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Obasanjo pushing $27b free trade agreement



3 abducted Obasanjo Farm’s workers regain freedom

…As Government strikes partial pact with ASUU amid lingering crisis***

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has advised African leaders to sign  the African  Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA), which promises $27billion investments.

Obasanjo, who spoke yesterday in Cairo, Egypt at the opening of the Intra-African Conference prior to the unveiling of the first Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF), said the fair was necessary to actualise ACFTA,  which, he stressed,  is vital for the continent’s transformation. “It is, therefore, imperative that all African governments, who believe in Africa’s progress, should not only sign the  ACFTA, but should ratify it at once, making a way for its implementation,” Obasanjo said.

The first of its kind in Africa, IATF is expected to churn out deals worth over $27 billion. Obasanjo said the event had been designed to drive inter-African trade and support the implementation of ACFTA. He tagged ACFTA    a landmark agreement in the context of its value in economic integration, transformation  and progress in Africa’s development.

The trade fair, in his words, “will give each participant a platform for sharing in the context of African trade, investment and economic integration, leading to the  transformation and  development  of the continent.

“It will give opportunities to investors to showcase their goods and services  and share with others the trend and market openings.”

Obasanjo praised the Africa-Export Import Bank (Afreximbank) and its Chairman, Prof. Benedict Oramah, for its contributions towards bringing the IATF dream to fruition.

He said: “When we started planning for the project, we did not have any financial resources.  Afreximbank provided significant financial resources, but Professor Oramah and  other senior management members of the bank committed so much of their time and resources with enthusiasm ad conviction that the trade fair would pay-off and would contribute ultimately towards the actualization of the ACFTA, which will play a vital role in driving business and generating employment  across the continent.

“Afreximbank and the AU have worked tirelessly since the announcement of the trade fair in Kigali in March this year,” he stated.

Obasanjo said that without uninhibited trading among African countries, intra-African trade fair will amount to a sham.

“Africa needs to focus on what trade is needed, where the markets are, the size of the markets, and the standards required by those markets; how and where to implement the value chains that serve the market.

“We also need to fashion out the medium of payment within Africa for intra-African trade expeditions. These factors need to be combined in ensuring that there is commercially viable return and that the markets chosen are sustainable.”

He said when Africa actualises its potential, it would earn more respect from the human race.

Oramah said Africa was making history at the IATF by reversing the colonial strategy of divide-and-rule, adding that  the event signalled Africa’s readiness for economic independence. As he put it, “Africa should use the force of history to change the course of history,” he said.

Some 1,150 exhibitors from 80 countries are to participate in the fair, with close to 40 from outside the continent.

A large number of exhibitors, many of them from Nigeria, are at the fair. The Managing Director of the Bank of Industry (BoI), Olukayode Pitan, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Chairman Tony Elumelu, BoI Executive Director, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Waheed Olagunju are at the fair. Dangote Group, Fidelity Bank, several firms from Europe, Turkey, China, Indonesia, among others, are there. The Prime Minister of the Arab Democratic Republic of Egypt, Mustafa Madbouly represented the Egyptian President at the opening ceremony.

In the meantime, Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, says the Federal Government has reached a partial agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

But the lecturers said the industrial action remains ongoing, noting that government had in the past made promises that were not fulfilled.

Ngige had pointed out that some of the agreements in the Memorandum of Action signed between ASUU and the FG in 2017 would be implemented soon.

ASUU National President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, told reporters after the meeting that there was no concrete development yet to warrant the suspension of the strike.

The Nation with additional report from Guardian NG


Unstable Economy: UK Firm Presents Solutions To Nigerian Business Leaders



SOAN Inaugurates New Leadership, Boosting Hopes Of Crushable Inflation

Nigerian business leaders are to benefit from the programme of United Kingdom-based leadership development organisation TEXEM UK on how to win despite the exodus of staff, very high inflation and turbulent operating landscape.

TEXEM’s Director of Special Projects, Caroline Lucas, said on the organisation’s website,, that the programme with the theme “Strategies for Sustainable Organisational Success” is slated for April 24 and April 25 in Lagos.

According to Lucas, in today’s volatile and disruptive business landscape, organisations face numerous strategic challenges.

“TEXEM’s programme, “Strategies for Sustainable Organisational Success,” offers tailored solutions to address these pressing issues.

“Senior leaders grappling with skyrocketing costs, high currency risks, and disruptive technologies require practical insights and tools to navigate uncertainty effectively.

“This programme provides actionable strategies for sustainable success amidst turbulent times,” she said.

Lucas asserts that exceptional crisis management skills are essential in the face of staff exodus and geopolitical disruptions.

“TEXEM equips participants with the necessary leadership capabilities to lead through crises, ensuring organisational excellence even amidst adversity.

“Innovation becomes imperative in turbulent waters.

“TEXEM’s programme fosters a culture of innovation and provides guidance on harnessing adversity as a catalyst for profitable growth,” she said.

According to her, participants will learn to turn challenges into opportunities, driving sustained profitability.

Lucas said resilience and effective risk management are crucial in today’s volatile landscape.

She said through interactive sessions and case studies, TEXEM helps senior leaders develop unshakable qualities, enabling them to navigate uncertainty and confidently mitigate risks.

“Optimizing resource utilisation is paramount amidst soaring costs.

“TEXEM offers insights on managing resources efficiently, ensuring optimal impact even amidst cost pressures. Decisive problem-solving is paramount.

“TEXEM enhances participants’ decision-making capabilities through peer learning and observation practice, empowering them to make better decisions that drive organisational success,” Lucas said.

She said that beyond the curriculum, networking opportunities with industry peers enrich the learning experience, abound.

“Professional exchange provides valuable insights into different approaches to overcoming challenges, enhancing overall learning and impact.

“TEXEM’s programme aims to develop leadership strategies for optimum performance in an era of uncertainty.

“By helping participants understand how to manage and deploy resources more efficiently, it equips them with the skills needed to thrive in turbulent times,” Lucas said.

Saying that adversity is the mother of innovation, she added that TEXEM empowers individuals and organisations to thrive in volatile times, fostering innovation and sustained profitability.

“At the end of the programme, participants can expect to develop leadership skills for better decision-making and possess survival skills to navigate crises effectively.

“Through its comprehensive approach and proven methodology, TEXEM ensures participants unlock their potential, foster innovation, and drive sustained profitability in today’s challenging environment,” Lucas said.

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Sanwo-Olu Urges Use of Innovative Technologies in Solving Challenges



Sanwo-Olu Urges Use of Innovative Technologies in Solving Challenges

Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has called for the use of innovative technologies in resolving the economic and social challenges of the country.

Sanwo-Olu said this on Wednesday during the pioneer graduation of the Lateef Jakande Leadership Academy (LJLA) at Konga Place in Lekki.

He said that the new platform of globalisation and Internet of things must be significantly employed to resolve new challenges encountered in the course of improving the living standards of citizens.

30 students, 15 men and 15 women, between 18 and 35 years, graduated from the academy after a one-year course and mentorship in leadership.

The Lagos Leadership Summit (LLS) is a pivotal platform dedicated to empowering Nigeria’s young professionals with the skills and insights essential for success in various leadership roles.

With a focus on leadership excellence, ethical governance, and youth inclusion in governance, the summit offers a unique opportunity for participants to engage with renowned leaders and industry experts.

” You have to be able to innovate for us, you are here as leaders of not tomorrow but today. Proffer solutions that the government can use as a tool, to solve the challenges that we are facing today but more importantly to solve global issues.

“And that is why we started the Lateef Jakande Leadership Academy. For us as a government, we felt how well can we honour a man than for us in public sector to set up a cream of new leaders.

“So we set up this school that has the first set, the one-year fellowship, who indeed have not only shown us that we took the right step, they have been outstanding individuals,” the governor said.

The guest speaker and former governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, noted that it was important for followers to trust their leaders for a successful outcome.

“The people need to trust the government, they must know the capability of their leaders so that when issues beyond human expectations happen, the followers can show empathy to the plight of their leaders.

” I have always been an advocate that believes that the process is as important as the result, the end shouldn’t justify the means, the process is crucial, it serves as a blueprint for others coming behind,” he said.

Similarly, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, Deputy Governor, who spoke on “Leadership And Community Engagement”, stated that to achieve effective leadership in Nigeria, there was the need to navigate complex political, economic and social landscapes.

Hamzat urged the citizens to be involved in governance while stressing the need for collaborations with private stakeholders and the public sector.

According to him, community engagement with government at all levels is pivotal to the nation’s development.

In her address, Mrs Ayisat Agbaje-Okunade, LIJA’s Executive Secretary, noted that the challenges faced required leaders who are not only capable but compassionate, visionary, and adaptable.

According to her, leadership must transcend rhetoric and manifest tangible outcomes.

“We need leaders who inspire confidence, foster unity, and drive transformation.”

Agbaje-Okunade urged the participants to embrace the responsibility that comes with leadership and pave the way for a generation of new leaders.

The keynote speaker, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank, said that leadership is about leading people on a new purposeful journey.

Suleiman said being a strategic thinker and a transformational leader was what makes leadership different from management, adding that the future is being crafted in leadership.

“In essence, as a leader, you must be able to lead people to the future hence, you must be convincing for people to be bold to follow you, able to trust and believe in you.

“For one to be a leader, the people must be able to believe and trust you to take them to the future where you have never been to,” he said.

Also speaking, Mr Tunbosun Alake, Commissioner, Innovation, Science and Technology, stressed that leadership had nothing to do with being young or old but having good values and character.

The commissioner advised the participants to pursue excellence in their various career paths to succeed in life.

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Eid-el-Fitr: Tinubu Urges Sacrifice, Integrity For National Rebirth



Eid-el-Fitr: Tinubu urges sacrifice, integrity for national rebirth

 President Bola Tinubu has urged Nigerians to continue to make sacrifices and exhibit integrity for national development.

Tinubu said this after observing the Eid-el-Fitr prayer at the Eid Ground at Dodon Barracks on Wednesday in Lagos.

The President also called on Nigerians to continue to have faith in his government and remain patriotic citizens.

Tinubu said that the Renewed Hope Agenda of his administration, aimed at bringing prosperity to Nigerians, was being diligently implemented.

Encouraging Muslims to extend the values of sacrifice and resilience beyond the fasting period, Tinubu emphasised the need for Nigerians to prioritise the exhibition of love for their country.

‘’The resilience and sacrifice that we have shown and made during these months should be preserved.

“Be a kind and cheerful giver. We must love our country more than any other country because this is the only one we have.

‘’We must continue to protect the integrity of our government and leadership. The Renewed Hope Agenda is alive, well and fine, and Nigerians should continue to be very hopeful. Without hope, there is no salvation.

“Without hope, there is no development. Without hope, there is no life. Eid Mubarak,’’ the President said at the end of the prayers led by the Chief Imam of Lagos State, Sheikh Sulaiman Abou-Nolla.

Earlier in his sermon, the Chief Imam urged Nigerians to shun all acts of violence, ensure peaceful co-existence, and continue to have faith in the country.

He asked those in leadership positions to remain faithful to their oaths of office and work towards alleviating the suffering of the less privileged.

‘‘Let us not forget our brothers and sisters in Gaza and other areas of conflict,’’ the Chief Imam said.

He offered prayers of God’s guidance, wisdom, and protection for the President and the Lagos State government, as well as for peace and stability in the country.

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