Monthly Archives: February 2015

Called To Serve – Ayo Abimbola For House of Representative

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Called to serve his country, Henry Ayo Abimbola is running to be the next house of representative in Ogun State, Nigeria. Election will be held on Sat, March 28, 2015. Henry Ayo Abimbola is a native of Ijebu Remo origin who was born at the Lagos Island Maternity Hospital, Lagos Island, Lagos State, Nigeria on April 20, 1964 to High Chief Festus Olatilewa Abimbola and Princess Agnes Okalo Momodu. His early childhood was mostly spent between Lagos and Edo States. He attended his primary school education at Government School Irrua, Edo State as well as Government Demonstration School, Gbaja, Surulere, Lagos.

He received his ordinary levels secondary education at the Annunciation Catholic College, Irrua and completed his advanced levels secondary education at Parkadale Collegiate Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He joined the United States Navy’s elite Hospital Corpsman career field where he received medical and hospital management training before he attended the United States Marine Corps’ Field Medical Service School (FMSS) in order to serve with U.S. Marines of the Fleet Marine Force (FMF). He later attended the Joint-service Defence Medical Readiness Training Institute (DMRTI) for specialized Instructor training on Combat Casualty Care Course (C4), and served as a Joint-service C-4 Instructor, from where he later retired from active duty status into veteran status. He has trained and variously worked in the sociological, medical management, and public health fields.

He attended Georgia Perimeter College and Texas Southern University to study Health Information Management. A graduate of Saint Leo University in the USA, and a veteran of the United States Armed Forces, his leadership, management and analysis expertise in government and healthcare sector spans two decades; including prior service with the former National Provident Fund Management Board in Nigeria in the mid to late 80s. An avid social commentator, freelance columnist, writer, and civil society leader, he has authored numerous pro-democracy features published Online. He is on the Board of three US-based civic organizations, and he is founder and president of a US-based national non-profit Veteran Service Organization, which operates shelters for homeless U.S. military veterans.

He is also the founder of International Reform Order of Nigeria (IRON), a Texas-based political think tank. He currently serves as executive director of Citizens for Nigeria (CFN), a civil society organization which operates and runs Againstbabangida.com web site. Ayo currently manages War Casualties Tracking (WCT) programs for the United States Marine Corps’ Wounded, Ill and Injured Tracking Systems as a Recovery Care Coordinator by way of Armed Forces Services Corporation (AFSC) in San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A. Ayo’s administrative, organizational and analytic skills will bear positively at the Nigerian National Assembly, on his people in Ogun State, and on Nigerian nation as a whole. Ayo is happily married to Mariam Bukola Abimbola (nee Lekuti), and they are blessed with children.

 

What Does Nigeria Economic Growth Mean?

Nigeria has a bold vision of becoming one of the top 20 economies in the world by 2020, as outlined in its “Nigeria Vision 2020” strategy. Although currently eighth in the world in terms of population, the country ranks 41st in terms of GDP and 161st in terms of GDP per capital. Despite being described as a developing country, Nigeria is a powerhouse on the African continent by virtue of its size. Its vast oil wealth also promises much in the way of potential finance for development.

How can this enormous potential be realized, and what policies are needed to achieve this ambitious dream of economic growth and prosperity? The goal of becoming a top-20 economy can only be achieved if Nigeria also makes the transition to a new economy based on knowledge, productivity, and innovation that will enable it to be competitive in a 21st century context. According to the World Bank, there are common factors that are associated with successful development. No country has attained development outside these common denominators.

These are:

Economic growth:

This has to do with poverty reduction. Experience shows that countries that have reduced poverty substantially and in a sustained manner are the ones that grow fastest.Successful development is predicated on a country having sustained periods of high per capital income growth. Mass poverty and economic development don’t go together.

Vibrant private sector:

It has been established that private firms, including small and medium-sized businesses in rural non farm sectors, play a critical role in generating employment, particularly for the youth and the poor.This is where the contribution of the micro finance banks is needed. Undeveloped real sector coupled with mass unemployment are obstacles to development.

Empowerment:

The citizenry must be empowered to contribute to development. Accordingly,every person should be able to enjoy good health and education. People should shape their own lives by being able to participate in the opportunities provided by economic development. People should have their voices heard about decisions affecting their own lives. Furthermore, there should be essential public services such as health, education and safe water. These are critical social services that should be provided equitably.

Good governance:

Good governance is perhaps the most important factor in development. Without good governance, every other thing is in disarray. Good governance in both public and private sectors creates an environment where contracts are enforced and markets can operate efficiently. It ensures that basic infrastructures are provided, with adequate health, education and security. People can effectively participate in decisions that affect their lives.

Ownership:

A nation’s development agenda must be homegrown. This ensures that there is widespread support for the programmes and reform measures that underpin it. State collaborations: To achieve economic development in Nigeria, collaborative efforts with other countries may be beneficial to the mutual interest in economic advancement. For example, the President of Benin Republic and African Union (AU) President, Dr. Boni Yayi announced his intention to collaborate with Nigeria to ensure economic development of both countries through the provision basic infrastructural facilities.

The two countries were tie through Ife, Benin, Sokoto Caliphate, Kanu Kingdom and other affinities, and currently, more than 50 percent of Benin populations are Nigerians, hence the need to bring about the synergy to better the lots of the people as proposed by the President of Benin Republic. Collaborative action and partnership of States can help foster economic roles in development through mutual benefit investments and infrastructural expansion.

Knowledge development:

Knowledge has always been central to development. Traditionally,cultures that knew more than others were better able to adapt to their environments, survive, and thrive. In ancient times, knowledge was spread through the most serendipitous ways from migratory movements to religious pilgrimages, from wars to inter tribal marriages and, thus,traveled across continents. Nowadays, the Internet has become the primary vehicle of knowledge dissemination almost the entire gamut of human history and knowledge is available in an instant and at little cost through the World Wide Web. Knowledge is becoming truly global, accessible, and democratic.

The impacts of this paradigm shift are all around us. Countries such as the Republic of Korea, India, and the United States of America that can harness the power of new technologies nurture a cadre of knowledge workers that can push the productivity and innovation frontiers. Others that fail to do so remain mired in poverty.

The global financial crisis has shown that countries can no longer rely on narrow and static paradigms of growth, such as Nigeria and its natural resource endowments. The era when natural resources dominated trade has given way to an era in which knowledge resources are paramount.

Our world is changing rapidly and those who will be able to acquire, adapt, and utilize new ideas and innovations, regardless of who has invented them, will create tremendous wealth in the process. To achieve Vision 2020, Nigeria needs to move beyond the stop-start development patterns of an oil-based economy to create a stable and prosperous base for a 21st century society built on a critical mass of knowledge workers.

From 1914 to 2014, the Nigerian economy has witnessed several phases in development. The economic status of the nation has been affected by political instability, exploitation and a myriad of other factors just like many other nations of the world but amidst such obstructions, Nigeria’s economy has evolved over the years and it is still on a journey to its rise in fiscal and industrial development.

Attaining 100 years of existence since the 1914 amalgamation, Nigeria has course to celebrate its economic strength and diversity in several areas of development but at such a defining moment in Nigeria’s history, it is a strategic moment to redefine her economic policies, promote the expansion of investment, trade and agriculture as well as control natural resources to the fullness of their productivity and of course eliminate all forms of misuses and venality that hinders the maximum achievement to our economic expansion. With good governance and the best economic approaches, Nigeria will surely advance to the zenith of economic development.

After reading the above piece written by Okechukwu Effoduh, the question becomes: What Does Nigeria Economic Growth Mean? It means four more years of the Jonathan’s administration to continue its sound economic policies as reflected in the economic achievement of The Jonathan’s Administration to mention a few.

See below:

  1. Improvement in Economic Indices – In October 2011 International Ratings agency, Fitch Ratings revised the country’s Outlook upwards from Negative to Stable.

  2. Standard and Poor’s another internationally respected and independent ratings agency, revised Nigeria’s ratings from stable to Positive.

  3. Implementation of Niger Delta Amnesty Scholarship Program

  4. Signing into law the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Bill 2010 (Local Content Bill) which has increased Local Content in the Oil and Gas sector.

  • As a direct result of that law Royal Dutch Shell awarded a N7.8 billion ($49.9 million) contract to a Nigerian firm, S.C.C Limited, for the manufacture of high pressure line pipes that would otherwise have been awarded to a foreign firm.

  • As a result of this law, Exxon Mobil awarded an off shore platform contract to a local firm, NigerDockNig. PLC that would otherwise have been awarded to a foreign firm.

  1. Initiated the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF). A seed capital of $1 billion was provided to kick start the fund as well as establish three sub funds- the Nigeria Infrastructure Fund; the Future Generations Fund and the Stabilization Fund which will be the pillars of the SWF.

  2. Launched the Youth Enterprise with innovation in Nigeria (YOUWIN) initiative on the 11th October 2011 which is the administration’s job creation center piece.

  3. CNN Lists Nigeria as 3rd Expected Fastest Growing GPD.

  4. Launched the Public Works Women and Youth Empowerment programmer, an intervention programmer designed to employ 370,000 youths in the year 2012 with 30% of those jobs being reserved for women.

  5. Secured investment commitments worth 4.89 Trillion Naira.

  6. Launched the NigComSat-1Rsatellite which will help expand Internet Bandwidth, monitor the weather and provide early warning to prevent natural disasters like floods, crop monitoring and urban planning. It has the attendant benefit of reducing the over $1 billion spent in purchasing Internet Bandwidth from abroad.

  7. Nigeria’s banking industry rescued and stabilized by the establishment of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) in the year 2010.

  8. MasterCard made Nigeria its regional headquarters for its West/East and Indian Ocean islands zone raising the profile of Nigeria’s e-commerce industry.

  9. Nigeria’s GDP grew by a record 8.29% during the last quarter of 2010 and by over 7% in 2011. In the first quarter of 2012 Nigeria had verifiably become the third fastest growing economy in the world as recently attested to by several multilateral bodies and trading partners.

  10. Revival of the Textile industry via the 150 billion Naira Textile Industry Bailout, as a result the United Nigerian Textile Limited was reactivated amongst others and over 2000 employees re-engaged

  11. Non-oil exports from 2010 (standing at $2.3 Billion) and subsequent years are ten times what they were in 2000 (which were $200 Million) as a direct result of this administration’s intervention in the Textile Industry and Real Sector.

  12. Implemented the National Transformation in priority areas, including power, rehabilitation and expansion of national infrastructure, agricultural development, education and employment generation.

  13. Created an estimated 1.6 million new jobs in 2013 as a result of his government’s policies and actions.

  14. Implementation of the National Industrial Revolution Plan, NIRP, aimed at industrializing Nigeria and diversifying the economy into sectors such as agro-processing, light manufacturing, and petrochemicals.

  15. Common External Tariff, CET, agreement with the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS to protect the country’s strategic industries from foreign domination.

  16. Nigeria moved from being a net importer to a net exporter of cement, with its production capacity growing from just 2 million metric tons in 2002 to about 28.5 million metric tons today.

  17. Nigeria named by UN Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD as the No.1 destination for investments in Africa.

  18. Distribution of fertilizers and seeds to about 4.2 million farmers, directly through an e-wallet system.

  19. Building of 72 new libraries in Federal Unity Schools and laboratories rehabilitated in all the 51 Federal and State polytechnics across the country.

  20. Privatization of 10 power plants under the National Integrated Power Projects, NIPP to ensure effective evacuation and distribution of power generated, an addition of $1.5 billion was advanced for the upgrade of the transmission network to boost electricity

  21. Cut down on public expenditure and wastage by government personnel in all ministries, departments and agencies.

  22. Deployment of the three electronic platforms namely, the Treasury Single Account, TSA; the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System, GIFMIS; and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS- to curb leakages in the system.

While we may have differences of opinion, we must take away sentiments, and take a closer look at President Jonathan’s and General Buhari’s economic track record. Today, Nigeria is the 26th biggest economy with a GDP of over $510 billion. Is this progress in action, it left for your to look at the facts, and decide.

The African Oprah

Amb. Princess Asha Okojie-Odigie, CPC, CAHIIM, CEO of AfriQtalk Consult, and Founder of FACE USA.

After building a career in entertainment, and media for almost fifteen years, Princess Asha Okojie-Odigie, path turned into cultural diplomacy, when she was appointed in 2013 by the former Ambassador/Consul General of Nigeria in Atlanta, GA, Geoffrey Teneilabe to serve as a Media Consultant for the Consulate General of Nigeria, and 17 Southeastern States of the United States and territory, under its jurisdiction, where she brought in project development perspective to the position and her passion as a community organiser, to promote the image, culture and interest of Africa, particularly, Nigeria.

Princess Asha wears many hats; She is a United Nations, Economic and Social Council Ambassador, U.S Ambassador of Culture, Edo State Ministry of Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs, CEO of AfriQtalk Consulting, President and Founder of FACE  Global Leadership and Honors. She is also, a physician consultant and publicist to many high profiled clients, artists, celebrities, public and private sectors.

Having been nominated as the 2018 International Person of the year by USA-Africa Magazine, Princess Asha has received many awards, including Emerging African Leaders, Media Personality and Cultural Ambassador. She is known for strategic alliances, marketing partnerships, technical writing skills, and co-branding initiatives with selected public and private sectors, government organizations, foundations, businesses and diplomatic communities,

In 2010 she was elected into Stanford Who’s Who, U.S.A., an elite organization of selected executives, professionals and entrepreneurs from around the world as a result of her extraordinary efforts, in youth empowerment, trade/investment promotions and freelance journalism. She has routinely exhibited the enthusiasm, passion, vision and dedication, necessary to be considered among the best.

Princess Asha is often referred to as “The African Oprah”,  her style of interview, and photo journalism has been utilised by corporate companies, such as OTC (Oil Technology Conference), EXIM Bank (Export and Import Bank), Mayor Kasim Reed, office of international affairs, Nigerian Embassy, Washington DC, Jimmy Carter Centre, Universities and Nigerian organisations in the diaspora.

Princess Asha is also, a voice to recon with, she has interviewed public figures, like former President Jimmy Carter, Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, Sir Emeka Offor, 2Face, Bracket, Kalu Ikeagwu, Blessing Egbe, Olu Maintain, members of Nigerian National House of Assembly, Senators, Foreign Service Diplomats, to name but a few,.

With the goal to bridge the achievement and educational gap for sustainable economic and community development in Africa, Princess Asha is one of the most sought-after foreign direct investment, media and entertainment consultants in North America. She has initiated several medical missions, driving public-private partnerships (PPP) and made in Africa initiatives, tourism development, trade and investment conferences, to make available the necessary infrastructures, by encouraging policies and practices that promotes sustainable socioeconomic development and good governance.

Her commitment to service is evident in her passion in the promotion of African culture, women and youth empowerment and advocacy in Africa and African diaspora. This former beauty queen, and model is not a new face to the entertainment industry. She’s grace the cover of Magazine, done many TV ads and walked on runways for several fashion designers, and has featured on high profile print publications, television, and radio talk shows.

Princess Asha is a sickle cell advocate, who is committed to finding alternative traditional medicine for sickle cell disease through research in Nigeria. On her spare time, she enjoys writing poems, inspirational quotes, traveling, and mentorship. She is fun loving, and compassionate, a humanitarian who believes in volunteerism. Her devotion to God, and family keeps her going.

Princess Asha holds an Associate Degree in Arts, B.Sc. in Healthcare Administration and Management. A Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Information Management, Board Member of the International Forum for Sickle-Celled in the Diaspora (INFORSID), Advisory Committee Member of Women Empowerment Network (WOENET), Stakeholder Member of the Nigerian Diaspora Diagnostic & Trauma Foundation USA (NDDTF), Member of National Alliance of Medical Auditing Specialist, USA, and American Association of Professional Coders, U.S.A.

Contact, email, and website Info:

 

 

 

 

 

Stuck By Cupid’s Arrow

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Love at first sight may be attributed to Cupid love. The name Cupid itself was derived from the Latin word “Cupido,” meaning love, passion, desires, yearnings, wanting or longing. Cupid is the most famous of Valentine symbols and everybody knows that boy armed with bow and arrows, and piercing hearts . He is known as a mischievous, winged child armed with bow and arrows. The arrows signify desires and emotions of love, and Cupid aims those arrows at Gods and Humans, causing them to fall deeply in love. Cupid has always played a role in the celebrations of love and lovers. In ancient Greece he was known as Eros, the young son of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. To the Roman’s he was Cupid, and his mother was Venus.

Sounds like a Mythological tale?

Well, Cupid just happens to be a part of one of the great love stories from Classical Mythology. Cupid, the Roman God of love was the son of Venus the Roman Goddess of love and Mercury, the Roman messenger God. He is believed to carry two types of bows in his quiver. The ones made of gold represent true love whereas the ones with lead tips stood for wanton lust. This makes him the God of both romantic as well as erotic love. Cupid is generally believed to have ignited romance in unsuspecting hearts. But the result of his actions didn’t bring pleasure at all instances. He is also known to have struck love between odd couples and then enjoyed watching them work out the situation. However, Cupid himself gets trapped in the game of mismatches which is evident with his love story, and just who is this great lover that he pricked with his love arrow?

There was a beautiful princess named Psyche means “butterfly” and also means “soul”. In many ways, what Psyche goes through is symbolic of the path of each woman’s soul in life. Psyche was so adored by the people that they began to forget about Venus. Venus grew so jealous of this that she sent her son Cupid on a mission to make Psyche fall in love with the ugliest man alive. But upon seeing Psyche, Cupid was so overcome by her beauty that he dropped his arrow on his foot and fell passionately in love with her. He visited Psyche every night and the couple became lovers. There was one condition, however, that Psyche was not allowed to see Cupid. She was forbidden to look upon him.

One night, Psyche’s curiosity overpowered her so she took a peek at Cupid as he slept. But he soon awoke to catch Psyche looking at him and he left her because he feared his mother’s wrath should she discover their affair. Psyche spent years searching the world for Cupid with a broken heart until finally Jupiter granted her immortality so that she could remain with Cupid forever. The couple eventually had a daughter, Voluptas (Pleasure) and Nyx (Night) and they lived happily in their castle. Despite the antiquity of Cupid – God of love and beauty, he is still known by human beings as one that ignites love and passion in mortals. He has become synonymous with Valentine’s day and is commonly represented as shooting arrows at hearts of individuals.

Ironically, the origin of Valentine’s Day comes from the life and death of a Christian martyr, Saint Valentine a Roman who was killed for his faith on February 14, 269 A.D. He had refused to worship pagan gods, and some stories say he was a priest who would marry young lovers in secret because they did not have parental permission. Prior to his death, Valentine continued to minister in prison by witnessing to his prison guards. One of the guards was a good man who had adopted a blind girl. He asked Valentine if his God could help his daughter. Valentine prayed and the girl was given her sight. The guard and his whole family, 46 people, believed in Jesus and were baptized. When the Emperor heard about this he was furious that Valentine was still making converts even in prison, so he sentenced Valentine to death.

Also, Valentine is associated with love because he fell in love with the daughter of his jailer, and would pass notes to her. The tradition of sending love notes grows out of a letter written by St. Valentine to his jailer’s daughter on the eve of his execution. The young Christian wrote a note to the jailer’s daughter, signing it, “From your Valentine.” The first valentine was really a Christian witness. On the contrary, instead of us remembering the content of the original Valentine’s card which was a message of unconditional devotion to Christ, we participate in a custom of sending cards to people we love. In Italy, St Valentine’s Day became the traditional day to be engaged. Young Romans would spend Valentine’s day gathered together in gardens to listen to romantic poetry and music. Also, around the world, Valentine’s day is celebrated, I’m sure you’ll notice all of the hearts, the flowers, the chocolates, the plush toys, the greeting cards, the special lingerie, and the romantic getaway packages being advertised and offered in the stores.

Statistics shows that people find true love when they least expect it. Have you ever experienced a warm passion? Feelings of contentment that is unexplainable? unconditional love? not lust or imaginary desires, I’m talking about agape love. If so, there is a 100% chance that you’ve being stuck by Cupid’s arrow, the ones made of gold, which represent true love. Some may call it, finding their soul mates. Whatever it may be, It’s an experience that one out of a million people may encounter, once in their life time . Facts or fiction? You decide.

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