By Precious Chukwuemeka Photos: Funmilayo Adeyemi
A great day it was indeed as friends, family members and colleagues gathered at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, to honour Cadbury West Africa’s Director, Corporate and Government Affairs, Mr. Bala Yesufu on his 60th birthday.
Mr. Yesufu who was consistently refered to as a man with a large and a ceaseless giver marked the momentous occasion with the public presentation/launch of a book:” Export Architecture Roadmap, The Nigerian and Global Perspectives”
With popular compere, Gbenga Adeyinka1st as anchor and former Ogun State Governor, Aremo Olusegun Osoba as Chairman, the event which began with an opening prayer by famous broadcaster, Bimbo Oloyede attracted a number of distinguished personalities.
In his opening remarks, Aremo Osoba congratulated the celebrant for his diverse achievements as well as being ‘a true Nigerian’, who schooled in various regions of the country, and his wife, for “nurturing him to 60”.
The keynote speaker, Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mr. Muda Yusuf, also poured glowing encomiums on the celebrant, especially for choosing to celebrate his birthday with an intellectual discourse that will impact Nigeria and Nigerians.
He noted that the book was very relevant especially now that the government has been talking of diversification of the economy.
In his view, Nigeria has not grown its export base because 90 per cent of our export receipt is still from oil sale.
He stated that there have been a lot of export incentives such as export expansion grant and development fund but yet there has not been significant progress because the micro economic environment has not been right.
According to him ” In many aspects of our national life, there has been a lot of morion and no movement. He described the book as apt.
Thee Book Reviewer, Publisher, Business Day, Mr. Frank Aigbogun, noted that “the author offers almost free consultancy to those who will read this book”.
He noted that the book breaks down the export business and goes ahead to provide a list of products that could be exported while also providing potential markets for them.
After the review, the book was formally launched by former Military Adminstrator of Lagos and Imo States, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (Rtd). He was assisted by former Military Administrator of Ondo State, Group Captain David Ita Ikpeme (Rtd), Representative of the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Aremo Olusegun Osoba as well as Mr Bala and wife.
In his speech, Mr Yesufu thanked everyone for honouring him and urged the government to consider building a railway line that will link Sagamu and Apapa. This he believed will ease the Apapa-Oshodi gridlock. He then presented plaques to special guests in appreciation of their contribution to the ceremony.
Among the dignitaries at the event were: Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. (Mrs.) Idiat Oluranti Adebule, who was represented by Mrs. Yetunde Odejayi, Dr. Reuben Abati, Hon. Jumoke Okoya-Thomas, Rt, Hon. Kola Adefemi, Mr. Lincoln Afolabi Ojo, Senator Ganiyu Solomon, Mr Dehinde Harrison, Rtn. Jide Akeredolu, Mrs. Tosin Alobo-Bakare, Prince Bisi Olatilo and Mr Bola Akingbade.