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Personality in Focus

Online Security Publishers Honour ‘Mama Diaspora’ for Selfless Service to Humanity

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Her Royal Highness Queen Mother Amina Temitope Ajayi F.I.I.M, Chairman/CEO Silicon Valley Nigerian Economic Development (SV-NED) Inc., fondly called, Mama Diaspora was recently honoured at the National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP) Dinner and Awards 2020, held at the NERDC Conference Centre, Alausa-Ikeja, Lagos, as the NAOSNP Lifetime Achievement in Humanitarian and Security Award.

Chief Mrs. Temitope Ajayi’s selfless commitment to the welfare of humanity – both at home and in the Diaspora cannot be overemphasized. It was in appreciation of her social entrepreneurship and community activism that Google ranked her as the “third most powerful person” in the Country. The queen mother, a leading advocate of women and youth empowerment, has, in the past two months, empowered over 300 Nigerian youths, and still counting, many of who participated in the 12-day October nationwide protests tagged #EndSARS (#EndSARS is a decentralised social movement, and series of mass protests against police brutality in Nigeria. The slogan calls for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a notorious unit of the Nigerian Police with a long record of abuses), including men and women, with interest-free loans and other materials, to be self-dependent with interest-free loans.

The Queen Mother has restated her commitment to continue empowering and motivating the youths whom she described as bastion of strength and hope for the Nigerian economy.

“Winning this award tells me that people are watching and appreciating what I’m doing. The best thing for me is to keep helping people in every way I can, and I’m sure the award will help more people to come and support the Nigerian Young Adults to do greater work and make Nigeria Proud” she said.

NAOSNP through her President, Comrade Samson Oki believe that as a Community Activist who has always been talking about women and youth empowerment, Mama Diaspora should be publicly recognised for her outstanding humanitarian contribution to humanity.

“She has demonstrated great courage and the power to inspire people, especially the Nigerian Youths to be entrepreneurs, have the ability to lead and possess incredible integrity to stand out in what they do” he said.

The US-based Nigerian business consultant who is an Accountant, Social Entrepreneur and an ardent community activist, was the former President of All Nigerian American Congress (ANAC). Her efforts and continued advocacy on the Nigerian Diaspora issues earned her in the moniker Mama Diaspora, an iconic inspiration of hope and love.

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Personality in Focus

Meet Yemisi Edun, FCMB’S New Acting MD

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The management of First City Monument Bank has appointed Yemisi Edun as its acting managing director.

Mrs Edun, holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, and a Master’s degree in International Accounting and Finance from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.

She is also a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Mrs Edun began her career with Akintola Williams Deloitte in 1987 with focus on corporate finance activities and audit of banks and other financial institutions.

She joined FCMB in 2000 as Divisional Head of Internal Audit and Control before assuming the role of Chief Financial Officer of the bank.

The acting MD is also an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers and an Associate Member of the Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, Member of Information Systems Audit and Control, U.S.A. and a Certified Information Systems Auditor.

The decision to appoint Edun acting MD came amidst the scandal involving the managing director of the bank, Adam Nuru.

Mr Nuru proceeded on leave earlier in the week to enable the bank to investigate the allegations against him.

The bank has been in the eye of the storm lately when allegations of unprofessional romantic affair were leveled against Mr Nuru.

It was reported that over 1900 people signed a petition asking the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to sack the Mr Nuru.

The petition alleged that the bank MD was responsible for the demise of a staffer, Tunde Thomas.

Mr Thomas was said to have died of depression on December 16, 2020.

According to the petition, the FCMB MD allegedly had an affair with Moyo Thomas, who was the deceased’s wife, resulting in two children.

It alleged that Moyo had informed her husband that she was leaving Nigeria for the United States with the kids only to call him upon arrival that the children do not belong to him.

The petition claimed the news initially caused Mr Thomas to have a stroke but he later recovered and thereafter met another lady whom he planned to marry.

Mr Thomas was, however, said to have suffered a cardiac arrest after returning from work about two days before his introduction to his already pregnant girlfriend.

On Tuesday, FCMB called on the public to exercise caution as it looks into the allegations.

In a Twitter post Wednesday night however, the bank said Mrs Edun has only been appointed in acting capacity, “and that she has not been made the substantive managing director”.

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Personality in Focus

Taste is My Unique Selling Point, Says Tola Animashaun, King of Finger Food

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Popularly called Tola Guinea Fowl, Atolagbe Animashaun has distinguished himself in the burgeoning food industry in Nigeria. Whether at home, office or in social functions, food must be eaten. Having carved a niche in the finger food sector in the past 21 years, Tola now calls himself ‘the king of finger food.’

The CEO of Tola Guinea Fowl Ventures stated ‘our business covers guinea fowl, chicken and turkey processing. We also make asun, barbecue, and other products from these poultry birds. I can say that in the past 21 years, God has put fruit to our efforts.’

On the origin of his business, ‘I was not born into the business. I got to know about it having observed my brother who was into the business. He is not really doing the business now but I have moved forward with the business. This is how guinea fowl has become a big business for me.’

The finger food merchant continued: ‘In this business, I always have the mindset that what I cannot eat, I must not give it to others. And this guides me to give superior product quality for each and every one of our orders.’

‘Our unique selling point is the taste. There will always be the unique difference of taste when finger foods come from our brand. This is what distinguish us from the rest.’

‘Those paying us money value us, we must also value them in return. So I ensure that I monitor every stage of the processing. Sometimes I do it myself. I do not say I am the CEO. Product quality is vital and I am so glad that we are receiving commendation from the creme de la creme in the society.’

On ensuring durability of the perishable product, Mr. Animashaun noted:
‘Depending on the distance of our orders, the method of preservation we use also vary. This is so that we can maintain the freshness of the product. We roast some to dryness to lose oil content so there won’t be occasion for rottenness even after 10-15 days. We freeze some products and place ice blocks on them so that it can maintain freshness and taste.’

The agripreneur who is full of gratitude for the clients shared: ‘I want to say thank you to all our clients who patronize us within and abroad the shores of Nigeria. We are online through our website and social media and we deliver in time. This has made us to enjoy word of mouth advertising from our clients which gladdens my heart.’

‘It is their satisfaction that has brought the recognition of the NAOSNP award as the ‘Finger Food Brand Company of the year’ which I cherish so much. I am also praying to attain greater heights and also be able to establish International branches.’

He advised youths to get involved in productive activity. ‘It is not like there is no job but some don’t want to learn or invest time and energy. Many of my customers from 20 years ago are still with me today. That’s the reward of hard work. I am very excited that I am into this business. I was not forced into it. It is my passion and I am enjoying the result of dedication to my passion. I have married, have children, built house, bought cars from this business. It’s a great thing and I thank God.’

‘I also advise youths to use this time well. I am still youthful, it is better for me to use it for my business. My wife understands this. My children know too. So they have to give me the necessary support. When I get customers’ orders I have to set out. I am very ready like a soldier, my business is 24-hour service-oriented’, he concluded.

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Ghana Decides: Why Ghanaians Want Mahama Back As President

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By Eric Elezuo

Today, John Dramani Mahama is addressed as former president; after December 7, however, there is every tendency that he would be addressed as president-elect, and by January, he would resume the full status of Mr. President. That describes the extent the people of Ghana are desperate to return him to office, after he lost the election in 2016; a situation not just a cross section of Ghanaians have regretted four years down the line.

Former President of Ghana, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, is not a stranger when it comes to churning out people oriented programmes and initiatives. During his days as minister, vice president and subsequently, the president, Mahama’s landmark achievements have remained a reference point to administrators and would-be administrators. His feats have not escaped discerning minds and eyes, who have showered him with accolades from home and abroad, thus necessitating the loud clamour for citizens of Ghana from all walks of life to have him back on the seat of power. Mahama’s larger than life existence gave him a one in a million recognition when Nigeria’s premier private university, the Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, on November 24, 2018 conferred him with an honorary doctorate degree for his foresightedness, infrastructural development and general achievements which have affected humanity positively.

Four years after leaving office, Mahama’s image has continued to bestride Ghana’s political landscape like a colossus, which he rightly is. Matters are made more pronounced even as his successor, President Nana Akufo-Addo, has been seen by many as living far below standard and expectation. They argued that the NPP man is yet to record any notable achievement to his name. In fact, most people have credited the cut throat business levy of about a million dollars against foreign business owners in Ghana, who are mostly Africans, as Akufo-Addo’s major stride so far.

To many, it is therefore, a done deal that Mahama is returning to the presidential seat come January 2021. His choice of a female deputy in the person of Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, has further boosted the technocrat’s chances of reclaiming his 2016 lost mandate.

A politician of great repute, Mahama was born on November 29, 1958, and has been privileged to serve in various civil and political capacities, culminating in holding the highest office in the land from July 24, 2012 to January 7, 2017.

Mahama started his primary education at the Accra Newtown Experimental School (ANT1) and completed his O’levels education at Achimota School and his A’levels education at Ghana Secondary School (Tamale, Northern region). He proceeded to the University of Ghana, Legon, receiving a bachelor’s degree in history in 1981 and a postgraduate diploma in communication studies in 1986. As a student, he was a member of Commonwealth Hall (Legon). He also studied at the Institute of Social Sciences in Moscow in the Soviet Union, specializing in Social Psychology; he obtained a postgraduate degree in 1988.

His catalogue of enviable services include serving as Vice President of Ghana from 2009 to 2012, and took office as President on July 24, 2012 following the death of his predecessor, John Atta Mills. He was also a Member of Parliament from 1997 to 2009 and Minister of Communications from 1998 to 2001. A communication expert, historian, and writer, Mahama is a member of the National Democratic Congress.

Though he was born in Damongo in the Damango-Daboya constituency of Northern region, he is a member of the Gonja ethnic group, and hails from Bole in the Northern region. His father, Emmanuel Adama Mahama, a wealthy rice farmer and teacher, was the first Member of Parliament for the West Gonja constituency and the first Regional Commissioner of the Northern Region during the First Republic under Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah.

After completing his undergraduate education, Mahama taught History at the secondary school level for a few years. Upon his return to Ghana after studying in Moscow, he worked as the Information, Culture and Research Officer at the Embassy of Japan in Accra between 1991 and 1995. From there he moved to the anti-poverty non-governmental organisation (NGO) Plan International’s Ghana Country Office, where he worked as International Relations, Sponsorship Communications and Grants Manager between 1995 and 1996.

In 1993, he participated in a professional training course for Overseas Public Relations Staff, organized by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo. He also participated in a management development course organized by Plan International (RESA) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Mahama’s first triumph in politics came in 1996 when he was elected to the Parliament of Ghana to represent the Bole/Bamboi Constituency for a four-year term. In April 1997, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Communications, and barely a year later, was promoted to the post of Minister of Communications, and served until January 2001. During the period under review, he also served as the Chairman of the National Communications Authority, in which capacity he played a key role in stabilising Ghana’s telecommunications sector after it was deregulated in 1997.

As a minister, he was a founding member of the Ghana AIDS Commission, a member of the implementation committee of the 2000 National Population Census and a deputy chairman of the Publicity Committee for the re-introduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT).

In 2000, Mahama was re-elected for another four-year term as the Member of Parliament for the Bole/Bamboi Constituency. He was again re-elected in 2004 for a third term. From 2001 to 2004, Mahama served as the Minority Parliamentary Spokesman for Communications. In 2002, he was appointed the Director of Communications for the NDC. That same year, he served as a member of the team of International Observers selected to monitor Zimbabwe’s Parliamentary Elections. As an MP, he was a member of Standing Orders Committee as well as the Transport, Industry, Energy, Communications, Science and Technology Committee of Parliament.

HE John Dramani Mahama, former President of Ghana

Continuing to expand his interest and involvement in international affairs, in 2003, Mahama became a member of the Pan-African Parliament, serving as the Chairperson of the West African Caucus until 2011. He was also a member of European and Pan African Parliaments’ Ad-hoc Committee on Cooperation. In 2005 he was, additionally, appointed the Minority Spokesman for Foreign Affairs. He is a member of the UNDP Advisory Committee on Conflict Resolution in Ghana.

As Vice-President, he served as the Chairman of the National Economic Management Team, the Armed Forces Council of Ghana, the Decentralisation and Implementation Committee and the Police Council of Ghana in this capacity. Mahama is full of experience, having served at all levels of poltical office, and he brought them all to bear as President, giving out a sterling performance that could only compare with the very best. He was the first, and remains the only Ghana president to have been born after independence.

On March 30, 2014, he was elected to preside over ECOWAS. On June 26, 2014, he was elected Chairperson of the African Union’s (AU’s) High-Level African Trade Committee (HATC).

On January 21, 2016 on the occasion of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mahama became co-chair of the Sustainable Development Goals Advocates group which consists of 17 eminent persons assisting the UN Secretary-General in the campaign to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that world leaders unanimously adopted in September 2015.

He honourably left office on January 7, 2017 after losing to main opposition leader, Nana Akufo-Addo, in the general election.

In December 2016, he was part of part of the ECOWAS mediation team to resolve the post-election political impasse in The Gambia between the defeated incumbent, Yahya Jammeh and declared winner, Adama Barrow.

Mahama, now a member of the Assemblies of God, is married to Lordina Mahama, and they are blessed with five children namely Shafik, Shahid, Sharaf, Jesse and Farida.

Over the course of his career, Mahama has written for several newspapers and other publications both locally and internationally. Additionally, he is also a devotee of Afrobeat music, especially that of Fela Kuti.

Mahama is not new to awards and honours as his good works have paved a broad way for recognitions. He received an honorary doctorate in the field of Public Administration, from the Ekiti State University of Nigeria, formerly affiliated to the Obafemi Awolowo University in “recognition of his politico-socio economic development of Ghana and Africa at various stages of his political career. Later, the same university passed a resolution to name its Faculty of Management Science after him.

He was also honoured by the Cuban government with the Friendship Medal for his relentless advocacy for the Cuban cause.

Also, The General Council of Assemblies of God, Ghana, has honoured him with its Daniel Award.

The Graduate School of Governance and Leadership also awarded him the African Servant Leadership Award while the Institute of Public Relations recognized Mahama with a prize for his leadership acumen and technocratic flair.

In 2013, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) conferred on Mahama the Africa Award for Excellence in Food Security and Poverty Reduction.

In March 2016, University of Aberdeen held a special convocation to confer him an honorary degree of Doctors of Laws (LLD).

In December 2016, he was honoured with a Life time award by Ovation Media Group during its yearly Ovation Carol.

A Bill Gates Fellow, Mahama was awarded the Great Cross of the National Order of Benin, the highest award in Benin, by President Yayi Boni.

In February 2017, few weeks after leaving office, Mahama received the 2016 African Political Leader of the Year Award from the African Leadership Magazine in South Africa.

Mahama has touted the achievements of his government in the areas of power, roads, the economy, water and sanitation. While delivering his final State of the Nation Address to Parliament, he said the government had extended electricity coverage, increased water supply and improved roads.

As president, he deployed emergency plants and sped up the completion of ongoing plants resulting in the addition of more than 800 megawatts (MW) of power over an 18-month period. That, and many more had helped to stabilise the power situation in Ghana.

Working on the standard mantra of achieving “water for all by the year 2025”, Mahama put in extra effort to achieve the target well in advance of the set date by increasing investment in the provision of clean drinking water, citing of boreholes, small town water systems and major urban water treatment. Consequently, by the end of 2015, excess of 76 per cent of both rural and urban residents have access to potable water.

President Mahama contended that his tenure of office had seen some of the most massive investments in the road sector in the history of the country.

While he completed road projects he inherited, such as the Achimota-Ofankor, Awoshie-Pokuase, Sofoline and Tetteh Quarshie-Adenta, he also commenced and completed the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange, fast-tracked the construction and opening of the Kasoa overhead bridge, completed the Airport Hills/Burma Camp network of roads, as well as the 37-El Wak-Trade Fair road and a host of others.

His trail of achievements are endless. Mahama is just another name for administrative excellence!

There is no gainsaying therefore, that when the Ghanaian populace steps out to the polling booths come December 7, all eyes and thumbs would be directed to #2 on the ballot paper.

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