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Glo Congratulates Muslims at Eid-El-Kabir, Urges Peace, Unity

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Mobile network operator, Globacom has urged Muslims in Nigeria to embrace good neighbourliness, love and unity as the 2023 El-El- Kabir festival is commemorated by Muslims across the globe.

The company congratulated Muslims in a press statement issued in Lagos saying, ”It is a season of charity, peace-making and forgiveness.  We must use this season to remember to fend for the poor and the needy in line with Allah’s injunction to be our brother’s keeper”.

Globacom advised them to eschew rancour and cultivate the spirit of self-restraint while rededicating them to the service of Allah and extend love to other compatriots within and outside the Islamic faith.

The telecommunications firm congratulated Muslims who went on pilgrimage to Hajj in accordance with one of the pillars of Islam. Eid-El-Kabir is celebrated on yearly basis in compliance with the virtues of commitment, dedication and obedience which Prophet Ibrahim displayed by offering his son, Ismail,  as sacrifice in obedience to the will of Allah.

Globacom assured its subscribers of unfettered communication experience with its world-class products and services during and after the festivities.

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Democracy Day: Full Text of President Tinubu’s Speech

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President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday addressed Nigerians on Democracy Day for the second time since he assumed office on May 29, 2024.

In his speech, the President honoured heroes of democracy, rallied Nigerians to support his administration’s efforts to strengthen the economy and informed citizens that a bill for a new minimum wage will be sent to the National Assembly soon, among other things.

Read his full speech below:

TEXT OF PRESIDENT BOLA TINUBU’S NATIONAL BROADCAST ON THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF UNBROKEN DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA,

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DEMOCRACY DAY, 12TH JUNE, 2024
ABUJA

My fellow Nigerians, let me begin by congratulating all of us for witnessing the celebration of another Democracy Day today, the twelfth day of June 2024. This year also marks our nation’s 25 years of uninterrupted democratic governance.

On this day, 31 years ago, we entered our rites of passage to becoming a true and enduring democratic society.

Going through this passage was hard and dangerous. During the fateful six years that followed, we fought and struggled for our natural rights as human beings put on this earth by the divine hand of our Creator.

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We lost great heroes and heroines along the way. In this struggle, the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief MKO Abiola, the most significant symbol of our democratic struggle, his wife, Kudirat, General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, and Pa Alfred Rewane amongst other sacrificed their very lives.

They bravely surrendered their futures, so that our nation might have a better one.

Let us honour the memories of Chief Anthony Enahoro, Chief Abraham Adesanya, Commodore Dan Suleiman, Chief Arthur Nwankwo, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Chief Frank Kokori, Chief Bola Ige, Chief Adekunle Ajasin, Chief Ganiyu Dawodu, Chief Ayo Fasanmi, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Chief Olabiyi Durojaiye, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, Chima Ubani, and others who have transited to the higher realm.

The sacrifices of General Alani Akinrinade, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Professor Wole Soyinka, Chief Ralph Obioha, Chief Cornelius Adebayo, among many others, should never be forgotten. For at least six years, they bore the pains and difficulties of life in exile.

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While the exiled pro-democracy activists kept the fire burning, their comrades at home sustained the pressure on the military leadership. Among the latter are Olisa Agbakoba, Femi Falana, Abdul Oroh, Senator Shehu Sani, Governor Uba Sani, Chief Olu Falae, and other National Democratic Coalition leaders such as Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Chief Ayo Opadokun.

The sacrifices they made, and the precious gift brought about by their selfless devotion can neither be repaid nor forgotten.

We could not have won the battle against dictatorship without the irrepressible Nigerian journalists who mounted the barricades along with the pro-democracy activists. We celebrate them today, along with their media establishments such as The Punch, Guardian, National Concord, Tribune, The News/Tempo, and TELL Magazines. The undemocratic government of the day proscribed these media establishments and jailed their journalists for standing for free speech and civil liberties and the sanctity of the June 12 elections.

Despite the lethal might of the authoritarian government, what appeared to be high and unyielding walls of dictatorship came tumbling down. The dismal fortress exists no longer.

The power of an idea, the power of the people proved more potent than all the guns, the munitions, and the threats of the strongmen.

The nation exited the yoke of dictatorship in 1999 to become the most populous democracy on African soil, the beacon of democratic self-determination for the black race and one of the largest democracies in the world.

This change stands as a pivotal moment in human history. From this change, we shall never turn, nor shall the annals of mankind’s progress forget the sublime meaning of this great moment.

Today, 25 years later. we celebrate the silver anniversary of our journey in democracy.

We have steadied the course. Democracy is neither a foreign nor abstract concept devoid of real-life meaning for us. Neither can we afford to reduce or minimalize it to being nothing but the mere holding of periodic elections where one candidate and party outdo another.

While elections attract dramatic attention, they are but one aspect of democracy. Democracy is a way of life that encompasses a broad outlook of which elections are but a part. As such, a nation can have elections without being democratic. But a nation cannot be truly democratic without holding elections.

That we have established a tradition of holding transparent, open, and fair elections gives credence to our democratic standing. That we have experienced peaceful transitions of government affirms our democratic temperament.

Fellow Nigerians, true democracy shines its light into the daily lives of the people who live under its nurturing wings. It affords us the freedom and liberty to think as we want, live where we want and pursue whatever legitimate endeavour that suits us.

Democracy does not assume some false or forced unity of opinion. In fact, democracy assumes that conflicting ideas and differing opinions shall be the order of the day. Given the diversity and variety of the human experience, there must be diverse perspectives and viewpoints.

What democracy demands is that we do not resolve differences through force and repression. But we make allowance for the legitimacy of views that differ from our own.

The other forms of government impose against the will of the people, democracy aims to make leaders who conduct themselves as servants of the common good, not as viceroys of the narrow interests of the mighty.

My dear compatriots, Nigeria faced a decision of untold gravity twenty-five years ago: Whether to veer toward a better destination or continue aimlessly in the fog of dictatorship.

We made the right choice then. We must continue with that choice now.

As Nigerians, we must remind ourselves that no matter how complicated democracy may be, it is the best form of governance in the long run. We must also be aware that there are those among us who will try to exploit current challenges to undermine, if not destroy, this democracy for which so much has already been given.

This is the great battle of our day and the major reason we specially celebrate this day as Democracy Day.

The true meaning of this day is not to focus solely on the great deeds of the past that have brought us to this point.

Yes, we pay eternal honour to those who laid down their lives, sacrificing everything to pave the way for the nation.

I stand uniquely placed in this regard. I was among those who took the risk to midwife the birth of our democracy. I am now a direct and obvious beneficiary of the fruits of those historic efforts.

As president of this nation, I am morally and constitutionally bound to preserve this precious form of governance. I vow to do my utmost best to protect your rights, freedoms, and liberties as citizens of Nigeria.

Even more than that, I pledge to do what is necessary to cement democracy as our way of life.

Although the challenges are steep and multiple, I am grateful to lead Nigeria at this moment in her history and point in her democratic journey.

I come before you also to declare that our most important work remains before us. This real test has never been whether we would rise to challenge the slings of misfortune and grievous pain of dictatorship.

The real test is whether we shall lower our guards and fail to defend democracy as the shadow of despotism and its evident physical danger fade.

I say to you here and now that as we celebrate the enshrinement of our political democracy, let us commit ourselves to the fulfilment of its equally important counterpart, the realization of our economic democracy.

I understand the economic difficulties we face as a nation.

Our economy has been in desperate need of reform for decades. It has been unbalanced because it was built on the flawed foundations and over-reliance on revenues from exploitation of oil.

The reforms we have initiated are intended to create a stronger, better foundation for future growth. There is no doubt the reforms have occasioned hardship. I feel your pains. Yet, they are necessary repairs required to fix the economy over the long run so that everyone has access to economic opportunity, fair pay and compensation for his endeavour and labour.

As we continue to reform the economy, I shall always listen to the people and will never turn my back on you.

In this spirit, we have negotiated in good faith and with open arms with organized labour on a new national minimum wage. We shall soon send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly to enshrine what has been agreed upon as part of our law for the next five years or less.

In the face of labour’s call for a national strike, we did not seek to oppress or crack down on the workers as a dictatorial government of the past would have done. We chose the path of cooperation over conflict.

Nobody was arrested or threatened. Instead, the labour leadership was invited to break bread and negotiate toward a good-faith resolution.

Reasoned discussion and principled compromise are hallmarks of democracy. These themselves shall continue to animate my policies and interaction with the constituent parts of our political economy.

I take on this vital task without fear or favour and I commit myself to this work until we have built a Nigeria where no man is oppressed.

In the end, our national greatness will not be achieved by travelling the easy road. It can only be achieved by taking the right one.

The words of the American President Franklin Roosevelt certainly ring true:

“There are many ways of going forward. But only one way of standing still”!

We dare not slumber lest the good things awaiting our immediate future pass us by. We dare not plant our feet in idle standstill in the middle of the intersection of hope and despair.

We know the proper way forward and we shall take it!

The initial rays of a brighter tomorrow now appear on the horizon. An abundant future and our capacity to achieve that future lies within our reach. Democracy and the institutions it begets offer to take us to our profound destination.

Let us board this progressive train together. Together, let us move Nigeria forward.

Let’s continue to keep the fire of democracy burning. Let’s keep the torch lit for generations to come.

May God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria and preserve our democracy.

I wish us all Happy Democracy Day.

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Dangote Refinery: Akpabio Pledges NASS Protection, Says Dangote Silenced Detractors by Completing Project

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The Senate leadership yesterday described the 650,000bpd Dangote Petroleum Refinery as the 9th wonder of the world but came hard on those who are skeptical of the completion of Dangote Petroleum Refinery describing them as dream killers.

Indeed, the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, who led the leadership of the 10th Senate on a tour of the Refinery in Lagos said detractors of the refinery have all been silenced and that indeed, previous governments have been put to shame with the completion of the project.

He assured that the National Assembly will give it what it takes to protect the project because its one project that Nigeria and indeed Africa should take the ownership and must be protected jealously.

Commending Alhaji Aliko Dangote for completing the construction of the largest single train refinery in the world in a record time, the Senate President said Dangote deserved all the accolades for this feat noting that ordinary residence of Nigeria’s Vice-President could not be completed until after 14 years.

Said he: “They told us in Abuja that Dangote Refinery is farce but we have come here and see for ourselves that the refinery is alive and running. Dangote has put to shame a lot of people. They are wondering how it will be possible for a single individual to accomplish what a whole nation could not accomplish; what 240 million people could not maintain; what a continent could not do and then one person will build 650,000bpd project.

“They keep wondering how one person can succeed where nations have failed; where continent has failed. But Dangote has done it. It is highly commendable. We came to see the refinery because we in the current senate believe in the Nigerian dream. We didn’t come as a doubting Thomas but we came because we believe the project, we came to rekindle the hope of Nigerians and the Nigerian’s can do spirit.”

Senator Akpabio stated that the whole Nigeria couldn’t make refineries function in Kaduna, Pot Harcourt, Warri, but that Dangote and his team have proven that it is possible to dream and achieve it in Nigeria.”
Akpabio said the shame that came with the discovery of oil in Nigeria in 1958 has been removed by Dangote alluding to a report that India does not have oil but his refineries from where the country exports refined products. The inability of the nation to refine its oil has brought untold hardship on Nigerians so much so that Belgian government recently ban the exportation of dirty and condemned fuel to the country to West African country just because we can’t refine our own products.

Describing the refinery as quite unbelievable, Senator Akpabio who was sandwiched by other senators comprising of the Deputy Senate President, Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele and a host of others said the Senate and the entire National Assembly would come up with a robust legislation that would protect the project and others like it.

He stated: “Mr. Dangote, I pity you a lot because even your friends will envy you simply because they will keep wondering how can you succeed when nations, and continents have failed? Now that we have seen for ourselves, we are here to announce our own endorsement of this major project. It is also shocking to see that we produce sufficient fertilisers for Nigeria and enough to be exported.

“As I said we will do our report and we will speak to Mr President to put a stop to fertisliser import to Nigeria. You will hear from us soon.”

Also speaking, Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, enthused that it is a privilege that the refinery happened in “our time, our state and our country. People talk about dreams, but only few can make it happen. Dangote has put Lagos State and the whole of Nigeria on the world map of excellence.

“I am happy the senate came to see for themselves; Dangote was not ready to rest after successfully building the largest cement factory chain in Africa, second largest sugar refinery in the world. With investment like this, I can assure you that we are on the right path to meet the projected GDP of $1trn by 2030.

“You have the key to city, I have given you long time ago and I am happy you are using it very well,” Governor Sanwo-Olu stated.
In his remark, Mr. Dangote explained that the “visit could not have come at a more auspicious time than now just as the organization is in the process of bringing the various units of this complex integrated refining processes on stream, an eagerly awaited move.”

He stated further that the Dangote Refinery “produces a wide range of high-quality petroleum products, including premium motor spirit (petrol), diesel, kerosene, and jet fuel, all meeting the highest international standards (Euro V Grade). The Refinery apart from adding value to our crude oil, will yield 900,000 KTPA of Polypropylene and 36,000 KTPA of Sulphur and carbon black as by products.

“The Refinery will help boost Nigeria’s economic growth, with the creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs. During the construction stage, it supported over 150,000 jobs, made up of mostly Nigerians. These Nigerians in the process acquired various skills that are still useful in other construction projects.

“The capacity of the refinery is enough to satisfy domestic demands for refined products. The Refinery will export about 50 per cent of its production thereby generating foreign exchange for the country. It will lead to growth in adjacent sectors such as logistics, shipping, engineering, and servicing.

“The Refinery has the requisite capacity to provide energy security both by providing a ready home for our crude and in ensuring steady availability of petroleum products for all. Nigerians will also get to partake in the financial returns once we list the Refinery on the NGX.

“We are thus making an important contribution to this administration’s plan to grow our GDP to $1 trillion.

“Our Group is at the vanguard of job creation and employment generation in Nigeria. We are the biggest employer of labour after the Federal Government. Dangote Cement sustains about 70,000 (Seventy thousand) direct and indirect jobs across Africa, while the Refinery, Petroleum Chemical Complex and Fertiliser will be able to create over 150,000 (One hundred and fifty thousand) direct and indirect jobs.
“We have remained one of the biggest contributors to government coffers as our three subsidiaries, Dangote Cement, Dangote Sugar Refinery and NASCON Allied Industries paid a total of N788.98 billion as tax and N276 billion in VAT in three years.
“We envision in Nigeria the equivalent of Jamnagar in India where crude oil refining is the backbone of specialised industrial zones, transportation networks, and ancillary industries, contributing to the overall industrialisation of the region. Or Saudi Arabia’s Jubail Industrial City, which is also undergirded by large scale petrochemical complexes.

“The Legislature has a great role to play in this. Globally, the Legislature plays a great role in protecting and supporting domestic industry. I am sure that the members of the 10th National Assembly are more than equal to the task. Supporting the Refinery secures the benefits. It will ensure energy security. As co-creators of value, we appreciate and acknowledge your consistent efforts in ensuring the enactment of vital laws promoting a conducive business environment in the nation,” he said.

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Remembering Nigeria’s Madam Excellence, Dora Akunyili

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By Eric Elezuo

While splendid Nigerian political office holders, past and present, can be counted only on fingertips, Anambra-born former Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and former Information Minister, Dr. Dora Nkem Akunyili OFR, will always make the list, and can arguably top the list.

The graduate of Pharmacy, who served NAFDAC between 2001 and 2008 succumbed to uterine cancer on June 7, 2014 after two years battle. She died five weeks to her 60th birthday. Today, the world rise to celebrate the ebullient stewardship and contribution to humanity of a woman, who received over 900 awards in her lifetime, 10 years after.

Born Dora Edemobi in Makurdi, Benue State, on July 14, 1954, to Chief Paul Young Edemobi who hailed from Nanka, Anambra State, the woman, who grew up to become a terror to fake drugs merchants, had her elementary education at the St. Patrick’s Primary School, Isuofia, Anambra State, where she received her First School Leaving Certificate in 1966. She proceeded to Queen of the Rosary Secondary School Nsukka, Enugu State in 1973, obtained her West African Examination Council (WAEC) Certificate, graduating with Grade I Distinction, and consequently, winning the Eastern Nigerian Government Post Primary Scholarship and the Federal Government of Nigeria Undergraduate Scholarship.

She went on to study Pharmacology at the University of Nigeria (U.N.N.), graduating in 1978 and followed it up with a Ph.D. in Ethnopharmacology in 1985.

Dora’s stewardship in public service has remained a case study and a reference point in integrity, honesty, determination, focus, and ability to administer justice no matter whose ox is gored. Dora was Nigeria’s Madam Excellence, giving her best shots to ajob description, and redefining the administration and control of health related matters in the country.

The former minister’s work trajectory is captured as follows:

She served on several State Government Boards and then was named Supervisory Councilor for Agriculture in a Local Government unit in Anambra State. She worked as a hospital pharmacist in the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital. (U.N.T.H), Enugu State.

In 1981, she became a Graduate Assistant in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, UNN. In 1990, she became a Senior Lecturer and in 1996, she was made a Consultant Pharmacologist at the College of Medicine.

In 1996, Akunyili became Zonal Secretary of the Petroleum Special Trust Fund (P.T.F), coordinating projects funded by profits from oil in Nigeria’s South Eastern States. In 2001, President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed her the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

She was appointed NAFDAC DG in 2001 and served till 2009.

Akunyili had a special motivation for attacking the country’s counterfeit drug problem  and this is because, in 1988, she had watched her sister aged 21, die after being given injections of fake insulin as part of regular diabetes treatment. She put together a team of mostly female pharmacists and inspectors and started a war against counterfeit drugs that saw many open-air medicine markets across the country closed down. Including one in Kano State after her officers confiscated £140,000 worth of fake drugs. The agency, under her leadership, broadcast jingles on radio and television to make the public aware of the dangers of substandard drugs and to encourage people to report suspicious drugs while also publishing lists of counterfeit products regularly in the newspapers.

In July 2003, the International Children’s Heart Foundation visited Nigeria to operate on sick children at a teaching hospital in Enugu. After four children died in what appeared to be a case of counterfeit medical supplies, and despite being confronted with what seemed to be a hospital cover-up, Akunyili confiscated supplies and found fake adrenalin, fake muscle relaxant and infected intravenous drips.

As of June 2006, she was reported to have secured convictions for 45 counterfeiters with 56 cases pending. Her efforts led to increased public awareness about counterfeit drugs and more direct and purposeful surveillance at Nigerian customs.

On 26 December 2003, while Akunyili was on the way to Anambra State in Eastern Nigeria, gunmen fired on her convoy. The bullets narrowly missed her, with one of the bullets going through her headscarf and through the windscreen of the car. Prior to the incident, she had faced constant death threats against herself, her family, and her staff. In 2014, at least six people were charged with conspiracy and attempted murder, but acquitted and discharged in 2014.

In 2008, Akunyili was appointed Minister of Information and Communications.

She resigned her appointment as Minister of Information and Communications on December 16, 2010, after two years of service to run for office as senator representing Anambra Central in the National Assembly.

She ran for election as Senator for Anambra Central for the APGA in April 2011 but was defeated by Chris Ngige of the ACN. She immediately sent a petition to the Independent National Electoral Commission disputing the result.

She was a pharmacist and governmental administrator who gained international recognition and won several awards for her work in pharmacology, public health and human rights.

In 2012, her book: The War Against Counterfeit Medicine: My Story was published.

Dora Akunyili died at a specialist cancer hospital in India on 7 June 2014 after a two-year battle with uterine cancer. Her funeral took place on 27 and 28 August, attended by many dignitaries from within Nigeria and beyond, including former President Goodluck Jonathan, and a former Nigerian military ruler General Yakubu Gowon. Akunyili was laid to rest at Agulu in Anambra State.

On 28 September 2021, her husband Chike Akunyili was killed by gunmen at Nkpor, in the Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra on his way back from an event to honor his late wife at Sharon Hall, All Saints Cathedral, Onitsha, and organized by the University of Nigeria Nsukka Alumni Association (UNAA). At least seven other people were said to have been killed in the attack. The Federal Government of Nigeria alleged that IPOB is responsible for his death.

Akunyili received over 900 awards throughout her career, the highest number of awards ever received by any Nigerian. With over 900 awards, Historyville reports that over 100 awards were later discovered in her boxes.

Some of the awards Akunyili received were:

  • Order of the Federal Republic, OFR
  • Time magazine award 2006 (“One of the eighteen heroes of our time”)
  • Person of the Year 2005 Award – Silverbird Communications Ltd, Lagos, 5 January 2006
  • Award of Excellence – Integrated World Services (IWS), December 2005
  • Award of Excellence – Advocacy for Democracy Dividends International, Lagos, 17 December 2005
  • Meritorious Award 2005 – St. Michael’s Military Catholic Church, Apapa, Lagos, 4 December 2005
  • African Virtuous and Entrepreneurial Women Merit Award 2005 – African Biographical Network, December, 2005
  • Award for the Best Government Parastatal – National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), December, 2005
  • An Icon of Excellence Award – The African Cultural Institute and Zenith Bank PLC, 8 December 2005
  • 2005 Grassroots Human Rights Campaigner Award London-based Human Rights Defense Organization, 8 December. 2005
  • Most Innovative Director Award Federal Government College, Ijanikin, Lagos, October, 2005.
  • Integrity Award 2003 – Transparency International.

Dora was married to Chike Akunyili, a medical doctor, and they had six children: Ijeoma, Edozie, Somto, Njideka, Chidiogo and Obumneme. In 2017, one of her children, Njideka Akunyili Crosby was awarded the prestigious Genius Grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

While Dora continues to rest in peace, her work continues to speak for her even as her she replicated so much of herself in her children.

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