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Meet the dean: Enase Okonedo, Lagos Business School

21 Jul

Okonedo

Enase Okonedo believes she has one of the most difficult deans’ jobs in the world. As boss of Lagos Business School in Nigeria it is not difficult to envisage some of the issues she might face – terrorist threats, corruption, political instability.

But the quietly spoken and thoughtful Prof Okonedo has more pressing issues. “The most difficult thing is to ensure the quality of the services,” she explains. To compete with business schools in Europe or the US, Lagos has to generate its own electricity to ensure continuity of supply. And the water for the school comes from a borehole on campus and is purified on site.

“A lot of the things that other schools take as given are not a given for us,” she says. And when all that is done, she says, “I have to think about the programmes”.

A specialist in executive education, Lagos runs both the only full-time MBA in Nigeria and an executive MBA – an MBA for working managers. Indeed Prof Okonedo was herself an EMBA student at the school. “I was in the first EMBA cohort and I never left!”

In joining the school as a research associate she left behind her eight years in the banking industry in Nigeria, but with few regrets. “I was bored,” she says. “Different challenges come at different times – and this is the most challenging yet.”

As well as the problems of quality infrastructure, there are issues in attracting the quality students she would like for the MBA degrees. Many qualified candidates prefer to apply to business school in the US or Europe, she says, and those that stay in Africa often prefer to head to South Africa or to the east coast. There are also relatively few qualified prospective MBAs in the country because although Nigeria’s population is approaching 200m, only a small fraction of those go on to higher education.

Because university education is virtually free in Nigeria, many of those that do consider the school balk at the cost of a Lagos MBA – $23,000 for the full-time programme. “I tell them that we price for value,” says the dean.

On top of all that Prof Okonedo also has to fight the international perception of Nigeria as a dangerous and hostile country when she tries to attract both students and professors. “I really do need to attract professors from the rest of the world, with a global perspective.”

With multinationals in Africa looking to operate across the continent, a pan-African approach to management teaching is something Prof Okonedo is very keen to implement. “Over the past five years I have aspired to prepare managers for Africa, not just for Nigeria. The model we have is to attract managers from across Africa to Lagos.”

It is clearly a strategy that is close to her heart. “The more we can address issues of the continent, the more we can change society.”

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Out of hours:

Enase Okonedo, dean of Lagos Business School in Nigeria, lists some of her favourite places, things and activities.

1. Animal: Lion

2. City: Barcelona

3. Holiday destination: The Gambia

4. Sport: None! I watch everything and play none!

5. Artist: Gerald Chukwuma, a Nigeria artist who creates artworks using usually disposed of such as cans, plastic and bottlecaps

6. Song: The Gambler, Kenny Rogers

7. Novel: Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom

Okagbare Leads Nigeria’s Athletic Team To Glasgow 2014

21 Jul

Olympics Day 7 - Athletics

The Athletic Federation of Nigeria has named a strong contingent of athletes that will represent Nigeria at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland from July 23 to August 3.

Africa’s fastest female sprinter, Blessing Okagbare, who has being doing well in the Diamond Leagues recently, leads the team and will be competing in the women’s 100 metre, 200m and 4x100m events alongside Gloria Asumnu, Dominique Duncan, Justina Sule, Mariam Bassey and Christy Udo.

The likes of Folashade Abugan, Omolara Omotosho, Regina George, Patience Okon, Ada Benjamin and Funke Oladoye, will be competing in the women’s 400metres and the 4x400m.

The Men’s sprint team which has new national 100m champion, Mark Jelks, also includes Mozavous Edwards, Ogho-Oghene Egwero, Seye Ogunlewe, Obinna Metu and Peter Emelieze Triple jump Champion Tosin Oke alongside long jumpers Samson Idiata and Sule Hammed also made the list.

The listed athletes were selected at the completion of the 2014 Cross River State/All-Nigeria Athletics Championships on Saturday in Calabar.

The quartet of Isah Salihu, Noah Akwu, Orukpe Erayokan and Abiola Onakoya are said to be on probation in the men’s 400m and 4x400m team respectively after failing to meet the standard in Calabar.

Nigeria rise to 34th on Fifa ranking after World Cup performance

18 Jul

Nigeria

The Super Eagles have risen up ten places in the latest global rankings released on Thursday following their second round finish in Brazil
Nigeria rose up ten spots to 34th place in the Fifa rankings released on Thursday, courtesy of the Super Eagles’ second round finish at the World Cup in Brazil.

The Eagles are now the third-ranked African side behind Algeria and Cote d’Ivoire who finished in the 24th and 25th positions.

World champions Germany (1) climbed to the top of the pile after defeating Argentina (2) in the showpiece final on July 13. The South Americans are now in second place.

The Netherlands who won bronze at the World Cup rose twelve places to finish 3rd on the rankings as Colombia were also rewarded with a 4th position.

Belgium (5) and Uruguay (6) follow but hosts Brazil dropped four places to finish 7th after a disastrous end to their campaign saw them concede 10 times in two matches.

Former world champions Spain fell from first place to 8th spot as they crashed out in the group stage. Switzerland dropped three places to finish 9th while France climbed up seven places to the 10th spot.

England dropped ten places to finish in 20th place after their first round elimination.

In Africa, Ghana dropped one place to finish in 38th place and fifth in Africa with Egypt holding onto the 36th spot and fourth in the region.

Cameroon moved up three places to 53rd depsite losing all three matches at the World Cup. They are now the eighth highest-ranked African side behind Tunisia (42) and Guinea (51) while Burkina Faso (58) and Mali (60) round up the top ten.

Nigeria’s centenary photo exhibition opens in London

18 Jul

nigeria_centenary_day_inauguration_1_20130410_1144792865

A TWO-WEEK photographic exhibition to mark the centenary anniversary of Nigeria opened in London on Wednesday.

The exhibition is being sponsored by one of Nigeria’s leading entrepreneurs, Kola Aluko, through Kola Aluko Foundation.

“The exhibition is dedicated to the memory of J.D. Okhai Ojeikere”, the curator, Ayo Adeyinka, told reporters.

Two of the late Ojeikere’s works were among those on display at the Bonhams, the world famous auctioneers hosting the event in Central London.

Bonhams described the exhibition as “an astonishing collection of photography documenting Nigeria’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.”

In a press release statement during the opening session, Aluko said: “This unique collection of photographs showcases the wealth of artistic talents in Nigeria over the last 100 years,” and “we hope that this exhibition will inspire young Africans to pursue their talents and achieve success on a global scale.”

The exhibition will close on August 1.

Nigeria President to Meet Parents of Chibok Girls Next Week

18 Jul

President Jonathan

Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan plans to meet parents of the abducted Chibok girls as well as elders of the Chibok community in Abuja.

That’s according to Doyin Okupe, the president’s Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs, who said the meetings will take place next week after the leader sent them an official invitation.

Jonathan pledged to meet the parents of the abducted school girls following a recent meeting with Pakistani rights activist Malala Yousafzai, but a proposed meeting didn’t happen.

Okupe blamed leaders of the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign for the failure of that meeting to take place.

“The president has now formally invited them to meet with him on Tuesday and we are expecting that meeting to hold,” said Okupe. “The indication from the parents and their leaders in Abuja was that… they have received the letter and they will honour the invitation.”

There were local media reports suggesting that the parents were concerned that a television broadcast of a meeting with the president could make them vulnerable to attacks by the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram.

Okupe dismissed those reports. He said leaders of the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign are sabotaging government’s efforts in an attempt to create political discomfort for President Jonathan ahead of next year’s presidential vote.

“From time immemorial we have always known that they had major political reasons and they were heavily sponsored and had very serious partnership with APC [opposition All Progressives Congress]. And that everything they are doing is to embarrass the government and is pointedly aimed at 2015,” said Okupe. “They were the people who insisted even despite Malala’s efforts these people refused and did not allow the meeting to take place.”

Opponents of the president have often criticized the administration of being too slow to react following the abduction of the girls by Boko Haram militants.

They also point out that the president has yet to visit the Chibok area or meet the parents and elders of the community since the girls were abducted over 85 days ago.

Okupe said the criticisms are politically motivated, insisting that Boko Haram militants are engaged in terrorism and cross border crimes that requires international cooperation to defeat the phenomenon.

“[Jonathan] is the president of Nigeria, he will visit Chibok, he will visit anywhere else,” said Okupe. “Since [the] Chibok event over 2,000 people have also been killed by Boko Haram and Abuja was recently bombed. The president has to have all that in view. So it’s not only Chibok …and we still have the problem of Boko Haram to contend with. It’s a very deep and multifaceted problem.”

Okupe says President Jonathan has been busy with heads of various security agencies and international security experts formulating strategies to address the security challenges the country faces.

Anglo-Nigerian Makes Chelsea Debut

18 Jul

Solanke
Dominic Solanke Makes Chelsea Debut In Pre Season Friendly

Anglo Nigeria Chelsea 18-year-old forward, Dominic Solanke, made his debut for the Chelsea first team on Wednesday, as the blues played their first pre-season game thrashing Wycombe Wanderers 5-0.

Solanke, who finished as Chelsea’s youth team top-scorer last season, was introduce at the start of the second half and instantly became a threat to the Wycombe backline.

Though he didn’t grab a goal, he twice came close to scoring with a shot that narrowly miss nestling in the net with Goalkeeper, Mark Ingram, beaten.

Solanke tried to lob the goalkeeper in the 82nd minute but his effort lacked the height to beat Ingram.

Chelsea won the game comfortably courtesy of a brace from Solanke’s youth team mate Isaiah Brown, with Patrick Bamford, Branislav Ivanoic and John Terry completing the rout.

Rebased GDP: Manufacturing sector emerges Nigeria’s leading growth driver

16 Jul

Nigeria manufacturing sector

A recent economic report by Renaissance Capital, has revealed that Nigeria’s manufacturing sector has displaced Telecommunications and Oil and Gas sectors to become the major economic growth driver.

According to the report, with Nigeria’s rebased Gross Domestic Product, the manufacturing sector is currently growing faster than the telecommunications, oil and gas and agricultural sectors.

The report, titled, “Nigeria’s GDP: Bigger but slower – Manufacturing is the engine of growth,” was released on Monday. It further strengthens recent figures by the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), which showed that there was an increase in capacity utilisation from 46.3 per cent recorded in the first half of 2013 to 52.7 per cent in the second half of last year.

Specifically, the Rencap report stated that the manufacturing sector recorded 22 per cent growth in 2013, as against the 14 per cent it recorded in 2012, with growth largely driven by the textile, cement and food sub-sectors, among others.

The growth recorded by the manufacturing sector within the period under review, it said, accounted for one third of the total growth in the economy.

The report said, “Manufacturing is growing strongly, despite power deficit. The manufacturing sector is a much bigger, faster-growing sector under the new series (nine per cent of GDP as against the four per cent previously). In 2013, it recorded substantial growth of 22 per cent (as against 14 per cent in 2012), comprising one-third of total growth. Food, beverage and tobacco producers account for half of the manufacturing sector. The sub-sector’s growth accelerated to 12 per cent in 2013, against 7 per cent in 2012.

“An analysis of the growth drivers shows that telecoms is a maturing and slower-growing sector. The growth sectors are manufacturing (particularly food, cement and textile producers) and real estate.”

The report further revealed that the cement sub-sector, which accounts for about one per cent of the country’s GDP, recorded phenomenal growth in 2013, as it posted a 39 per cent growth as against the 14 per cent recorded in 2012.

It stated, “Several of the smaller manufacturing sub-sectors are growing even faster than food producers. Cement, which only comprises one per cent of GDP, grew by a sizeable 39 per cent in 2013, up from a strong 14 per cent in 2012.

“Nigeria’s large population of upwardly mobile consumers, particularly in the south-west, coupled with investments in power, implies the strong growth of manufacturers, including food producers and breweries, is sustainable.”

Conversely, the report revealed that in 2013, the oil and gas sector experienced a decline in growth as the sector contracted by 13 per cent, while trade and real estate sectors overtook agricultural and financial services to emerge as the top three growth drivers of the Nigerian economy.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, reacting on the new research findings, said the analyses, done by the reputed Renaissance Capital, corroborated the fact that the manufacturing sector was being transformed under the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan.

“The trade and real estate sectors trumped agriculture and financial services in 2013, to become among the top three growth drivers, together with manufacturing. The decline in agriculture’s growth contribution in 2013 was partly due to the 3Q12 floods.

“It is a good thing that the manufacturing sector is breathing well under this administration. Figures are there as proof. All we need do now is further improve the situation through consistency in policy as we continue to work hard towards continuously improving Nigeria’s non-oil revenue,” Aganga noted.

Half of a Yellow Sun to hit Nigerian cinemas August 1

16 Jul

Half of a yellow sun
Nigerians will finally see the love theme movie set during the Nigerian civil war.

Half of a Yellow Sun will finally hit the Nigerian cinemas on August 1, following the much awaited classification by the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board, NFVCB, last week.

Rated “18″, the movie was previously scheduled to be released in Nigeria on April 25. But after a stormy time in the hands of NFVCB, it will now hit the cinemas on August 1, the organisers said.
“Following the certification by the National Film and Video Censors Board, the movie will be available in cinemas across Nigeria from the 1st of August 2014,” the producers said in a press statement released on Tuesday.

The producers and distributors Shareman Media and FilmOne Distribution thanked Nigerians for their patience and support in pushing for the classification of the movie.

Set in the time of Nigeria’s civil war, the movie captures the pains and struggles of war and love. It stars BAFTA award-winning and Oscar-nominated actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, BAFTA award-winning actress, Thandie Newton, Nollywood actress, Genevieve Nnaji, and more. The movie has been opened to audiences in Australia, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S.

‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, was adapted from the award winning novel of same name by Chimamanda Adichie.

33 contestants battle for most beautiful girl in Nigeria title

15 Jul

mbgn-500x330

All is set for this year’s edition of the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN), crown as 33 contestants battle for the crown.

According to the orginisers, Silverbird TV, the contestants have arrived Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, to begin camp.

The contestants had already spent the last three days in photo-shoot sessions at various locations in Lagos with MBGN photographer Kehinde Ojedokun.

While in camp, the girls will begin cat walk, and choreography training among others.

The grand finale will hold at the Gabriel Okara Cultural Centre on July 18th. #MBGN2014 is proudly hosted by the Bayelsa State Tourism Development Centre, the Bayelsa State Government and the Silverbird.

Nigeria in danger of missing Fifa deadline over ban

15 Jul

NFF

Nigeria are in danger of missing Fifa’s deadline of Tuesday to reinstate the sacked board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) because of a nationwide strike by judiciary workers.

Fifa last week suspended Nigeria from all international football because of alleged government interference in football.

But the government insists the removal of the NFF board from office was a ruling from the Plateau state high court, and says only a court can overturn the decision.

It has been gathered that the inability of a regional court to hear the case against the NFF is stalling efforts to have it withdrawn or quashed.

That means Nigeria face exclusion from the Under-20 Women’s World Cup that starts in August in Canada and there is also a threat to the men’s under-17 side’s participation in an African Championship qualifier this weekend.

“It’s a frustrating scenario because of the ongoing strike,” said a Nigerian official who preferred not to be named.

“There was no court sitting on the original date of hearing [11 July] which has stalled efforts. But the minister is hoping it will be resolved before the deadline.”

The sports minister is also waiting for a brief from a delegation headed by ex-Fifa executive committee member Amos Adamu that travelled to Brazil to explain the situation of things in the country’s football to Fifa.

“The minister is waiting for feedback from the delegation to Brazil. He needs that before approaching the president who is also waiting for a brief and update,” the official added.

The NFF was dissolved last week and replaced by a sole administrator – a move the government said was essential while legal proceedings against the country’s football authority were ongoing.

But Fifa, which prohibits government intervention in football, suspended the country and set a 15 July deadline for elected officials to be reinstated and for the court case to be quashed.

African champions Nigeria reached the second round of the World Cup in Brazil for only the third time in their history, after they also did so in 1994 and 1998.

The West Africans are expected to defend their African Cup of Nations title when qualifying matches start in September. The tournament kicks off next January in Morocco.

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