Serial digital entrepreneur and Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh, has committed the sum of over N500 million towards a novel initiative to create jobs and promote peace in Imo State.
Ekeh, a native of Mbaitoli in Imo State, announced the contribution during a quarterly Stakeholders Meeting/Luncheon hosted by the Imo State government on Tuesday, January 4, 2022.
The well-attended session, which was held at the Government House in Owerri, the Imo State capital, had in attendance Governor Hope Uzodinma, the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, members of the expanded State Executive Council, as well as serving and past Imo State House of Assembly members and representatives from the National Assembly.
Also in attendance was President General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Prof. George Obiozor, former Imo State Governor, Ikedi Ohakim, elder statesman Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, former Inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro, legendary singer Onyeka Onwenu, as well as traditional rulers, members of the clergy and academia and other distinguished sons and daughters of Imo.
Speaking during the event, Ekeh, who was the Chairman on the occasion, asserted that the 21st century is a knowledge economy that demands a new attitude and mindset. He added that hard work, brilliance, humility, and a firm belief in God are essential ingredients for success, even as he revealed that Imo State is blessed with a number of youths with these qualities.
Using himself as an example, Ekeh held that if he could achieve so much from nothing, certainly the current crop of young people in the state are better exposed, more brilliant and in a better position to achieve even more.
The digital entrepreneur explained that the N500m fund would be utilized in establishing a finishing school that would polish fresh graduates as well as the unemployed, equipping these beneficiaries with world-class skills that would transform them into highly sought-after prospects that can compete with their peers globally.
He added that the products of the school would become more marketable and would secure gainful employment in Nigeria and abroad, while also adding that he would source resource persons from around the world to mentor the beneficiaries and equally re-train their trainers.
Ekeh, who seized the opportunity to sue for peace in Imo State, also appealed to all aggrieved parties to forgive and forget the wrongs of the past, even as he urged them to join forces with the current administration to restore the glory of the state. In addition, he called on the media to exercise some restraint in their reportage and to refrain from unfairly portraying the state in bad light as a hotbed of insecurity.
‘‘I am not a politician and I will never be one in my lifetime. But nobody can convince me to fight against my state. Imo State belongs to all of us. We need to join hands with the current administration and whoever is in power to develop the state for our children and unborn generations,’’ he stated.
Further, Ekeh called on other well-meaning Imo indigenes at home and in the Diaspora to support the government and to join hands and commit to the latest project by volunteering to sponsor a minimum of five beneficiaries across each town through the finishing school.
He added that the project would commence with the best qualified five per town until every unemployed graduate is re-trained in Imo state.
‘‘Through this finishing school, we will equally train the trainers and leverage on our brothers and sisters, both in Nigeria and in the Diaspora with global competencies to re-train our unemployed and underemployed graduates to enhance their profiles in the global marketplace,’’ he submitted.
Also speaking at the event, Gov. Uzodinma, who delivered a scorecard of his administration’s performance within the past two years, hailed Ekeh for his unceasing contributions to the development of Imo State.
While thanking him for his many selfless and philanthropic gestures in the past, Uzodinma also expressed gratitude to the Zinox boss for his latest initiative, adding that the proposed project would go a long way in supporting the state government’s human capital development drive.
In addition to the finishing school which would be commissioned this year, Ekeh equally pledged to digitally upgrade and bring proceedings in the State House Assembly online, allowing Imo indigenes and members of the various constituencies across the state the opportunity to engage with their elected representatives more closely and in real-time.
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Oando, LAMATA sign MoU on electric mass transit buse
Oando Clean Energy Limited has announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (referred to as LAMATA), the Lagos State Government agency tasked with planning, implementing, regulating and franchising sustainable integrated public transport in Lagos.
The MoU establishes a partnership between OCEL and Lagos State in her journey to becoming a sustainable city via the rollout of electric mass transit buses, supporting charging infrastructure and service centres (EV Infrastructure Ecosystem).
The statement obtained from the NGX noted that with over 25 million residents, Lagos is the most populous city in Africa and among the top ten of the world’s fastest-growing megacities.
Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, Commissioner for Transportation, Lagos State, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde said the MoU represented the State Government’s commitment to cutting greenhouse gases by replacing them with cleaner sources of energy.
Oladeinde said, “With an understanding that transportation is a key emitter of greenhouse gases in Nigeria, we developed a strategy to cut greenhouse gases by 50%. A key component of this strategy was identifying and developing a more robust mass transit system for Lagos that would include rail and waterways amongst others. Using electricity to power mass transit is a step in the right direction, and from there we would gradually transit to private cars.
“This is just the beginning, there is still a lot more to come on stream. I commend LAMATA and Oando on this MoU signing, and both parties can be rest assured that they have my full backing to ensure success,” he added.
Commenting on the MoU signing, the Managing Director, LAMATA, Engr. Abimbola Akinajo said: “We began this journey late last year, and for us, this has been a rapid development. It speaks to the energy and zeal of both organizations, and that is commendable. Oando Clean Energy came to us with a comprehensive solution that went beyond electric mass transit buses to include supporting infrastructure, and this was key for us, as the full remit of an EV support ecosystem is the only way to achieve success.
“This initiative will not only accelerate the Government’s transportation agenda, but also positively impact the health of Lagosians and the environment. The magnitude of its impact is far-reaching, and when you start to look at it as more than a transport initiative, you will see how laudable a project it is. The Oando brand comes with know-how and experience, and we are relying on this to successfully move from MoU signing to actual implementation that will in the medium to long term benefit over 22 million Lagos commuters. We look forward to a very robust and fruitful partnership.”
In his response, the Chairman, Oando Clean Energy, Adewale Tinubu, who was represented at the MoU signing by Dr. Ainojie ‘Alex’ Irune said: “Oando Clean Energy was born out of a need to curate the best energy mix to propel Nigeria and indeed Africa, to its full potential.
As a company, Oando has always championed Public-Private Partnerships as fundamental to Nigeria’s industrialization. Through the signing of this MoU, we are revolutionizing the landscape of mobility by pioneering e-mobility in Lagos. Furthermore, we remain dedicated to achieving our national commitment to net-zero by 2060, ending energy deficiencies and further propelling the country to an industrialized phase through decentralized and sustainable energy systems.
We are excited to be embarking on this journey with Lagos State and must commend their foresight and willingness to forge a template for others to follow. It’s easy to be perturbed by the perceived challenges that come with the mega-city status tag, but by taking this bold step, Lagos is showing the continent what is indeed possible and giving other cities the impetus to redefine today how to build a public transport system for the future.”
Over the last decade, the number of vehicles on Lagos roads has quadrupled, yet studies suggest that Lagos could become the world’s most populated city by 2100 with as many as 100 million residents; and as the city grows, so will the number of vehicles.
This upward trajectory in vehicle numbers poses a significant challenge as transportation has been identified as the key contributing sector at circa 23% to 30% in annual CO2 emissions.
Against this backdrop, the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between LAMATA and OCEL will enable the successful fulfilment of the objectives of the Lagos State Government through the deployment of an EV Infrastructure Ecosystem towards the attainment of a sustainable road transport system in the State.
Furthermore, this initiative will bridge the existing gap in available mass transit buses for the increasing number of Lagos commuters.
Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, Wins Primary for Second term
The Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has emerged winner of the state governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress.
In the primary election conducted at the MKO International Stadium, Abeokuta, five other aspirants contested against the governor.
The aspirants include Olubiyi Otegbeye, Mrs Modele Sarafa- Yussuf, Mr Owodunni Opayemi, Remilekun Bakare and Abdukadir Akinlade.
Of the six aspirants, only Abiodun, attended the primary, while agents of all other aspirants, announced their presence and did what was expected of them.
Giving the details of the election, that was conducted in a peaceful atmosphere, the Chairman of the Ogun State APC Primary Election Committee, Chief Wale Ohu, disclosed that 1,180 delegates, from the 20 local governments, were accredited for the exercise.
Announcing the results, Ohu, said Abiodun scored 1,168 votes, while other aapirants, did not secure any vote, saying that two votes were voided.
Prior to the commencement of the process, Ohu, announced to the delegates and all the leaders of the party that attended the event, that all required agents, were present.
Ohu took time to read out names of the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other officials of the APC officials that were sent from the National Secretariat.
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