Connect with us


Soludo: I’ll Hit the Ground Running With My Agenda



Anambra State governor-elect and candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Professor Chukwuma Soludo, yesterday unveiled his agenda for the state on the ARISE News Channel, in his first post-victory television interview. Soludo promised to run an all-inclusive government that would focus on problem-solving and value addition to the state.

In the interview with the broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, shortly after he was declared winner of the governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday, Soludo pledged to hit the ground running and demonstrate quality leadership at a fast pace.

He said he would pursue peace and unite the people in order to bring the much-needed value to the state.

Soludo was declared winner of the November 6 governorship election after polling a total of 112,229 votes to defeat his closest rival, Valentine Ozigbo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who scored 53, 807 votes to emerge second. Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress (APC) got a total of 43,285 votes to emerge third, while Ifeanyi Ubah of the Young Progressives Party (YPP) came fourth with 21,261 votes.

Ubah won in one local government, just as Ozigbo, while Soludo won in the remaining 19 local government areas.

The Returning Officer for the 2021 Anambra State governorship election, Florence Obi, announced the final results in the early hours of Wednesday at the INEC headquarters in Awka.

Not unexpectedly, National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Oye, who also spoke on Arise News Channel, said he had started receiving calls from some of those, who had defected to other political parties at the heat of the election, but were now willing to return. Oye said the party would welcome them back if they showed sufficient remorse and true repentance.

Meanwhile, congratulatory messages have begun to pour in for Soludo, with President Muhammadu Buhari, not only congratulating the governor-elect, but also saying he looks forward to working with him in the collective interest of the country.

Ekiti State Governor and Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi; former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the Saturday election, Valentine Ozigbo; and former PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, congratulated Soludo for a victory well deserved.

Equally identifying with the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), were a former national publicity secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh; former presidential hopeful and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim; and governorship candidate of Young Progressives Party (YPP), Ifeanyi Ubah, among others.

Similarly, foremost civil society election observation organisation in Nigeria, the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), called for improvement of election equipment by INEC, especially, its newly introduced Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).

Interestingly, Soludo’s victory at the just concluded governorship election reverberated in neighbouring Abia State, with a resurgence of hope among the APGA faithful for electoral ahead of 2023.

Speaking to his plans for Anambra, Soludo said, “We have fought a political fight and we have gone to court and now is the time for us to come together to build the state. The incumbent governor wanted me to succeed him among all other contestants, and he worked hard to ensure that APGA won the election.

“Now that APGA has won, and the governor-elect has emerged, it is time for us to work as a political party and also extend our friendship to other party members in the state, in order to build the state.”

He said anyone willing to support the state would be welcomed, saying, “It is about bringing value to the people and I will work with those who will bring value to the people, and turn Anambra State into an industrial hub that we all envisage. I will reach out to them in the ‘Anambra Spirit’ in order to develop the state together.”

Asked about his plan for women and youth representation in his government, Soludo said, “There will not be a dramatic change in women and youth representation in my government, because I will be focusing on problem solving. If the women and youth show the capacity to deliver, so be it, and I will engage them to deliver on value.

“When I was Central Bank Governor, I gave responsibilities that had to do with trust and integrity to the women, and they never disappointed me. Anambra has a youthful population and I will not discriminate between gender in my administration, and, above all, my manifesto is a youthful manifesto.”

Soludo assured the people of Anambra State that anybody with useful values to offer would be engaged to do so.

On the transition process and how he would run the state after the swearing-in ceremony in March next year, Soludo said he had some experience in governance in the past, having managed huge bureaucracies with six parastatals, long before becoming Governor of CBN.

He stated, “I have understanding of a few things on how government and institutions work, and the bureaucracy in governance. Again, my governorship will be a continuation of APGA government, so, I expect a very seamless transition process and good governance.”

Soludo said he would not have begrudged anybody if he had lost the election, but would simply have thanked God.

According to him, “In 2010, I was conscripted to run for election in Anambra State, and when I lost the election to the former governor, I congratulated him two hours after INEC declared him winner of the election, and I walked away after the thanksgiving service. Also in 2013, I was disqualified from contesting the election under APGA and I did not leave the party because of my disqualification. But I remained in the party and still supported the party.

“I have persevered after loosing election twice in the state, and I believe this is the right time that God Almighty has planned for me to emerge as winner. Now is the time for me to serve the people of the state and I see it as a divine journey for me, and I am grateful to God and to all the people of Anambra State, including the judiciary, and President Muhammadu Buhari.”

The former CBN governor believed his victory was divine, stressing that he would not be overwhelmed by his triumph at the poll. He said his focus would be the enormity of the work ahead of him as governor.

Asked the possibility of APGA winning elections outside Anambra State and becoming a regional and national political party, he said the name of the party, which was registered since 2002, would continue to speak volumes for the party’s mission of becoming both a regional and national political party.

“The first election that APGA won was in the South-east, and we will continue to work hard as progressives to stretch our winning strategies to other states across regions,” Soludo said.

On his part, the APGA national chairman, while speaking on moves by defectors to return to the party, explained, “For me, people disagree to agree. You mentioned the deputy governor, nobody did anything to him. He just chose to embark on an adventure.

“He was not denied anything. He had everything he should have. He had everything, but suddenly he jumped out of the team. So, how are you going to blame somebody who jumped out of a 21- storey building?

“What do you expect will happen to him? He will crash and end up blaming the building or the builder. All those people that left without justification, they went on sheer adventure, and some of them have been calling to return to the party. For me, they can come back if they show sufficient remorse, because APGA is a party for all of us.”

Buhari to Soludo: Rally stakeholders for transformational leadership

President Muhammadu Buhari, while rejoicing with Soludo, enjoined him, as a member of the Presidential Economic Advisory Committee, to rally other stakeholders to tackle the challenges confronting the state and the South-east, in general.

Buhari, in a release by his media adviser, Femi Adesina, added that he looked forward to working with the incoming governor for the peace, security, and development of not only Anambra State, but the entire country.

The president also praised the security agencies for their determination to ensure that the election went on as smoothly as possible. He commended INEC for the successful conclusion of the exercise, despite the initial challenges encountered.

Democracy is the real winner – Fayemi

Fayemi said the Anambra election attested to Buhari’s sincerity and commitment to delivery of a free, fair, and credible electoral system. The Ekiti State governor said democracy was the real winner at the Anambra election, with the successful and peaceful conduct of the poll.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, the governor said the will of the people of Anambra State, expressed through the ballot box, had prevailed. He hailed all stakeholders, including the electorate, INEC, security agencies, election observers, political parties, and their agents for working together to deliver an election devoid of violence.

Fayemi praised the people of Anambra State for their perseverance and tenacity in participating in the poll, despite some technical hitches that were recorded, and ensuring that their votes counted.

Saraki: Anambra poll outcome has crucial lessons

Saraki congratulated Nigerians, particularly, the people of Anambra State, for the success of the governorship election. He advised the people not to allow the crucial lessons, which the results of the election signified, to go unnoticed or be ignored.

In a statement by the head of his media office, Yusuph Olaniyonu, the former senate president commended the stakeholders and others, who initiated and participated in the dialogue that created the peaceful atmosphere for the election.

He praised the security agencies for the diligence and professionalism displayed by the officers and men on duty. He also lauded INEC for the successful deployment of technology to improve the election process, particularly, the adoption of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and electronic transmission of results.

Saraki said, in the statement, “The Anambra State electorate has taught the rest of Nigeria a lesson about the need for people to vote according to their conscience, to conduct polls devoid of violence, and stand firm in defence of our votes.

“All stakeholders also have to work on the issue of vote-buying. It is a problem, which we must find a solution to, otherwise, it will continue to undermine our democracy. These are some of the lessons from Anambra State, which must not be ignored.”

Gbajabiamila: Soludo coming with experience and skill

In a congratulatory letter to Soludo, Gbajabiamila said with the former CBN governor’s antecedents as an accomplished professional, he believed the Anambra governor-elect would bring his experience and expertise to bear.

Gbajabiamila told Soludo in the letter, “You are taking office at a time of profound challenges and tremendous opportunity in our country. All of us, who hold public office, have an obligation at this moment in history to take active measures, guided by considerations of the best interests of our people, to overcome these challenges and provide conditions for our citizens to thrive.

“You have in your professional life shown a tremendous capacity for effectiveness; you have demonstrated personal integrity and have already accomplished much more than most can ever hope for. I am confident that you will thrive in this new role, and your service will glorify God and elevate the people of Anambra State and all of Nigeria. I wish you success, and I assure you of my support.”

PDP candidate congratulates Soludo

The PDP candidate, Ozigbo, in a press statement he personally signed, said he had called and congratulated Soludo on his victory at the poll.

Ozigbo stated, “I have just called Professor Chukwuma Soludo and congratulated him on being declared the winner of the Anambra State governorship election, 2021. I wished him well and prayed for his success.

“Let me also use this opportunity to congratulate all the men and women, who contested our dear state’s governorship this year. You all have shown a determination to see that Anambra is better. It was an honour to run this race with you.”

Ndi Anambra have spoken, says Metuh

Metuh said, in a statement, “Finally, Ndi Anambra have spoken and their voices were heard loud and clear. They have, through their votes, democratically made their choice of who governs them for the next four years.

“Though the outcome of the election might not have swung the way some individuals, especially, those within the political circles, desired, but Ndi Anambra have spoken and their choice must be respected and accepted.

“It is on this note that I call on all Ndi Anambra, irrespective of political affiliations, to put politics and issues of the election behind and come together as one people that we are, and join hands with Prof. Soludo to chart a new course for our dear state. I implore contenders, who are hurting over the outcome of the election to sheathe their swords and put aside all personal interests for the sake of Ndi Anambra.”

Olawepo-Hashim: Nigeria is greatest winner

Olawepo-Hashim commended Buhari for creating an atmosphere of non-interference in INEC’s conduct of the election in Anambra State. In a statement by his media assistant, Mr. Segun Abifarin, Olawepo-Hashim said the victory belonged to Anambra and Nigeria, in general.

He congratulated the “a wonderful person of Anambra State, who against all odds, filed out peacefully and performed their civic responsibilities,” stressing, “Our dear country Nigeria is the biggest winner. Glory to God as the country has again proven prophets of doom wrong.

“All Nigerians should celebrate this victory. Though my party, APC, did not come top in the final result, we can boast that our government created the atmosphere under which the votes of the electorate are beginning to count.”

It’s democracy in action, says Secondus

Secondus said by Soludo’s victory, the people had spoken and democracy was in action. He said though he had desired his party, PDP, to come out victorious, “as a true democrat, we will always respect the will of the people, where and when it’s allowed to prevail.”

Secondus mocked the All Progressives Congress (APC) for trying to reap where it did not sow in the hope that untoward acts could give them victory.

NLC calls for democratic reforms

In its congratulatory message, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) called for deeper reforms to democratise the appointment of the leadership of INEC, establish an Electoral Offences Commission, and the institutionalise proportional representation in Nigeria’s constitution and electoral law.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said Soludo’s victory was a testament to the confidence he enjoyed from majority of Anambrarians, but added that the advocated reforms represented a more sustainable recipe for deepened political process and value-laden democratic outcomes in Nigeria.

Ayuba stated, “This is the hallmark and beauty of democracy. There is no doubt that the consummation of the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State was fraught with anxious moments, as many Nigerians followed the process with bated breath. The thuds of armoured tanks and the echoes of gunshots that trailed the campaign train turned the once peaceful state into a theatre of battles.

“The dicey security situation was not helped with the agitations of the IPOB, especially, the sit-at-home order which hung a huge blanket of uncertainty over the November 6, 2021 election.

“We commend the resolve of Anambra people to put the enemies of democracy to shame. Many voters in the state dared the pre-election day violence and showed up on election day to cast their ballot.”

Ifeanyi Ubah: I won’t challenge result in court

The YPP candidate, in a press statement, said, “I have just called the newly elected governor of our dear state, Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo, to congratulate him on his victory at the just concluded November 6, 2021 Anambra governorship poll.

“As a democrat and law-abiding citizen, I wholeheartedly accept the outcome of the election and would like to use this medium to congratulate Prof. Charles Soludo on his victory. It is imperative to state that I do not intend to challenge the electoral results as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) through any court or judicial process.”

TMG tells INEC to improve use of technology

TMG called for the improvement of election equipment, especially, the BVAS. It urged the security agencies to investigate and charge to court all security operatives, who engaged in violation of human rights, and gross misconduct during the election.

Chairman of the group, Comrade Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, noted that the pre-election season, which witnessed a lot of violence that marred campaign rallies of the various parties in parts of the state, eventually led to low voter turn out, an omen, he said, was bad for democracy.

Rafsanjani said, “The stand of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the strong presence of security operatives had an effect on how voters came out to exercise their franchise.” He called on government to stand up to the challenges of insecurity in the country, so that the 2023 election would not witness voter apathy, as was the case in Anambra.

Vice Chairman of the group, Mrs. Miriam Menkiti, also lamented the poor performance of the BVAS, which she said frustrated voters across the 21 local government areas of Anambra State.

Menkiti stated, “It is shocking that despite the consistent statement by INEC that the card readers were all set for the elections, we still witnessed a high rate of poor connection of the BVAS in various part of the state.

“TMG appeals to INEC to live up to the task of providing smooth elections for Nigerians in the 2023 general election, which will be cumbersome and overstretch the electoral umpire.”

Soludo gingers up APGA in Abia

In nearby Abia State, APGA members saw Soludo’s victory as the sign of a political possibility in the state in 2023. Leader of Abia State chapter of APGA, Hon. Obinna Ichita, told journalists that the party received the outcome of the Anambra poll with great joy and high hope for better things ahead, as the 2023 general election drew near.

Ichita stated, “We (Abians) now know that it is normal to ply on good roads; it is normal to have potable water; it is normal to have quality healthcare services that APGA has provided in Anambra over the years.”

He said come 2023, Ndi Abia could not afford to continue to entrust their collective destiny to PDP, which had over the past 20 years “proved to be incompetent”.

Ichita declared that APGA was a proven credible alternative.

Credit: This Day

Continue Reading
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Abba Mustapha

    November 11, 2021 at 10:53 am

    Have conviction that Nigeria has started awakening by electing capable persons not parties. I wish him to be pace setter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Coker – Odusote:100 Days at the Helm of NIMC



By Walter Duru, Ph.D

It was Albert Einstein that once said that “setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.” That sentiment expressed by Einstein is the primary essence behind the theory of transformational leadership, which requires passion, charisma, and the ability to motivate others. Transformational leaders are usually very authentic, emotionally intelligent, great listeners, results-focused, visionary, and self-aware.

In just 100 days at the helm of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engr. Abisoye Coker-Odusote has ushered in a new era of transformational leadership, leaving an indelible mark on the organization. Her eventual confirmation as substantive Director General/Chief Executive Officer of the Commission did not come to many as a surprise.

She did not waste time to hit the ground running and showed commitment to advancing the NIMC’s mission and mandate.

Coker-Odusote has taken steps to streamline National Identity Number (NIN) registration processes, while addressing the long-standing challenges associated with identity registration in Nigeria. This, she is handling through strategic restructuring and the integration of advanced technologies with a view to significantly reduce waiting time and enhance the overall efficiency of the system.

Today, date of birth and other kinds of modifications at NIMC happen within 48 hours. The several years backlog of date of birth modifications she inherited are almost cleared, as she had given a one-month deadline for the same to relevant staff of the Commission.

Again, responses to issues and complaints, such as those whose National Identity Numbers did not hit the NIN Verification Portal are now resolved within 24 hours.

Recognizing the paramount importance of data security in the digital age, the NIMC CEO has taken steps to enhance data security by introducing robust measures to fortify the protection of citizens’ sensitive information. This includes, but not limited to the adoption of cutting-edge encryption technologies and the establishment of a dedicated cybersecurity team.

Her interest in improving service delivery at NIMC cannot be overemphasized. She has concluded plans to ensure regular training and retraining for staff of the Commission, emphasizing customer-centric approaches, to ensure a more positive experience for citizens seeking identity services.

On partnerships, Coker-Odusote, leveraging her extensive network and expertise, has forged strategic partnerships with governmental agencies, private organizations, and international bodies. These collaborations aim to enhance the NIMC’s capacity, foster innovation, and promote information sharing for the betterment of identity management.

Understanding the pivotal role of technology in modernizing identity management, Engr. Coker-Odusote has spearheaded the integration of biometric advancements and artificial intelligence into the registration and verification processes.

This not only improves accuracy, user experience and ease of enrolment, but also positions NIMC at the forefront of technological innovation in identity management. A typical example is the NIMC Contactless Biometric Solution, which delivers a best-in-class fingerprint and facial capture image output quality, powered by Artificial Intelligence. The new solution was unveiled by the commission at the 2023 Identity Day, held in Abuja on September 16, 2023.

In addition, Engr. Coker-Odusote tackled the existing backlog of unprocessed identity requests head-on. Through a combination of strategic staff deployment and redeployment, process optimization, and digitization initiatives, she has made significant strides in clearing the backlog, demonstrating her commitment to prompt and efficient service delivery.

Recognizing the crucial role played by the NIMC staff in achieving organizational goals, the CEO has developed for implementation, a robust welfare programme aimed at boosting morale and fostering a positive work environment. This includes, but not limited to training opportunities, health benefits, and performance recognition initiatives.

Furthermore, in consultation with in-house experts, elaborate public awareness campaigns are being planned, to ensure that citizens are well-informed about the importance and benefits of identity registration. These campaigns are expected to not only educate the public, but also serve to demystify the registration process, encouraging greater participation.

The NIMC DG has concluded plans to take the ecosystem enrolment forward by taking steps to deepen collaboration with ecosystem implementing partners, supporting to ensure the success and optimal performance of the Nigeria Digital Identification for Development (ID4D) Project, a Nigerian Project jointly funded by The World Bank, The European Investment Bank, and the French Development Agency.

Engr. Coker-Odusote’s strategic vision, commitment to efficiency, and emphasis on technological innovation positions NIMC for a future where identity management is not only secure but also seamlessly integrated into the daily lives of citizens.

On anti-corruption, the NIMC DG has left no one in doubt on her determination to sanitize the system, entrench a culture of transparency and zero tolerance for corruption. Apart from putting systems and structures in place to discourage graft, she is directly involved in ensuring that the cankerworm has no place in the commission.

Just recently, in what one may describe as a sting operation, she paid an unscheduled visit to the Federal Capital Territory office of the commission, where she is reported to have arrested some staff for allegedly extorting money from Nigerians, even as she has maintained that enrolment was free.

Her devotion to supporting the policy direction of the present administration by strengthening the issuance of the NIN for access to service is not in doubt.

Speaking on Coker-Odusote’s first 100 days in office as NIMC CEO, Project Coordinator, Nigeria Digital ID4D Project, Musa Odole Solomon described her as a vibrant, results-focused leader, determined to make a difference in the Commission.

“She has taken steps to build bridges of collaboration between NIMC and partners within the country’s identity ecosystem. These collaborations aim to enhance the NIMC’s capacity, foster innovation, and promote information sharing for the betterment of identity management in Nigeria.”

“The collaboration is also focused on enhancing handshake with institutions involved in the country’s identity ecosystem, with a view to deepening integration with the country’s Identity Management System.”

“In 100 days, she has taken the lead in working with the Nigeria Digital ID4D Project to speed up project implementation process, especially, processes geared towards the extension of NIN enrolment to hard-to-reach areas, women, persons with disabilities, and marginalized groups, thereby fostering inclusion and access to social services.”

“She has introduced some innovations that I consider very progressive, and things are moving very well. The Nigeria Digital ID4D Project is happy to work with her, as she has shown that she has all it takes to assist us succeed.”

Responding to a question on his impression about the NIMC DG’s leadership style and the future of the relationship between NIMC and his organisation, Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC), Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra stressed that the relationship between NIMC and NPC has become more robust under Coker-Odusote’s leadership as NIMC CEO.

“I want to say that the National Population Commission has a long and robust collaborative partnership with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in our efforts to harmonize and integrate biometric databases for planning and development of our country.”

“However, this partnership has become more dynamic and robust with the assumption into office of Engr. Abisoye Coker-Odusote as the Director General of NIMC. She has shown an unparalleled commitment and passion in working with the Commission, not only in registration of births and deaths, but also the upcoming population census. She comes across as a thoroughbred professional and innovator who will give Africa’s greatest nation a deserved identity profile for national unity, security, and development. I am more confident in the future of the Identity Management Commission under her.”

Responding to a question on the new grounds covered at the NIMC ICT, Director, IT/Identity Database of the Commission, Chuks Onyepunuka has this to say:

“Our DG is pragmatic, proactive, result-oriented and visionist. Her achievements in ICT in NIMC in the last 100 days include, but not limited to: “launching of self-modification and enrolments services to ease and simplify the processes for enrolment services; driving the clearing of about 3 million backlog of enrolment records awaiting manual adjudication within 3 weeks; decentralization of operations with objectives of ensuring that we are closer to the enrolees and adequate coverage in the nooks and crannies of the country.”

“Others are improvement in the process of engaging and revalidating our Frontend Enrolment Partners (FEPs); improvement in our ICT policies, processes and procedures; resolution of 95% challenges/issues affecting our window enrolment software (Res-Web) and commenced the integration and harmonization with National Population Commission, Nigeria Immigration Service and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).”

Adding her voice, NIMC’s Director, Business Development and Commercial Services, Mrs. Carolyn Folami described the DG as a thoroughbred professional, committed to resetting the Commission for the good of the nation.

“It has been only 100 days, but it seems she has been here far longer, as within this period, we have achieved a couple of goals towards resetting the NIMC agenda and resettling the NIMC staff for productivity.”

“Starting with the planning and commencement of training of all staff, to the commitment to all Front-End Partners (FEP) to revalidate the business model for fair play and payment. She is very keen on stakeholder engagement and has secured the buy- in of our harmonisation partners for effectiveness. She is professional, thorough, dedicated, and above all, kind to all.

Adding his voice, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, Project Implementation Unit, Nigeria Digital ID4D Project, Dr. Emmanuel Akogun argued that Coker-Odusote’s first 100 days in office were characterised by “dynamic, focused and results – oriented leadership,” adding that there is steady progress in NIN enrolment, with “103,500,000 Nigerians and other legal residents captured in the NIMC Database.”

There is therefore no gainsaying the fact that Engr. Abisoye Coker-Odusote’s first 100 days as CEO of the NIMC have been marked by a series of commendable achievements.

At this point, one can confidently say that with Engr. Bisoye Coker-Odusote as Chief Executive Officer, NIMC is in safe hands.

Her recent confirmation as substantive Director General/CEO of the Commission is clearly an act of patriotism by the Nigerian President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

However, as she commences a full tenure of office, following her recent confirmation, one expects that the standard is not lowered.

As she marks 100 days in office this week, the most challenging part of Abisoye Coker-Odusote’s journey as Chief Executive Officer of the NIMC is the need to sustain the successes recorded, remain focused, deepen stakeholder engagement and public enlightenment, check corruption, strengthen systems and structures, be fair to all, while supporting the policy direction of the present administration.

Deliberate steps must be taken to ensure the sustenance of the war against extortion at NIMC.

Again, a deliberate plan should be in place to ensure a more robust stakeholder collaboration, particularly with those involved in the country’s identity ecosystem.

Elaborate, sustained communication and public enlightenment activities are required, taking advantage of the conventional and unconventional channels of communication to inform, educate and mobilize the citizens on the need for all to register for the NIN. This requires a deliberate strategy and strategic implementation.

Finally, a deliberate inclusion strategy must be in place and vigorously implemented to ensure that no one is left behind.

As the DG continues to lead with passion and purpose, NIMC is poised for even greater accomplishments under her guidance.

Indeed, NIMC is in safe hands!

Dr. Walter Duru (Assistant Professor of Communication and Multimedia Design) is a Communication/Public Relations Strategist, Researcher and Consultant. He could be reached on

Continue Reading


Ministry of Finance Incorporated: Can Takang Deliver?



Walter Duru, Ph.D

Nigeria’s President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has just appointed a new leadership for the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI), an asset holding and management company under the Federal Ministry of Finance, with mandate as the sole manager of all federal government investment interests.

According to a statement by Presidential Spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, former Finance Minister, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman is reappointed as Chairman of a 10-man Board of Directors of MOFI, while Dr. Armstrong Ume Takang is also reappointed to serve as the Managing Director/CEO of the organisation.

The other appointees include Tajudeen Datti Ahmed, Executive Director, Portfolio Management; Femi Ogunseinde, Executive Director, Investment Management and Mrs. Oluwakemi Owonubi, Executive Director, Risk.

The non-executive directors are Mr. Ike Chioke, Ms. Chantelle Abdul, Mr. Alheri Nyako, Mr. Bolaji Rafiu Elelu and Mrs. Fatima Nana Mede.

To describe the team as perfect is an understatement, as, when something is described as sweet, it is also important to state what it tastes like. The crux of this article is the appropriateness of the person of the Managing Director, Dr. Armstrong Ume Takong, saddled with the responsibility of the day-to-day running of the organisation.

In the ever-evolving landscape of finance and governance, the appointment of a CEO/Managing Director plays a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of an organization.

Dr. Armstrong Takang emerges as the ideal candidate for the leadership role at the Ministry of Finance Incorporated, bringing with him a wealth of experience, a proven track record, and a vision for transformative change.

Dr. Takang’s academic background, marked by advanced degrees in Computer Science, Finance and Business exposure/experience, sets the stage for his understanding of the intricate dynamics within the financial, business and investment sector(s). He is well equipped with strategies for exploring progressive solutions to economic challenges.

With an impressive career spanning over decades, Dr. Takang has honed his leadership skills in both public and private sectors. His tenure as the Chief Executive Officer of a leading multinational corporation showcased his ability to navigate complex landscapes, implement strategic financial planning, and drive sustainable growth. These experiences uniquely position him to bring a fresh perspective to the Ministry of Finance Incorporated.

One of Dr. Takang’s standout qualities is his commitment to transparency and accountability. In an era where financial governance is under intense scrutiny, his track record of implementing robust financial controls and ensuring adherence to international standards is commendable.

This commitment to transparency not only fosters trust but also aligns with MOFI’s mission to uphold the highest standards of fiscal responsibility.

Furthermore, Dr. Takang’s innovative approach to problem-solving sets him apart as a forward-thinking leader. His past initiatives, such as spearheading digital transformation in financial processes and advocating for sustainable financial practices, underscore his ability to embrace change and leverage technology for efficiency gains.

In an era where agility and adaptability are crucial, Dr. Takang’s progressive mindset positions MOFI for success in the face of evolving economic landscapes.

As a leader, Dr. Takang places a premium on talent development and team collaboration. His previous roles have seen him cultivate high-performing teams by fostering a culture of continuous learning and collaboration.

This emphasis on human capital is pivotal for the MOFI, ensuring that it can effectively navigate the challenges of an ever-changing global economy.

Beyond his professional acumen, Dr. Takang is known for his civic engagement and commitment to corporate social responsibility. His involvement in community development projects demonstrates a holistic understanding of the impact businesses can have on society. His previous positions, leadership roles and achievements speak volumes for him.

Prior to being MOFI’s CEO, Takang was the CEO of Growth Alliance Partners (GAP), a pan-African firm focused on providing post-investment value-add services to Private Equity backed businesses. He helped to turn around several businesses to create shareholder value.

His decades-long career in investment consultancy and public reforms traverses the public and private sectors across Africa, and in the US, where he worked at the New York Office of the KPMG.

He was Team Lead for a Private Banking Group, managed the Integrated Financial and Economic Management Information System (IFEMIS) Project in Nigeria, and led the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS).

Many do not know that Dr Armstrong was pivotal in designing and implementing several national initiatives like the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), the Office for Nigerian Content Development in ICT under NITDA, the ICT component of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)/Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), among others.

He is not new in the political environment, particularly, within the Ministry of Finance. He was Special Adviser to the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, as well as Lead of the MOFI Transformation Team. It is a terrain that he is very conversant with, and this will ease stakeholder engagement, particularly, when there is a proper stakeholder management strategy in place.

Dr. Armstrong Takang’s appointment as the CEO of MOFI is a strategic move toward ushering in a new era of financial leadership, inclusivity, and discipline in managing public investments.

His blend of academic excellence, extensive experience, commitment to transparency, innovative thinking, and emphasis on talent development makes him the perfect fit for steering MOFI towards greater heights.

There is no gainsaying the fact that the leadership of MOFI, as announced, is a perfect combination. The transformations that MOFI has experienced in the last eleven months, under the leadership of Dr. Shamsudeen Usman as Chairman, and Dr. Armstrong Takong as Chief Executive Officer is evident and must not be paused.

As the financial landscape continues to evolve, Nigerians expect that Dr. Takang’s leadership must not only meet the challenges of the present, but proactively shape the future of financial governance.

It is safe to conclude that Mr. President’s decision to reappoint the duo of Shamsudeen Usman and Armstrong Takong is an act of patriotism.

Permit me to also single out Mr. Ike Chioke, the Group Managing Director at Afrinvest West Africa Limited, who also made the list, as a non-executive director.

With the calibre of persons on the present MOFI leadership team, failure is not an option.

MOFI is expected to support the Federal Government’s efforts towards addressing economic challenges, while spurring the renewal of the economy. There is no better time to be relevant.

Expectations are very high, and Nigerians are in a hurry to see results. Let Federal Government’s investments work for the country.

The time to act is now!

Dr. Chike Walter Duru (Assistant Professor of Communication) is a communication expert, researcher, public relations, and stakeholder engagement consultant. He could be reached on:

Continue Reading


Unmasking Real Enemies of President Tinubu: The Deafening Silence on NLC/TUC Strike, By Walter Duru, Ph.D



In the political arena, the adage “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” is often wielded as a shield against potential adversaries. However, for President Bola Tinubu, it seems the true enemies may not be those openly opposing him, but rather those who remain silent in the face of critical issues.

The ongoing Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) strike present a crucial litmus test, revealing the concealed adversaries that surround the Nigerian President.

It is no news that President Tinubu, a seasoned politician with a significant footprint in Nigerian politics, has weathered numerous storms. Yet, the recent labour strikes have cast a spotlight on a different breed of adversaries – those within his inner circle who fail to provide candid advice.

The absence of truth-tellers, willing to speak their minds on the best course of action, poses a grave threat to Tinubu’s political legacy. One of the primary culprits contributing to the discord surrounding the strike is the dearth of transparent communication within the president’s camp.

The real enemies are not those who challenge him but the individuals who, out of fear or self-interest, avoid addressing the pressing issues at hand. This lack of open dialogue and constructive criticism perpetuates an environment where missteps are not only likely but also inevitable.

The NLC/TUC strike has unfolded as a test of leadership for President Tinubu, demanding a thoughtful and decisive response. However, the deafening silence from those close to him serves as a stark reminder that true loyalty should manifest in truth-speaking, especially when it is most needed. It is within this vacuum of honest counsel that the genuine enemies of President Bola Tinubu find refuge, allowing potential solutions to slip through the cracks.

In the realm of politics, the ability to navigate and resolve challenges is paramount. The NLC/TUC strike underscores the importance of confronting issues head-on and developing effective strategies to address the concerns of the Nigerian people.

Mr. President, the truth is that Nigerians are suffering. Six months after removing fuel subsidy, the fact that nothing serious has been done to ameliorate the sufferings of the people suggests that the present administration had no concrete plans before announcing the removal of fuel subsidy. Nigerians are dying of hunger and life has become most unbearable. The crime rate is increasing daily, and things are getting from bad to worse. Many state governments are irresponsible in their management of the affairs of their states. They care less about the wellbeing of their citizens and impunity reigns supreme in some of the states.

The NLC National President, Joe Ajaero was assaulted in Imo State by persons known and identified. It took threats of strike action for the Inspector General of Police to announce that it was going to investigate the issue, among others. The issues are enormous. The list is very long. For how long shall we continue like this?

While one agrees that some of the issues were inherited from the last administration, the truth is that the President knew the situation of the country when he applied to govern. He, in one of his addresses, accepted same, when he stated that no one should pity him. Excuses are therefore not acceptable.

Sadly, while some great brains within the President’s circle make efforts to guide aright, by suggesting workable solutions to the issues, many seem not interested in getting the issues resolved.

By turning a blind eye to dissenting voices within his circle, President Tinubu risks being led astray by misguided advice and a lack of diverse perspectives. The enemies of the President are not limited to those who openly oppose him but extend to those who prioritize personal gain over the well-being of the nation.

The failure to provide candid feedback on the NLC/TUC strike is indicative of a deeper malaise within the political landscape – a culture of sycophancy that stifles the growth of leaders and hinders progress.

To combat these hidden adversaries, President Tinubu must actively cultivate an environment that encourages open and honest dialogue. Constructive criticism should be embraced rather than shunned, as it serves as the bedrock for informed decision-making. The true enemies are not those who challenge his authority but those who undermine it by fostering an atmosphere of conformity and silence.

In navigating the complexities of the NLC/TUC strike, President Tinubu’s strength lies in his ability to surround himself with advisors who prioritize the nation’s interests over personal agenda. The enemies within are the individuals who, knowingly or unknowingly, contribute to a culture of complacency, shielding him from the inconvenient truths that demand attention.

No doubt, the real enemies of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu are not the external forces seeking to undermine him but the internal voices that remain silent in the face of critical challenges.

The NLC/TUC strike serves as a poignant reminder that a leader’s strength is measured not only by the allies who rally behind him but by the truth-tellers who dare to speak against the tide.

The President’s legacy hinges on his ability to discern between loyalty and sycophancy, acknowledging that the latter poses a far greater threat to his administration’s success than any external opposition.

Procuring restraining orders of courts to stop strike actions and protests, without addressing the issues is not the way forward. It adds no value to the discourse. It rather ridicules the system.

It is therefore time for the President to watch his men closely, to distinguish between his true loyalists and sycophants. 

Mr. President, please, address the labour issues now. Ignore the sycophants. They are your real enemies. Those politicizing the issues are enemies of Nigeria and as such enemies of my President. 

The time for selection is now!

Dr. Chike Walter Duru is a Public Relations Strategist and Consultant. He could be reached on:

Continue Reading