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THE VOICE NIGERIA: FIRSTBANK IMPRINTS IN ENTERTAINMENT, YOUTHS DEVELOPMENT

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By Israel Bolaji-Gbadamosi

One of the key metrics that well defines a truly 21st century brand beyond profit making is its ability to connect with customers and stakeholders as a complete enabler, touching on vital aspects of their lives, creating exciting memories and enabling them to access more enjoyable and convenient lifestyle, in shopping, studying, working, traveling, family living, entertainment and aspirations.

Its ability to also give back to the community through tangible corporate social investment programs that significantly translate to improved living and not just mere formality and publicity stunts is also pertinent.

First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is giving a good account of itself in this regard not only as a truly financial powerhouse but also as a life enabler, helping Nigerians live better and achieve their dreams.

In retrospect, banking, decades ago, was essentially about providing financial services and products to merely aid customers’ financial transactions. However, the smart ones are indeed changing the game. Not only is the envelope being pushed to ensure that the unbanked are banked through financial inclusion offers even to the remotest villages, FirstBank has taken banking to another level. Backed by superior technology firepower and capacity, it is assisting not only adults but also Nigerian youths to live better and fulfil their dreams.

The Nigerian nation and the most populous black nation of the world indeed has a youths bulge as observed by many experts with a growing army of young and vibrant people below 25 years of age constituting over 60% of its 200million population! While an unrelenting rate of unemployment, weak economy, soaring inflation and despair appear to dominate the national mentality, many youths are finding solace in entertainment, breaking the ceiling with their creative ingenuity, shunning out award winning hits and in fact making global headlines in music and other entertainment offshoots like movies, comedy skits and contemporary dance.

Nigeria’s 29 year old singer, Damini Ogulu popularly called Burna Boy in March shocked the world winning the world’s most coveted Grammy Award in the Best World Music category during the 63rd annual edition in Los Angeles Atlanta while another 30 year old Nigerian artiste, Ayo Balogun aka Wizkid was also a co-winner in the Best Music Video category for Beyonce’s Brown Skin Girl. These young Nigerian global music icons were raised and honed their skills in the suburbs of Nigeria through home grown competitions and platforms.

Music reality shows have also unveiled and nurtured music and entertainment talents like Timi Dakolo, Iyanya, Praise, Omawumi and other A-list musicians in Nigeria. This is why FirstBank’s intervention and sponsorship of a music and youths talents harnessing platform like The Voice Nigeria is strategic and instructive, and quite capable of helping to harness and nurture music and entertainment talents into celebrated musicians, make global stars of Nigerian youths, and truly help them achieve their dreams. Obviously, Firstbank has been a prominent force visibly empowering talents and the nation, and without the much-needed lifeline, many young talents would be taking to crime or other vices.

For over 127 years, the premier bank has been at the forefront of nation building; supporting through resourceful partnerships to build the Nigerian creative industry value chain which contributed 2.3 per cent (N239 billion) to Nigeria’s GDP in 2016 (NBS).

The bank’s support for the Voice Nigeria is also a demonstration of its commitment to contributing to the projected revenue of US$86m by 2021 from the Nigeria’s music industry aimed at promoting a diversified economy in line with the Federal Government’s diversification policy.

The bank assured that it has given voice to Nigerians for the past 127 years, and will continue to give voice to Nigerians by creating employment, economic empowerment in the country through its products, services and initiatives and it remains committed to strengthening the creative industry which is fast growing into a multibillion-dollar business, with potential to be a leading contributor to Nigeria’s GDP in the near future.

In fact, FirstBank has the network; reach and digital capability to enable the Voice. With its agent banking network across the nooks and crannies in country, it is helping in the search for the talent that will become a true inspiration to all.

True to the name, the Voice Nigeria has lived up to its promise, as it offers exciting and relaxing entertainment to families, music lovers, and other entertainment loving Nigerians who look forward to fresh seasons and episode of the well-crafted music program.

Now in its season 3, the Reality TV show has been a masterpiece in the last six episodes of the current season as viewers are serenaded by several awesome performances and display of raw talents on the show’s blind auditions which ended on Saturday, May 1. The episode ended with raging emotions, exhilarating sensations and blistering anticipation as the four judges – Falz The Bad Guy, Waje, Yemi Alade and Dare Art Alade had one final opportunity to forge their winning team.

So far, the coaches, hosts, producers and amazing talents have been a great delight to watch. They have been awesome with their good-natured banters, hilarious drama, top-notch fashion, electrifying opening performances, talent courting speeches, and chair turning and bell thumping spectacle. The optics is exciting! The expectation on the show has been so intense; you could cut with a butter knife. The coaches’ approach at winning talents over to their team has been fun and a fine blend.

There were no holds barred, as the judges were very warm, animated, upbeat, inspiring and full of energy. They were definitely not a team of avuncular examiners waiting to pass judgments. They brought much gusto and effect to the big stage! While Falz threw up his magical comic card severally, Dare maintained the cool dude posture while Yemi and Waje both brought on the alluring feminine appeal with Waje sometimes speaking in Igbo to convince a talent. In all, they fared well, each getting a fair share of talents to mentor and their combination depicted a perfect combo.

The talents on their part have not disappointed viewers. They came in different shades across both genders, with varying voice textures, mix and pitches – smooth, silky, velvet, shrill, husky, coarse or simply rough. And to the best of their abilities, they did justice to many songs, including some classic tunes and old hits. The creative fusion of multiple genres of music by some smart talents who beautifully delivered unique blend of music made good impressions which won the judges hearts. The awful looks on the faces of those who the judges would simply not behold, having failed to captivate their attention with the voice. The uncontrollable joy of those who got the bell ring and standing ovation and the incredible looks on their loved ones who came to show support. Not forgetting the jazzy presence and reassurances from the co-hosts including Toke Makinwa and Nancy Ikime which also complimented the soothing potpourri.

Interestingly, FirstBank made some smart moves on the show, with the bold inscription of “This is the moment you have been waiting for, Time to put You First”, clearly displayed at the entry of the contestant for the stage performance. This reinforces the bank’s thrust as an inspiration to motivate the talents and youths at large to excellence. It has also promised viewers mouth-watering prizes just by watching the show regularly and following updates on FirstBank verified social media handles.

Now that the Blind auditions stage has come to an end, it is game on! The next phase of the show is the highly anticipated Knockout Stage which starts on May 8. In this stage, the coaches will select the most outstanding talents to proceed to the battles. In this stage, there is so much to come and fans will certainly not be ready for all that is in store.

More than ever, the show’s fans are hopeful that the knockout stage will even be more entertaining but that will certainly not be a challenge with the dexterity of the handlers so far.

With all that has been seen so far, it is difficult to believe that this is only the beginning; it is certain that there is so much more to come.

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Dangote women empowerment program reaches N4.3billion in disbursement

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…He understands Nigeria better than some politicians-Gov

 

The Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) has doled out a whooping N4.2billion as part of its unconditional Micro Grant Programme for empowering women in the rural areas across the country.

Speaking at the flag-off of its one-off unconditional Micro-grants Programme Tuesday in Bauchi, Chairman of the Aliko Dangote Foundation empowered twenty thousand vulnerable women across the 20 Local Government Areas of the State.

Dangote who was represented by the company’s Group Executive Director Government and Strategic Relations, Mansur Ahmed said so far over four hundred thousand poor women have benefited from the programme in the country.

He said in Bauchi State, N200million is currently being disbursed to vulnerable women across the 20 Local Government Areas.

According to the Africa’s top philanthropist, the unconditional micro grant is aimed at supporting the government effort’s in empowering poor families in the State.

He said the Foundation had earmarked N10billion to be disbursed to vulnerable women across the 774 Local Government Areas in the country.

Dangote said states that have also benefitted from the scheme include: Lagos, Kano, Jigawa, Kogi, Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, Niger, Nasarawa, Sokoto, Katsina and Kwara state.

He added that the next states to benefit from the programme are: Osun, Edo, Ogun, Rivers, Anambra and Ebonyi state respectively.

“The Micro-grants programme is one component of the Economic Empowerment pillar of the Aliko Dangote Foundation. It provides disadvantaged and vulnerable women with a one-off, unconditional N10,000,00 cash transfer to boost their household income generation. This we believe will help reduce their vulnerability and meet their livelihood needs,” he added. 

He said it is gratifying to note that majority of women who benefitted from the scheme have been able to grow the seed capital.

While thanking Aliko Dangote Foundation to coming to assist the vulnerable women in  Bauchi State,  Governor Senator Bala Abdulkadir Muhammad said he was very elated with ADF’s intervention across the country and especially in his state.

He expressed optimism that the intervention will support lives and livelihoods of women, children and families in Bauchi State.

According to him: “Aliko Dangote is a beacon of hope for the Bauchi people. He has been creating not only business institutions at the highest levels but also touching lives at the lowest level. He seems to understand Nigeria more than some of us who are politicians. He’s supporting our mothers who will help put food on our tables and train their children in schools.

“We’ve just named the school of nursing and midwifery after him. This is to mark his huge contribution to our societies in Bauchi.”

“We are also using this opportunity to inform him that he should come and invest in Bauchi. We have the highest deposit of limestone in the country. We have the largest arable land and the largest forest. Bauchi is also very peaceful and secured.”

The Governor also presented a book to the Aliko Dangote Foundation.

The book was written over a 100 years ago by Sheik Uthman Danfodio, and titled: The Principle of Leadership.

Speaking also, the Speaker, State House of Assembly Rt Hon Abubakar Y. Suleiman described the intervention as huge saying it would go a long way in supporting the poverty alleviation stride of the state government.

He said the state will continue to collaborate with the state in area of economic empowerment of womenfolk.

Commending the foundation, First Lady and wife to the Governor Mrs Aisha Bala Muhammad  said the intervention will help lift families from economic problems, even as she urged the women to invest it wisely.

Speaking, one of the beneficiaries Amina Musa, 50, said she would start micro business and use the profit to support her family.

Another beneficiary Jumai Rabiu, 47, described the intervention as huge and timely, adding that she will use the money judiciously and employ others too.

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Heirs Life Assurance Partners Avon Medical on World Blood Donor Day

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Newly launched specialist life insurance company, Heirs Life Assurance (HLA) has partnered Avon Medical to organize a blood drive in commemoration of the 2021 World Blood Donor Day. The event, which was held on Monday, June 14, 2021, at the ultramodern Avon Medical Dialysis Centre in Ikeja, Lagos had individuals present to donate blood for those in dire need of medical attention.

This year’s edition, the first partnership between both companies, set out to increase awareness of the importance of safe blood for transfusion and highlight the critical role voluntary blood donors play in national health. The Chief Marketing Officer, Heirs Life Assurance, Ifesinachi Okpagu confirmed that the partnership is in line with the company’s goal of promoting, not just the importance of life insurance, but wholesome living.

‘At the core of our business operations at Heirs Life Assurance is care for people and their families and we are pleased to have demonstrated this with our partnership with Avon Medical. There are several statistics that show that blood donation is of much benefit to the end user as much as it is to donors and here today, we are raising awareness for the need to encourage this culture and celebrate as many that have come out to be superheroes’, she said.

Shekinah Olagunju, Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications at Avon Medical, also expressed delight in the partnership, describing it as laudable especially as it helps both companies further their commitment to building a healthier nation and, in the process, improving the economy and transforming Africa; values held by the companies within the Heirs Holdings group portfolio.

Since its official launch on Tuesday, June 1, 2021, Heirs Life has continued to actively push its offering of life insurance that is simple, quick, accessible, and reliable with its array of value adding products, served on several easy-to-use platforms. Heirs Life’s product offerings comprise of insurance-backed savings plans and life insurance security for individuals, families, children’s education, debtors, creditors, entrepreneurs, and employees. The company is backed by top-notch Reinsurers to provide second-layer security for its clients’ insurance portfolios.

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Dangote $2 billion urea fertilizer Plant pushes out 120 trucks everyday

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 Excites marketers, farmers in North 

 

After months of speculations, Dangote Urea fertilizer is now finally on sales nationwide and it currently pushes out a minimum of 120 trucks per day across the country

 

Group Executive Director, (Strategy, Capital Projects & Portfolio Development) · Dangote Industries Limited,  Devakumar  Edwin, revealed to the press over the weekend that the Plant which has the capacity to turn out more than 4,500 tonnes of urea per day will conveniently meet the local demand and even produce for exports.

 

According to him: “…We have the capacity to turn out 4,500 tonnes of Urea everyday…this is a bulk application fertilizer…each crop in Nigeria or globally will require Nitrogen and this is a rich fertilizer, having 46 per cent nitrogen…The company has the capacity to meet local demand and also export to African countries… Currently the demand is less than 1 million tonnes and we alone can  produce 3 million tonnes, so we can easily meet local demand and also produce for export to other west African countries.”

DANGOTE

Aside fertilizer production, the company, according to Edwin is already working to support the farmers with training on application of the fertilizer and even establish laboratories across the country for proper soil examination.

 

“The uniqueness of this plant, apart from the fact that we are producing is the focus on farmers’ support, on training, education, development as we are now establishing laboratories across the country and even mobile laboratories where we can go drive around and take soil samples for proper examination to effectively grow the agricultural outputs across the country”

 

The Urea Fertilizer plant was built to tap into Nigeria’s demand for fertilizer, a critical component of achieving food sufficiency for Africa’s most populous country.

The Fertilizer plant is expected to manufacture 3 million metric tonnes of urea per annum, with a view to reducing the nation’s fertilizer imports, and generating $400m annual foreign exchange from export to Africa countries.

 

Meanwhile marketers and farmers in Kano have described the newly introduced Dangote Fertilizer as a game changer and a forecast for the expected agricultural revolution in the country.

Marketers and farmers who were apparently excited, over the weekend welcomed the more-than ten trucks that entered Kano markets at the weekend.

Speaking at the event organized by Dan Hydro Company in Kano to mark the introduction of the fertilizer into the northern market, chairman of the Kano state Agro Dealers Association Alhaji Shuaibu Akarami said agro dealers have confidence in Dangote fertilizer as they have in all his products, adding that as a dealer who spent decades in the business he has discovered that Dangote fertilizer will have no problem penetrating the market in the North.

“I have checked the product and have found out that it will have no problem penetrating the market. With my experience in agro products, I can authoritatively say the product has met our expectations and that has confirmed the confidence we have in Dangote fertilizer and other sister products of the Dangote Group,” he said.

The Dan-Hydro fertilizer Company in Kano which took delivery of the first batch of trucks in Kano said the timing and strategy for the introduction are rife.

Head of operations, Dan- Hydro operations Mr. Hamadi Sekou Drammeh said the Dangote fertilizer conforms to all set standard required by the regulatory agencies.

He said the phenomenon of perennial shortage of the fertilizer product will be over in the country.

He said as part of its public enlightenment plan, the company was going to work with all stakeholders in the agricultural sectors.

In the same vein, Sales Manager of Dan Hydro Mr. Sulaiman Tanko assured that the product will be sold at a reasonable price that will enable fair competition in the market. 

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