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Lagos Guber: New Name Emmerges As Tinubu, Aregbeshola Move To Stop Ambode’s Second Term Bid

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Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode

The fate of the Lagos state Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode in picking the All Progressive Congress’ ticket to bid for a final term as the Lagos state’s governor is at the moment not getting receptive signals from major stake holders in the state especially, his major sponsor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the Alimosho Lagos based outgoing Governor of the state of Osun, Engr. Rauf Aregbesola.

Signs that the Lagos State Governor, Ambode could have challenges securing his party’s ticket for a second term manifested at the early stage of his current tenure, though with no significant notice.

According to knowledgeable sources within the Lagos APC, Ambode drew the anger of his sponsor, Asiwaju Tinubu, when, at the beginning of his term, he immediately set out to establish his political structure, not minding the existence of the Asiwaju Tinubu’s structure that installed him as governor of the state.

“In fairness to Ambode, he tried to code the move, but the fact that he used a very close family member in building the structure gave him away and his mentor got the signal” narrated a source.

Rauf Aregbesola

ThePage was further told that, even though Asiwaju appeared indifferent when he heard about efforts being made by ‘his creation’ to establish an independent structure,his body language was said to have given him away at the peak of the Ambode’s refuse challenge in the Lagos metropolis after he dismantled the Tinubu erected Private Sector Partnership (PSP) structure.

According to multiple sources within the party, there was a serious complaint against the Governor  before Asiwaju, when the Ambode led government decided to upturn what a source described as  the ‘ inherited working  and effective refuse collection ‘ system in the state.

“ Dont forget that the refuse collecting system operational in the state before now was introduced by  Tinubu when he was governor of the state. And its been a very good way of patronising many party members in the state “ a source obliged.

ThePage was reliably  informed that about 45,000 residents in the state  were directly surviving on the scrapped PSP project  out of which about 25,000 were direct operators hired from the party while the remaining were people engaged by the direct operators.

The demolition of the  local system for the engagement of a new contractor , Vissionscape was viewed  by Asiwaju as an affront, especially because, he as the initiator of the original operation, was not carried along before it was axed.

Events that unfolded afterwards, regarding the scrapping of the PSP project gave Asiwaju reasons to condemn Ambode before party leaders who sought his intervention in ensuring a cleaner Lagos, even as he was said to have immediately commenced the process of a search for another candidate to replace Ambode and thus preventing him from serving a second term in office.

As a source narrated to ThePage : when it became obvious that the governor was losing the battle against refuse in the state, some leaders in the party lobbied Asiwaju to intervene and impressed it on him to facilitate the reinstatement of the PSP operation , but he (Tinubu)  refused, and quoted  to have  insisted that he will rather allow him ( governor) carry out his heart desires regarding the issue in question.

ThePage reliably gathered that whatever animosity Tinubu may have against his political son , which many believed would be resolved at the appropriate time, was fuelled further,  by the outgoing governor of the State of Osun, Rauf Aregbesola, who sources revealed has done more than enough to discourage Asiwaju from encouraging a second term ticket for his Lagos state counterpart.

Reliable sources mentioned that Ambode incured the wrath of the Osun governor when he( Ambode) refused to be part of the scheme to return Aregbesola to the mainstream Lagos politics by not  supporting his desire to return as Senator representing Lagos West after his terms next month, as the Osun State Governor for 8 years.

Thepage gathered that Aregbesola who was  Commissioner for Works in Lagos for over 8 years before becoming Osun state governor was interested in getting the ticket to contest the Lagos West Senatorial election under the APC, but, sought the support of Governor Ambode, whom sources hinted, told him point blank, that he could not support such a radical move .

Ambode’s stance on the issue, it was  gathered, was further emboldened by Asiwaju’s rejection of same. It was gathered however, that Aregbesola had planned to use the expected support from Ambode to persuade Asiwaju to change his mind, but when he met a brick-wall with Ambode, he became an instant part of the plot to stop  the Lagos  governor’s second term bid.

If supporters of the Lagos State Governor were in doubt before now, that there were plots against the second term aspiration of the governor, news of the introduction of using the Direct Primaries system to determine who gets the ticket to contest the APC governorship ticket for  the next election has cleared the doubts.

According to sources, Asiwaju is only capitalising on the adoption of the same direct primaries system by the new leadership in the national  APC to stop Ambode because it suits his plans.

Bola Tinubu

Even though Asiwaju Tinubu, while announcing to party members in Lagos penultimate week , of decision to use the direct primaries to decide who gets the party tickets in the next elections in the state , he  hinged his decision on the need to follow party directive and make party members determine who gets their ticket as against the use of delegates.

While ThePage sources said it was only convenient for Asiwaju to rely on the alibi,it was gathered that Asiwaju had envisaged the difficulty he will encounter in buying the state’s delegates to reject Ambode at the primary election.

“ Asiwaju  realised on time, the futility of giving delegates money to stop Ambode, because of the abundance revenue at the disposal of the governor.

“ Ambode can afford to splash tripple of whatever Asiwaju would offer the delegates, hence his decision to hide under the ‘ obeying party resolution’ alibi, to edge Ambode out of the way for a new choice to emerge as Lagos state governor” a dependable source mentioned.

Giving Asiwaju more convenient alibi to dump Ambode, ThePage further gathered, was  the clamour before now, by some party members among them, an influential politician from Ambode’s consistency in Epe, all of who successfully prevailed on Asiwaju to discourage  the use of  party delegates to determine who gets the ticket to flag the party’s flag in all the coming elections in the state which the guber is a part.

The name of the former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly Hon. Adeyemi IKuforiji featured prominently among the names of aspirants who lobbied Asiwaju to take the direct primaries option decision.

The interest of IKuforiji, ThePage has learnt,  may not be unconnected with the plan to resuscitate the initial  Asiwaju approved interest in him becoming the state’s governor before it was forced to be jettisoned by circumstances about 4 years ago.

Keen political watchers in the state believe that replacing Ambode with IKuforiji wont attract much noise especially because IKuforiji is observed to be an all round politician, loyal to the political stausquo and closer to politicians in the state. Above all, he is from the same Epe constituency with the outgoing governor of the state,hence, the permutation that the people of the constituency won’t feel any sense of loss should the ticket taken away from Governor Ambode.

–By Femi Adepoju

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Business

Access Bank Posts Gross Earnings of ₦764.7bn in FY 2020

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Access Bank

Despite a challenging economic and regulatory landscape, Access Bank PLC has announced gross earnings of ₦764.7bn for the financial year ended December 31, 2020.

 

 

The Bank’s audited gross earnings shows a 15% improvement from the ₦666.75bn posted for the comparative period of 2019. While the Bank’s Profit Before Tax stood at ₦125.9bn, it also posted a non-interest income of ₦275.5bn, a significant 112% y/y growth from 2019. This is despite the cost of operating its enlarged franchise.

 

 

According to Herbert Wigwe, the Group Managing Director and CEO of Access Bank PLC, the institution’s resilient performance “is testament to the effectiveness of our strategy and capacity to generate sustainable revenue.”

 

 

“The strategic actions that the Bank has taken over the past 12 months evidence a strong focus on retail banking and financial inclusion, an African expansion strategy and a drive for scale for sustainable value creation. In 2020, Access Bank proudly opened its doors for business in Kenya and Mozambique, further increasing our footprints across the African Continent.

 

Access Bank Zambia also concluded the acquisition of Cavmont Bank Limited in January 2021 and the Group recently announced the approval by relevant regulatory authorities for the acquisition of Grobank Limited, creating an inroad into the South African market in realization of the Group’s strategic ambitions.

 

 

In view of the opportunities that exist in the market, we will be transitioning to a HoldCo structure. The Bank has received the Approval-In-Principle from the Central Bank of Nigeria for the restructuring and the HoldCo will consist of 4 subsidiaries in order to tap into the market opportunities that are available in the consumer lending market, electronic payments industry and retail insurance market.

 

Going into the fourth year of our 5-year cyclical strategy, our focus remains on consolidating our retail momentum and expanding our African footprint in a sustainable manner,” Wigwe said.

 

 

Access Bank PLC recorded a consistent growth in its retail banking business, reporting a 5.8mn growth in customer sign-on during the year through our financial inclusion efforts. This increase in customer base led to a retail revenue of ₦177.2bn, a 64.4% increase from its FY 2019 figures of ₦107.8bn.

 

 

The Bank’s customer deposits also grew by 31% to ₦5.59trn in Dec 2020 with savings account deposits standing at ₦1.31trn. Similarly, net loans and advances grew by 18% to ₦3.61trn in comparison to its FY 2019 figures of ₦3.06trn.

 

 

As the Bank intensified recovery efforts, undertook significant write off and leveraged its robust risk management practices, its asset quality improved to 4.3% compared to its 2019 report of 5.8% and this is expected to continue to trend downwards as it strives to surpass the standard it had built in the industry prior to the merger with Diamond Bank.

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Ecobank Wins Starsight Sustainability Award 2020

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Ecobank

Leading West African Commercial and industrial solar power and cooling provider, Starsight says Ecobank is well placed to be the market leader in the establishment of “Green Branches’ across the country. According to Starsight it has so far delivered more than 100 branch facilities with its market leading renewable energy solutions, reducing Ecobank Carbon footprint and making Ecobank one of the market leaders in the implementation of renewables in the Nigerian Banking sector. 

 

It went further to state that Ecobank is well placed to be the market leader in “Green Branches’ with an addition 50 Branches scheduled to go live in Q1 2021.

 

Presenting the Starsight Renewable Energy Sustainability Award for 2020 to Ecobank in Lagos, Teme Jack, Head Sales, SMEs, Starsight Energy, lauded the commitment of Ecobank towards application of renewable solutions thereby reducing carbon footprints, stressing that the award was well deserving.

 

 

She was optimistic that Starsight partnership with Ecobank would further go a long way to environmental sustainability. “Our partnership with Ecobank has delivered an outstanding result in a short window time and we look at forward to expanding our partnership in Nigeria and other geographical regions of operations”

 

Receiving the award, Kola Adeleke, Ecobank Nigeria Executive Director, Corporate Bank said “sustainability remains an essential part of Ecobank’s mission and vision of building a world-class Pan-African bank. Our long-term success is intertwined with the sustainable actions that supports the development of Nigeria and Africa as a continent.

 

Ecobank is focused on mainstreaming environmental and social best practices in its operations and has adopted various Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) frameworks including the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles (NSBP) as benchmarks for measuring its environmental stewardship. We have been in partnership with Starsight Energy to deliver a market-leading renewable energy solution across our branches in Nigeria, they have delivered over 100  branches facilities with renewable energy solution, thereby reducing our carbon footprint and making Ecobank one of the market leaders in the implementation of Principle 2 of Nigeria Sustainable Banking initiative”. He stated.

 

Further, Mr Adeleke reiterated that to “Ecobank Group Sustainability framework is focused on four thematic areas which includes: Economic Transformation, Environmental Sustainability, Socially Responsible Financing and Human Capital Development.

 

These focus areas are aligned with the tenets of the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles (NSBP). Besides, Ecobank is a signatory member of a number of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) framework including the Equator Principles and the United Nations Global Compact.

 

 

We have set a target of achieving the goals as regard SDG/Climate change and society’s wellbeing. For instance, the Bank is committed to taking bold steps to reducing our carbon footprint, demonstrated in carbon emission from our business operations, travels, paper use and office waste disposal.

Ecobank

 

We further commit to invest in energy efficiency by incorporating the use of renewable energy products and practices, design architecture for energy efficient building in new branch expansions, including retrofitting programmes; as well as mainstreaming sustainable practices in third party contractor’s agreement for supply and procurement activities.”

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FIRSTBANK CONVENES THE FOURTH EDITION OF ITS ANNUAL FIRSTGEM EVENT, REINFORCES ITS LEADING ROLE IN PROMOTING WOMEN EMPOWERMENT

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FIRSTBANK

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services
provider has announced the fourth edition of its annual FirstGem Conference, tagged
FirstGem 4.0. The 2021 event is themed ‘The Art of Negotiation’ and convened to provide
women with insights on the secrets of wealth management, investment and savings. It is
scheduled to hold on Wednesday, 31 March 2021. Participants are required to register via
the link http://bit.ly/firstbankwebinar

 

 

The product, FirstGem, is an account designed specifically to meet the needs of women,
aged 18 years and above. The product is targeted at a broad spectrum of women, working
professionals, entrepreneurs or market women to promote their business through an array of
benefits, from free business advisory services on business funding, specialized training on
Business Development initiatives (online and physical), regular information or insights on
business opportunities or openings in various sectors and industries. FirstGem account
owners have access to mouth-watering discounts at merchant outlets (spas, salons, grocery
stores) that offer lifestyle products and services.

 

 

The Guest Speakers at the event are Mrs. Ibukun Awosika – Chairman, Board of Directors,
First Bank of Nigeria Limited; Prof Pedro Videla – Prof. of Economics at IESE Business
School and Prof Mehta Kandarp, Senior Lecturer, IESE Business School. They would
respectively speak on the topics; the theme of the International Women’s Day “Choose to
Challenge”, the current state of the Global Economy and how it Impacts Business Decisions
and Negotiation as a Tool for Winning in Business & Career.

 

 

During the event, FirstBank SME customers would be given the opportunity to pitch their
business idea and stand a chance to get N1,000,000 seed fund to kick-start their business.
The business ideas would be judged by the following criteria; Originality, Feasibility, Good
presentation skills and Sustainability.
Speaking on the event, Mr. Francis Shobo, Deputy Managing Director, Firstbank said “The
FirstGem 4.0 is the icing on the cake in the streams of initiatives and activities we have
organised and participated in March as we join the world to celebrate women for the indelible

 

 

roles they play in our society. Through these activities, we spearhead the call on the need to
promote women inclusiveness in the country as the role they play towards the continued
socio-economic growth and development of any given society cannot be overemphasized.”

 

 

Shedding light on the impact of the FirstGem account, he said “our FirstGem account is
specifically designed to meet the financial needs of women as it offers unrivalled services
that empower women to do more and achieve more. It seeks to drive financial development
and the empowerment of women through gender engineered programmes. At FirstBank, we
recognize that promoting female entrepreneurship and empowerment is crucial to a better
society, “he concluded.

 

 

Since the product launch in October 2016, the Bank has implemented various activities
targeted at promoting female empowerment, impact and influence in the economy. Through
its online portal – designed to provide a virtual online community with over 61,293 members
where like-minded women irrespective of where they are in Nigeria and abroad, gather to
connect, grow and share knowledge on everything about lifestyle, motherhood, career
development, entrepreneurship, health, work and family. We encourage all women to join
the community by signing up via this link https://firstgem.com.ng/community to enjoy this
experience.

 

 

FirstGem has successfully empowered women in states across the geo-political zones in
Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

 

 

About FirstBank

First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading
financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 126 years.

 

 

With over 750 business locations and over 86,300 Banking Agents spread across 99% of the
774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail
and corporate financial services to serve its over 30 million customers. The Bank has
international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris,
FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and
Senegal, as well as a Representative Office in Beijing.

 

 

 

The Bank has been handy at promoting digital payment in the country and has issued over
10million cards, the first bank to achieve such a milestone in the country. FirstBank’s
cashless transaction drive extends to having more than 10million people on its USSD Quick
Banking service through the nationally renowned *894# Banking code and over 4.5 million
people on FirstMobile platform.

 

 

Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers
focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk
management and leadership. Over the years, the Bank has led the financing of private
investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the
Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach,
FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities
that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible
financial partner.

 

 

FirstBank has been named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 –
2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group; “Best
Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker
International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by
Global Finance for 15 years. Our brand purpose is always to put customers, partners and
stakeholders at the heart of our business, even as we standardise customer experience and
excellence in financial solutions across sub-Saharan Africa, in consonance with our brand
vision “To be the partner of the first choice in building your future”.

Our brand promise is always to deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence.
This commitment is anchored on our inherent values of passion, partnership and people, to
position You First in every respect.

 

Folake Ani-Mumuney
Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications
www.firstbanknigeria.com

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