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Sunday, September 29, 2019

Gani Adams to Lagos CP:We're partners in progress



Aareonakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams, has told the Lagos state commissioner for police, Zubairu Muazu, that he is ready to support the Lagos state Police authority in strengthening the security architectures  in the state.

Speaking at the weekend, during a courtesy call to the CP's office in Ikeja, Lagos, Aare Adams said efforts are on to work out effective modalities to fight insecurity in the state.

He admitted that the partnership between the police and the Oodua Peoples Congress(OPC) is beginning to yield positive results  with other relevant groups coming on board as partners in progress.

The Yoruba Generalisimo informed the commissioner of the various efforts he had put in place since the Inspector- General of Police, Muhammadu Adamu and the southwest governors had said they were ready to work with the OPC under his leadership in combating insecurity across the southwest.

Part of the efforts put in place, he said, was the convocation of the Southwest Security Stakeholders' Group (SSSG), a meeting comprising all relevant security groups across southwest and the unveiling of a roadmap towards achieving the set objectives.

"So far, we have made significant progress since the IGP had  expressed the readiness of the police to work with the  OPC under my leadership. It is on this note that I said the OPC and the Nigerian Police are partners in progress".

" We have started work in earnest and everybody can attest to the fact that our efforts are beginning to yield positive results, especially, now that it is obvious that the rate of insecurity in the southwest has reduced tremendously in the past few weeks.We have set the pace and the signs are there for everybody to see that we are ready to secure the southwest and make the region safe for Nigerians. "

The commissioner expressed optimism that Lagos is becoming peaceful with zero tolerance for crime. He noted that the Inspector General of Police  is on top of the security situation in the country, adding that the foundation laid down by his predecessors in the state has really helped the police in making significant breakthrough in creating a workable synergy between the police and the people at the grassroots.

"In recent time, the spate of insecurity has taken the centre stage across the country, however,
 I want to assure you that we are committed to providing the best security to Lagosians. We are committed to make the state safe for residents, and in doing our job, we are ready to partner with individuals or groups that can help the police to curb the spate of insecurity in Lagos and Nigeria as a whole".

The commissioner  also harped on information and intelligence gathering as Panacea for peace, saying nobody can undermine the rate at which information  spreads at the grassroots.

" We all know that information dissemination is key at all times, and the police is in the best position to dissect the information gathered. So,  I think Aare Gani Adams' visit is timely and it is a positive sign that things are taking good shape in the country, "he said.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Access Bank Aims To Grow Customers From Present 31m To 65m By 2022 Through “Awoof Berekete

ensure that every Nigerian has access to financial services, Access Bank says its aim is to grow its customer base from the current 31 million to 65 million customers by 2022.

This statement is coming on the heels of its Awoof Berekete launch to promote its Access Money Wallet account service.
Speaking with the media in Lagos, its Head of Business Development and Planning, Chinedu Onuoha, said the Bank aims to achieve its objective of growing its customer base through the campaign tagged Awoof Berekete to promote its Access Money Wallet account service.
According to him, “the Awoof berekete is a savings reward scheme, which runs from August to November 2019 and will see customers rewarded handsomely weekly for using their Access Money Wallet to make transactions.
For instance, customers can win 20 per cent cash back on transfers as well as receive 10 times their initial deposit (up to N10,000) when they fund their Access money wallet and save for seven days.
The Access Money Wallet is an electronic wallet service which allows users to save, transfer, and receive money. It provides access to a wide range of financial services offered by Access Bank and access to all the bank’s branches and agents nationwide”.
Commenting further, Onuoha said, “We are the largest bank in terms of customer base. Cumulatively, we have about 30 to 31 million customers. By 2022, we intend that this should be a minimum of 65 million customers. To achieve this, we came up with Awoof berekete.”
Awoof berekete intends to encourage those that abandoned their accounts for a long time for one reason or the other. For you to start transactions on that account, if you do transfers, for your first set of transfers we will be able to reward you with 20 per cent of those transfers. Of course there is a maximum to it. So for instance, if you transfer N5,000, we will give you back 20 per cent (N1000) back instantly.
Explaining how the service works, Onuoha said that a customer has to dial *901# to get started or visit any Access Bank branch/ Agent location. He pointed out that the service allows customers to transfer money.

FLOATING WORLD; AFRICA’S KINKIEST NIGHT CLUB OPENS SHOP AT OPEBI IKEJA


Those who think that Lagos Mainland is going to bow down to the Island in terms of exotic, super exciting and even kinky and fun filled nightlife and clubbing entertainment offerings had better have a rethink. While the popular axiom says like father like son, Kola Eddo, the younger sibling to Night Club and entertainment Czar Shina Eddo of the Cave Night Club has taken it a bit further in every sense of the word when he spared no expense in the setting up of his Night Club Floating World located at No 5C Adedeji Close Off Ipebi Ikeja Lagos recently.
This deluxe, posh and expansive latest club in town prides itself as the kinkiest Night Club Africa has to offer. It is located in a serene environment where patrons can be sure to enjoy total comfort and maxim security of their persons and valuables. One of the main attractions of this club first timer will not fail to notice are the extremely beautiful, polite, respectful, intelligent yet seriously kinky queens and hostesses.
For those that want it on the low, they can enjoy the posh comfort and privacy of the 5star Cabinos the club had on offer. This club that is week on and weekend oriented opens at 8pm week days and weekends daily for nonstop and unabashed experience in nightclubbing.
If not for the fact that every stroke of glamour  there bears a touch of the ingenuity of high taste and class, one would have been forced to think that Kola Eddo is striving to outdo other clubs in offering Lagosians the best in clubbing and nightlife entertainment.
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Thursday, September 19, 2019


How Primate Ayodele warned sacked Head of Service against scandal



Few weeks back, Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele, Leader and Founder of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church,  Ejigbo Lagos, in his annual book of prophecy warning to the nations warned the Head of service of Nigeria to be very careful to avert scandals.

 Interestingly, news flew into the air yesterday that president Muhammad Buhari has approved the appointment of Dr. Mrs Folashade Yemi Esan to take over from Mrs. Winfred Ekanem Oyo-ita as the Acting Head of service.
Dr. (Mrs.) Yemi-Esan, who is the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, takes over from Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita, who has been directed to proceed on an indefinite leave to allow conclusion of the investigation being carried out by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

It would be recalled that primate Ayodele also proclaimed that there will be changes, new innovations and formats in the affairs of permanent secretaries in the office of the Head of service.

In confirmation of this prophecy, the President approved the extension of the tenure of seven (7) retiring Permanent Secretaries for a period of one calendar year with effect from 1st October, 2019 to ensure stability in the Federal Civil Service and effective delivery on the nine priority areas of the administration as well as the mandates given to the new Ministers.

Similarly, Mr. President has directed the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to commence the process for the selection of new Permanent Secretaries to replace all retiring Permanent Secretaries.

No doubt, primate Ayodele's prophecies are tied to lofty spirituality and divine connections.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Buhari To Ramaphosa’s Envoy: Remember Nigeria’s Contribution To Free South Africa

President Muhammadu Buhari Monday went down memory lane, recalling roles played by Nigeria in engendering majority rule in South Africa, and ending the apartheid segregationist policy.
Receiving in audience Mr Jeff Radebe, Special Envoy of President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa at State House, Abuja, the President recounted that he was a junior military officer to Generals Murtala Mohammed and Olusegun Obasanjo, who were military heads of state at different times in the mid to late 1970s.
According to President Buhari, “Going back to historical antecedents, we made great sacrifices for South Africa to become a free state. I was a junior officer to Gen. Murtala Muhammad, and Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo. They were not operating in a democracy, but they got Nigerians to support them in the bid to see a free South Africa.”
“Our leadership was quite committed to the cause. We made sacrifices, which younger people of today may not know. During my last visit to South Africa with the late President Robert Mugabe, it was very emotional, as Mugabe spoke about Nigeria’s contribution to free South Africa,” he noted.
The President extended appreciation to President Ramaphosa, through the Special Envoy, “for coming to explain to us what happened in South Africa recently, leading to killing and displacement of foreigners.”
President Buhari responded to profuse apologies from the South African President, pledging that relationship between the two countries “will be solidified,” while describing the xenophobic attacks as “very unfortunate.”
Mr Radebe apologized on behalf of his President for what he called “acts of criminality and violence” that recently occurred, adding that “such do not represent our value system, nor those of the larger number of South Africans.”
He said South Africa was an integral part of Africa, and is fully committed to peace and integration of the continent.
The Special Envoy disclosed that 10 people died during the attacks – two Zimbabweans and eight South Africans. He said there was no Nigerian casualty.
He added that South Africa remains eternally grateful for the role Nigeria played in ending apartheid, and hoped that the coming visit of the Nigerian President would solidify relationship between the two countries once again.

Buhari To Ramaphosa’s Envoy: Remember Nigeria’s Contribution To Free South Africa


President Muhammadu Buhari Monday went down memory lane, recalling roles played by Nigeria in engendering majority rule in South Africa, and ending the apartheid segregationist policy.
Receiving in audience Mr Jeff Radebe, Special Envoy of President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa at State House, Abuja, the President recounted that he was a junior military officer to Generals Murtala Mohammed and Olusegun Obasanjo, who were military heads of state at different times in the mid to late 1970s.
According to President Buhari, “Going back to historical antecedents, we made great sacrifices for South Africa to become a free state. I was a junior officer to Gen. Murtala Muhammad, and Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo. They were not operating in a democracy, but they got Nigerians to support them in the bid to see a free South Africa.”
“Our leadership was quite committed to the cause. We made sacrifices, which younger people of today may not know. During my last visit to South Africa with the late President Robert Mugabe, it was very emotional, as Mugabe spoke about Nigeria’s contribution to free South Africa,” he noted.
The President extended appreciation to President Ramaphosa, through the Special Envoy, “for coming to explain to us what happened in South Africa recently, leading to killing and displacement of foreigners.”
President Buhari responded to profuse apologies from the South African President, pledging that relationship between the two countries “will be solidified,” while describing the xenophobic attacks as “very unfortunate.”
Mr Radebe apologized on behalf of his President for what he called “acts of criminality and violence” that recently occurred, adding that “such do not represent our value system, nor those of the larger number of South Africans.”
He said South Africa was an integral part of Africa, and is fully committed to peace and integration of the continent.
The Special Envoy disclosed that 10 people died during the attacks – two Zimbabweans and eight South Africans. He said there was no Nigerian casualty.
He added that South Africa remains eternally grateful for the role Nigeria played in ending apartheid, and hoped that the coming visit of the Nigerian President would solidify relationship between the two countries once again.

An Encounter with Brazil consular General Says Yorubas are brothers and sisters

Few foreigners would feel so much at home in Nigeria as do Helges Samuel Bandeira, the Acting Consul General of the Brazilian embassy in Nigeria, and his wife. But then, a closer look would reveal that once you remove his skin colour and his slightly different accent, what is left of Bandeira is essentially African. He jolts into life at the sound of African drums! He could interpret the sound of the talking drum and pronounce many Yoruba words with almost the deep accent of a Yoruba man. Yet he has only been in Nigeria for one and a half years!

“I was appointed to Nigeria in 2018,” he said. “And last month, I became the acting Consul General. I studied Law in Brazil and worked as a lawyer for some time. I was also an entrepreneur and a teacher. I owned two language centres in the state of Santa Catrina. In 2014, I was admitted into the Brazilian diplomatic corps. I worked for some time at the headquarters in Brazil.

“My first mission was to Angola where I was the Head of the Mission for five months. It was a temporary mission. Then I went back to the headquarters in Brazil. I was appointed to the consulate in Lagos in 2018 and I have been the Head of consular services here ever since.”

Asked to recall his experience so far in Nigeria, Bandeira said: “I really enjoy living here. I think that Nigeria is a fascinating country. I think that the cultural differences from the different Nigerian states provide a very enriching experience to whoever visits Nigeria.”



Helges tells of the possible reason why anyone could easily assume his closeness to the root of Africa. “We have similarities in the culture between our two different countries. Both Nigerians and Brazilians are very happy people. We like making friends. We like talking to people. We are more out-going. We, that is Nigerians and Brazilians are more relaxed than people from other countries. I think Nigerians and Brazilians makes friends more easily. We enjoy inviting people to our house; our notion of family is more extended. I think that even here in Nigeria, your notion of family is even more extended than what we have in Brazil. That notwithstanding, I think and believe that we have a lot of similarities between both countries.”
He speaks further on this: “You also have to remember that Brazil has a very strong African influence. You can see that we have two religions in Brazil ‘Candomble and Umbanda’ which are both based on Ifa and they are very popular in Brazil. The followers of these religions to this day, still chant and sing in Yoruba, although not all may know what they are singing. It is like when in the olden days when people used to attend the Christian Mass which was prayed in Latin. You know the people just followed the mass in Latin replying the prayers in Latin even when they didn't know what they were saying.  But that was what they were taught to do and that was what made sense to them.

I think the same thing happens in Brazil with the people who still sing and do the enchantments in Yoruba. It is these religious that are also part of Brazil lifestyle and you would even see Brazilians who do not have African descendants, practising these religions and understanding them. The Orisas are very well known in Brazil. Almost all Brazilians know the main Orisas and what they stand for. However, not all the Orisas have crossed the Atlantic Ocean! Some have only stayed here in Nigeria but Yemoja, Oshun, Sango, Obatala, these are names that when you mention them in Brazil, people already know what you are talking about.
Asked where his knowledge and deep, rich Yoruba accent comes from, Helges re-adjusts his sitting position on the office sofa and chuckled. “Yes, I am very conversant with the language, culture and history of Nigeria and especially the Yoruba people. As I told you earlier, to us in Brazil, it is also part of our culture, we do not see it as something that comes from abroad, or something strange, we see it as something that is Brazilian. When you tell somebody in Brazil that Yoruba culture actually came from Nigeria, a lot of people become even more fascinated with the idea. I recently went to Osun-Osogbo, where I saw the festival; I saw a lot of Brazilians there. You may not have noticed it, but Brazilians, are one of the few people in the world that love Nigerian culture, and sincerely want to come to visit Nigeria. If you talk to people from other countries, you will notice that sometimes, they are not as fascinated by Nigerian culture as Brazilians.
The young diplomat shared his experience at the recently held Osun-Osogbo festival with us when he was asked how he felt when he saw Brazilians and Europeans and others wearing the Yoruba aso ebi, “I do wear native Nigerian clothes” he replied. “Most are actually gifts from friends. They know that I enjoy and cherish traditional culture a lot. What I usually tell people here is that, if you don't know your past, you don't know who you are. You are lost and have no way of planning your future. We in Brazil know that we are a developing country as well. “Ofcourse we want to be a rich country, a developed country, but we do not want to be like Europe or United States, we want to be Brazil, but we want our people to of course have access to more resources. And I think the same thing applies to Nigeria. And in order for that to happen, you need to have a very clear understanding of who you are, where you come from, and your current situation. So I think it is very important to cherish these traditional cultures. And that’s what you have so much in Nigeria.

Everywhere, there is so much culture here. Which I think can be economically explored. For instance there are these Brazilians who despite all the bad things that are being said about Nigeria, they keep coming. There’s kidnapping here, there’s fraud, there are scams, some say the airport sometimes does not offer enough security, but despite all that these Brazilians still come here. That is how strong your country is. I often say this to Nigerians that you have a treasure which I think sometimes that you do not care much about: Which to me is very sad to tell you the truth, especially after the huge, fascinating experience that I had at Osun-Osogbo!” 
Since Yoruba culture is so popular in Brazil, does he eat Nigerian foods? Helges felt teased. He laughed and then began, “now you are touching a very delicate matter,” he laughs again. In Brazil we eat akara, but then in Brazil when you say akara, it is a food offered as offering to Orisas and the akara you eat is called akaraje. Don’t forget that eat in Yoruba is je. So what we have for eating is akaraje. So when you travel to Brazil, you can eat akaraje especially in Salvador where there is strong Yoruba presence and I love to eat akaraje in Brazil. Of course here in Nigeria, it is one of the foods that I like eating. I also like pounded yam (iyan), I know that some Nigerians may feel sad when I say this but the truth is, I don’t like egusi soup that much.
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But how about the local ogbono soup and other Nigerian soups, does he eat them? “A-haa,” says Helges, “yes, I eat other soups. Usually when we go to people’s houses and they serve typical Nigerian foods, we don’t have a problem with it. But like I said, I don’t like it when it has too much strong flavor or when the foods are too spicy! What I usually tell people is that, I am Oyinbo but not very Oyinbo!”
From his disposition, it is obvious that culture attracts Brazilians down to Nigeria, but what on the other hand does Helges think Nigerians to Brazil?
“I think that currently we have different types of travelers from Nigeria to Brazil. We have a lot of people in academia: A lot of professors, students too travel to Brazil. We have a program for graduate and post-graduate scholarships to Nigerian students who may want to study in Brazil. It is an interesting program that has been in place for quite some time now. Every year we have candidates which we select from. It is based purely on merit. You don’t have to know any governor or any politician. If you are a good student, we want you to come and study in Brazil. So we have the students and professors who travel a lot, but we also have businessmen who travel from Nigeria to Brazil, looking for opportunities either to import or export or to invest. We also have a lot of people who are associated with Ifa here in Nigeria who travel to Brazil to see what or how Ifa is practiced there in Brazil through ‘Candomble and Umbanda.’ The Ooni of Ife has been to Brazil in recent times and he is always sending people back and forth; same with the Alaafin of Oyo.So we have a strong cultural connection between Brazil and Nigeria and I think that spills over into other areas.”
One could not help but ask Helges about inter-marriage between Brazilians and Nigerians? “It’s very common too,’ says Helges. “We see mostly Nigerian men marrying Brazilian women. The other way around is not very common. But we see a lot of families of Nigerian men and Brazilian women. Some of them live here in Nigeria, while some of them live in Brazil. To us in Brazil, we are very used to mixing when it comes to marriage. We have people from different countries mixing together in Brazil who are part of our identity just like religion, which we do not even identify as being foreign but something that belongs to Brazil. So I think that one of the aspects of our society in Brazil is the ability to integrate, to mix. If you go to Brazil you will see that everyone has a little bit of everything: a little African, a little native, a little European, a little American and so on. That is what Brazil is, a mix of different ethnicity, different cultures and so on. It is very common to see families of Nigerian-Brazilians over there.
Helges Samuel Bandeira, the Brazilian Consul General would love to travel all over Nigeria. If only that could be possible! “No,” he confesses. “I haven’t travelled a lot to tell you the truth. There is a lot of work to be done here in the consulate in Lagos. I try to be very diligent with all the visa applications and with our fellow Brazilians that are here. So I don’t travel a lot unfortunately. I have to stay here to oversee all the operations and make sure that everything is running smoothly, correctly and accordingly to the law.”
Ordinarily, one expects or has the impression that most Consul Generals are not as young as Helges, the Brazilian Consul General looks, but Helges has a good explanation for that, Hear him: “I was assigned to Nigeria as the Deputy Consul General but with the departure of the then Consul General, I became the Head of Mission. That’s why I am the Acting Consul General. It is true that most Consul Generals and Ambassadors are older; but I think it is the reflection of our society. I think that things are changing. Even here in Nigeria, I mean Lagos; there are Consul Generals and Heads of Missions that are younger. I think it’s good because we the younger ones might not have experience like the older ones, but we allow ourselves to be more involved in all of the operations and we are willing to do things ourselves, to put our hands to work. Whereas when you progress more at work or in your career you already expect other people to do things which you could normally do yourself. Which I also think is understandable and is correct. A senior embassador is not going to interview everyone that comes to ask for visa. But I do that myself! If I think that somebody does not have good intentions for the trip, I interview the person myself. I want to know why you want to go Brazil, what you want to go and do there, your intentions because we want good people to travel. And I think that is important even for Nigeria. All consulates have to be very selective because if we allow bad Nigerians or people that have bad intentions to travel, that will give Nigeria a bad name.
“There are good people and bad people here, just like anywhere in the world. But if only the bad people are traveling, the image that the country will have abroad, will be bad. That’s why I cherish so much when we receive information from other people that a particular person or persons that has applied for visa is not genuine. It’s always so nice when other Nigerians tell us that this company that is intending to travel doesn’t mean any good. We often receive such information from other Nigerians. And I think it is good and equally important for good Nigerians to travel abroad and see other countries.”
We told Helges that an interview with him cannot be complete without talking about carnivals which Brazil is popularly known for. At that, Helges once again came alive, reacting positively just like he would to the beats of African drums and African songs. He laughed heartedly and began, “carnivals are great moments in Brazil, and as a matter of fact, we hold parades in all of our cities and everyone is happy. I often tell people that in our carnivals, it is usually clearly easy to see strong African influences. We did not learn to play the drums with the Europeans. So when you hear the drums in the carnival, when you hear the Samba, of course, you can trace the African origin!
Helges again confessed to us that one of the things he misses out here is the Brazilian carnival. “Yes, I do miss the carnivals! That’s something that everyone participates in. Of course again, when you are much younger, you participate more actively. Right now, I am not a big party goer. I stay more in my house with my wife. I watch the carnival on television. I miss carnivals. I enjoy carnivals as a cultural expression but can’t participate very actively these days. 
Just like carnivals, Helges relishes to talk about football. His eyes lits up and his body gestures play out naturally as he talks about football which he calls soccer.
“Well, you know I am a diplomat (laughs)! So I have never been athletic to tell you the truth. Of course soccer is our national passion. Whenever Brazil plays, I am usually also in my jersey like most Brazilians when the country’s football side has an international engagement. At such moments, I am always cheering for Brazil. When I was in the Headquarters in Brazil, at such time, we used to get together with friends to play soccer. But on a very laid back atmosphere. Even in family gatherings in Brazil, it is very common to go to play. In Brazil, we like eating meat a lot. So we eat barbecue and go play soccer with cousins. For me, I play on a laidback and unprofessional way (laughs).
About his work in Nigeria, Helges says, “it has been really challenging. My duty majorly here is to separate the wheat from the chaff. And to allow the good Nigerians travel and have good experiences abroad and made sure that the bad ones remain here.”
He says that when he moves around Lagos, especially Lagos Island, he feels impressed and fascinated by the Brazilian culture that has been preserved over the years by Nigerians who were once in Brazil but returned back to Nigeria.
“I think it is also important to note that some of the Yorubas that went to Brazil came back and to this day we still hear of Brazilian first names and last names here in Lagos. We also have different associations here who want to protect the history of the Brazilian descendants which I also think it is very fascinating. It is also fascinating that when you walk around Lagos Island, that there are still some traditional Brazilian architecture left. I hope that the Lagos state government can preserve whatever is left there because as I told you earlier, a people without history are a people without a future.”
As the interview drew almost to an end, Helges showed to us, pictorial photos of some of the cities in Brazil, he also shared with us his feelings about some Lagosians with popular Brazilian names or those who seem to have affinity with Brazil in one way or another, and how he reacts when he meets such people.
“Well, they are Brazilians! They are my brothers and sisters of course in a way. When I talk to such people or walk around Lagos Island see those familiar architecture, I feel at home so it’s really fascinating to see this movement of these people, who have been there and came back and still preserve their history and even helped to build what Nigeria is today and even what it will be in future. I truly want to thank Nigerians for all their warmth, kindness towards me and my wife. We are very happy, we are always well treated. We hope that as with the Brazilian government we can help you and you can as well help us, so that we can have our both countries reach development together.”

Naira Marley, Afro Pop’s Polarizing Public Enemy Number One

‘Issa Goal’ was the song that introduced him to the mainstream audience, ‘Japa’ was the one that convinced us that he was anything but a one-hit flash in the pan, but his arrest by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] is proving to be Naira Marley’s biggest moment yet.
The Nigerian pop scene has always had its fair share of ‘controversial figures.’ From the likes of Eedris Abdulkareem, Burna Boy, Sauce Kid now Sinzu and Dammy Krane, the industry has witnessed musicians who have polarized public opinions and built a career thriving off the outrage that their music and actions generate.
At his best, Naira Marley, real name Afeez Fashola is, without doubt, a talented artist, one whose unique druggy vocal texture and use of background melodies have made his sound easily acceptable especially when placed on a Rexxie beat, the man credited with supplying Zlatan with his hit formula.
Just as his profile began to soar, Marley soon courted trouble with his vocal defense of internet fraud popularly known as ‘Yahoo Yahoo.’ From comparing the hideous act to the Slave-trade era to calling out fellow artists who as much as failed to cast a glance in his direction, his reputation began to attract unnecessary attention.
All this ultimately cumulated to the release of the infamous record, ‘Am I A Yahoo Boy’ with Zlatan and subsequently his much-publicized arrest by the EFCC for charges relating to credit card scams and his arraignment on Monday, May 20, 2019.
The ‘Public trial’ is one that has now further aided his inglorious but celebratory street cred among his fans, popularly known as the ‘Marlians,’ who are as quick to slap the tag ‘Legend or Icon’ to his name as they are to attack anyone who takes a stand different from theirs.
Mixing street elements and slangs, profane spewing invective, and a confrontational public persona to earn a larger audience is one tactic that almost always works and that is why the likes of Olamide, Small Doctor enjoy a strong cult following, then add a sense of victimization to all of this and you find a Naira Marley, being viewed through the trappings of everything we believe a society like ours has shaped us to become.
In the weeks following his ordeal and eventual release on bail, Marley and his team fully capitalized on the unintended benefits that came courtesy of the controversy with the release of as much as three new singles.
From songs like ‘Why’ to ‘Opotoyi,’ a song which further drives home the message that ‘sex and vulgarity sell’, but it is the latest titled ‘Soapy,’ that is yet again generating heated discuss online.
What is he up to this time? ‘Soapy’ is a song that references his time in EFCC custody, sharing his experience and shedding not too bright lights on life on the ‘inside.’
‘A ti lo, a ti de, e ni ori yo, o di le…’ [We have gone and returned, those who survive are headed home]
But while the song itself is a similar offering in bounce and free-spirited rhythm to what he has delivered in recent past, it comes with a particular dance that has elicited further scrutiny of the song’s cryptic intention.
Popular songs that arrive with a dance move like ‘Zanku’ or ‘Shaku Shaku’ have become staples for mainstream acceptance at any lit gathering and can be heard blasting through the Island clubs on a Friday night and in the now viral video, Marley is seen dancing in an explicit manner, glorifying the depiction of masturbation- an act that is presumed common in an all-male prison.
Masturbation in itself is not a crime, and it is not my place to debate its appropriateness [Or not] but there is a reason why it holds severe sanctions in many countries if done publicly. What ‘Soapy’ has succeeded in doing is providing a conducive context for an open showcase as seen in further fan videos shared online of adult men doing this repulsive dance move in public places and even harassing innocent passers-by.
Naira’s blunt approach to life and his beliefs mirrors everything it takes to survive on the streets and while he has overtime used his fair share of ‘shock and offend’ attributes, the continuous harsh depiction and the open support of vices like fraud, drugs, sexual fantasies and now masturbation are becoming problematic.
There is the dismissive argument pushed by his supporters who are quick to remind you that ‘’music mirrors the society’’, a plausible reaction, with many also pointing out perceived selective hypocrisy mentioning songs like Patapaa’s ‘One Corner’ in drawing a timeline to how far back our values have gone to the dogs.
Social media discourse has seen people share different tolerance levels on the song/dance. I am quite careful not to place a gag of morality or censorship on the creativity of an artist because I understand that limiting what’s acceptable in music and art undoubtedly threatens the artist’s power to create, moreso, if the society he represents is one that has failed its people, constantly suppressing and supporting the breakdown of order, allowing these acts to thrive.
But there is just enough space that allows for inappropriate content and we would be sorely lacking in imagination if, in 2019, we conclude that Naira Marley champions any course other than his own. Also, there eventually comes a point when we must now begin to ask ourselves, if the best decision is to then allow the society to continue in its state of ‘rot’ and artists reinforce the stereotype that we are a people filled with criminals on one side and sexually unrestrained hormones on the other side or begin to determine and shape the type of narratives that we want for ourselves and the future.
Unlike the 80s when rap group, Public Enemy was seen as an agent for effecting social change and unity with their message and consciousness against police brutality and other social injustice, Naira Marley is fast becoming a byword for bothersome, silliness and a nihilistic menace, emblematic of everything wrong with any sensible society.
As for the listeners who may have been nauseated by the dance the way I have been, the Nigerian music industry mid-year report shows that it’s presently enjoying a general climate of positive music, if only you can look beyond these noisemakers; the likes of RemaFireboyOxlade and the ‘Alte’ band offering music with diversity and vibes. If Marley’s creativity is only driven by his phallic urges, then it is left to the audience to filter the music they want to hear, let’s not be distracted.

EcobankPay Hits N2bn Transactions Value;100,000 Merchants Onboard

Ecobank Nigeria says over 100,000 merchants have been on-boarded on the EcobankPay platform with transaction value reaching N2billion. EcobankPay offers customers a multi-channel payment experience that includes Mobile QR Payment at merchant stores (mCash, Masterpass and mVisa), Merchant QR is set up via Facebook Messenger as well as USSD payment for low-income phone users. EcobankPay is used by all businesses from small, informal micro merchants to large corporates as well as governments. It enables them to offer easy and convenient payment options to their customers in-store or online.
EcobankPay’s unique offering is such that all bank customers in Nigeria can pay with Masterpass, mVisa, and mCash with any phone by scanning the QR code or using USSD at merchant locations. It is free to set up, as the shop owner only needs his/her QR code and phone for notifications to start receiving quick and easy payments. Additional offerings include instant settlement of transaction with no transaction fees and it supports domestic and cross border transactions.
Announcing this development in Lagos, Carol Oyedeji, Executive Director, Commercial Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, said she was impressed with the level of acceptance of EcobankPay service by Nigerians. She reiterated that the digital product was introduced into the financial landscape to enhance payment and create ease and convenience of transactions. “The performance of EcobankPay underscores the choice of Ecobank in bringing digital payment solutions for safe, reliable and convenient transactions to both customers and non- customers of the bank. The EcobankPay channel offers a distinct advantage of supporting the three main payment schemes, Masterpass, mVisa and mCash thereby broadening acceptability regardless of which Bank a client makes payment from. The QR Code is much cheaper than having a point of sale (PoS) terminal and credit to the merchant is instant, she noted.
In his comment, Patrick Akinwuntan, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria said “we are determined to make Ecobankpay the choice for instant digital payment in Nigeria. This payment solution was introduced by Ecobank to create payment convenience for goods and services and also to support the growth of businesses especially SMEs.
Further, he reiterated that “Ecobank is impressed with the significant progress made on EcobankPay transactions, as it is gradually becoming a lifestyle payment for all. The initiative is to deepen financial inclusion in the communities and specifically aid business transactions between merchants and clients by eliminating the risk of payment rejection. Ecobank has so far set up EcobankPay Zones in over 50 locations in different parts of the country. These are digital hubs enabling businesses within a location adopt Ecobank’s wide range of digital products for ease of payments for goods and services. The payment options at the zones include EcobankPay, Xpress points, Automated Teller Machines (ATMS) and Point of Sale (PoS)”. he noted.
The EcobankPay Zone launched in February 2019 is available at various markets across the country, notably the Alaba International markets, International Trade Fair, Balogun Market, Saka Tinubu Market in Lagos; Relief market Onitsha, Ariaria Market both in South East; Kofa Ruwa and Kantin Kwari Market in Kano; Wuse and Dei-Dei Market Abuja ; Phone Village, Port Harcourt, New Benin Market in Edo State and Main Market Warri amongst several others.

Ayomide Oriade
PR Redline

Fidelity Bank Equipped Girls Correctional Home Laboratory Idi- Araba Lagos|

L-R,Reps of the Governor of Gombe State, Perm Sec Ministry of Health, HRH Hassan Ibrahim reads the text on the plaque during the official commissioning of the renovated Primary Healthcare Centre, Lubo in Gombe State as Head HRBP & Recruitment/CSR & Sustainability, Chris Nnakwe looks on
***LASG Comm\nends Lender For CSR projects
Fidelity Bank Plc, top Nigerian lender has handed over a well-equipped, state-of-the-art Kitchen/Catering Laboratory for the use of students at the Girls Correctional Home, Idi-Araba, Lagos. The project, according to the bank, is a clear demonstratio\nn of its unwavering support towards enhancing the lives and wellbeing of less privileged members of the society.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony in Lagos recently, the bank’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nnamdi Okonkwo said that the decision to embark on the project is borne out of a deep-seated realisation that vocational education remains vital to the development of any society.
Laborator
L-R: Head HRBP & Recruitment/CSR & Sustainability, Chris Nnakwe; Reps of the Governor of Gombe State, Perm Sec Ministry of Health, HRH Hassan Ibrahim; Branch Leader Gombe, Umar Bappi; Reps of the Speaker, Haruna Wambai; District Head of Lubo, Usman Mohammad during the official commissioning of the renovated Primary Healthcare Centre, Lubo in Gombe State
Okonkwo who was represented the bank’s Head of Legal Division, Kingsley Ohiri thanked the Ministry of Youth & Social Development for giving them the opportunity to partner with the State and hoped to do more in the future. He also mentioned the bank had, in the past, carried out some CSR projects in the State such as the Correctional Centre for Boys, Birrel Avenue, Yaba where vocational training tools were provided for the use of wards at the centre.
While commissioning the project, the Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Olusegun Dawodu said that the kitchen would provide the children the means to learn a new vocation which they would use to benefit themselves and the society at large.
Dawodu also reiterated the resolve of the State Government to prioritise the needs of the teeming youth saying, “The Lagos State Government would continue to support and empower the children and youth in the State with relevant skills in order to play active roles in the Nigerian economy, thereby creating wealth and reducing the rate of unemployment and criminal activities among the youths and children”.
He specifically thanked Fidelity Bank for supporting the Government and especially the youths in the State by initiating and extending their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to ensure that the society is impacted positively.
On her own part, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Yewande Falugba, emphasised the need for well-meaning Nigerians and organisations to emulate Fidelity Bank by partnering with the State Government in ensuring the social well-being of the youths and children

Thursday, September 12, 2019

PHOTO: FIDELITY BANK CEO AND HIS TEAM VISITS LAGOS GOVERNOR ELECT SANWO -OLU

L-R: Governor-Elect, Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu(3rd left) in a warm handshake with Fidelity Bank MD/CEO, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo (3rd right) when Fidelity Bank officials paid a courtesy visit to the Governor-Elect. From left: Branch Leader, Ikeja 1 Strategic Business Unit (SBU), Charles Nwadike; Executive Director, Lagos and South West, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe; Governor-Elect, Sanwo-Olu, MD/CEO, Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo; Team Lead, Corporate Banking, Omobolaji Odubanjo and Regional Bank Head, Ikeja, Ken Opara…
Fidelity Bank Team led by the MD/CEO, Nnamdi Okonkwo paid a courtesy visit to the incoming Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Fidelity Bank to slow loan book growth as LDR stands tall at 95%

Nigeria’s mid-tier lender, Fidelity Bank, said that it is contented with its current loan book position and not pressured to create new loans in subsequent periods.
The lender, which has the highest loan- to- deposit ratio (of 95%) in the banking industry, anticipates growth of its loan book to soften in coming quarters.
A dive into the company’s financials showed that loan and advances to customers jumped some 26 percent to N999 billion in the first half of 2019 from N795 billion in similar period of 2018.
Major loan growth were recorded in manufacturing sector ( 51%), transport (21%), agriculture (14%) and oil & gas ( 13.5%), accounting for over 95% of gross loan growth.
Two months back, Fitch Ratings, one of the major credit ratings agencies globally based in New York, faulted the CBN’S minimum 60 per cent LDR directive, saying its credit negative for the banking industry.
Fitch believes the guideline effective September 30, will compel banks who are yet to recover from a surge in bad loans caused by the 2016 recession, to turn on their lending tap to riskier borrowers, putting their asset quality at risk.
“Due to the directive, we have raised our 2019 loan growth forecast to an average of 10 percent for Fitch rated banks from one percent in 2018,” it said in July.
Fidelity Bank saw asset quality improve as non-performing loan ratio trended downwards to 5.4 percent half- year 2019 from 5.7 percent in full year 2018, slightly above the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) 5 percent regulatory threshold.
The lender’s net interest margin increased to 5.8 percent in the six months through June 2019, from 5.1 percent in first quarter thanks to betterment in asset yield.
According to analysts at Lagos- based investment firm, Cardinal Stone Partners, in a note to investors, noted that the bank’s funding costs remain sticky at 6.6 percent, despite moderation in the yield environment in second quarter, due to increase in more expensive term deposits.
“Net interest margin, management is of the view that asset yields will likely be pressured in Q3’19 as banks compete on the pricing front to meet the regulatory guideline on LDR. In Q4’ 19, the bank anticipates an uptick in both funding cost and asset yields on the back of expected influx of fixed income maturities.” They said.
Despite the low interest environment, Fidelity Bank grew interest income by 10 percent to N84.3 billion in the review period, from N76.7 billion a year before. Fees and commission income as well as other operating income surged 32 percent and 103 percent respectively.
The bank’s post- tax profit trended to N15.1 billion in the first six months of 2019, 16 percent more than N13 billion reported a year earlier.
The bank’s management says it will continue to pursue organic growth which aligns with its corporate strategy. It noted that it is receptive to other opportunities so far they correlate with business values and potential synergies.
Shares of Fidelity Bank advanced 1.27 percent to N1.60 Wednesday. But it has seen stock price erode 21 percent since January, slightly outperforming banking stock index that has shed 20 percent year-long.

Fidelity Bank restates commitment to youth development

 Managing Director /Chief Executive Officer, Fidelity Bank Plc, Nnamdi Okonkwo, has described sport as a strong element in youth development.
Okonkwo stated this at the closing ceremony of the Anambra State U13/U17 Academicals which took place at St. Mary’s High School, Ifitedunu, Anambra State at the weekend.
He explained that Fidelity is pleased to partner with the state as a way of giving back to the society, stressing that through the initiative the bank also intends to curb youth restiveness by engaging them meaningfully.
“Since sport is a very strong element in youth development, we felt we needed to partner with the state to make sure we get this competition going strongly. You can see what happened here today and I think that it was really an international standard show they put up. We are proud to have supported that and we are looking forward to continuing this support,” he said.
Earlier, the Deputy Governor, Dr Nkem Okeke, who represented the governor, Chief Willie Obiano, said that the competition was a demonstration of the governor’s belief and commitment towards advancing the cause of the youths in the state.
According to him, engaging the youths in all forms of programmes, projects, sporting activities, skills acquisition are all part of youth development to keep them away from social vices.
“We’ve all had a wonderful day seeing these kids show their skills in football. You can see the enthusiasm of these kids,” Okeke said.
He commended Fidelity Bank Plc for sponsoring the tournament, noting that the presence of the MD/CEO of the bank at the finals showed the commitment of the bank to the initiative.
He called on other corporate organizations to take a cue from Fidelity and sponsor other events.
“It’s not just football that we play here. There are other games like basketball, tennis, whatever, they can be involved in organizing these and I know we have the players in Anambra,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Central School, Ekwulobia defeated Eri Primary School three goals to one to lift the U13 trophy and a cash prize of N500,000.
At the U17 category, Community Secondary school, Uga beat Metropolitan College, Onitsha 3-2 to win the trophy and cash prize of N1,000,000.

Fidelity Private Bank Wins At PWM Global Wealth Tech Awards

Fidelity Bank won the ‘Best Digital Networking Bank For Entrepreneurs, Africa 2019’ at 2019 PWM Wealth Tech Awards held in London, United Kingdom (UK) recently.

Organized by Professional Wealth Management (PWM), a Financial Times Publication, the awards celebrate excellence in wealth management technology. According to the organizers, technology and service delivery were key components in the criteria considered by the independent panel that selected the award winners. The month long period involved gathering series of detailed information on KPIs, portfolio management, asset allocation, due diligence, risk management, growth strategies, customer service, innovation and ethical practices.

The award presented at an elaborate ceremony in London, was received on behalf of the bank by the Chief Operations and Information Officer (COIO), Fidelity Bank, Mr. Gbolahan Joshua and Divisional Head, Private Banking, Mrs. Chioma Nwankwo.


Commenting on the development, Fidelity Bank CEO, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo said it was gratifying to see that Private Banking Division of the bank, set up over two decades ago, has remained the leading provider of financial services to HNIs in the country.

In line with the bank’s digitisation program, he said Fidelity Bank has continued to seek better, easier and more convenient ways of providing financial services, with the aid of technology, to its teeming customers. “Our resolve to continue to offer innovative solutions to all customers, including those of our Private Banking Division, is further strengthened by this award and recognition” he stated.

Fidelity Private Banking was set up in 1996. Over the years it has grown reputation for high service standards, providing financial and wealth management services and solutions for a select clientele, with a view to building strong and enduring foundations for their future generations.

“PWM among other things, reviewed our tech investments, growth strategy, digital customer service, client communications, virtual assistant and portfolio management processes in arriving at the result. “We are delighted that the bank’s investments in ensuring high level of process automation and provision web-based wealth management solutions to our customers, is paying off”, said Mrs Nwankwo.

H1 2019: Fidelity Bank Posts Double Digit Growth In Earnings, Profitability, Deposits & Loans

Profits Soars By 16% To Hit N15.1bn
…Gross Earnings Soars To N103.7bn
 Despite the country’s challenging and fiercely competitive business environment, Fidelity Bank Plc delivered a solid financial performance in the first half of 2019, recording double-digit growth in key revenue lines whilst achieving significant traction in digital banking uptake.
Details of the audited half-year result for the period ended June 30, 2019, released at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Thursday showed a 15.7 percent rise in Profit Before Tax (PBT) from N13.0 billion in the earlier period to N15.1 billion in the reporting period. Profit After Tax (PAT) rose by 15.6 percent to close at N13.6 billion from N11.8 billion recorded in 2018, whilst gross earnings increased by 12.3 percent from N92.3 billion to N103.7 billion. In other indices, Total Assets rose by 12.8 percent to N1.940.2bn from N1,719.9bn in the previous period.
Total Deposits; a measure of customer confidence, increased by 12.0 percent to close at N1,097.0 trillion from N979.4 billion in 2018 Financial Year (FY).
Commenting on the results, Fidelity Bank CEO, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo expressed delight with the bank’s financial performance. According to Okonkwo, the bank remained focused on the execution of its medium-term strategic goals and targets for the 2019FY whilst promising that the bank would continue to sustain the momentum and deliver another strong set of results for the 9M 2019. He said, “Gross Earnings increased by 12.3 percent to N103.7bn driven by a 52.4 percent growth in our fee-based income and a 7.2 percent growth in Interest Income. Digital Banking, Okonkwo stated has continued to gain traction driven by new initiatives in retail lending segment and increased cross-selling of its digital banking products.
“We now have 45.0 percent of our customers enrolled in the bank’s mobile/internet banking products, 82.0 percent of total transactions now done on digital platforms and 29.0 percent of fee-based income now coming from digital banking”, he added. The Fidelity CEO pointed out that retail loans were steadily on the rise after the launch of the bank’s new digital lending product dubbed Fidelity Fastloan, further adding that the bank has deepened lending partnerships with select Financial Technology (FinTechs) companies.
Buoyed essentially by innovative digital technologies, Fidelity Bank’s retail strategy has become a major game-changer for the business. This was again evident in the H1 2019 results as savings deposits now account for about 22.6 percent of total deposits – a clear sign of the bank’s increasing market share in the retail segment. “We are on course to achieving the 6th consecutive year of double-digit savings growth”, he stated.
Total Deposits however increased by 12.0 percent to N1,097.0bn from N979.4bn driven by double-digit growth in both local and foreign currency deposits. Non-performing Loans (NPLs) Ratio improved to 5.4 percent from 5.7 percent in the 2018FY due to the growth in the loan book. With regulatory ratios such as the Capital Adequacy Ratio at 17.0 percent, Liquidity Ratio at 34.8 percent, well above required threshold, Okonkwo was optimistic that the bank will sustain this sterling performance in the second half of the year.
Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria with over 4 million customers who are served across its 240 business offices and various digital banking channels. The bank which focuses on select niche corporate banking sectors as well as Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), has in recent times won accolades as the Best SME Friendly Bank, Best in Mobile Banking and the Most Improved Corporate/Investment Bank among several industry awards and recognition

Fidelity Bank MD Assures Investors Of Better Dividends Ahead

Shareholders of Fidelity Bank Plc on Friday approved the payment of 11kobo dividend, this translating to a total of N3.2 billion.

Speaking during the Annual General Meeting in Lagos, the Shareholders also commended the Board and Management of the Bank for its consistency in the payment of dividend to members in the 12 years.

The Bank also reassured its shareholders that its five-year strategic growth plan and benefits from its continued proficiency in prudent operational management and retaining of capital will continue to see outperform its peers in the banking industry, even as its posed in returning good yield to members .

According to the trio of Mr. Patrick Ajuduwa, Chief Timothy Adesiyan and Mr. Norna Awoh, all shareholders’ leaders who spoke variously on behalf of others, also commended the bank’s probity in the management of its operations despite the contraption in the domestic economy.

They said despite the challenging times, the bank was able to rise above board to pay its shareholders dividend, and further growing its deposit base to double digit and reducing cost of operation.

While frowning at the structure of some committees of the bank, they equally enjoined the bank to liaise with institutions in the industry to help bring down the bank’s N2.7 billion dividend, even as it should check the continued payment of 50kobo stamp duties charges by deposit.

Responding to shareholders questions, Fidelity Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo said that despite unfavorable market condition, the bank delivered a strong performance, demonstrating an effective strategy backed by strong governance.

He noted that being two-year ago, when the bank began the implementation of another five-year strategy, explained that, it would continue to translate to better returns in the years ahead.

“We are a performing driven institution. All the numbers seen is because our staff are well motivated, and we will continue to keep a strong adequacy ratio of 16 per cent. We once paid CBN’s charge of N28 billion at once, on scaling up our report to IFRS standard. We did this because we wanted a strong bank. Our five year growth strategy is clear. Presently 80 per cent of our operations are digitally driven. We will continue to keep down our NPL ratio”.

On the growth of deposit in the bank, the CEO said for a bank to have grown its base to double digits in the last five-years to N75 billion, which is commendable, noted that if the bank continue in that trajectory in a couple of years’ time, the bank will hit the N1 trillion mark.

On demand by shareholders for increased dividend, and operations in the North, the CEO explained that while the bank is mindful of retaining capital, “We would continue to pay good return on investment to our investors. The current 11 kobo dividend reflects’ the bank policy drive to have a strong adequacy ratio of 16 per cent. The headwinds in the economy necessitated the dividend payout. Someday, aside paying huge dividend, we will be paying interim dividend. Presently we have senior management personal in northern part of the country who are doing a great job”, he added.

A cursory look at the bank’s performance in the year under review, showed that it posted a 29 per cent increase in profit after tax for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2018.

Profit after tax during the period under review stood at N22.9 billion, compared with N17.7 billion realized in the comparative period.

Also, its profit before tax soared by 30.6 per cent to N25.1 billion in contrast with the N19.2 billion posted in 2017.

The bank reported gross earnings of N188.9 billion against N180.2 billion in the corresponding period, an increase of 4.8 per cent, while operating income rose by 13.9 per cent, from N85.9 billion, to N97.2 billion.

Its customer deposit, which is a measure of consumer confidence, rose by 26.3 per cent from N775.2 billion, to N979.4 billion, just as total Assets grew by 24 per cent, from N1.4 trillion to N1.7 trillion.

Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria, with over 3.8 million customers who are serviced across its 240 business offices and various other digital banking channels.

The bank has in recent times won accolades as the Best SME Friendly Bank, Best in Mobile Banking and the Most Improved Corporate/Investment Bank, among several industry awards and recognitions.

The bank was also ranked the fourth Best Bank in the Retail Banking Segment in the 2017 Banking Industry Satisfaction Survey conducted by KPMG.


Focused on select niche corporate banking sectors as well as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the bank is rapidly implementing a digital-based retail banking strategy which has resulted in an exponential growth in savings deposits over the last three years and a corresponding surge in customer enrollment on the bank flagship mobile/internet banking products