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SPPG Graduation: Stakeholders advocate ways to fix Africa’s leadership lapses


Lingering economic crisis, insecurity, famine and the rise in number of coup d’etats in Africa are fallout of  poor quality of political leadership across the continent,  stakeholders have warned.

Speaking at the just concluded 2023 School of Politics, Policy and Governance (SPPG)Graduation in Abuja, the stakeholders who are Africa’s thought leaders,  called for unity and reawakening of political consciousness among Africans to  fix Africa’s leadership crisis.

The speakers at the event include SPPG Convener and Nigeria’s former Minster for Education,  Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, Kenyan-based activist, Boniface Mwangi; Tunisian activist, speaker and diplomat,  Aya Chebbi; Accomplished Lawyer from Kenya, Martha Karua; Zimbabwean politician and one of the top leaders of the Citizens Coalition for Change political party, Gift ‘Ostallos’ Siziba and Senior Programme Officer and Acting Deputy Director, Mac-Arthur Foundation, Africa office, Amina Salihu.

Others are a Parliamentarian from Zimbabwe, Joanah Mamombe, a Chartered Accountant from Sierra Leone, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr,  Political Scientist from Senegal, Marieme Cisse; Transformation strategist from Nigeria, Alero Ayida-Otobo, among others.

The event themed:  “Renaissance Africa: The Era of Citizens shaping new Leadership Model for Good Governance” , saw the graduation of over 100 SPPG students. 

Participants described the event as a great opportunity Africans have been waiting for to help in building a new model and pipeline of public leadership to reverse acute governance failure and leadership gaps in the continent. 

Ezekwesili, charged Africans to participate fully in politics and lend their voices to matters that affect their future.

She disclosed the  Africa still contended with bad leaders despite millions of talented people in the continent, adding that the trend must be reversed.

 “We want an Africa that is governed by persons of character, competence and capacity that will transform nations. We are tired of bad leadership and the frequency with which that comes in. The conversation within and outside on the reason Africa is behind all other nations throws up a really big challenge,” she stated. 

“We cannot simply accept the idea of poor leadership in the public management of our continent. So, SPPG has worked to bring interconnectedness that also mirrors where Africa is going. It, thus, matters that citizens make effort to change things that are unacceptable. A continent with enough pool of talents has done incredible things, both within and outside.”

According to her, speakers at the event showed that Africa is not lacking is individuals that can lead the continent to propensity and stability.

“Africa has chosen the path of democracy, and if we look at historical numbers, more countries that have enjoyed prosperity have come through the democratic path. So, democracy is very important because it comes with political freedom. With political freedom, comes rule of law which is the cornerstone of economic freedom. Economic freedom leads to proliferation of ideas, innovation and creativity. With democracy, the two most important economic agenda for countries is solved faster and better.” 

Continuing, Ezekwesili, said: “Competitiveness and productivity are all based on empirical data. So, if we know all those things, we cannot then sit back and hope that somehow change will come. If Africans want to transform their politics and just sit back, hoping that those, who have entrenched poor governance as political culture, will someday fall in the kind of Apostle Paul and have a Damascus experience, we will wait forever. That is not something that this generation should do.”

Mwangi, urged African leaders to purge themselves of colonial mentality and look inwards. He said, “Africa’s biggest problem is its leadership and we have to fix that. Driving from Abuja Airport to the hotel, I saw very magnificent buildings; they were neither schools nor residences, but churches. There lies our problem. We focus a lot on religion and we need to fix that”. 

“Our leaders have copied the white man’s ways. When the white man colonised our continent, he took our lands, minerals, everything. When we kicked them out, we took the bad habits. Our continent, our land used to be communal, but we have become very western in our ideals. So, we have 10 billionaires and a billion poor in Africa. That needs to be fixed.”

Young people, he asserted, needed to take over power. But that is when Africans stop spending more time praying than politicking, thus making politics their way of life because politics is the reason unemployment, insecurity and poor healthcare abound. 

“The biggest mistake the young people have made in this continent is to serve the old people of yesteryears. So, we need to think how to have, across Africa, a pan-African movement to fix our leadership because if we don’t fix our leadership, we will be doomed. The people we have in power are neocolonial stooges; they work for the white man. The money stolen in our continent goes abroad,” he said.

In her submission, Karua assured that the hopes of Africans must be restored. She said, “We need to restore hope in our people. Our culture in Africa is respect, oneness and love. We are now lost people. We are neither Africans not outsiders. 

“If you love Africa, you will not wage war against your people. Even your people will rebel against you. I think this is a good place to start. We need to reflect on the things we will do. One finger cannot kill a fly. We are here to create a political miracle to solve the problems of Africa. We need a revolution. I do not mean a coup. There is a civilian revolution.”

SPPG holds graduation, raises disruptive leaders to transform Africa


The School of Politics, Policy, and Governance has scheduled a series of events to commemorate the graduation of its Class of 2023, taking place from October 5th to 7th, 2023.

The graduation ceremony, which holds at the National Universities Commission, Abuja, will bring together disruptive political and community leaders, SPPG students and alumni, the #FixPolitics Work Study Group community and value-oriented politicians in Africa to discuss new ways to lead effectively in the continent.

The  SPPG was established to help in building a new model and pipeline of public leadership to reverse acute governance failure and leadership gaps in Africa. 

The SPPG has for years built a reputation for equipping leaders wth the  right values, knowledge and skills required to solve complex public problems.

“Part of the activities slated for the hybrid three-day event include the inaugural Africa Conference, a convergence of political leaders and citizen-led movement advancing good governance across Africa, which will culminate in the graduation of the third cohort – #SPPGClassof2023,” the Chief Executive Officer of SPPG, Mrs Alero Ayida-Otobo, said. 

The theme of the Africa Conference is, ‘Renaissance Africa: The Era of Citizens Shaping a New Leadership Model for Good Governance’. 

“The conference will examine ways of transforming African governance at the levels of political leadership, institutions and policies, citizen engagement and participation in the short, medium and long terms,” said Ayida-Otobo. 

She added, “At the end of the programme, Africa’s new leaders and active citizens will be connected to share experiences and inspire one another as they develop a sustainable system for emergence of ethical, competent and capable public leaders at scale for good governance.”

There will be special recognition and group awards for outstanding individuals, faculty, mentors and groups, who excelled as SPPG students and/or contributed significantly to the SPPG community, among others.

The conference will see distinguished speakers from the SPPG Nigeria and other African countries including Senegal, Sierra Leone, Kenya, and more, as well as SPPG students and alumni. They will also participate in breakout sessions, where participants would share the outcomes of their discussions and work towards actionable solutions.

The graduating class and members of the SPPG Alumni Network will embark on the SPPG tradition of a Citizen’s Awareness Walk to deepen their commitment to a connected and resilient Nigeria. 

The closing, dedicated to the SPPG graduation, will enable the #SPPGClassof2023 to share knowledge, inspire action and celebrate their achievements.

Accolades as Obiano, father of modern Anambra, clocks 68


*Residents extol selflessness, commitment to citizens’ wellbeing


Father of modern Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, on Tuesday, August 8, 2023, marked his 68th birthday. 

The former Anambra governor is known for building massive infrastructure, funding education, promoting good governance and passion for charity.

While in office as governor from 2014 to 2022, his accomplishments blossomed, impacting many people within and outside the state positively. 

Akpokuedike, as he is fondly called, ranks among the best governors Anambra has produced in the Fourth Republic. 

Anambra joined the league of oil-producing states during his tenure, and the state has earned over N7bn as derivation since July 2022.

Obiano, who succeeded Peter Obi as Anambra helmsman, is not only passionate about seeing the people happy and prosperous, but gives to the less-privileged to make life better for everyone.

That explains why  every of Obiano’s birthday, since he became governor, has become a period of celebration for  citizens and residents of Anambra because of the peace and prosperity he brought to the state during his tenure.

Michael Oduah, a trader in Onitsha Main Market, said Obiano’s tenure was the best for him so far, as his business witnessed exponential growth.

“Our businesses thrived because of the peaceful atmosphere created during his tenure. We congratulate him for this milestone of a new age and for the giant strides he made during his tenure as Anambra governor,” he said.

Nnewi-based business woman, Roseline Okafor, described Obiano as a kind-hearted governor, who fought for his people to have a good life. 

“He is a good politician, who is never desperate for power. Another attribute of Obiano that is rare in this clime is that, unlike other former governors, who see the Senate and other political offices as their retirement benefit, he handed over without going to the Senate, giving others opportunity to also build their political careers,” she said.

Mrs Adanna Ezennia, a teacher based in Awka, the state capital, said she would never forget the outstanding performance of Obiano in the education sector.

“Governor Obiano loves to see the education sector thrive. He made sure that the schools were equipped and teachers motivated. We will continue to miss his sterling leadership qualities,” she said.

She added that having received quality education, Obiano does not joke with education, especially that of children.

Obiano affirmed this when he said, “It was one of my initiatives to demonstrate my belief that every Nigerian child has the right to access quality and affordable education in a peaceful and secured environment. Hence, I initiated ‘No Child left Behind’ policy – an inclusive policy to recruit more teachers and educate all children across the state.”

He further enhanced this policy by building hundreds of school blocks and creating of Anambra Teach-on-Air programme for radio and television, to eradicate illiteracy. He was a true champion of justice and equity and fought for the rights of the most vulnerable.

Ezennia disclosed that Obiano had been feeding communities and individuals quietly as part of his plan to give back to society.

“It is obvious Obiano has accomplished so much in life, but his selfless impact on humanity is particularly endearing. He is a strong and compassionate leader, who always put the people around him first. He made Anambra a better place to live and do business.

“Obiano tarred over 1,000 kilometres of road, built 17 bridges and three iconic flyovers in Awka. He was the first to integrate social media and e-Governance. The workers were not ignored. He paid salaries and pension, in line with his commitment to deliver on physical and human infrastructure,” she added.

The International Cargo and Passenger Airport, Umuleri; the 13,000-capacity Convention Centre, Awka, and the FIFA-rated Awka City Stadium were all built during Obiano’s tenure.

Obiano’s positive records were also evident in other notable areas, such as the completed Onitsha Shopping Mall and Agulu Lake Hotel, as well as rebuilt roundabouts across the state,” she stated.

Afrinvest guides investors on investment opportunities for huge returns in period of reforms


Afrinvest West Africa Limited has provided intelligent guidance to domestic investors on opportunities available in this period of massive reforms across key sectors of the economy.

At the company’s mid-year investment parley held on Tuesday in Lagos, the Group Managing Director, Afrinvest West Africa Limited, Ike Chioke, spoke on the opportunities provided by the naira and energy reforms to investors and how they could be explored for optimum returns on investment.

Speaking on the theme: “The Turning Point: Positioning for Optimal Return,” he called on investors to position themselves for the opportunities in the economy, which had been magnified by ongoing reforms.

Chioke said the factors seen in both domestic and global economies showed that the country’s economy was at turning point for greatness.

“We’ve seen global inflation rates are dropping alarmingly over the last six, seven months. We’ve seen that the rate tightening by global central banks have kind of come to a point where they are pulling back. They have achieved the objective of reining in inflation. For Nigeria, the new government and ongoing forex reforms also have implications,” he said.

He said removal of the petrol subsidy was expected to provide fiscal savings of N2tn in 2023. This, together with earnings from improved oil exports and non-oil sources, would buoy revenue.

According to him, although the naira has been devalued by significantly about 40 per cent, but it has great benefits, including government making huge savings around N2tn, just from the subsidy removal.

He however, kicked against spending the savings on palliatives, saying “a palliative is not a permanent solution.”

Chioke added that the forex reforms by the Central Bank of Nigeria “has raised hope on sustainable economic development.”

He said the spike in forex rate at the parallel market would be short-lived as more foreign investors pump dollars to the economy.

He said naira would face pressures at the parallel market but that would be for a short time. He said the bigger picture was that more foreign direct investments would find their way into the economy.

“The forex reforms has rekindled hope of domestic and foreign investors in the economy, and we expect it to pay out positively on the naira and foreign reserves in the long run,” he said.

On his part, the Managing Director of Afrinvest Consulting, Abiodun Keripe, said the reforms were courageous, and were previously thought impossible. He said the reforms in the forex market had opened the possibility of Nigeria growing its foreign reserves to $60bn by year end.

He said achieving the target will require increased oil production, boost in diaspora remittances, sustenance of tax and oil subsidy reforms.

Keripe said implementing these reforms would also strengthen the naira from current status to around N550/N600/$ by year end.

Keripe said that despite the improved export earnings, Nigeria’s heavy dependence on importation impeded the trade balance gains.

“No policy can artificially fix the rate at 600 without further worsening the delicate condition. In fact, the incentives to substantially push the exchange rate lower are quite minimal for revenue mobilisation,” he said.

He explained that more interesting to investors was also the impact of forex unification on the reduction in government deficit by about N350bn (greater gain from oil revenue vis-à-vis increase in external debt service).

He said: “Inflation is likely to touch 24.0 per cent before decelerating in fourth quarter on the back of the base effect and weakened demand pressure. Hence, monetary policy would tread cautiously by maintaining the status quo.

“We expect a more market-responsive FX rate, which will boost investors’ confidence and enhance trade and capital flows. However, the path to FX stability would be somewhat rocky. The FX rate is expected to stay above N700 in the near to medium term,” he projected.

“The removal of the petrol subsidy and the process to stop the electricity subsidy are expected to keep prices elevated for the rest of 2023. Although this would spur an improved and more efficient allocation of resources by the Federal Government. Investors interest in alternative investments has consistently improved in the last decade. Thanks to innovative financial products that have consistently addressed its drawbacks — illiquidity, prolonged gestation period, lumpiness, and relatively high expense ratio,” Keripe stated.

He advised investors to remain overweight in fixed-income investments, with a particular emphasis on yield play.

“Sovereign with strong fundamentals should be the center of focus while corporates should also take a substantial part for stability. The juiciest yield are seated on the short and belly of the curve. A higher yield with a shorter maturity will deliver a better risk- adjusted return,” he said.

“Given that we expect muted volatility toward the downside, activity should be moderate. The surest bet remains to long the market. However, investors can short when the opportunity arises,” he added.

Also speaking, Managing Director/Chief Business Officer, Optimus by Afrinvest, Mr Ayodeji Eboh, said the reforms represented a turning point because with Nigeria’s new government, there was going to be short term pains, which would ease as time progresses.

He however, said savings from subsidy should be tied to specific projects, that add value to the people.

He kicked against sharing palliatives, saying such move would not enable the government to achieve desired goals for the people.

He called for investment in infrastructure and in boosting policies that promote ease of doing business.

Ehizua Hub, GBrains partner to empower students in Edo


Ehizua Hub Limited, a leading and Test House Tutorials, known as GBrains, have announced their strategic partnership to transform education by merging creative technology programmes with traditional high school subject tutorials.

Ehizua is an EdTech provider while GBrains is a renowned tutorial service provider.

The Chief Executive Officer of Ehizua Hub, Matthias Ehizua, in a statement, noted that the two academic groups were investing in personalised support for gap-year students, adding that experienced tutors would help navigate JAMB and WAEC syllabi, ensuring comprehensive coverage.

The Creative Tech tutorial programme combines technology education with conventional subjects, preparing students not only for exams but also for the digital economy.

“Ehizua and Gbrains are leading the charge, empowering students with essential tools for success. The objective is to holistically develop and equip students beyond academics, reduce reliance on illegal activities, make them job-ready with practical skills for the workforce to deter cybercrime, promote ethical awareness to minimises illicit online behaviour, and help them align with Edo’s vision for the digital economy.

“Ehizua Hub’s state-of-the-art facilities, including Computer Lab, Smart Classes, Virtual Library and Computer-Based Testing Centre, will enhance the learning experience. Creative technology tools will be accessible, ensuring students are well-equipped for the challenges of the modern world,” he stressed.

The collaboration between Ehizua Hub and Test House Tutorials not only prepares students academically, but also equips them with essential skills for the digital era.

“By empowering students and offering alternatives, we contribute to a safer online environment and support the state’s vision of becoming a knowledge and innovation hub,” he emphasised.

Nigerian economy not friendly to SMEs – Ntiaidem


Glory Ntiaidem is the Founder/Chief Executive Officer of 9deys Organics, a natural hair, skin and lip brand. In this chat, she advises Africans against using chemical cosmetics, saying that they work fast but are harmful. Excerpts

What do you do at 9deys?

We help people grow their hair,treat alopecia, stop early stage balding, thinning, hairline shifting backwards and so on. The idea is to help people get back their self-confidence, understand the reasonforsome of these cases,while proffering solutions

What is the story behind your brand?

The story is a self-implied experiment over the years. I realised I spent so much money buying artificial extensions, yet, I did not get as much compliments as when using my natural hair. People appreciated what they saw because the hair was healthy and stood out. There is no time I come out wearing my natural hair that I do not get compliments such as “Oh wow! What do you use on your hair?”, “Oh wow, what do you use on your skin?” Over the years, I had been referring them to other people. It dawned on me that I could do this thing, and my classmates advised me to do it since it would be my brand, instead of referring people to other brands.

During COVID-19, I was not doing anything, so I decided to cut my hair. I cut my long hair, which I had on for over seven years. It was a shocker to a lot of people, as they felt I was going through a midlife crisis or something of that nature. People kept asking why I cut my hair, but I needed to go through the process before giving it out.  Within three months, I began to get reviews and compliments. With the lockdown, I kept posting on my status and people could not believe that the hair I cut the other day had grown so well, healthy and nourished. They kept asking, “What products are you using and how do you use them?” I started from there to sell my then-unbranded product. The community started from friends and family, and when I began to receive positive reviews. I was convinced it was time to launch it into the market.

How has the product evolved since its inception three years ago?

It has been growing at a gradual but steady pace, stage by stage. We have evolved, as the result has been positively remarkable and overwhelming. I mean, that is the aspect of the business that keeps us going. We have been able to reach out to a few more people within a short period of time. Referrals from the few people have also helped to spread the good news and we are doing great. 

What milestones have your brand achieved in the past three years?

We have thrown stones at locations we did not expect to reach. We have been able to cut across international brands and markets, little or more through word of mouth, referrals and our client base. We have a lot of clients outside Nigeria, who are greatly impressed that this is coming from Nigeria. They have been pushing the black community in the United States and Europe. We have, indeed, been able to reach out to a lot of people.

How have you impacted the lives of your customers?

I did not know there were a lot of women going through hair-related problems until I started this business. I did not also know the importance of my brand until I heard people calling, thanking and praying for me. I have never done business before and somebody willingly gave me money just to show appreciation, extra money for a job done. Or somebody telling me that if not for your products and services, I would not have the confidence to come outside. It has been great and positive, helping women and men gain back self-confidence. This brand has been a source of motivation for me. When I do not feel like going to the office, thinking of these people keeps me going.

What challenge has 9deys Organics faced over the past three years and how did you overcome them?

We have faced the challenges of foreign exchange. In a small-scale business like this, a lot of challenges emerge from the point of purchase; today, you buy materials at a particular rate and the following day, it is 200 per cent higher than the price obtained the previous day. I cannot keep going back and forth, changing my rates. If I put it at N35 today and the following week, the price increases to N40, it does not speak well of the brand. It is affecting us as a brand, because we need to make profit. Despite me trying to reach out, I am also losing money at some point.

The economy is not friendly to small-scale businesses. We spend more than our profit. It is passion for the job and the smile it puts on faces that keeps us going.

What sets your brand apart from other hair treatment brands and what do you want to be known for?

We want to be known for being an effective hair doctor because that is how most of my clients address me. My clients use the expression, “Meet my hair doctor.” The major factor that sets us apart is our concern for solutions to the clients’ issues. Our priority is the customer’s satisfaction. We are not after the money, but the results. We are patient with our clients, and we embark on the journey together with them. Hair loss, sometimes, is not about hair breakage alone; it involves the emotional aspects and medication angle. Most of the other brands just want to sell their products. I connect with my clients by consultation, exploring factors that occurred before they started experiencing hair loss. We have realised that some people tend to experience hair loss due to childbirth, post-partum depression, medications and many other factors. It sets us apart.

We reach out to the clients emotionally, provide support and sell our brand, which is made from edibles, thereby preventing the clients from chemical-infused issues at any point. You are what you eat; so our product works physically from the external part while on your part, you eat healthy to spur growth from inside. What you eat works from within, while the product works from outside. So, that is another point that makes us different.

We also organise therapeutic sessions, which we call the head spa. The head spa is a session where you tend to relax yourself. Hair loss could come through stress or when your brain is overworked. When you go to a salon, instead of them to help you relax, they infuse more pain into your hair. But in our salon, we make you calm mentally, and feel relaxed; so that if you are under pressure, after a session with us, you will leave happy and relaxed. It is not just about selling products but also giving you that peace of mind and sanity while using the products.

Personally, what has been the most rewarding aspect of running the business?

The rewarding aspect is attending to a customer and putting a smile on the customer’s face. Sometimes, people ask why they have to pay for the service. I usually convince them not to worry till I am done and they end up convinced on why they should pay handsomely for my services. It is the confidence that comes with you knowing that the service you render yields high level of customer satisfaction. I have never had a bad report, such as “Your product did not work.” Not at all. If the client follows the procedure, sticks to the brand, to the routine, do what is needed to be done, the excellent result and joy is our reward. The achievement of the desired result is what keeps us going. Your result is our review. If you were not getting the right results, you would not tell somebody else about us. So, I do not need an award or a placard to show me the reward for excellence. Your review, desired result and happiness show that we are doing well.

How do you stay motivated and inspired to continue driving the success of 9deys Organics?

Looking at where I am coming from, where I am going to, and the lives this brand has impacted, knowing that people need to know and experience this brand, I cannot be discouraged. Sometimes, when I go to the market and return feeling very depressed due to the fluctuating market price, I remember that there are women out there going to take steroid injections and ending up with scars on their heads while trying to treat a small hair condition that could have been done with a cream, I get motivated. I am not saying steroids or any other brand is bad, but they are notable for using chemicals, which could be harmful to health because they feel it is the shortest route to growing healthier hair.

Our brand is safe and available; hence, the need to push it out there, and create awareness for people to know about a healthier solution to their hair issues. The realisation that I have to ensure people know there is a brand that does not require surgery or injection gives me sleepless nights. I have successfully treated clients that had scars on their scalp due to hair loss. I motivate myself to stop that from happening to people because life moves in a cycle; it may come back to haunt the people close to you. To treat dandruff, somebody was advised to use injection, instead of simply using shampoo or exfoliant. When I sit back to think that these things could stop without spending so much money, I get motivated. 

What is your plan for the brand?

I plan to have more product varieties for the brand. I started with lip gloss. Funny enough, a lot of people do not know that I started the organic lip gloss journey before the hair and skin. So, ahead of it, I want people to stop using those pink lip chemicals and focus on the gloss aspect. I want people to know us, for my brand to be in every household.

How can customers participate in the July 17 celebration of your brand and what special offers should they expect?

July 17 is my birthday, but the anniversary sales will be on July 28, 2024. I believe a lot of people would be available to participate. I thought of pushing it to Sunday, July 28, to enable people to participate and celebrate with me. I will launch another product on that day, and give out gifts. We will give out samples of the new product and discounts. So, when you buy any product that day, for the next three months, you will have, at least, two free sessions, which is way beyond 30 to 70 per cent discount.

What message do you have for your customers and the general public as you mark this significant milestone?

The message I have for people out there is to stay away from chemicals. Chemicals make one age fast. You look 20 years older because chemicals are very tricky. They give you the result under seven days, and seven years later, you cannot repair the damage done. My advice is, be it skin or hair, stay away from chemicals. Trust the gradual process of natural products. Nothing good comes easy. It does not happen overnight. If you are watching your weight, you do not lose weight in one day because you did not gain that weight in one day. It is the same energy you apply to your skin care and hair care routine. Do not let anyone deceive you. Natural products are affordable, considering the rates I put on my products out there. Yes, there are a lot of products that have been chemically infused with lots of preservatives that could last 10years, but you are dealing with a small-scale business thatproduces short-term results. You are lucky enough to have access to it, especially people living in Nigeria, unlike those based abroad, who could be told to pay millions to ship local products over there. Overseas, they use more products that are chemically-used than natural ones. So, do not abuse the small-scale business, just because it is easily accessible. When you go out there, you will appreciate what you have here. Be consistent; do not follow what other people are doing, but do what works for your body and hair type.

Always support 9deys Organics. We are here to stay, and your result is our reward.

Where do you see your brand in the next five years?

It is a brand that gives you satisfaction and is easily accessible anywhere. It came about three years ago. Wherever you go, you see it. I want it to be a brand that people will reckon with. The arm we have is not just for men and women; it is also for babies. When you have your baby, there is 9deys hair care for you. You know,babies usually have ringworm, those round patches on their scalp. So, I want mybrand to be out there, making a positive impact, while supporting other brands too. We promote, support and encourage people to use it. I want it to be out there. That is my dream. I am building a brand that will be recognised outside the country, outside my reach. We are also sponsoring black community markets outside.

Locally, we are sponsoring young talents. So, it is not just going to stop here. It is a big dream for me. 

#FixPolitics felicitates with SPPG dean on new appointment


#FixPolitics Initiative has congratulated the Dean, School of Politics, Policy and Governance, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, on her nomination as member of the Spotlight Initiative Global Reference Group for the 2024 to 2026 term.

In a statement signed on behalf of the Chairperson, #FixPolitics Initiative, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili; SPPG, members of the Work Study Group (WSG) and entire staff, the Executive Director of #FixPolitics, Africa, Anthony Ubani, noted the prestigious appointment as a testament to Akiyode-Afolabi’s unwavering dedication, profound expertise and significant contributions to advancing gender equality and combating gender-based violence,

He added, “Your remarkable achievements and steadfast commitment to these critical issues have played a crucial role in earning you this distinguished recognition. Indeed, it is a strong and compelling testament to the quality and tangible impact you have made that you were selected as one of the 17 members of the Spotlight Initiative Global Reference Group following a rigorous review of 140 applications.

“We are confident that your participation in the Spotlight Initiative Global Reference Group will further amplify your impact, bringing valuable insights and fostering meaningful change on a global scale. We deeply admire and appreciate your tireless efforts to promote social justice and empower marginalised communities. Your leadership will continue to inspire us, and we are honoured to witness your ongoing journey of excellence and advocacy.”

The initiative urged the nominee to accept its warmest congratulations, as it looks forward to supporting her and celebrating her continued success.

#FixPolitics is a value-based movement created to disrupt African politics and reconstruct Nigeria by building a bottom-up citizen-led political movement, while SPPG is integral to the fulfilment of the #FixPolitics mission to elevate the Office of the Citizen to its rightful place in our nation and develop a political class of servant leaders.

Prominent citizens back OOTC’s call for LG autonomy, credible polls


Three prominent Nigerians and democracy enthusiasts, Tito Adeniyi-Aderoju, Bimbo Oloyede and Adeola Azeez, have supported the demand by the Office of the Citizen for local government autonomy and conduct of credible elections for sustainable democracy.

They spoke at the recent OOTC maiden Democracy Dialogue with the theme, ‘Promoting Sustainable Development Models for Effective Local Governance’.

The OOTC objectives align with the tenets of the #FixPolitics Initiative, all geared towards the growth of enduring democracy in Africa.

Explaining the essence of the programme, Adeniyi-Aderoju, who is also a marketing expert, said it was meant to advocate useful reforms that would empower local government administration and create room for credible elections at the grassroots.

“We are here to carry out useful dialogue to ensure local governments represent and empower the local people. We are dedicated people, committed to moving Africa forward. We believe in democracy that serves the people.

“Also, we are here to catalyse meaningful dialogue and develop strategies to empower local governments for sustainable development and effective administration,” she told participants at the programme.

She also spoke on the challenges facing local governments, and the best practices to empower them for transformative administration.

For Azeez, to achieve a working local government system, there is the need for decentralisation of power that will lead to autonomy.

She noted transparency, open data, and low corruption as fundamental to good governance and achievement of the objectives.

Azeez, a seasoned banker, stressed that the leaders need to engage citizens actively in decision-making processes to entrench healthy democracy, adding, “Provision of quality healthcare, education, social services and well-planned environments should be prioritised.

“Emphasis should be on environmental protection and sustainable development, which are necessary for long-term progress. There is also a need to encourage individuals with competence, character and capacity to serve at the local government level to drive societal transformation.”

The electoral body, Azeez insisted, must be truly independent to ensure free and fair elections.

She called for transparency, accountability and best practices in local governance to build trust and efficiency while advocating direct allocation of funds to local governments to eliminate conflicts and empower them to serve the people effectively.

“There is the need to ensure that issues with past elections are addressed to guarantee free and fair elections devoid of violence. The election of local government officials by the people and for the people is necessary in a democracy,” she said.

While calling for the establishment of mechanisms to monitor local government activities and report on their transparency and accountability, she added, “There is further need to support and implement sustainable development projects at the local level to ensure environmental protection and long-term growth.”

Mrs Oloyede, a veteran broadcaster, on her part, explained that the #FixPolitics Initiative is a citizen-led movement, which goal is to change the practice of politics in Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world.

“We recognise that changing the political landscape requires capacity, competence and character,” the broadcaster said.

The initiative, she added, is driven by three pillars, which are represented by Work Study Groups, whose specific areas of focus tackle pertinent issues in creative ways.

According to Oloyede, WSG3 engages regulatory bodies related to constitutional and electoral reform, through television programmes and virtual dialogues, such as discussions on free and fair elections and the Diaspora voting.

While WSG2 is building a new class of politicians through its unconventional School of Politics, Policy and Governance, WSG1 is working to ensure that the voters recognise that they occupy the highest office in the land – OOTC, she noted.

WSG2, she added, operates virtually in Nigeria and Senegal, enabling its graduands to appreciate their roles as servant-leaders. “WSG2’s Big Ideas Platform also births concepts that drive growth.”

She expatiated that WSG1 was created to educate grassroots citizens and middle-income earners about the importance of being actively engaged and economically productive, so that their power is used constructively.

The OOTC, a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting active citizenship and good governance in Nigeria and democracy dialogue, is a critical platform for Nigerians, who believe in strengthening local government and promoting a more effective and accountable democracy.

At democracy dialogue, OOTC seeks LG autonomy


* Ezekwesili advocates structural solutions to Nigeria’s problems

The Office of the Citizen (OOTC) has made a case for local government autonomy in Nigeria to achieve the desired development plans for the citizenry.

The OOTC, which stated this at the maiden virtual Democracy Dialogue on June 12, themed ‘Promoting Sustainable Development Models for Effective Local Governance’, said the event was designed to compel key political and electoral reform actions for credible, transparent, free and fair elections by the executive, legislature, the Independent National Electoral Commission, and the security establishment.

Speaking during the event, the Founder, #FixPolitics, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, said, “Nigeria is faced with serious structural challenges in its democracy and governance, and nothing works until structural solutions are provided.”

According to the former Vice President of the World Bank, the country’s problems cannot be solved from the top cadre of governance, unless the grassroots are involved.

“That means we cannot start solving problems of the country from the rooftops. We believe that for functionality, we have to correct the structure, which is at the centre of constitutional change. A Nigeria that works has to be designed by the people. We need to place the grassroots at the heart of the Nigeria project,” she added.

Social activist, Aisha Yesufu, called for total citizen inclusion in the democratic process, even at home. Government, according to her, should involve the citizens in decision-making.

Yesufu advocated attitudinal change in governance and autonomy for local government administration.

“We need to understand that people have the right to make demands and ask for explanations. Asking questions is good, and that means they believe in government.

“There should be attitudinal change. Presently, the local government’s loyalty has been to the state government, and not the people who elected them. That has to change,” she said.

On his part, the Executive Chairman, Igbogbo-Baiyeku Local Council Development Area, Lagos State, Olusesan Daini, agreed with Yesufu on the call for local government autonomy.

According to him, the role of local governments is clear in the constitution. They are expected to look at the economic development of the state, because, for any state to thrive, there must be functional local governments.

“We are entrusted with the healthcare system, road maintenance, preservation of natural resources, primary education, healthcare system, the environment and road infrastructure,”  he said.

The Executive Director, Advocate for Good Governance, Sesugh Akume, said funds for local governments should get to them directly.

He stated, “There is too much centralisation in Nigeria, and now is the time to decentralise power and allow the local governments access funds directly from the Federal Government. There is too much restriction in the country, and that is affecting the local governments’ functionality.”

On her part, the founder, Community Life Project, Ngozi Iwere, called for integrity in the electoral process. She asked the citizens to take responsibility and demand electoral integrity, defend their votes and ensure that votes count.

Iwere urged skills deployment for both the supply and demand sides of governance, to ensure accountability and results.

The founder of BudgIT, Seun Onigbinde, called for tracking of government performance and social accountability. For him, what gets measured gets done, and people should come together to make the government accountable to the people.

Two-time minister, Frank Nweke Jnr, said he was pleased with the dialogue’s outcome. He called for citizen vigilance, urging the people to pay attention to how they’re being governed.

“I am pleased that the challenge of attributing the problems to the Federal Government will soon be over. We have to understand that there are local problems that should be attributable to local governments’ incompetence,” he said.

The OOTC, a product of FixPolitics, is a critical platform for Nigerians who believe in strengthening local government and promoting a more effective and accountable democracy.

OOTC holds democracy dialogue on LG administration on June 12


The Office of the Citizen, which is a product of Pillar One of #FixPolitics Initiative dedicated to promoting active citizenship in Nigeria, will hold its maiden virtual democracy dialogue on local government administration on June 12, 2024.

This was contained in a statement released on Monday by the Executive Director of #FixPolitics, Dr Anthony Ubani.

“It is an important programme conceived to convene Nigerians and experts in governance to discuss the broken state of politics and governance at the local government level with a view to proffering ideas for strengthening local government administration, promoting good governance and accentuating a more effective and accountable democracy,” the statement read.

The event, themed ‘Promoting Sustainable Development Models for Effective Local Governance’, will attract key stakeholders in governance, social activism, law, public service, civil society and the media.

The stakeholders will examine, among other things, the law suit between the federal and state governments over control of local governments in Nigeria, poor governance at the local government level and ways to restore democracy, good governance, democracy and development at the third tier of government.

Additionally, the panels will explore the role of local governments, the proposal to transfer election oversight to the Independent National Electoral Commission and the call for a truly independent electoral body that respects the wishes of the people.

The dialogue, which commences by 12.00 WAT (7am EST), requires prior registration of participants, speakers and guests to the event via http://ootcnigeria.org/dd

Confirmed speakers at the event include the founder, #FixPolitics, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili; former minister, Frank Nweke II; Convener, Chess In Slums Africa, Tunde Onakoya; founder, BudgiT, Seun Onigbinde; founder, Community Life Project, Ngozi Iwere; Nigerian spoken word and performance poetry artiste and author, Dike Chukwumerije; Dr Sam Amadiof Centre for Public Policy and Research; Sesugh Akume of Advocate for Good Governance; as well as Ubani.

Others are founder, Talkademy, Joyce Daniels, and Executive Chairman, Igbogbo-Baiyeku Local Council Development Area, Lagos, Olusesan Daini.

The first panel will be on Education and Awareness, while the second is on Accountability.

“We will look at models that have been working in other nations and what we should be doing as a nation. We will also look at young ones who want to serve the nation and how they should go about it,” Ubani, said.

According to him, the event is expected to catalyse meaningful dialogue and action towards a more autonomous, effective and truly representative system of local government administration in Nigeria, while entrenching the finest principles of democracy, transparency and integrity in constitutional democracy.

Nigeria key in solving Africa’s learning crisis, says minister


Nigeria’s Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, has said the country must be a key voice in the conversations to improve foundational literacy and numeracy outcomes for children in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Mamman spoke during a breakfast meeting at the 2024 Education World Forum, organised by Human Capital Africa, in collaboration with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Association for the Development of Education in Africa.

At the gathering that brought together African education ministers and key education partners and stakeholders, who collectively renewed commitment to tackle the continent’s learning crisis, the minister asserted that many great programmes in the country, supported by development partners such as United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Bank, must be doubled down on.

Though the programme focused on secondary education, the minister cited the World Bank-supported Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment Project, being expanded across 18 Nigerian states, as a strong example of co-creating unified programmes that should then be replicated at the foundational level.

According to him, if this is done correctly, “everything else will fall into place.”

One key government partner, New Globe Education, has been instrumental in driving transformation across multiple states in Nigeria. By partnering governments, New Globe has shown that systemic reforms and targeted interventions could lead to immediate and significant improvements in student learning outcomes.

In Lagos State’s EKOEXCEL programme, the number of non-readers in Primary Two to Four was halved in over 1,000 public schools in just three years. 

The Education Partnership Centre developed the LEARNigeria Remedial Programme to address foundational literacy and numeracy issues. LRP helps children acquire essential skills by starting instruction at their level and using assessment data to design tailored instruction. Early results show significant improvement in children’s literacy and numeracy skills after 24 days of remediation. TEP is now focusing on teacher professional development to enhance their ability to meet learners’ needs.

The event was marked by an unwavering focus on evidence-based approaches to guide policy, measurement and accountability among African leaders and development partners, who passionately called on development partners and stakeholders to scale up successful foundational learning initiatives – such as structured pedagogy and Teaching-at-the-Right-Level – and deliver integrated programmes to ensure cost-efficacy and impactful implementation.

This commitment to scale up successful interventions is a testament to the unwavering dedication of African leaders and partners to address the learning crisis.

The gravity of the learning crisis facing the continent was emphasized at the event. Data shows that nine in 10 African students lack basic literacy and numeracy skills, hindering academic progress, workforce readiness and economic growth.

Ministers and partners committed to leveraging the African Union Year of Education through the July 2024 AU Mid-Year Coordination Meetings in Accra, Ghana, and the FLEX ADEA High-Level Policy Dialogue in November in Kigali, Rwanda, to further champion foundational learning reform and scale successful interventions. 

HCA is an organisation that uses evidence to mobilise governments to take action to improve foundational literacy and numeracy outcomes for children in Sub-Saharan Africa.



Anthony Ubani

The arrogance, Insensitivity and total lack of democratic reflex of the Tinubu administration and its eagerness to constrict civic spaces has been further evidenced by the indecorous and intolerant language used against organized labour, since negotiations for workers minimum wage increase began. Bayo Onanuga, spokesperson to President Tinubu, who has been leading the offensive against organized labour and every one who dares take a contrary position to the all-knowing Tinubu administration, raised his rhetoric to unacceptable and distasteful levels when he excoriated organized Labour for shutting down the national grid in the course of their legitimate protest for living wages. As if that was not bad enough he proudly boasted in a threatening manner that they should “be thankful that Nigeria is not under a military regime.” To be clear, I am not in support of shutting down the national grid, airports and other such critical infrastructures. But Bayo Onanuga should understand that those who make peaceful change impossible make hostile change inevitable.

Bayo Onanuga and his pay masters have had months to demonstrate empathy for the plight of Nigerian workers and come up with a policy position that is agreeable to both parties. But the Tinubu administration chose to play to the gallery until organized labour went on strike as a last resort to press home the urgency and importance of their demands. Must government always wait until organized labour go on strike before they do what they know is the right thing to do?

To remind Labour and by extension Nigerians that they should “be thankful that we are not in a military regime” is the height of irresponsibility and provocation. Such an anti-democratic statement should not come from any public service official in a democratic setting let alone the spokesperson of the President. Is Bayo Onanuga longing for a return to the days of military dictatorship? Is he glorifying the inhuman and horrible atrocities of the military against Nigerian workers? Is Bayo Onanuga aware that the history of the struggle for democracy in Nigeria cannot be written without a generous mention of the invaluable contributions of organized Labour? Is Bayo Onanuga aware of the years of sustained repression the Nigerian labour movement endured during military era ‘when the state took punitive measures to rein in workers protests and struggles for socio-economic and political justice?’ Is Bayo Onanuga aware that the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has as part of its mission to “lead the struggle for the transformation of Nigeria into a just, humane and democratic society?” With all the hardship that Nigerian workers are currently undergoing, do they still have to be subjected to threatening reminders of the inhumane treatment they suffered under military dictatorship?

Bayo Onanuga should tell us: if Nigerian workers should also be thankful that they have been receiving a paltry minimum wage of N30,000 since 2019 while just 469 members of the National Assembly alone appropriate N344.9billion as their budget, as the data for 2024 shows?

If Nigerian workers also should be thankful that they now buy a bag of rice in excess of N80,000 when the same bag of rice sold for less than N8,000 a few years ago?

If Nigerian workers should also be thankful that electricity and transportation costs alone now take over 60 percent of their monthly income?

Or perhaps Nigerian workers should be thankful that at a time when extreme poverty, hunger and insecurity have them in a strangle hold, government is busy fiddling with the banal politics of a new national anthem. Should Nigerian workers continue to suffer and live in abject squalor to keep Bayo Onanuga and his ilk happy? President Bola Tinubu should call Bayo Onanuga to order. Nigerian workers are already going through more than enough suffering and hardship to be shot in the face with the saber-rattling-tongue of an over excited and misguided Presidential aide.

Nigerian workers are not a conquered people. They deserve more than a modicum of respect and civility when public service officials engage them. Disagreements over policy or political positions are invaluable for a healthy democracy. These disagreements must not however provoke disagreeable language.  Public service officials like Bayo Onanuga who are paid with tax payers’ money should be circumspect, respectful, decorous, prudent conciliatory and measured in their choice of words while addressing any section of the Nigerian public. That, I believe is not too much to ask for in this seamy season of monopoly democracy in Nigeria.

Anthony Ubani, Executive Director, #FixPolitics Africa, wrote in from Abuja.

Ubabukoh family releases burial plans for veteran journalist


The Ubabukoh family of Ngo Village in Igbo-Ukwu, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, has announced April 25, 2024 as the burial date for their patriarch, brother and uncle, Mr Ifeanyi John Ubabukoh, who passed on to glory on February 18, 2024.

The deceased was a columnist and former Chairman of the Editorial Board, Champion Newspapers. He had worked with The Mail, where he edited both the Sunday and daily editions of the newspaper.

The frontline journalist enriched his resume at the National Concord, where he rose from the position of Chief Correspondent to News Editor.

As part of the pioneer staff of New Nation, Ubabukoh’s dexterity earned him special bonus twice from the Publisher, Gbolabo Ogunsawo, and promotion from Feature Writer to Features Editor.

Upon retiring from Champion Newspapers, he served as Senior Special Assistant on Communication to then Anambra State Governor, Mr Peter Obi, between June 2009 and June 2012.

According to a statement by his son, Mr Ozioma Ubabukoh, on behalf of the family, there will be a Service of Songs on Wednesday, April 24, 2024 at the late journalist’s residence (John Ubabukoh’s compound) in Ngo Village.

The remains, the statement added, will leave Apex Mortuary, Igbo-Ukwu, on Thursday, April 25 for lying-in-state at Ubabukoh’s compound in Ngo.

“Funeral service will commence by 10a.m. and interment will take place by noon at Ubabukoh’s compound,” he stated.

Ozioma Ubabukoh, who is the Principal Consultant at Plexus Media Interlinks (Plexus), a brand management consulting firm, and spokesperson to former presidential candidate, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, said his late father would be remembered for his engaging wit, humility and generosity, regretting that “death called him when his wealth of knowledge and experience was mostly needed.”

The late Ubabukoh is survived by his wife, sons, daughters, in-laws, siblings, grandchildren, and other relations, he noted, adding that Outing Service for the patriarch would hold on Sunday, April 28, 2024 at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Igbo-Ukwu.

#FixPolitics Africa hails Faye’s election, urges fair leadership


#FixPolitics Africa has applauded the election of President Bassirou Faye of Senegal, describing it as the triumph of the democratic spirit and collective will of the Senegalese.

Founder, #FixPolitics Africa, Dr Obiageli ‘Oby’ Ezekwesili, said Faye’s election reaffirmed the faith of the Senegalese in the principles of democracy, transparency and accountability.

She stated, “Your victory serves as an inspiration, not only to the people of Senegal but to citizens across the continent, who aspire to live in societies governed by justice, equality and freedom.”

According to the economic policy expert, Faye’s election at this critical juncture, when there has been some measure of democratic deceleration in West Africa, comes as a beacon of hope for Senegal and all of West Africa.

Ezekwesili, who was Nigeria’s former Minister of Education as well as Solid Minerals, praised the resilience of Senegal’s democracy and its capacity to overcome challenges. She also lauded the unwavering commitment of the Senegalese to a peaceful and democratic resolution.

“Throughout the political crisis and the extended period of citizen engagement, the people of Senegal demonstrated their steadfast belief in the democratic process and their determination to shape the future of their nation through active participation. We commend the unwavering commitment of the Senegalese to a peaceful and democratic resolution through free, fair and violence-free electoral process,” she noted.

To 44-year-old Faye, she said, “As President, your vision, leadership and commitment to upholding democratic norms and priorising the needs of citizens will not only play a pivotal role in steering the country towards peace, prosperity and stability but will equally send a powerful signal to the world that democracy has come to stay in Africa.”

Ezekwesili disclosed that #FixPolitics Africa is committed to promoting democracy, values-based leadership, good governance, as well as sustainable human and economic development across Africa.

The initiative, she noted, stands ready to support the vision of Faye’s administration to promote good governance, foster socio-economic development and advance the well-being of all Senegalese.

“We believe that through collaboration and partnership, we can find innovative solutions to help your government build a brighter future for Senegal and its people. We are confident that under your leadership, Senegal will regain its footing as a champion of democracy, human rights and good governance in Africa. We look forward to witnessing the positive impact of your developmental policies and initiatives on the lives of the Senegalese,” she added.

The advocate for transparency, accountability, good governance and human capital development wishes for a successful and unifying presidency and for Faye’s tenure to “be marked by a just and inclusive progress, stability and the continued flourishing of Senegal’s vibrant democracy.”

#FixPolitics Africa is a research-based citizens-led initiative conceived to counter the intractable problems of poor governance by acknowledging the centrality of politics in building effective states and shaping development outcomes in Africa.

#FixPolitics lauds Otti for good governance, citizens-focused leadership

#FixPolitics has lauded Abia State Governor, Dr Alex Otti, for his citizens-focused leadership and good governance initiatives.

Writing on half of the Chairperson of #FixPolitics Initiative, Obiageli Ezekwesili, and members of the Work Study Group, the Executive Director, #FixPolitics Initiative, Anthony Ubani, extended sincere commendation and support to Otti’s citizens-focused leadership and good governance initiatives since assuming office as the Governor of Abia.

According to Ubani, #FixPolitics is particularly delighted and encouraged by the passage into law of a bill, HAB 11, to revoke the Abia State Governors and Deputy Governors Pensions Law No 4 of 2001.

“The passage of this bill into law represents a commendable response to the citizens’ longstanding call for the repeal of the obnoxious law mandating payment of outrageous life pensions and other enviable benefits to governors and their deputies.

“HAB 11 is a good governance policy that will reduce the cost of governance, free up resources that can be redirected towards meaningful development projects, and serve as a compelling good governance example for other states to follow. Indeed, this legislative policy opens a new chapter of hope in the responsible management of state resources,” Ubani said.

The ED noted that the “initiative recognises the importance” of encouraging leaders, who listen to the needs of their people and act in their best interest.

“As a social enterprise committed to building a new generation of public service leaders, who are disruptive in their thinking and dedicated to the good of the nation, ready to serve the well-being of Nigerians and lead with Character, Competence and Capacity, #FixPolitics recognises the importance of encouraging leaders, like your good self, who listen to the needs of their people and act in their best interest.”

“It is with this in mind that we express our sincere commendation for the political will and courage of your administration in revoking ‘The Abia State Governors and Deputy Governors Pensions Law No 4 of 2001’,” Ubani stated, while encouraging Otti to continue to steer Abia towards a brighter and more prosperous future.

#FixPolitics Africa is a research-based citizens-led initiative conceived to counter the intractable problems of poor governance by acknowledging the centrality of politics in building effective states and shaping development outcomes in Africa.