… Putting people at the centre of development; facilitating the inter-connections of development.
I am Funmi Falobi, Development Journalist, PR professional, Social Entrepreneur and lead contributor/Editor, Social Development News.
Beyond journalism, I am also passionate about economic empowerment, especially for women and youth. I presently promote issues around socio-economic development as Coordinator, The Development Dialogue Platform for Innate Communications, Lagos, Nigeria.
The city of Port-Harcout, the Rivers State capital , recently hosted one hundred and twenty one (121) budding Nigerian entrepreneurs at a two-day workshop where up-and-coming entrepreneurs, selected from across Nigeria, learned how to transform their ideas into practical business plans, manage business risks, navigate difficult moments, seek capital, and develop partnerships to help their businesses grow.
Organized by the United States Consulate General Lagos in collaboration with Field of Skills and Dreams VTE Academy, the event, which was the second edition of the Conference for Emerging Entrepreneurs was declared opened by United States Consul Generalm F. John Bray, joined by the Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Professor Ndowa Lale.
In his welcoming remarks, Consul General F. John Bray explained that one of U.S. Mission Nigeria’s primary goals is to support Nigeria’s economic development. According to him, the U.S. Department of State supports entrepreneurs all over the world through training and mentoring, while also working with governments to create enabling environments and entrepreneurial cultures.
“There is growing evidence that entrepreneurs the world over are the drivers of job growth. The United States government is firmly convinced that in addition to creating jobs and expanding economic opportunities, entrepreneurship contributes to political stability and a vibrant civil society,” Consul General Bray added.
The Conference, which was organized with a view to equipping entrepreneurs with the requisite skills and entrepreneurial know-how to enhance their success in the business world had presentation from business leaders including Sahara Group Co-Founder Tonye Cole, Emzor Pharmaceutical CEO Stella Okoli, Andela Co-Founderm Iyin Aboyeji, award-winning designer, Zizi Cardow and senior executives of prominent commercial banks mentored and trained the participating young entrepreneurs.
The first edition was held in Lagos in March 2017.
Caleb University, Imota, Lagos, has appointed Dr. George Uzoma Chima, President and Chairman of Council of the Chartered Institute of Administration of Nigeria as a Professor of Entrepreneurship and Business Administration in recognition of his great impacts in business and the academia.
Professor Daniel Ayandiji Aina, the Vice Chancellor of the university and his team said the appointment followed Professor Chima’s practical industry experience, entrepreneurial and business management expertise and academic prowess.
The Vice Chancellor and his team added that the appointment would afford the Master of Business Administration (MBA) students of the university, the opportunity to acquire both quality academic knowledge and practical experience of entrepreneurship and business management from the versatility of Professor Chima.
Preceding to the appointment, Professor Chima had acquired a Ph.D in Entrepreneurial and Business Administration from California University; another Ph.D in Management from Universidad Empresarial De Costa Rica and Master of Public Administration from the University of Lagos.
Meanwhile, in his congratulatory message, Professor Gabriel Emecheta, Professor of Accounting and Financial Management and Head of the Department of Accounting, Banking and Finance at the university said Professor Chima’s appointment is well deserved. He added that Entrepreneurship and Business Management today have gone beyond textbook theories and stressed that Professor Chima is thus better practically equipped to teach Entrepreneurship and Business Management, given his industry experience and immense academic ability.
Professor Emecheta further hinged his inference on Professor Chima’s distinction on the popular religious maxim that “You cannot be more Catholic than the Pope.”
Professor Chima is a Management Consultant with over 30 years’ professional experience in leadership roles, organisational development, human resource management, entrepreneurship and change management.
A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Administration; Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria; Institute of Directors, Nigeria and Institute of Professional Financial Managers, UK, Professor Chima who is also an Associate of the Institute of Administration equally holds a BSc in Business Administration, and is author of “Organisational Leadership Strategies in a Developing Economy” and “New Leadership Approach: A Paradigm Shift”.
In contributing to efforts to reduce unemployment in Nigeria, the Field of Skills and Dreams (FSD) centre of the Foundation for Skills Development, has inducted 20 new trainees into its skill acquisition programme for 2018. The trainees, who are being sponsored by NAGODE industry, will undergo training in fashion, catering and hairdressing among others. Similarly, NAGODE will provide them with equipment and interest free loan to start their own businesses, upon completion of the training and acquisition of requisite vocational skills
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony for the new set of trainees, FSD Founder, Mrs. Omowale Ogunrinde said the vision of the Centre is to give people skills so that they can work, earns a living and reduce unemployment. She said: “There are many work opportunities outside, but no skill. We try our possible best to ensure the trainees are thorough. We are extremely strict. You can’t be a business person if you are not self disciplined. It’s not about your skills alone, we teach integrity and discipline.
Commending NAGODE for solving economic problems in the lives of people, she recalled that the partnership with NAGODE has helped to birth entrepreneurs. “Our relationship with NAGODE started in 2017 and that has led to the training and graduation of 20 trainees. They learnt and started small businesses of their own. The organization empowered them with equipment and today, they will be given loan without any interest to grow their businesses. There is growth in business if you have the tenacity.” She explained, adding that the Centre also follows up on the trainees after graduation and as well monitor their growth in business.
In his remark, Group Managing Director, NAGODE, Mr. Maneesh Garg, while urging the trainees to be focused and determined, said every dream starts with a step.
” We started our company with a container but today, we have thousands. It started with a step. Everybody starts with a single first step and gradually, you make progress. Don’t lose focus. The dream is achievable, ” he said.
On the unemployment and economic downturn in Nigeria, Garg said, “At one level, you see opportunities in Nigeria, at the same time, you see people struggling to make ends meet. People are not useless but are used less” he said. “Start the journey to contribute to yourself and the society”, he added.
NAGODE, which deals in industrial chemicals like cosmetics, paints, soap, ethanol as well as logistics, and has offices in Dubai, Kenya, Ethiopia among other African countries, is supporting FSD as part of the organization’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative.
” We are in business to inspire Africa. We believe in supporting entrepreneurs in Nigeria. The biggest challenge to entrepreneurs is how to get capital. We help customers to succeed and FSD aligns to our core values, to give young people skills”, Garg said.
Past trainees at the event also commended the initiative and explained that skills acquired from FSD has helped them to start their own businesses and contribute financially in providing for their homes and sending their children to school.
While calling for more support, Ogunrinde implores other organizations to emulate NAGODE by supporting more trainees to be empowered. She noted the challenge facing FSD is the lack of sufficient partners. “People come to us because of our quality. Our singular challenge is partners. When we get partners, we will train more people”, she said.
“Aside NAGODE, FSD also has as its partners, Public Affairs Section, U.S. Consulate, Lagos, religious organizations and other organizations. For example, UPS will sponsor the training of about 100 people in year 2018 while the Lagos State government through its Lagos State Entrepreneurship Trust Fund, LSETF has given loan to trainees with 5% interest”, she added.
The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), First Born Family has empowered indigent women, widows and students as part of activities to mark its 30th anniversary.
At the grand finale of the week-long activities to celebrate the anniversary at Tafawa Balewa Square, TBS, Lagos, the church as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to ensure people are economically empowered to meet their social responsibilities in the face of economic downturn in the country, gave out 98 grinding machines worth N35,000 each and N50,000 cheque to widows and indigent women, while 15 students of the Redeemers University for all Nations (RUN) were given scholarship for their tertiary education.
Presenting the cheques and the grinding machines to the beneficiaries, Mother-in-Israel and wife of the General Overseer, Pastor (Mrs.) Folu Adeboye urged the women to handle the grinding machines with care and make judicious use of them profitably, adding “we pray that by this time next year, each of you will also be able to sponsor others,” she said.
Speaking on the theme, “From Glory to Glory”, the General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye explained that there are three aspects of moving from glory to glory – physical, material and spiritual.
According to him, shame is the opposite of glory saying “there’s nothing glorious in sickness, there’s nothing glorious in being poor and there’s nothing glorious in being bound.”
In physical glory, he said that it is good to be healthy but it is far more glorious when people begin to receive healing through your shadow. “Physically It is glorious to get healed but more glorious to be healthy”, he said.
While explaining the various levels of material glory from being poor to comfortable to being rich, wealthy and prosperous, he said the highest which is flourishing is God’s plan for His children.
Similarly, he said leaving a legacy behind is the highest level of spiritual glory any man can attain.
“People who move from glory to glory are very diligent. To move from glory to glory, you must have contact with the King of kings. You must associate with the King of Glory, obey Him, be hardworking, diligent in everything that has to do with God,” he said.
The First Born family, formally known as the Ikeja family, was established 30 years ago by Pastor Adeboye as the mother of all the modern parishes of the RCCG which has its roots in services that was tailored to meet the spiritual demands of the elite and educated members of the church.
Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill into law as soon as he receives it from the National Assembly, in order to demonstrate the administration support for Internet freedom for Nigerians.
In a statement in Lagos, MRA applauded the leadership of National Assembly for the speedy passage of the Bill by both the House of Representatives and the Senate and urged them to ensure that a clean copy reaches the President for signature in the shortest time possible in order to bring their efforts to fruition.
The Bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives on December 19, 2017, was similarly passed by the Senate on Tuesday, March 13, 2018.
Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA), described the proposed Law as “a strong piece of legislation that seeks to effectively protect the rights of Nigerians on the internet and in the digital environment in accordance with the global norms and standards that Nigeria has helped to establish.”
Calling on President Buhari to assent to the Bill without delay, he said: “The Bill provides a comprehensive framework for the advancement, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet and in the digital environment, consistent with Nigeria’s regional and international obligations under various international human rights instruments, some of which Nigeria has led in bringing into being by co-sponsoring.”
Ojo said, “Nigeria played a leading role on the global stage in 2012 when it led in co-sponsoring the landmark Resolution on the Promotion, Protection and Enjoyment of Human Rights on the Internet at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva,alongside Sweden, the United States, Brazil, Turkey and Tunisia, wherein it was affirmed that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice.”
Observing that the resolution has brought Nigeria tremendous respect and acclaim from around the world, he urged the President to sign the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill “in keeping with the groundbreaking direction and guidance which this Resolution provided to the global community on human rights online.”
In addition, Mr. Ojo said, the Digital Rights and Freedom Act will help boost an innovative environment for Nigerians, as well as accelerate the country’s development in the digital age by allowing all Nigerians take maximum advantage of emerging opportunities, adding that this will be beneficial to the government and its efforts to ensure the economic growth of Nigeria including its recent Enabling Business Environment initiative.
“The Bill, when it becomes Law, will bring Nigeria’s domestic law, policy and practices with regards to the protection of human rights on the Internet into conformity with this international norm that we were central as a nation in developing and bequeathing to the global community,” he said.
MRA also called on all other stakeholders, especially the media and civil society actors, to lend their voices to the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill by advocating for speedy presidential assent and subsequently, to monitor its implementation and ensure that its provisions are applied in practice.
Ojo said: “This piece of legislation will ultimately impact the personal and professional lives of every Nigerian who is connected to the Internet as well as those who will be connected in the future. It is therefore essential for all stakeholders to contribute to this process in every way possible including through advocacy, by writing about it, facilitating discussions and debates, playing their roles in ensuring its implementation and encouraging other members of society to do so as well.”
He also praised Paradigm Initiative for leading and coordinating the multi-stakeholder efforts that characterized the development and drafting of the Bill and resulted in its speedy passage by the National Assembly, saying it has once again demonstrated the power of civil society to positively affect the fortunes of Nigeria and Nigerians.
The International Press Centre (IPC) has called on the Senate to drop the proposed hate speech bill that seeks to recommend death sentence for purveyors of hate speech.
The bill which is being sponsored by Senate Spokesperson, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi proposes that anyone found guilty of any form of hate speech could face death by hanging upon conviction.
But the IPC Director, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, in a signed statement said that what the country needs today is engagement by multiple stakeholders to determine what actually constitutes hate speech and agree on effective measures for dealing with such, stressing thata draconian law that hallmarks dictatorship cannot be the solution to hate speech in a democratic society.
He also said that such a bill if it becomes a law would definitely pose a major threat to freedom of expression, freedom of the press and safety of journalists.
‘Much as we do not welcome hate speech, we do not also welcome a law that would gag citizens and deny the public the right to know, he said.
Similarly, Arogundade also called for the release of Tony Ezimakor, Daily Independent’s Abuja Bureau Chief, who was arrested and detained by the Department of State Services, DSS headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday, February 28 after honouring an invitation from the security agency.
The IPC Director said in the alternative, the DSS should immediately charge Mr. Ezimakor to court if the agency is convinced that he has committed any offence known to the law of the country.
The second Nigeria media summit has begun in kano, discussing “Hate speech : halting the tide before it is too late.”
The summit was declared opened by the executive Governor of Kano state, Dr Abdullah Umar Ganduje, under the chairmanship of Alhaji Sani Zoro, former President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and now chairman, House of Representatives committee on Information.
The focus of the summit is very apt as the nation prepares for the 2019 general elections.
Recalled that during the 2015 elections, hate speech was utilized by some political parties, politicians and their supporters thereby generating tension in the country.
Papers presented at the summit focused on the “Role of Journalism in the Digital Age” by Lanre Arogundade,Director International Press Center ,”Why hate speech is not free” by Dr Garba Abari, Director General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), and “The Media against hate speech: Upholding ethical standards” by Mr Yau Sule, Executive Director, Center for Information and Technology.
Over 400 Journalists including 33 State councils of NUJ across Nigeria attended the summit.