze who is the Founder, Accountinghub, a tech-accounting firm, is a Chartered Accountant. She is a recipient of several awards, both academic and entrepreneurial, as well as an amazing speaker and writer.

Nestlé R&D Centre in Côte d’Ivoire supports expansion of affordable nutrition in Africa

Access to affordable nutrition is challenging for many consumers worldwide. Nestlé is accelerating its efforts to develop more affordable nutritious products for consumers, particularly those in emerging countries. This enables the company to improve its product offerings for lower-income families, many of whom live on a few dollars a day, often resulting in a lack of essential nutrients in their daily diet.

One example is the recent launch of Nestlé CerevitaInstant Sour Porridge, an affordable nutritious solution for Southeast African consumers. It is made with wholegrain cereals and fortified with key micronutrients, which are typically lacking in local consumer diets. The porridge has a higher fiber and protein content and costs about 20-25% less than the similar products available in local markets.

The porridge was developed and launched in about one year by scientists at Nestlé’s R&D Center in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, in collaboration with cross-functional teams from Southeast African markets. The R&D center leveraged its science and technology capabilities to develop a porridge that is adapted to local consumer taste preferences and nutritional requirements while minimizing production costs to ensure affordability.

“The current COVID-19 crisis around the world will lead to a further lack of affordable nutritious foods for many vulnerable consumers. We are increasing our efforts to address affordability by rapidly developing, testing, and launching safe, high-quality, affordable, nutritious products that meet the needs of Sub-Saharan African consumers,” says Tesfalidet Haile, Head of Nestlé’s R&D Center in Abidjan.

The porridge was developed with high-quality, locally and sustainably sourced ingredients, while leveraging existing roller drying and dry-mixing technologies.  Nestlé packaging experts also worked alongside local suppliers to develop an affordable, recycle able laminate packaging, which protects the product throughout the shelf-life.

The porridge was first launched in July in Zimbabwe in a limited number of stores, with a nationwide launch and rollout in more countries planned for later this year.

Nestlé’s R&D Center in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire is part of the global Nestlé R&D network, which consists of 23 locations worldwide. The center has food technologists, scientists, and engineers who primarily specialize in the innovation of cereal, dairy, snack, and beverage solutions. It also collaborates with local universities and innovation partners.  Last year, Nestlé launched an R&D innovation challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa, which saw three start-ups embark on a 4-month residency in the Nestlé R&D Accelerator for Sub-Saharan Africa, located at the R&D Center in Abidjan.

Assessing Jobberman’s initiative in bridging Nigeria’s skills gap

Unemployment is high among Nigeria’s youth population. This age demography (15-35 years) accounts for about 50% of 200 million population. To avert unemployment escalation and its dangers, Nigeria can leapfrog education and up-skill its youth for appropriate jobs through Online education especially as Covid-19 has engendered New Normal. This report assesses Jobberman’s intervention in this regard.

Late last year at the 31st Convocation of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed worry on the uncomplimentary remarks by employers of labour that Nigerian graduates are not employable.  The sweeping assessment simply means these employers of labour find it difficult to fill critical vacant positions to drive transformations.

While this challenge has implications for the smooth running of the companies and growth of the economy, it is obviously one of the factors swelling Nigeria’s unemployment rate presently at 23.1%. This means that about 50 million out of the 200 million population do not have jobs. Some of those that have jobs are not appropriately fitted for the jobs.

Unfortunately, the youth (those within the ages of 15-35 years) who form about 50% of the population account for the highest number of unemployed out of which 25 million graduates are said not to have jobs.

Yearly, Nigerian tertiary institutions churn out many graduates, some of who are ill-prepared both in character and content for their own jobs or white-collar jobs.

As at last year, there were 174 universities (43 federal universities, 52 state universities and 79 private universities). Nigeria also has 134 recognised Polytechnics in Nigeria (29 federal Polytechnics, 48 state polytechnics, 57 private polytechnics. Many of these institutions are poorly funded and they run on old models, a development which causes them to give birth to ‘poor’ students.

In the last few years, Nigeria has made strides to attract investments and equally encouraging local investments. These multi-billion dollar investments in various sectors of the economy that are competing in the global village need knowledgeable, hard-working, and articulate employees to handle tasks for the companies’ growth. It is not only about credentials, but having personable, cultured, confident and well-groomed individuals to represent the companies.

Jobberman Soft Skills Training

While speaking at the convocation, Buhari who was represented by Suleiman Yusuf, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) tasked the universities in the country to ensure that their graduates are employable. As it is and with the existing wide gap between employers’ demand and employees, the task of making Nigerian graduates, job seekers and workers fit into the new workplace environment is a task not only for Nigerian universities alone.

Jobberman’s intervention

It was in this connection that Jobberman, Nigeria’s foremost recruitment platform that helps employers and jobseekers solve their recruitment and employment challenges recently introduced its world-class online Soft Skills Training, designed to up-skill Nigerian youth aged 18 to 35 with the necessary soft skills needed in the workplace.

Ordinarily, some university graduates and other job seekers may qualify academically for certain jobs, but they need certain non-technical skills to be recruited or retained on the jobs and this is where Jobberman, driven by tested managers, is filling the gap that some universities don’t offer.

Jobberman, led by Hilda Kabushenga-Kragha who has worked in global consulting organisations including KPMG and McKinsey,  understands how the Nigerian job market works. The firm is playing this critical societal role in career services to enable young Nigerian graduates secure their dream jobs. Having the right skills for the job is beyond a university degree. Many employers are looking for employees who have the necessary soft skills that make them better individuals in the workplace and can compete globally.

Soft Skills, commonly defined as non-technical skills, enable individuals to interact effectively and cooperate better with others. These skills are vital to organizations and can impact culture, mindsets, attitudes, and behaviours throughout an enterprise.

Participants who take part in the Jobberman Soft Skills training get certificates which can be presented to many employer partners looking to hire qualified candidates. So far, it is said that over 20,000 people have participated in the first Jobberman Soft Skills post-training assessment and many of them have started getting jobs after the programme.

Jobberman’s career up-skilling has become significant in today’s Nigeria as many Nigerian higher institutions have remained stuck to the past as they are yet to integrate the necessary skills that are in high demand by the labour market into their curriculum. Most courses are still taught theoretically without practical experiences and this makes the average graduate not appropriately fitted for the demands of the present labour market, hence leading to poor labour performance.

Underscoring the Jobberman Online approach

The present time, more than ever, re-enforces technology as the backbone of business, education and the economy. Every other sector; finance, agriculture, entertainment and even government must thrive on technology. Education cannot be left out.

The lockdown, social distancing occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic has further underscored technology for business, education and relationships.

Jobberman was therefore proactive in its introduction of Online training by using a blended approach of training its student via Zoom and engaging with them further via the messaging app, telegram. While the Federal Government has shut down schools to slow the spread of the virus, education cannot be shut down and this is only possible through Online training, as introduced by Jobberman.

Ordinarily, Jobberman has evolved beyond the traditional placements of employees to leveraging more on technology to develop data-driven solutions that will up-skill job seekers and make them compete globally.

Testimonials by empowered job seekers/workers

The impact of this training has been felt by youths all over Nigeria and their testimonies are revealing.

Business-Intelligence-Manager-Jobberman-Boboye-Oreoluwa-CEO-Jobberman-Hilda-Kragha-People-Manager-Andela-Akonam-Ivy-Ikpelue-and-Lead-HR-consultant-Jobberman-Folusho-Agbaje

One of the beneficiaries, Folakemi Dare- Ojulari joined the Jobberman Soft Skills Training in June 2020. She had been job hunting for about six years and decided to take part in the training to improve her chances.

One month after her training, she not only got certified but applied for jobs and got two job offers to choose from. Folakemi believes that Jobberman is the key to her success as the classes boosted her morale and made her successful in her interviews after 6 years of searching.

Another beneficiary, Sadiat, is a prospective community leader in Kano. She is currently running her own small project for youths in her community.

Her project aims at teaching youths in the north employability skills with a major focus on self- discovery and leadership skills. She expressed her excitement at finding out about the Jobberman soft skills training and took it as an opportunity to further deepen her knowledge on soft skills so that she can have more impact on others.

She couldn’t contain her joy as she spoke about the impact the training had on her and how she hopes to spread the knowledge she acquired on “emotional intelligence” – In her words, “this is something everyone should know”. Now, she fully understands the need for soft skills as distinct from technical skills.

Ayoola, a visually impaired man who works as a Radio Journalist and Producer is also a beneficiary of Jobberman up-skill course. He has brilliantly mastered the art of utilizing technology to learn and work and his passion to learn led him to apply for the Soft Skills training.

After the training, he couldn’t help but testify that he has noticed a tremendous improvement in his self-confidence and awareness. He stated that his fear of “PowerPoint presentations and storytelling have been broken down”. Beyond his personal gains, the training has provided a platform for him to project a positive image of the blind community.

He hopes his participation can demystify the notion that disabled people can’t match up to everyone else, and also encourage young people like himself to perceive Jobberman as a partner in their search for a profitable future.

Nigeria’s population has continued to rise and it is said that in the next 30 years, the population will hit 400 million from 200 million today. Over 50% of this population will be the youth. This is the time therefore to up-skill the youth from formative level to higher education. It is also important to incorporate relevant curricula for self-employment or appropriate for other jobs to avert dangers. Jobberman’s intervention in up-skilling job seekers for the global competition is significant in this regard.

UBA Group makes key management changes across 6 new country CEOs in Africa, senior group roles

  • The new CEOs will drive the Group’s strategy and activities in Mali, Uganda, Zambia, Senegal, Tanzania and Sierra Leone respectively

United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), the leading pan-African financial services institution, has announced the appointments of Rokia Hacko, Chioma Mang, Chinedu Obeta, Bode Aregbesola, Kingsley Ulinfun and Usman Isiaka as chief executive officers of six of its 20 subsidiaries across Africa, subject to regulatory approvals. The new CEOs will drive the Group’s strategy and activities in Mali, Uganda, Zambia, Senegal, Tanzania and Sierra Leone respectively.

In addition, Ogechi Altraide has become the new Head, Retail Banking; Amadao Konate, Head, Treasury & International Payments for UBA America. These international appointments compliment the prior appointments of Sola Yomi-Ajayi as the CEO of UBA America, and Patrick Gutmann as the CEO of UBA UK. UBA provides a full suite of corporate banking products and services to businesses, multilateral institutions and governments transacting from and with Africa.

Earlier this month, UBA announced the appointment of Ayoku Liadi and Oliver Alawuba respectively, as Deputy Managing Directors in charge of the Group’s Nigeria and Africa businesses, attesting to the importance of UBA’s African business and its strategic positioning as “Africa’s Global Bank”.

UBA Group Chairman, Tony O. Elumelu, stated “The appointments further reflect the strong growth of the Group’s pan-African businesses, currently responsible for over 40% of total Group revenue and the increasing importance of our international businesses in London, Paris and New York, offering superior treasury, trading and corporate banking solutions to clients globally. We are committed to catalysing growth on the African continent and the new CEOs are taking up roles at a very exciting period, as the Group executes its innovative digital play across the African continent’’.

Also announced were the appointment of three new country Executive Directors – Haoua Cisse as the Executive Director, Wholesale, UBA Mali and Julien Kouassi as Executive Director Wholesale, UBA Côte D’Ivoire.

United Bank for Africa is one of the largest employers in the financial sector on the African continent, with over 20,000 employees group wide and serving over 20 million customers, across its approximately 1000 branches and over 30,000 ATMs, PoS, and agencies in Africa. Operating in 20 African countries and globally in the United Kingdom, the United States and France, UBA provides retail, commercial and institutional banking services, leading financial inclusion and implementing cutting edge products, including the first ever banking chat bot in Africa, LEO.

Babaeko joins 36 new jurors in 2020 Cresta Awards jury

  • Oriel Davis-Lyons, Spotify creative director chair a 121 man jury

The newly elected president of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, AAAN and the chief executive officer of X3M Ideas, Steve Babaeko, has been announced one of the thirty-six new jurors to make up one hundred and twenty one members jury for 2020 Cresta Awards.

This announcement made Babaeko the first Nigerian and West African adman to be so nominated in jury dominated by creative minds from advance markets across.

 Meanwhile, Oriel Davis-Lyons, a serial winner of more than 100 awards in his agency career, has been announced by 2020 Cresta Awards organizers as a key thought leader for the competition this year.

Announcing his nomination on his Facebook handle, Babaeko said, “Proud to be part of the Grand Jury for Cresta Awards 2020”.

Babaeko is an unusual mix of creative and businessman. His X3M Ideas Group, which he founded in 2012, has become a yardstick for a new generation of Nigerian creative entrepreneurs.

After pulling in top talents and clients, he has expanded to South-Central Africa, via Lusaka and Johannesburg, where he has opened independent offices for X3M Ideas.

Prior to X3M (which includes X3M Music, Zero Degrees Productions and Media 100 Limited), the dreadlock creative adman was the creative director at 141 Worldwide. Steve began his advertising career at M&C Saatchi and later moved to Prima Garnet Ogilvy.

For more than 23 years he has been helping to create iconic marketing campaigns. They include the “Proudly Nigerian” campaign for British American Tobacco, the “Now You’re Talking” campaign for Etisalat, and the “You Need A New Bank” campaign for Diamond Bank.

He has judged at the New York Advertising Festival, the Loeries and Cristal Awards. He has also been a speaker at the Cannes Lion Festival. He was listed in Adweek as one of the Top 100 Creatives in the World 2019.

Oriel Davis-Lyons, Creative Director, Spotify

The Cresta Jury is recruited from across the globe and consists of some of the world’s most experienced and successful creatives.

According to the organisers in s statement posted on its website https://www.cresta-awards.com/jury, the statement read, “Unlike many awards, our jury is semi-permanent with many members serving for a number of years. This helps give our awards a consistency of assessment that is a hallmark of Cresta.”

“ All jury members vote independently online, with arithmetical averaging being used to identify the highest ranked work. Jurors are able to vote without group pressures, politics, or other deviations from giving a clear insight into their individual expert creative opinion. As part of the evolution of Cresta we are developing and applying new processes to help the juror selection be more representative and supportive of diversity and gender in the industry worldwide,” the statement read.

Cresta President Alan Page in statement said, “We discussed long and hard as to who might best encapsulate our 2020 quest for creative standards,” said “We were delighted when our choice of Oriel for the role met with his interest and then agreement.

“With a career ranging from working at great agencies such as Colenso BBDO in New Zealand, to R/GA and Droga5 in New York, to now having moved to a world-leading client, Oriel represents the international and creative discipline diversity that we aspire to in these awards.’

Davis-Lyons commented: “This year, more than any other, it is important to recognize the work, the agencies and the brands that understand their role and responsibility to shape the kind of world we want to live in going forward. People are questioning everything about what we used to call ‘normal’. They want to create a society that ismore equitable and more humane and we need to hold up the work that is trying to achieve that.”

He added: “Creativity is vital right now because we are facing scenarios that have no precedent and we are tasked with finding answers to questions we have never had to ask before. Both for the brands we work for but also within our own walls. And all we have is our ability to adapt and imagine something new and better. So, I am hopeful that we will look back on this time as the most creative and most progressive our industry has ever been.”

While several awards have decided to not proceed in 2020, Cresta believes there has never been a more important time for awards to support the creative industry in demonstrating its value and its values.

To help ease the current financial challenges for entrants and to ‘level the playing field’, Cresta is waiving all fees for this year. “We just want to see the best work entered, and give our jurors the chance to promote outstanding creativity that makes the case for this industry in its cultural, social and economic value,” said Lewis Blackwell, the Cresta Awards CEO. “We have seen some great work come in so far and it looks like being a fascinating challenge for the jury.”

This year’s deadline for entering is already closed.

Ex-Liberian President, Sirleaf advocates increased resources, support to small businesses to aid combat pandemic in Africa

The former president of Liberia and Africa’s first female president, Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the International law firm Hogan Lovells seventh annual Africa Forum hold recently said, the prevailing wisdom in Africa will survive this pandemic but the effects it will leave  will be enormous.

Sirleaf who spoke at the webinar, which was attended with over four hundred business leaders in Africa, themed  “Growth and Sustainability” stated that, “For Africa, mitigating interventions include increasing resources from multilateral lending agencies, direct support to keep households afloat and businesses solvent, and scaling up support to the informal sector, which predominantly employs women.”

This year’s forum assembled panelists to discuss Africa’s business critical challenges emerging from the global pandemic of COVID-19, as well as the effects of climate change, and the importance of leaders who are championing the continent towards sustainable future growth.

Addressing the global pandemic, Sirleaf Her Excellency commented, “The truth is that unless we address the issues of the pandemic and its presenting challenges, not only are we all ultimately susceptible to poor health but also we risk all other aspects of our collective existence and enduring partnerships.”

On climate change, the Nobel Peace Laureate stated that, “It has been said climate change poses a relationship between energy and development. It has redefined the relationships and expectations between business, governments and people.

Adding that “It is a fact that Africa, unlike other regions of the world, has contributed less to the climate crisis we now face. However, such is the interconnectedness of our world that despite this and the fact that many on the continent are without electricity, Africa faces a higher burden than most on changes for climate. Is Africa ready for sustainable values? Is Africa ready to resume full responsibility for its development? Yes. Africa is ready.”

Head of Hogan Lovells Africa Practice, Andrew Skipper, said, “I was delighted to host our seventh Africa Forum virtually and with such an exceptional array of speakers. We at Hogan Lovells were determined to remain present in Africa despite being in the midst of the global pandemic, and we did so. To say COVID-19 has changed the world is an understatement and featured as a backdrop to our discussions. The immediate and lasting effect of the virus is still reverberating, and while it will undoubtedly have a fundamental impact on the way we do business in Africa, from Africa and across Africa, the positive and robust discussions showed a way forward brimming with hope.”

“Looking back to 2019, the adverse impact of climate change around the world had even the most hardened sceptics paying attention. The continent of Africa is one of the most vulnerable to the forces of climate change, although it contributes the least to global warming. Nevertheless, the forum showed there is much optimism for championing Africa as a leader in sustainable future growth and hope for future generations,” concludes Skipper.

Orange, NSIA launch Orange Bank Africa to provide greater access to financial services, improve financial inclusion in West Africa

Orange, a major telecoms provider in Africa and the Middle East, and NSIA, a leader of banc assurance, have announced the launch of Orange Bank Africa in Abidjan and Côte d’Ivoire.

Orange Bank Africa, headed by Jean-Louis Menann-Kouamé, will offer clients a range of simple savings and credit services available at all times via mobile phone.

Orange Bank Africa will address the needs of a large part of the population, often excluded from the world of conventional banking, allowing them to borrow and save small amounts that are nonetheless essential for their everyday lives. When it launches, Orange Bank Africa via its Orange Money service will offer a range of savings and micro credit services allowing customers to borrow as little as 5,000 CFA francs instantly using their mobile phone.

Orange’s mobile financial services strategy in Africa aims to offer solutions accessible to the broadest population regardless of their income or where they live. Orange Bank Africa intends to become a leader in ensuring financial inclusion in West Africa.

Orange Chairman and CEO, Stéphane Richard, explained, “New technology is needed to strengthen financial inclusion and support economic development, as proven by mobile money over the past few years. Banking is a new area of business for Orange in Africa. It falls squarely in line with our strategy as a multi-service operator and our desire to drive the digital transformation forward in Africa. Based on our association with NSIA, also a leader on the market in Africa, we provide easy access to bank services for as many people as possible, with simple and essential services that benefit all our clients.”

Jean Kacou Diagou, CEO of NSIA, added, “I am very pleased that the partnership between Orange and NSIA has resulted in the creation of Orange Bank Africa. For the past 25 years, NSIA Group has been developing bank and insurance solutions to address the needs of African people and make them available to as many people as possible. We know that electronic banking is vital for the financial inclusion of our customers. We are proud to have combined our expertise and human capital with that of Orange to create the fully digital Orange Bank Africa.”

Orange Bank Africa will expand into Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso.

Having played an essential part in financial transactions for several years now, Orange Money and digital services became even more important and more rapidly adopted by users during the health crisis. With this in mind, Orange believes that mobile banking has an important role to play in Africa. It is the very essence of Orange’s purpose of providing everyone with the keys to a responsible digital world.

China investments in Africa may decline due to pandemic- FBNQuest

The main talking point about Sino-African relations in the COVID-19 experience has been the extent to which China will take part in the G20 initiative to defer sovereign debt repayments. This came up in a webinar on ‘China-Africa Policy in the Age of COVID: A New Normal?’ but more revealing was the discussion on the direction of Chinese investment. The event was organized by a prominent London-based business platform for the continent.

The consensus was that aggregate Chinese investment in Africa will decline in the straitened circumstances globally and take a new direction. The mega-infrastructure projects such as the Addis-Djibouti railway belong to the past. Tejinder Singh, noted a move in financing away from the sovereign obligor structure over the past 18 months (and so pre-COVID). African governments had become increasingly reluctant to issue guarantees.

Without such cover, projects must be bankable and stand on their own feet. Chinese investors/builders, whether public or private sector, are looking for more infrastructure financing in local currency to match any receivables. They are also looking at the possibility of public-private partnerships (PPP) for roads and airports, which have a chequered record in Africa and elsewhere. Attendees felt that all parties had come to expect too much from Sinosure (China export and credit insurance corporation).

Fred Wen, Vice President of the South African China Economic and Trade Association, saw a much larger role for Chinese venture capital. The industry body for Africa has estimated that the Chinese share of venture capital exposure to the continent is just 2 per cent. On a sectoral basis, the consensus was that Chinese investment in manufacturing will rise in the years ahead.

A study by McKinsey last year put annual industrial production in Africa at US$500bn and estimated the share of the Chinese private sector at 12 per cent. Singh indicated that just 40 per cent of these companies made use of local supply chains. Twyford Ceramics works with such chains. This Chinese company was founded in Kenya, set up operations in other East African markets and has this year opened a plant in Senegal. Its products are a core input for housing projects. Africa is short of housing and China has made a name for itself in the affordable segment with a large project completed in Angola.

Attendees were asked how African governments would position themselves in the conflict between the Chinese telecoms firm Huawei and Western states. Wen urged the protagonists to calm down and Adebola Omololu, director for corporate development at KaiOS Technologies in China, felt that Africa would stay outside the dispute. This will be difficult in our view since both sides to the dispute will be applying pressure. Huawei and China in general have created a niche for themselves in Africa by offering affordable products to a young population. The protagonists will just have to co-exist.

Finally, we learnt from Omololu about African investment in China. The stock could be as high as US$25bn according to sources in Beijing. The most successful play has been the purchase by Naspers of South Africa of an interest in Tencent, a Chinese social media and gaming operation. African governments have together sunk US$700m into the Shanghai headquarters of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. About 800 African companies have invested in China, and we should not forget the renminbi holdings in the reserves of the Nigerian and other central banks, said, Gregory Kronsten, Head Macroeconomic and Fixed Income Research, FBNQuest.

‘Switchboard’ unveiled to deepen Insurance access, penetration

A new portal has been unveiled to increase access to insurance service, broaden coverage, ease brokerage and enhance interaction between the market and the insurers.

The digital interface, according to the host, eTranzact International Plc, will make insurance business fun and convenient in the new normal.

The platform, the Nigerian Insurance Supermarket (NISMART), unveiled in Lagos, on Tuesday, will enable users to select an insurance product from a pool, process, pay and collect certificate seamlessly. It was rolled out by eTranzact in partnership with Akko Global.

Already, 15 insurance firms have signed up on the dashboard, which Chief Executive Officer of eTranzact, Niyi Toluwalope, said would transform insurance business, increase competition and serve as ready tool for brokers.

“Having recognised the significant impact of the insurance sector on the economy, there is no better time to launch this insurance solution than now. Though the times are interesting, this goes to demonstrate our pro-activeness in ensuring there is a trusted and reliable platform that caters to the insurance needs of Nigerians amidst COVID-19. Customers need quick, easy, smart, convenient and trusted access to purchase any kind of insurance cover. This is what NISMART stands for,” he stated.

According to Toluwalope, the platform is a single digital market place where anybody can visit to buy any insurance product of his choice. He said it would increase efficiency and bring down the prices, which would expand the reach of insurance. He added that the product would increase transparency as it provides an opportunity for users to give feedback on available products and insurers.

From Left: Deputy Managing Director, eTranzact International Plc, Hakeem Adeniji-Adele; Managing Director, Akko Global, Mr. Wale Adewuni; MD/CEO, eTranzact International Plc Mr. Niyi Toluwalope and Group Head, Business Development (Private Sector) eTranzact International Plc, Adeyemi Adeyemo at the launch of Nigerian Insurance Supermarket powered by eTranzact.

Also commenting on the platform, Deputy Managing Director of the Company, Hakeem Adenjiji-Ade, said the portal would democratise the insurance business and simply buying decision-making.

He said: “There are a lot of insurance companies that are regional and state-based. This will give such companies access to the market. There are massive opportunities for brokers and insurance compannies to boost sales.

“NISMART is creating an omni-channel experience. That means you access it on your phone, laptop and computer. That gives access, which is very critical to growth. To increase the number of insured, we should be looking at crashing the cost. This is what the platform aims at achieving.”

Adeniji-Adele said the portal is the entry point into creating the required data required to grow the industry. He noted that most decisions are on random events, which may not reflect scientific market insights, adding that NISMART is aimed at aggregating industry data and boosting the market.

According to him, the “seamless and secured interface” would be extended to health, education and other critical sectors of the economy. The idea, he said, is to increase inclusion.

eTranzact is Nigeria’s foremost epayment platform. 

Olukorede Adenowo earned double promotions in 2020 at Standard Chartered , now Executive Director

The current Head of corporate and Institutional Banking business in Nigeria at Standard Chartered Nigeria, Mr. Olukorede Adenowo, has been promoted to the position of the executive director at the bank, earning double promotion in 2020.

Adenowo appointment as ED follows his recent elevation earlier in the year as Head of Corporate and Institutional Banking business in Nigeria where he is responsible for driving and implementing the Bank’s business strategy for its corporate clients.

Prior to his appointment, Adenowo was the Chief Executive Officer for Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) The Gambia with dual responsibility of managing the Bank’s business interest in Senegal.

 He has been a Non-Executive Director of SCB Sierra Leone from 2014 and also currently serves as a Non-Executive Director on the Board of Standard Chartered Bank Gambia.

Adenowo has a total of 33 years post-university experience in banking, Finance and consulting.

He was a founding staff of Standard Chartered Bank in Nigeria and has held various senior positions in Standard Chartered Bank Group in the last 21 years.

Adenowo has served as Head of Origination and Client Corporate for Standard Chartered Bank, West Africa; Deputy Managing Director of Standard Chartered Bank Cameroon and a senior management executive in the Wholesale Bank in Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria.

In his penultimate role as Africa Co-Head Financial Institutions and Public Sector business for SCB, he has provided strong leadership in building and managing key strategic FI relationships across West Africa. He worked closely with several Banks and Governments across the region such as Cameroon, Gabon, Senegal, Ghana, and most recently Nigeria in advising them on accessing international capital markets and ultimately improving the banks visibility in Public Sector for business success and growth in an increasingly stringent regulatory environment.

He was appointed the first Regional Head of Global Corporates for Standard Chartered Africa where he led the Africa Multinational business. Adenowo had worked with defunct Societe Generale Bank and Deloitte Nigeria, where he qualified as a chartered accountant in 1990 before joining Standard Chartered Bank.

An Economist cum Chartered Accountant; Adenowo was appointed Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Institute Accountants of Nigeria in 2000.

He is an alumnus of INSEAD and Said Business School of Oxford University where he had management training in Leadership and holds an MBA from the Lagos Business School.

OVH Energy concludes first phase of COVID-19 intervention in Nigeria

OVH Energy Marketing, a licensee of the Oando retail brand, has wrapped up the first phase of its support for the Federal Government’s efforts at combating COVID-19 in Nigeria. The company’s intervention includes various donations such as N50 million towards NNPC’s collective intervention funds made through Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), supply of test kits and the sum of N200 million as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, donation of palliatives to host communities in Apapa, Onne, Ogu and Kaduna to help cushion the negative effects of COVID-19.

As part of the contribution, OVH Energy has heightened safety and hygiene standards in all its facilities to ensure protection for clients, neighbors, customers and staff on essential duty who have carried on operations. The organization has also distributed protective masks and OVH Energy produced hand sanitizers – ‘OVH Energy Hand Sanitizer’ to all OVH Energy Marketing staff at its operations facilities and retail outlets nationwide initiating its DIY (Do it Yourself) protocols.

Speaking on this initiative, the Chief Executive Officer, Huub Stokman said, “We each have our role to play in ensuring the safe health and well-being of everyone during these unprecedented times. Our donations underscore our support for nation-wide relief efforts and we appreciate the Government’s interventions so far and are proud to collaborate to ensure that critical stakeholders such as front line staff are protected during this crisis, and to enable more tests to be carried out in order to help save lives and ultimately defeat the pandemic.”

He also added that, “the spread of the Coronavirus in Nigeria meant that we immediately triggered our BCP (Business Continuity Plan) and initiated efforts to minimize the spread as much as we could. In times like this, personal hygiene measures cannot be overemphasized. We have shared with our employees measures which they should take in order to protect themselves and families. We have also urged them to follow directives provided by health authorities. We will continue to monitor latest developments on the situation to take appropriate measures”.

OVH Energy’s donations have also been used to improve hospital facilities and establish isolation centers in Abuja and Yola. The company has scheduled the distribution of 3000 test kits across the country in states that have been hit the hardest by COVID-19. The company’s provision of palliatives in form of food items and other materials has fed and supported over 320 families in communities where it operates, including Onne and Ogu – Rivers State, Apapa Marine Beach & Orisunmibare – Lagos State, Ekpan –Warri and Tasu  Mahuta- Kaduna respectively.

Block Makers Association endorses Dangote Cement promo

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Block makers and artisans who are major users of cement have endorsed the ongoing Dangote Cement bag of goodies season 2 promo. The building sector professionals drawn from different parts of Nigeria agreed that the promo which is expected to produce 1000 millionaires is a welcome palliative in the period of COVID-19 scourge.

President of Block Makers Association of Nigeria, Chief Rashidi Adebowale, endorsing the promo said his association is looking forward to benefit from the ongoing Dangote Cement Season 2 Consumer Promo. Speaking in Lagos, Adebowale disclosed that the association will be sending out circulars to members of the association to notify them of the promo and the need to check every cement bag they purchase during the promo period.

According to him, many members of the association benefited from the Season One promo, but lamented that it was more beneficial to the artisans employed by the block makers to work for them. “This time around, we are going to ensure close monitory of every Dangote Cement bag that we will purchase during this promo period. This will enable our members to feel the impact of the promo”, he said.

He commended the Dangote Cement’s management for investing on its consumers through consumer promotion. He said that the company has proved to be truly Nigerian company for always having the interest of the block makers at heart.

Akim Akpan who operates a block making factory in Eket, Akwa Ibom State lauded Dangote Cement for coming out with the promo after the success of season one. He said it is a good development that Dangote Cement is giving back to consumers of cement products which is an incentive to maintain brand loyalty and buying of more products.

 Akpan in a phone interview noted that in the last promo, a star prize winner emerged from the state which shows the transparency of Dangote Cement in conducting the promo. He added that the promo drives block making business as people who ordinarily would have delayed their projects now want to build and win prizes in the process.

Calling the promo, a win-win situation, he said that people will continue to work on their projects and at the same time win fantastic prizes.

A block maker in Ihiala, Anambra State, Emeka Okike, described the promo as a way of allowing consumers of cement gain from the company while working on their projects. Emeka who disclosed that he won a lot of airtime in the last promo said that he is hoping to win either the star prize of N1million or at least a tricycle to help him in his business. He added that one of the star prize winners in the last promo bought the winning bags from a dealer not far from his block industry premises.

Endorsing the promo, he said that it is a welcome development which will help block makers a lot especially in the rainy season when the building sector experiences a lull.

FirstBank rewards Verve Card holders with free fuel

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s leading financial inclusion services provider is set to reward customers for Verve Card usage in its Free Fuel Promotion.

The Free Fuel promo which is activated by FirstBank in collaboration with Verve International and Oando Plc. kicked off on Monday, 6 July 2020 to Friday, 24 July 2020 between 6 am and 6 pm.

In the promo, for a minimum of N3,000 fuel purchase, FirstBank Verve Cardholders will receive 5 extra litres of fuel for FREE instantly at selected Oando Fuel Stations across Lagos every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. The Oando fuel stations where the promo will run are Abijo (Lekki Stillwaters), Fola-Agoro, Maryland, Agege-Bypass, Lakowe, Lawanson, Ojodu- Berger, Alapere, Shiro Road (Fadeyi Ikorodu Rd.), Awolowo Rd (by Fire Service), Marina, and Tradefair stations.

Verve card is a secure debit card that allows the cardholder to conveniently meet day to day financial needs such as payment for goods and services, airtime recharge, bill payments, funds transfer, etc. It is accepted across all ATMs, POS, Web and Mobile Platforms in Nigeria.

Experts to discuss Nigeria’s business community, MSMEs July 22

The Founder and CEO of Nigeria’s leading Media and Public Relations company, BHM, Ayeni Adekunle, has been confirmed to speak at the annual Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) Public Lecture.

Scheduled to hold virtually on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, the Public Lecture is themed “Survival of MSMEs during Uncertain Times: Is Corporate Governance a Luxury or Necessity?”.

Speaking ahead of the event, Ayeni said, “With the economic hardship associated with the COVID-19 pandemic that has grounded the global economy, businesses are in unprecedented times. Their survival now depends on their readiness to dismantle the status quo and rethink their approach despite the imminent threats they face. The ICSAN Public Lecture presents the perfect opportunity for Nigerian businesses to come together and forge a path aimed at a beneficial future.”

A reputable Nigerian entrepreneur and investor, Ayeni founded BHM in 2006 and the company currently serves a wide range of high-end clientele spread across different sectors including FMCGs, telecommunication, and media services.

BHM has pioneered several initiatives in the Nigerian PR sector, one of them being the BHM App, the first PR mobile application for Nigerian public relations practitioners. The company is also responsible for the first-ever annual Nigeria PR Report dedicated to documenting and analyzing data within the industry.

Since starting BHM, Ayeni has founded Nigeria’s premiere entertainment website- Nigerian Entertainment Today, the umbrella entertainment conference for Nigeria’s creative sector – Nigerian Entertainment Conference, digital communications and content marketing agency, ID Africa, as well as consumer tech product, Plaqad. He also sits on the board of many companies, including 618 Bees, F316 Consulting and PinPoint Media.

Ayeni is a fellow of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN), a member of Public Relations Consultant Association of Nigeria (PRCAN), a member of Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations UK, (CIPR), member of the Public Relations Association of America (PRSA), and member of the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), the world’s largest PR professional body.

Other speakers expected at the event include Prof. Chris Ogbechie, a Strategic Management Professor at Lagos Business School, Ndidi Nwuneli, Co-founder AACE Food Processing and Distribution, and Sola Dawodu, an SME Catalyst.

The ICSAN Public Lecture is annually attended by governance professionals, regulators such as the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN), the Nigerian Stock Exchange, members of the academia, thought moguls, and the media.

Taiwo Ganiyat Olusesi, Registrar of ICSAN, says, “as the leading professional body to corporate governance and administration, the theme of this year’s Public Lecture is of utmost importance. The council is most grateful to have Ayeni Adekunle speak at the lecture as he brings with him a wealth of experience, and we are sure the participants will benefit immensely from the session.”

ICSAN, a statutory body established by an Act of the Nigerian Parliament to provide guidance and professional education leading to the professional qualification as a Chartered Secretary and Administrator, is reputed for being a leading global voice on good Corporate and Public Governance.

How Betway got BBNaija Season 5 underway in spectacular fashion

The fifth season of Big Brother Naija, sponsored by leading online entertainment and gaming brand, Betway, officially kicked off on Sunday, July 19, 2020 with a grand premiere anchored by the show’s long-time host and Betway ambassador, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu.

The premiere saw the introduction of 20 housemates who will be competing for the 85 Million Naira grand prize – the biggest grand prize in the history of BBNaija – as well as a variety of other prizes courtesy of Betway.

Betway had unveiled superstar producer Don Jazzy, and media personality, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, as its BBNaija ambassadors at a virtual press briefing a few days ago with Country Manager, Lere Awokoya, saying, “Don Jazzy and Ebuka are two of Nigeria’s leading pop culture influencers and trendsetters. Through our partnership with these two superstars, and with Betway as BBNaija’s headline sponsor, we are able to connect even more with a passionate entertainment audience and bring the ultimate gaming experience to millions of Nigerians.”

Since their unveiling, the duo of Ebuka and Don Jazzy have taken to social media to celebrate the brand and their new positions. Don Jazzy, in his usual fashion and in partnership with Betway, has been giving away cash gifts to while also promising that there will be even more giveaways as the new season gets underway.

As the headline sponsor for this season of Big Brother Naija, Betway is set to add to the thrill of the BBNaija experience through its weekly Arena Games, and a variety of gaming activities, both on the show and on the various Betway platforms – all of which will give viewers the chance to win exciting prizes.

Ebuka Obi-uchendu

Speaking on the partnership and the brand’s plans for housemates and viewers of the show this season, Lere Awokoya said, “Betway’s collaboration with Big Brother Naija presents us with the opportunity to engage and connect with Nigerians through our amazing range of sports betting and online games. There are tons of activities planned and prizes to be won, and we are looking forward to unveiling them over the next 71 days.”

Indomie Fan Club ‘Bright Minds’ App debuts on Google Play Store

 Indomie Fan Club, the largest children fan club in Nigeria created by Dufil Prima Foods Plc, makers of Indomie Instant Noodles have launched a new child-centered educational app called Indomie Fan Club (IFC) Bright Mindsapp for its teeming members on Google Play Store.

Bright Minds, the newly launched app offers a curated collection of kid-friendly subjects and games exclusively for Indomie Fan Club (IFC) members. What makes the app unique is the substantial educational value it offers to kids, especially primary school-aged students.

Speaking on the app, National Coordinator of the club, Mrs. Faith Joshua explained that children’s education doesn’t have to stop as a result of the restriction of movement occasioned by the Covid-19pandemic. “The app is available on iPhone, iPad, and Android and will keep fan club members mind actively engaged outside the classroom. The great thing about the app is that it works offline, a necessity in Nigeria where internet access is not always available.”

Mrs. Faith Joshua noted that all fan club members will need a passcode to access the app after download. “When you launch Bright Minds, you can filter the app selections by recommended ages, classes, subject matter (e.g.mathematics, vocational aptitude, art, social studies, general science, etc.).”

Also speaking on the app, the Group Public Relations and Event Manager, Dufil Prima Foods Plc, Mr. Tope Ashiwaju disclosed that as the children’s favourite brand, Indomie will continue to strive to ensure that the Nigerian child is happy by creating fun, excitement, bonding, and an enabling environment for them through the fan club.

“Indomie is a children-centric brand, and as such we will continue to support causes and activities that will help their development both mentally and physically and as well ensure that they are happy,” he said.

The Men’s Club season 3 set to screen on REDTV July 22

Despite the disruptions and prolonged lockdown occasioned by the global coronavirus pandemic, The Men’s Club season 3 (TMC3) series is set premiere on July 22, 2020 with a firm promise to do much more than excite its teeming and sophisticated audience with the adventures of four Nigerian men and how they navigate their mainly drama-filled tumultuous love lives.

Commenting on the TMC season 3, Bola Atta, Executive Director, REDTV and Group Director, Corporate Communication at UBA Plc, expressed delight in being able to “wear several hats” in her role at UBA, one of them being an Executive Producer for REDTV; emphasising TV production as her passion.

Shedding light on the latest season, the corporate Amazon said: “The Men’s Club is a series about 4 young men; Aminu, Tayo, Lanre and Louis, who are navigating life, winding through several relationships, breaking hearts and getting hearts broken. Now in its third season, completing filming which began pre -pandemic, was a learning process itself. Cast and crew were tested for Covid-19 and when thankfully they all tested negative, were placed in residence (of maximum 20 persons).

“Disinfecting every day; following strict protocols for sanitisation and distancing on set. It wasn’t easy, but we got it done! Here is a trailer of TMC3 which will be out on REDTV on July 22, 2020,” she said.

Radisson Hotel Group announces six new hotels in Africa

Radisson Hotel Group has announced additional six new hotels to its African portfolio, bringing the total to almost 100 hotels across 32 African markets.

Building on the recent announcement of its reinforced African development team structure, the announcement of the six new hotels further demonstrates the Group’s commitment to the continent. 

Elie Younes, Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer, Radisson Hotel Group, said: “We believe in the vast potential of Africa. The addition of the six hotels, following the announcement of Radisson Hotel Saint Denis earlier this year places us firmly on track to reach over 150 hotels in operation and under development across the continent within the next five years.”

He said, “The new hotel announcements include our debut in new markets, the introduction of additional brands and the strengthening of our presence in cities we’ve identified for scaled growth. We thank our hotel partners for their invaluable trust in Radisson Hotel Group and its people”

Further commenting on this achievement, Ramsay Rankoussi, Vice President, Development, Africa & Turkey, Radisson Hotel Group, stated, “Our growth has been well balanced between green field projects and strategic take-overs of existing hotels. We aim to further accelerate our presence across the continent through conversions, especially as liquidity remains a critical challenge. We have revisited our brand architecture to enable us to quickly integrate existing hotels to our network. This strategy will be reinforced as our brands continue to demonstrate a better value proposition to our owners. Following our revised strategy, we believe we are now geared in providing solutions to the investment community for every type of asset, every segment and at every stage – from funding, to construction and repositioning.”

The six new hotel deals include:

Radisson Collection Hotel Bamako, Mali

Scheduled to open within the next six months following a re-branding, the hotel introduces Radisson Hotel Group’s premium lifestyle brand to Africa, as the first Radisson Collection hotel to open in the continent.

The operational hotel is currently rated number one on TripAdvisor for its prime location in the heart of Bamako and proximity to the city’s diplomatic district and great accessibility. The 200-room affordable luxury hotel will offer exceptional dining experiences across its five food and beverage outlets, from an all-day dining restaurant and a specialty restaurant to a café, a bar and an executive lounge. The hotel also offers an expansive 1,200sqm meeting & events area consisting of a ballroom and seven conference rooms. For the ultimate contemporary living, guests can stay fit in the hotel’s fully equipped gym or unwind in a serene setting within the spa or alongside the pool.

With the introduction of Radisson Collection in the city, the existing Radisson Blu Hotel, Bamako is expected to commence a full renovation program towards year end.

Radisson Blu Hotel Abuja City Centre, Nigeria

The Radisson Blu Hotel Abuja City Centre, scheduled to open in 2024, is the Group’s first hotel in the city, complementing the existing nine hotels in operation and under development in Nigeria.

Located in the heart of the central business district of Nigeria’s Federal Capital, the 258-room hotel will boast five different food and beverage outlets from a specialty restaurant and all-day-dining restaurant to a Lobby Bar & Café, a picturesque pool terrace and a premium business class lounge. The leisure facilities will include a 555sqm wellness spa, a gym and a swimming pool to maintain guest’s wellness.

Radisson Hotel & Convention Centre Johannesburg, O.R. Tambo

Scheduled to open before year end, the hotel will introduce the Group’s upscale Radisson brand to Johannesburg. Located on a private estate in Bredell, Kempton Park, the hotel has easy access to major highways joining Johannesburg and Pretoria and is approximately 10 minutes’ drive away from O.R Tambo International Airport, Africa’s biggest and busiest airport, facilitating over 21 million passengers in 2018.

The newly built hotel will offer an array of dining options, including four restaurants, three bars an entertainment deck and an executive lounge.

The hotels 289 modern and timelessly designed rooms comprise of 248 which are newly built and 41 which have been converted from an existing hotel. In addition, it has a large MICE facility, which includes a significant conference centre with a 1,260-seater auditorium and five conference rooms. The leisure facilities will include a gym, spa & wellness centre as well as three outdoor pools.

Radisson Hotel Addis Ababa

Radisson Hotel Group’s fifth hotel in Ethiopia, scheduled to open in 2021, is located just 4km from Ethiopia’s newly expanded Addis Ababa Bole International Airport terminal, now the biggest airport aviation hub in Africa, expected to accommodate 22 million passengers a year.

The 114-room hotel will boast a wide variety of food and drink outlets, the hotel will offer guests a truly local experience in a traditional Ethiopian specialty restaurant and bar and appease international taste buds in a bespoke all-day-dining restaurant which leads out into a pool bar. In addition, the hotel will also have a third bespoke panoramic bar.

Radisson Hotel & Apartments Accra, Ghana

The hotel, scheduled to open in 2023, is a full renovation of an existing 121 room hotel and construction of an additional tower which will offer 54 hotel apartments, creating a mixed-use development. The hotel is located on Tema Highway, Ghana’s largest port located to the East of Accra. Within a 3km radius of the hotel is the Kotoka International Airport, Accra Mall and the Airport City complex, a mixed-use development with several Grade AAA office towers and retail outlets.

From an all-day dining restaurant, lobby bar and rooftop restaurant, bar and pool terrace, every culinary preference will be catered for. The versatile meeting and events facilities are made up of 12 different venues with an area of 1,173sqm. The hotel will also include a gym, spa and swimming pool.

Park Inn by Radisson, Durban Intl. Airport, Dube, South Africa

The new-build hotel introduces the upper midscale Park Inn by Radisson brand to Durban and strengthens Radisson Hotel Group’s current portfolio of 15 hotels (3,007 rooms) in operation and under development in the country. It will also complement the national business circuit with a Park Inn by Radisson in each of the three major cities of South Africa (Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg).

Claiming its foremost milestone, it is the first hotel within Dube Trade Port Special Economic Zone, which forms the heart of the first purpose-planned aerotropolis in Africa, around King Shaka International Airport. The 168-room hotel scheduled to open in 2022, will have a lobby bar, rooftop all-day dining restaurant and rooftop pool terrace with eight different meeting & event venues.

Coronavirus safety, our priority at Transcorp Hilton Abuja, says Dupe Olusola

The MD/CEO of Transcorp Hotels Plc, Dupe Olusola said the key priority of its properties, Transcorp Hilton Abuja and Transcorp Hotels Calabar, is safety amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. She said this at the Africa Tomorrow Hospitality conference during her spotlight discussion led by Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, Founder and Chairman on APO Group, a pan African communications Consultancy.

The focus discussion was to deep dive into the leading hospitality brand’s strategy to keep both its hotels open at the onset of the pandemic, the ancillary revenue streams it tapped into and their post COVID-19 plans for recovery.

Commenting on the impact of the pandemic, Dupe Olusola said “The COVID-19 crisis is challenging for all industries. However, the hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit due to the lockdowns implemented globally. The African Union estimated that Africa’s tourism industry lost about $55billion in Travel and Tourism revenue. Bringing this home, we witnessed a drop in numbers in our occupancy and revenue metrics when the virus hit. Regardless, we set our priorities at the onset of the lockdown which was to stay open to cater to our extended stay guests, make their safety and that of our employees our topmost priority and also keep operations running at a minimal level”.

“Not closing down the hotel during the lockdown was one of the best decisions we made. It gave our hotels clarity on the hygiene standards we wanted to maintain, constantly training the staff on operating cleaning protocols and set guidelines from health experts to get to where we are now. Our learning curve has been quick as we are better prepared more than ever to welcome all our loyal guests back.”

When asked by the host Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard to shed some light on the guidelines the hotels are working with, she referenced that being part of the Transcorp Group, which also owned a power plant with hundreds of staff who were in full operation during the lockdown, gave her insights into some things that needed to be done. Also, the strategic partnership with Hilton birthed the Hilton CleanStay Program which Transcorp Hilton Abuja has currently employed.

Mrs Olusola expatiated on the program saying that it emphasizes on extra disinfection of frequently touched areas in guest rooms such as light switches and door handles, increased cleaning frequency of public areas including elevator buttons, hand rails etc. Other aspects of the program include the use of a Hilton CleanStay Room Seal applied on the doors of all cleaned guestrooms to let guests know that no one has accessed the rooms since they were thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Also, the application of an anti-viral solution to sanitise the air within the hotel space regularly, amongst many other guidelines. The focus on enhanced cleanliness is visible to guests throughout their entire stay experience from check-in to check-out.

She further said “Amid the chaos that the virus birthed, there has been a lot of learning to improve on our already heightened safety standards and to create innovative solutions to maintain top of mind awareness with our guests. One of such solutions is the Drive-in cinema launched at Transcorp Hilton Abuja which provides guests a unique entertainment experience in the comfort of their vehicles, while adhering to the physical distancing guidelines. She stressed that Transcorp Hotels has so much to offer to the leisure market and those looking for fun activities and good food while at it.”

“The easing of the lockdown, coupled with the confidence our guests have in our standards, have seen our occupancy slowly increase. As we continuously evolve on our hygiene and cleanliness guidelines during

the pandemic, we are incredibly mindful of providing excellent customer experience and delivering exceptional quality and service that we are known for across our Group.” She noted.

The Africa Tomorrow Conference was organised by Africa Hotels and Investment Forum (AHIF) a top-level gathering of investors, developers and business leaders, connecting the industry’s key players from both local and international markets.

Betway unveils Don Jazzy and Ebuka as Big Brother Naija ambassadors

L-R: Lere Awokoya; Country Manager, Betway Nigeria, Don Jazzy; Superstar producer, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu; Media Personality and BBNaija Host and Chris Ubosi; Managing Director, Megalectrics Limited and Director, Digibay during the Betway BBNaija Ambassador’s signing ceremony yesterday.

Leading online entertainment and gaming brand, Betway has unveiled superstar producer, Don Jazzy, and media personality and long-time BBNaija host, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu as its BBNaija ambassadors. This comes shortly after Betway was announced as the lead sponsor of the fifth season of Africa’s biggest reality TV show, Big Brother Naija, which is scheduled to premiere on July 19, 2020.

Ebuka – who returns as the host of BBNaija for the fourth time this year – said, “Betway is one of the world’s biggest gaming and entertainment brands, while Big Brother Naija is Africa’s biggest reality TV show. So, I’m incredibly proud and grateful to be involved with both brands. BBNaija season 5 is going to be the biggest and most exciting one yet, and I can’t wait to share all the drama and excitement with Betway customers and BBNaija fans all over the world.”

Ebuka Obi-Uchendu; Media Personality and BBNaija Host during the Betway BBNaija Ambassador’s signing ceremony last week

Don Jazzy, who remains one of Nigeria’s most celebrated and influential entertainers, shared his excitement, saying, “I’m so delighted to be partnering with Betway on Big Brother Naija season 5. My fans can expect to get the best of entertainment, banter, fun and excitement from me, Ebuka, and the Betway team throughout this season of BBNaija. It’s game on, from July 19th!”

Speaking during the unveiling and signing ceremony, Betway Country Manager, Lere Awokoya said, “Don Jazzy and Ebuka are two of Nigeria’s leading pop culture influencers and trendsetters. Through our partnership with these two superstars, and with Betway as BBNaija’s lead sponsor, we are able to connect even more with a passionate entertainment audience and bring the ultimate gaming experience to millions of Nigerians.”

Don Jazzy; Superstar producer during the Betway BBNaija Ambassador’s signing ceremony last week

As Big Brother Naija’s lead sponsor, Betway will promote a spirit of competition among the housemates, as well as fans and viewers of the show. Betway will also add to the thrill of the BBNaija experience through its weekly Arena Games, and a variety of gaming activities, both on the TV show and on Betway platforms – all of which give viewers the chance to play and win.

MTN, Samsung support the fight against COVID-19

  • Donates communication gadgets and SIM cards to Isolation Centres

As part of ongoing drive to support the Federal Government’s continued effort against the spread of the corona virus, Samsung and MTN Nigeria have provided communication support to health workers across the country.

Five hundred A2 Core phones from Samsung together with SIM cards and 2GB data monthly for six months from MTN will be given to case managers in the isolation centres across the 36 states of the country as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This donation eases the process of data capturing and case reporting in these centres, supporting the government’s strategic plan in dealing with the pandemic.

Commenting, Chief Corporate Services Officer, MTN Nigeria, Tobechukwu Okigbo, said that to win the fight against the corona virus, Nigerians – corporates and individuals must continue to work with the government. “Everyone that calls Nigeria home must see this pandemic as an opportunity to unite in service to the country, for the greater good of us all. We are only good together. MTN will continue to look for ways to collaborate with other stakeholders to help the government flatten the curve.”

Samsung’s Managing Director, Caden Yu describes the initiative as the company’s commitment to supporting the government in these times. ‘’Our thoughts are with every Nigerian and this donation is a way of using our resources to fight this pandemic. The survival of the human race is hinged on our collaborative effort; together we will get through this.”

L – R: Winston Nkanor, Head of HR and CSR at Samsung; Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Hon. Minister for Health; Adetunji Taiwo, Head of Mobile at Samsung and Anas Galadima, Senior Manager, Public Affairs, MTN Nigeria at the donation of 500 smartphones with SIM and data for 6 months to Case Managers in Isolation Centres across Nigeria.

It will be recalled that three months ago, MTN, as part of its Y’ello Hope package, donated over N500 million worth of airtime, data, and analytics, through the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) in support to state governments to facilitate communications during travel restrictions and, over N1.4 billion worth of airtime, data, and devices to connect medical personnel and health agencies.

FirstBank convenes SMEconnect webinar, promotes growth of the educational sector

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, has announced the convening of a Business Clinic to promote the growth and sustainability of the educational sector, especially in the light of the coronavirus which is having an adverse effect on the operations of schools across the world. The event is scheduled to hold via Zoom platform by 11:00am on Thursday, 23 July 2020. 

“Managing Your School through the Pandemic: Engagement and Retention Strategies,” is the topic of the event and will be discussed by experts, leading players, policy influencers and proprietors in business and education management that have carved a niche for themselves at promoting the growth of education and business, towards impacting the national economy. To participate in the event, follow the link https://smeconnect.firstbanknigeria.com/webinar  to register.

The panellists at the event include; Mrs Folasade Adefisayo, Honourable Commissioner of Education, Lagos State; Otunba Yomi Otubela, President, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS); Wale Abioye, Team Lead, Customer Practice in Management Consulting (KPMG); Babatunde Vaughan, Education Lead, Modern Classroom Microsoft Nigeria; Tinu Aluko, Proprietor, Busy Bee & West Mills and Bankole Adediran, Head Transaction Banking Products, First Bank of Nigeria Limited.

Speaking on the event, Mr. Gbenga Shobo, Deputy Managing Director, FirstBank said “the education sector remains the bedrock of the growth and development of any nation – without a viable educational system, the human capital would be incapable of driving national growth and development. FirstBank is delighted to convene this event as it reinforces our leading role at enabling the growth of the educational sector in the country, over the years.

A recent example is the current pandemic in which the Bank has spearheaded the continued learning of school children, with a view to moving over 1 million Nigerians to e-learning, an exciting journey that has had over 45,000 active participants on the respective platforms, notably Roducate and IBM.

We appreciate the panellists invited to speak and we look forward to the knowledge and ideas that would be deliberated towards having participants enlightened on essential activities to not just sustain their schools but reinforce its growth against the odds of COVID-19. We implore players, policy influencers, school and business owners as a whole to register and participate in the event because indeed there is knowledge for everyone,” he concluded.

FirstBank has held various SME clinics in the course of the year, including a virtual event to ensure Social Distance is adhered to in this sensitive period of the COVID-19.

These events include the SME Clinics in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja as well as the Virtual SME Clinic, recently held in May.

Consumers’ growing love for yoghurt variants

As the Nigerian culinary landscape expands and finds new interpretations for traditional Nigerian cuisine, they are providing incentives for the average Nigerian to become more adventurous with food. From giving local food and ingredients a contemporary lift to trying out and sometimes merging foreign delicacies to fit our taste buds, the way we approach food and the different things we do with it continues to yield excellent results.

Yoghurt has always been an integral part of the cuisine of several Nigerian ethnic groups. Particularly nomadic groups like the Fulani, who have several delicacies including Fura da Nono that uses yoghurt as a primary ingredient. From being a treat for children and adults alike, to serving as the perfect base for a parfait, Nigerians love their yoghurt. And being one of the most vibrant, resourceful and creative people in the world, they like it in the various forms it can possibly take.

The versatility of yoghurt is perhaps why it remains a favorite for many Nigerians who like to blend different tastes together to produce a uniquely different one. Breakfast time finds many Nigerians drinking a glass or pet carton of yoghurt along with their morning meal. Then of course, there is snack time where flavored yoghurts – Strawberry, plain, and orange being the people’s favorite, are the preferred accompaniments to our favorite snacks. Members of the fit-fam can also attest to the fact that yoghurt is a great treat for our cheat days, and the best side-buddy to our favourite meals.

As a people with adventurous tastes, we are always open to new beverage brands, and with yoghurt, there is always the chance to explore a fresh twist to our beloved dairy. And that’s what FrieslandCampina WAMCO, the makers of Peak Milk offered us with Peak Yoghurt. A relatively new product in the market, it is an offering that grows the line of products Nigeria’s most affable dairy brand offers to the Nigerian market and delivers on its continuing promise to provide nutrient-filled and rich tasting dairy products.

For over 60 years, Peak has dominated the Breakfast table of Nigerians with nutritious dairy offerings in various pack sizes and formats mainly liquid (evaporated), powder (IMP) and now the ready-to-drink Yoghurt that comes in different exciting flavours.

In early 2019, Peak Yoghurt was introduced into the Nigerian dairy market, in some selected cities as the pilot market with little or no marketing support aside product sampling in selected retail stores. Despite minimal marketing efforts, the feedback received from consumers based on the sampling activations, were largely positive and provided evidence for good results for the medium size pack (318ml) and the large pack size (1 Litre).

In December 2019, a third pack size (100ml) was introduced to meet the nutritional needs of school age students in primary and secondary schools. The attention paid to making nutrient filled yoghurts with accessible commercial appeal is something that many Nigerians might not notice, but find themselves inevitably drawn to.

It is exciting to see food manufacturers handling their production with nuance, particularity and attention to nutrition. As against some other yoghurt products that have focused disproportionately on taste with little regard to the nutritional benefits their products can provide, FrieslandCampina is steadily driving a culture of eating healthy and richly.

With the great taste, different flavours and amazing health benefits, what’s not to love? There is no questioning the fact that Nigerians love their yoghurt, and even more their Peak Yoghurt!

COVID-19: EXMAN to unravel future of customer engagement at EXM2020 conference

  • Conference holds on August 13

Due to the changing dynamics caused by the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic across the world in particularly in Nigeria, the Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria, EXMAN, has lined up renowned marketing professionals to unravel the future of customers experience marketing at its 2020 annual general meeting and conference in Lagos.

The conference, which would be held virtually, is scheduled for August 13, 2010 in Lagos.

Scheduled to speak at the EXM2020 are Matt Davies, brand & strategy consultant, UK Top 50 advisor, writer, speaker, and Storyategy author. Others are Ose Osundeko, group head digital marketing, Fidelity Bank Plc, and Alex Goma, chief executive officer, Grand Cereal Industries.

Line up as lead discussants are seasoned communicators and marketers in the chief executive officer of Towncrier, Kayode Olagesin, managing director of EXP Nigeria limited, Rosemary Agbo, president of media independent practitioners association of Nigeria, MIPAN/group chief executive officer of BrainBox, Femi Adelusi and chief operating officer of Divergent MS, Sola Antwi.

Others are chief executive officer of Dijo communications, Innocent Oboh, and the immediate past president of EXMAN/chief executive officer of Ideas House, Kehinde Salami. The chairman of the conference and moderator is the publisher, ExperientiallNG and faculty member, Nottingham Business School, UK, Dr. Rotimi Olaniyan.

The conference tagged ‘a free online conference for marketing professionals,’ with the theme #EXM2020: The Future of Customer Experience Marketing: defying gravity,is designed to fit the current reality.

According to Tade Adekunle, the association president/conference convenor/chief host, the world has changed. The COVID19 public health crisis and its fall out have unleashed unprecedented disruptions to the way business marketing and consumer interaction must now be managed.

“It would seem that the odds are stacked heavily against experiential marketing and live consumer engagement practitioners globally. The entire marketing industry in Nigeria is particularly hard hit by these new realities and now stands challenged to re-invent itself,” he stated.

The Project Consultant at Keskese Limited said, “To overcome this new reality both brand owners, agencies and value chain partners alike must defy gravity and re-configure their service value proposition away from synchronous interaction platforms towards more asynchronous processes.”

He said, “This conference brings together keynote speakers and leading industry thinkers to find a way through. This conference will benefit anybody interested in marketing within Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.”

The EXMA) is the sectoral trade body for forward-looking experiential marketing communications agencies in Nigeria. As well as serving as a co-operative of the best experiential marketing agencies in Nigeria, we exist to support, promote and defend the interests of over 45 member agencies, with total billing of over thirty billion naira through comprehensive core services and platforms.

Think with Google launches for Sub-Saharan Africa

Think with Google this week launched its Sub-Saharan Africa website – thinkwithgoogle.com/ssa – to help marketers on the continent get the locally relevant insights they need.

“Think with Google Sub-Saharan Africa walks alongside marketers and business leaders as they deal with the challenges of a rapidly changing marketplace. It provides data, a deeper understanding and perspectives specifically crafted for marketers and business people in the region,” says Asha Patel, Head of Google SMB Marketing for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Think with Google features insights and case studies from African organisations and marketers working with Google. For example, this case study on how Africa’s largest entertainment brand – MultiChoice – drove watch time on its YouTube channel up 238% by offering content free. Or another on how Kenya’s KCB Bank drove a change in consumer behaviour – from online betting to saving money – using an ad campaign. And a piece on Nigerian e-commerce giant Jumia adopting machine learning to optimise its bidding process for Google Ads, which led to a 48% increase in conversion rate, 2.4% fall in cost per acquisition, and 52% growth in conversions..

Whether it’s making smartphone advertising work or driving viewership, changing behaviour, like KCB Bank did, understanding how much presales behaviour happens online, or simply trying to make things work better as Jumia did, the online space in Sub-Saharan Africa is incredibly diverse and dynamic, and making sense of it and the opportunity it presents is a challenge.

Think with Google aims to help marketers stay abreast of this rapidly changing environment, and provides the data and insights they need to drive better decision-making, Patel says. The website also intends to inspire marketers to think in different ways about the brands they represent, the ways in which they communicate with their consumers, and to help them come to grips with the latest digital marketing tools that are available.

Think with Google launched in 2013 as ‘Think Insights’ in a bid to give marketers insights into consumer and cultural trends based on Google’s huge bank of data. Today, Think with Google is a resource hub for marketers across the globe, and houses a number of international sites with information targeted specifically for marketers in those areas, including Asia Pacific, Benelux, Middle East North Africa and now, Sub-Saharan Africa.