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Osun political battle: Assembly didn’t reverse Adeleke’s executive orders – lawmaker

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There is no truth in the assertion that the Osun State House of Assembly, ever sat on the inaugural speech of the Governor, Ademola Adeleke, let alone reverse his pronouncements he made on Sunday, including reversing the name of the state from State of Osun to Osun State.

This much was confirmed by Adewumi Adeyemi,  representive of Obokun State Constituency, while reacting to the spokesperson for the Assembly, Moshood Akande, who claimed on Monday that the lawmakers took decisions after reviewing the address.

“The State of Osun House of Assembly, having reviewed the inaugural speech of the Governor and the activities of the inauguration, hereby resolves as follows:

“The usage of the State Anthem, Crest and Flag is an enactment of law and as such, its usage is a matter of law and not choice. The enactment, ‘State of Osun Anthem, Crest and Flag Law, 2012’ assented to on the 18th of December, 2012 contained in Schedule I, II, III, IV and V, which carefully details every component of this law, is not in ambiguity.

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“Schedule I is the State Anthem, Schedule II has to do with the State Crest, Schedule III is the symbolic significance of the elements in the Flag. Lastly, while we are aware of a court judgment in effect recognising ‘Osun State’, the Assembly, pending the determination and exhaustion of all legal means, would not be drawn into this matter. However, the State shall and will continue to be described as the State of the Virtuous (Ipinle Omoluabi),” Akande had said.

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But Adeyemi, while insisting that he had been attending plenary regularly, adding that at no time was Adeleke’s address discussed by the lawmakers, however, encouraged the lawmakers to continue working together and support the new government.

“My attention has been drawn to a statement which reportedly emanated from the Osun State House of Assembly and was signed by Hon. Moshood Kunle Akande.

“In the said statement, it was stated that the Assembly reviewed the inaugural speech and activities of the inauguration held on Sunday, November 27.

“As a lawmaker who attends plenary very well, I hereby state unequivocally that the Assembly has not met after the governor’s inauguration. It is also worth noting that there was no place the resolution was passed by the Assembly. The public, especially Osun people, are hereby advised to take note of this,” he said.

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Ezeife’s metaphor: How Igbo elders died in futile chase for Kanu’s freedom  

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By Sunny Igboanugo

They beseeched, they pleaded, they remonstrated, they begged, they argued, they were snubbed, they were denied and then – they died! They died hoping and believing that it might happen before their own eyes and in their lifetimes.

These were great men of the South East. They were sons of Igboland. They grew, lived and achieved great things for their people and their country. Yet, the common denominator is that they all died with apparent broken hearts.

This is the story of Mbazuiluike Amaechi, Ben Nwabueze and now, Chukwuemeka Ezeife. They died in that order. Amaechi, a veteran in Nigerian independence struggle, who as a member of the Zikist Movement, a group that was in the forefront of that struggle, joined other individuals and groups to liberate Nigeria from the shackles of colonialism.

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Having risen the ashes of the struggle to the position of the first Nigerian Minister of Aviation, the late nationalist from Ukpo, in Nnewi South Local Government Area, had contributed his own quota to the galloping development, which the first republic, known as the golden era of Nigeria achieved. Yet, he died a broken man, his one wish at his last days and hours denied him.

Leading a group of Igbo leaders to Muhammadu Buhari, then President, on November 19, 2021, he had specifically pleaded that Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who had remained in detention since he was forcefully brought back from Kenya in July of the same year be released to him personally.

He even went further to plead with the President, that if released to him, he would personally leash the IPOB leader to ensure that he would refrain from his utterances and personal attacks on the former President, not only because he was in support of his campaign, but because he wanted to see peace reign in Nigeria as his last wish.

Hear him:  “I don’t want to leave this planet without peace returning to my country. I believe in one big, united Nigeria, a force in Africa. President, I want you to be remembered as a person who saw Nigeria burning, and you quenched the fire.” Yet, in vain, he waited. Buhari, who during his eight years ran his infamous 95-5 per cent government against Ndigbo, never acceded to the request.

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Before he died on November 1, 2022, the following year, Amaechi, whose profile rose beyond Nigeria, as he was said to have hidden Nelson Mandela, the former President of South Africa in his house in Nigeria for six months to prevent the Apartheid authorities in his country from arresting him made another pitch for the same IPOB leader, saying: “There is only one key to the solution to killings in Igbo land now, and that is the release of Nnamdi Kanu.

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“If that young man is released, you will see all these criminals who spring up claiming to be agitating for the release of Nnamdi Kanu while their real intention is to rob innocent and unsuspecting people, will go into hiding because they will have nothing as a reason to come out.

“IPOB has disowned them and has even taken measures to apprehend them but as you know, criminals will have their ways of operating and claiming one fake thing or the other, but they are simple criminals operating one way or the other.” Again, he was rebuffed and his plea fell on deaf ears.

Foremost constitutional lawyer and by then the oldest Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), was no less enthusiastic. He told Buhari that whatever difficulty he could be having releasing Kanu, the gesture would be a good one and the outcome would also be positive. Buhari, was quoted as telling the delegation: “You’ve made an extremely difficult demand on me as leader of this country. The implication of your request is very serious. In the last six years, since I became President, nobody would say I have confronted or interfered in the work of the Judiciary. God has spared you, and given you a clear head at this age, with very sharp memory. A lot of people half your age are confused already. But the demand you made is heavy. I will consider it.”

Nwabueze, who applauded the President for even giving the request a thought, said:  “I applaud your decision to consider the release of Nnamdi Kanu, notwithstanding as you said in your statement, that granting the request will have great consequences.” On October 30, 2023, Nwabueze died, not witnessing Kanu’s release.

Enter Ezeife! He was one of the most virulent and consistent voices in the push for the release of the IPOB boss. In fact immediately the news broke that the Court of Appeal had ordered the release of the IPOB leader, he practically rolled out the drums to celebrate, as it signified the removal of the barrier the former President spoke about.

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Hear him: “The hearts of kings are in the hand of God. We pray to move Buhari to do justice, to respect the court – his own court. The ASUU people have gone back to school in obedience to court order even though they were not happy with it,” he said.

“Now let our government lead by example and comply with court order. What I heard was that Nnamdi Kanu was discharged and acquitted. But the government can put words in the Court’s mouth that he was only discharged.

“But even at that, if he was discharged of the heinous crimes accused of, that’s even enough reason to free him by the Court’s decision. When we went to the President, we got a very good response from him about releasing Nnamdi Kanu. [Later, I got personal] information that the President wants to release Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho.

“And [later] I heard only of Igboho being set free from charges against him while Nnamdi Kanu is still there. May God make it that the President will look at the state of the nation and release Nnamdi Kanu. God has created a situation in Nigeria where all eyes are not opened where nobody can say my religion, my tribe, etc.”

But he was wrong. Of course, Buhari dug in. After days ran into weeks without obeying the court order, he finally dashed the hope of the Igbo and other Nigerians, who had joined in the campaign by appealing the appellate court’s judgement. Today, more than one year after, Kanu has remained in detention. If anything, those who took that historic journey to the Presidential Villa, Abuja are going one after the other.

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The most ironic is that of Ezeife, who chose the eve of the pronouncement of the Supreme Court on the matter to depart. May be his spirit had forewarned him of a greater blow from the court and he decided to depart rather to wait to feel the impact alive. Alas, against all odds and expectations of many, the apex court, toed the line of the hardliners, who believe continued incarceration of the IPOB boss is the way to go.

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“The Court of Appeal was wrong to say that the Federal High Court can no longer try Mr Kanu. The appeal is allowed and the cross-appeal is dismissed,” the apex court, held in the judgement prepared by Justice Garba Mohammed, but read by Justice Emmanuel Agim, adding: “Our law is that evidence illegality obtained is valid before the court. A violation of Mr Kanu’s right should have been by way of civil proceedings. That is not our law for now.”

With this pronouncement, it is back to the starting point. The matter is probably returning to the Federal High Court, where it was seated before Justice Binta Murtala Nyako, before the intervention of the appeal court. Many had hoped that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, would do what his predecessor did not.

Since he had no dog in the fight as was the case between Kanu and Buhari, he might exert the influence which a Nigerian President wields to end the entire macabre dance, many had thought. But as it were, they were wrong. For one, there is no indication that the President, who had promised to continue the legacy of the former President, may not have inherited his obvious and time-tested hatred for Ndigbo. And for good reason(s) too!

If anything, is it not obvious that the people and their area are being excluded under Tinubu? In fact, did it not even gain more verve? And if the hindsight could be the guide, it might not be far from same reason of being rejected in the polls. Tinubu’s fate 2023 presidential election was even worse that Buhari’s over the years.

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Were this the case, then, the soul of Ezeife, just like Nwabueze and Amaechi, would have to find other reasons to rest in peace or in the alternative, remain restless. For surely, the prospect of Kanu coming out of that dungeon soon, appears quite faint. In fact, Ndigbo should hope the situation would not be grimmer!

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IDL ‘Master of Fun’: Two days of mixing business with pleasure

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How often has it been said – you do not mix business with pleasure. How true is it? Well, with a full impetus, the answer was delivered in clear terms to this age-long dictum, last weekend – not in all cases do business and pleasure not mix! In fact some businesses and pleasure are like Siamese twins – inseparable. That much was proved by Intercontinental Distillers Limited (IDL), Nigeria’s foremost producers of wine and spirits for the two days they locked down parts of Lagos.

Between Thursday, 24th and Friday, 25th of November, 2023, every visitor or passerby within the precincts of Isaac John in the Government Reserved Area (GRA), Ikeja, must have noticed something unusual as the route was lined with cars of all shapes, models and sizes. Inside the imposing Radisson Blu, located in the highbrow street, showed the company spared no cost in returning the favours of their customers by giving them first-class treatments – a carnival of some sorts, worthy of every expression.

The event, which was the 2023 edition of the IDL Distributors Award, to reward customers for their loyalty, also included the re-launch of Teezers cocktail brand, and the unveiling of the new packaged products. But it was clearly beyond that by the other activities daintily choreographed to fit into the entire show. Like the fine work of a weaverbird the guests, right from their arrival on Thursday to the time they finally retired to their rooms, some in the early hours of Saturday, witnessed a sequence of events sure to remain in their memories for many years.

Emerging from their rooms on Thursday evening, the distributors and other guests were first treated to a dinner after which they sat down to enjoy a superlative performance by Nice, one of Nigeria’s current celebrated music stars followed by a welcome party that stretched far into the night, enabling them to meet, greet, mingle and exchange banters, amid tables filled with exquisite food and drinks from the company’s stable.

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The next day was kicked off with a breakfast, health and business talks, followed with lunch, makeup, green carpets and picture sessions that preceded the major event of the awards and the unveiling of the new product and designs to the guests at the banquet hall of the hotel, which was filled to capacity with the guests.

The glittering presence of some of Nigeria’s A-list celebrities in the Nollywood and BBNaija brands, accentuated the kaleidoscope of colours from the gaily-dressed awardees, guests, management and staff of the company, as well as their friends and well-wishers, which blended with the interludes of musical performances to create the perfect concept of entertainment, enjoyment and pleasure.

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IDL management with some of the awardees

Aare Hope Gbagi, IDL’s Head of Sales, captured the raison d’etre of the event when he told the audience it was the company’s idea of rousing their major stakeholders – the distributors out of their daily routines of business to a different arena of relaxation, necessary for their physical and mental health, particularly considering the stiff and challenging economic situation in the country.

Congratulating the distributors, whom he said deserved special welcome for surviving the harsh business climate in the country, particularly the various challenges of the year 2022, he added: “This ceremony presents us with a unique opportunity to pull you our distributors out of your daily routines of buying and selling to a beautiful atmosphere to unwind and relax and by this idea, contribute our own quota in improving your mental health, which is part of our discussions earlier this morning.”

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Elaborating on the necessity to fete the distributors, Engineer Patrick Anegbe, Managing Director of the company, said the event was a testament to the amazing partnership IDL shared and the impressive achievements both accomplished together in-spite of the unfavourable business environment in the country.

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He said: “Today, we embrace the theme “Beyond Limits” which perfectly reflects our collective journey of surpassing boundaries and pushing ourselves to new heights. Each and every one of you have steadfastly navigated through challenges and persevered in the face of adversity. Your dedication and unwavering commitment have uplifted our business to new levels of excellence.

“To be more specific, the Theme, “Beyond Limits” to you our distributors implies:

  • Experiencing products that go beyond your expectation.
  • Experiencing opportunities in sales of both successful and new brands for the growth and success of your business.

For us in IDL; the theme implies:

  •  Showcasing innovative products.
  • Strengthening customer loyalty and building long term partnerships.
  • Highlighting the company’s commitment to continuous improvement and pushing limits.”

Speaking specifically on the challenges, he added: “One of the most significant challenges we faced as a manufacturing company and partners was the high cost of doing business. Market conditions became increasingly unstable; prices of input materials continued to rise almost on a daily basis; energy cost went up due to high cost of diesel. The foreign exchange (FX) required for raw materials, equipment and spares was not readily available and our roads continued to remain in deplorable state, making movement of goods from one part of the country to another difficult and expensive.

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“Our dear business partners, despite the unfavourable business environment you had to contend with in 2022, your performance at the end of the year was impressive. This is indeed commendable and we are sincerely thankful to you all.

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Dorothy Anegbe, displaying her trophy

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“IDL as a company also strived relentlessly in 2022 to tackle the challenges encountered head-on through strategic planning, operational efficiency and investment in technology. We have pioneered processes that empowered us to thrive in the face of adversity. To ensure more availability of our brands to our esteemed distributors the future, we have invested heavily in capacity building. You will therefore start to notice improvement in supplies of our products from the beginning of next year.

“We will continue to exhibit our strength in research, new products developments and innovative activities to keep our brands above others in Wines and Spirits industry in Nigeria and make doing business with us more interesting. I want to make a passionate appeal to our valued distributors to always ensure that you buy across the range of our brands whenever they make purchases. This will ensure improve growth and profitability for your business.”

The introduction of the Teezers cocktail brand, which also now comes in three flavours of orange, ginger and lemon to the audience, clearly underscored the reason IDL maintains a leading role in the entertainment industry, where premium drinks remain the major partner. The audience watched as the performance of a group of young men and women told the story of its re-launch through a breathtaking choreographic show, decked in suspense and eventual revelation.

Mobolaji Alalade, the company’s Head of Marketing, who put the show together, explained that the fresh move came out of the need to close the gap of the limited cocktail variants in Nigeria with the needs of the consumers.

Hear him: “Today marks a new beginning – a beginning of changing the fun narratives within the Cocktail Sparkling Drink Category of the Wines and Spirit business in Nigeria and Africa at large.  This game changer is the relaunch of Teezers Lime/Lemon as well as the Teezers Apple Sparkling Cocktail Drink and the introduction of two brand new variants -the Orange Flavour and Lemon and Ginger Flavour which is non-alcoholic.

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“With the limited variant options available within the Cocktail drink category, the highly youthful Nigeria population have been yearning for more fun options. Intercontinental Distillers Limited (IDL) equipped with research findings and consumer feedback rose up to the challenge of closing the gap and has now redefined the category with the revamp and consequently the relaunch of its already existing variants as well as the two new exciting additions – Teezers Orange for those who love the refreshing citrus flavour and the sense of energy its vibrant colour gives, while the Lemon and Ginger non-alcoholic flavour will cater specifically to children and teetotallers so as to ensure no one is left out.

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Some of the celebrities at the even

“Today, Teezers Sparkling Cocktail Drink has been upgraded from 300ml to 400ml in a contemporary, trendy, easy to carry bottle definitely offering our Consumers more. The brand label has been redesigned in sync with the spirit of the new age while the logo now radiates the elegance and youthful fun filled nature of the brand.

“Apart from presenting to you the new look of Teezers and the new additions to its variant bouquet, we unveil our new marketing campaign ‘More fun’ which underscores the brand’s unique preposition as the Master of Fun. As such, the brand will be engaging directly with the core consumers across all leisure destinations at all touch points in Nigeria.”

Indeed, the event, packaged by ISO-BLACK Concept Limited, a vibrant multi-channel brand communication solution and support services concern, lived up to its billing as the Master of Fun in Nigeria. The huge success of the third edition of the agency’s involvement, which included the design, deployment and execution of all the programmes, not only underscored a full grasp of the environment, but provided a demonstrable evidence of taking the gown to town in the fun business.

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Anegbe

For the over 300 distributors that were feted at the occasion, and others who did not make list,  the words of Dorothy Anegbe, Managing Director, Ogbohu Nigeria Enterprises, Sango Ota, who picked the star prize during the event, would continue to ring a bell.

“I pray that God should continue to be with them. They will grow from strength to strength and we will be able to come here and collect award.

How else to prove a partnership that works and the saying that indeed, for IDL and its stakeholders, business and pleasure indeed do mix.

 

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‘Realnews 11th anniversary lecture’: Two days to fresh agenda on Nigerian and African growth

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For the past decade or so, the yearly Realnews lecture series, has become a forum for not only assembling some of the biggest and brightest brains in Nigeria and beyond in one gathering, but presented a platform for picking their brains necessary in setting agenda critical for the growth and development of the country and Africa.

Tuesday, November 7, will be yet another occasion for the now elite gathering when another theme would be put on the table. Coming at a time when Nigeria has once again transitioned to yet a fresh phase in its current democratic experience, this year’s theme: Threats of Illicit Funds Flow to Africa, presents a fresh impetus for the nation regarding its influential role as the undisputed leader of Africa.

That in itself has gone further to underscore the import of the yearly parley as an event for harvesting ideas and plotting the charts to find solutions for some of the knotty issues not only on domestic issues affecting Nigeria, but Africa in general as they contend with their places in the global agenda.

Over the years, the organisers had invited two Chairmen of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to speak on the ever challenging issues of organising elections in Nigeria, a move, which is predicated on finding real solution to how Nigeria could get out of the consistent and seemingly intractable electoral bad behaviours.

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In search of solutions, Maurice Iwu, who superintended over the national elections in 2003 and 2007, at the 2014 edition, was brought in to speak on the theme: Nigerian Democracy: Getting it Right in 2015, ahead of that year’s general elections, while Mahmood Yakubu spoke on Political Transitions and Africa’s Economic Development: Preparations for Nigeria’s 2019 General Elections at the 2018 Lecture.

Other speakers include Buba Marwa, a Brigadier General who spoke at the 10th edition in 2022 on Drug Abuse among Youths in Africa: Implication for Nigerian Economy and 2023 Elections, while before him at the ninth edition, Simbi Kesiye Wabote, an engineer, oil industry expert and current Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) took his stand to speak on Nigeria in the Unfolding Integration of the African Market: The Oil and Gas Perspective.

In 2020, at the eighth edition, it was the turn of Boss Mustapha, then Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, who spoke on Managing COVID-19 Pandemic in Africa: The Nigeria Experience, while a year before, former President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana gave the 2019 lecture, entitled: Beyond Politics: An Economic Narrative for West Africa.

The 2017 fifth lecture on African Leadership in a Turbulent Era was delivered by Oby Ezekwesili, former minister of Education and former World Bank Vice President, while in 2016 fourth anniversary Lecture on Security and National Development in Plural Democratic Society was delivered by Mohamed Ibn Chambas, former United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative to West Africa and Sahel, just as the 2015 third edition was delivered by Chukwuma Charles Soludo, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and presently Governor of Anambra State, on November 19, 2015, with the theme: It’s The Nigerian Economy, Stupid? 

Each of the editions, no doubt had contributed its own block and planks, such that today, a solid platform has been constructed as a foundation for a massive intellectual edifice that has become the backbone and reservoir for decision making choices, exactly what Maureen Chigbo, founder, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Editor-in-Chief of RealNews, arguably one of Nigeria’s most versatile and thriving online platforms aims at for initiating the scheme.

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To highlight its success so far, many blue-chip companies and organisations are currently lining up in support of the hosting of the 11th Anniversary Lecture holding at the Sheraton Hotel on Tuesday.

The organizations, according to a statement signed by Chigbo herself, include NCDMB, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM).

Chevron Nigeria Limited, Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), FirstBank Nigeria Limited (FBN), and Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Dangote Group, National Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Johnwood Hotel, Abuja, and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are also providing their own supports.

Chigbo, who is also the President of Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), the umbrella body of more than 100 registered professional online news platforms in Nigeria, in the statement, expressed deep appreciation to the entities,  praying God to bless them and give their management the wisdom to lift their organisations to greater heights and prosperity.

Expressing the same sentiments to all the banks, institutions, companies and other organisations that have placed online advertisement on Realnews website in the last 11 years, she said: “Without their support we would not have remained in business all through the years to do what we love best – investigative journalism.”

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Explaining the features of Tuesday’s parley, she said the lecture, which would have Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director of NPA, would be delivered by Edwin W. Harris Jr., Director General of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), Senegal, while Ahmed Kuru, Managing Director of Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) would keynote the conference.

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Scheduled for Sheraton Hotel by 10am, the event would also feature Kayode Adebayo, Director of Proceeds of Crime Department, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and Felix Obiamalu, Associate Director, Legal and Sanctions, Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), as discussants.

The event would also witness the investiture of all the speakers into The Realnews Hall of Fame immediately after the Lecture, the statement, said, quoting Chigbo as saying that the Realnews Hall of Fame was established to honour only those who played key roles during the anniversary lectures.

“Realnews, a general interest magazine, is an online publication that thrives on investigative journalism. We have expertise in reporting the oil and gas sector with its attendant environmental challenges. We aim to unearth exclusive stories about real people and the challenges they are facing in their day-to-day activities. We do this bearing in mind that government can only act to influence the lives of people positively if they are aware of their true situation. Hence, our objective is to use our investigative skills to ferret out information in the sectors we focus on and produce an unbiased report which will actually influence the government and decision-makers to take actions that will make society better.

“Realnews is populated by seasoned journalists who believe strongly in the tenets and ethics of the profession. The online publication believes that journalism as the fourth Estate of the Realm can contribute its quota towards building a fair and just society where fundamental human rights are respected and citizens have the freedom to pursue their interests anywhere in the world without hindrance. Its editors have a combined experience of several decades in active journalism practice and are highly dedicated to serving humanity. Hence its motto: For God and Humanity.

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“Realnews Anniversary Lecture Series was established to commemorate the best minds in our society and to tap from them to enrich the discourse in our national development,” the statement added.

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