BREAKING: Chad’s President Idriss Déby Killed In Battle With Rebels

President of Chad, Idriss Déby has been killed in battle with rebels in the northern part of the country.

The army reported on State TV that the tragedy took place at the weekend.

His death came shortly after provisional election results which projected he would win a sixth term in office, with 80% of the vote, the BBC reports.

The government and parliament have been dissolved. A military council will govern for the next 18 months.

Mr Déby came to power in an armed uprising in 1990.

He had gone to the front line at the weekend to visit troops battling rebels based across the border in Libya.

Déby was a Chadian politician and military officer who was President of Chad from 1990 until his death in 2021.

He was also head of the ruling Patriotic Salvation Movement.

Déby was of the Bidyat clan of the Zaghawa ethnic group.

He took power by leading a rebellion against President Hissène Habré in December 1990 and survived various rebellions and coup attempts against his own rule.

Déby won elections in 1996 and 2001, and after term limits were eliminated he won again in 2006, 2011, 2016, and 2021.

He added “Itno” to his surname in January 2006. He was a graduate of Muammar Gaddafi’s World Revolutionary Center.

Several international media sources described Déby’s multi-decade rule as authoritarian.

Ebenezer Obey: The Chief Commander

By SYLVESTER ASOYA

Ever wondered why Ebenezer Obey enjoys followership across age, sex, tribe and religion? The answers are in the philosophy, melody, wisdom, maturity, rhythm and reality associated with his songs

He is the supreme commander of Juju, a music genre he popularized and dominated for many years. But Ebenezer Obey is more than just a juju musician in the music world. Apart from his influence which stretches far and wide, this important Nigerian artiste is also a mentor and a respected voice even outside music. One remarkable thing about Obey the musician, is that he does not carry the burden of perceptions of music or the controversies usually associated with performance artistes around the world.

This is the reason he is loved by all, irrespective of age, sex, tribe and religion. No wonder he was regarded during his active playing days as one of Nigeria’s biggest crowd pullers even outside the South-West where he hails from. Among his fans, they also agree that one of his major strengths is his ability to compose great tunes around proverbs and everyday life for the enjoyment of the Yoruba and non-Yoruba alike. Moreover, the fact that everyone enjoys the works of this highly gifted Nigerian musician says a lot about his creativity, skills and delivery.

So whether you are listening or dancing to Milikki, Austerity Measure, Ema se lo, Yungba Yungba, Olomi Gbo Temi, Aimasiko, Edumare Soro Mi Dayo or The Horse, The Man and The Son, the message and rhythmic sequence remain loud and clear. Through his music, he addresses social, economic and political issues. In his songs, he also comments and engages his audience in a most riveting manner, breaking language barriers and forcing people to the dance floor. He is a musician who reveals. His works also address societal concerns, cultural changes, social realities and point to the direction where humanity is headed even as he sometimes predicts what may happen in future.

Mrs. Olusola Abdul-Beckley, a polyglot and retired school headmistress who incidentally hails from Ogun, Obey’s home state, recalls the impact of the musician’s music on her life in her teenage years. “I love his music. The reason is that he sings about the things happening around us. He also sings about what people do and say. And most of his songs are very inspiring. One of the songs is entitled: Kosogbo Ni To Leda, which literally means that there is nothing in this world anyone does that would please everybody. People must find fault with your actions no matter how good, even if you kill yourself for them, they will still complain”, she says.

Abdul-Beckley provides further insight on the relevance and topicality of his works. According to her, Obey has wisdom; when he sings, everyone listens and learns. That is why mature and older people are hooked to his songs. It is difficult for anybody to ignore Obey, the music legend. His songs are beautiful and I enjoy all of them till this day”.

Stanley Okoronkwo is another fan from the South-East. Okoronkwo, a film maker and former entertainment editor with one of Nigeria’s national newspapers says his first contact with Obey was through his father. “My father is a great fan of Ebenezer Obey. He used to bring his records home and we all enjoyed his songs. That was how it rubbed off on me as a child in those days. I don’t understand what he says because I really don’t speak Yoruba language but I am connected with the lyrics because you must not speak his language to appreciate his great musical talent. So I enjoy his music because it cuts across language and tribe and the delivery and rhythm have impact on me”, he reveals.

It is interesting to note that Obey, who is also called a reformer probably for his high values, ethical principles and standards, remains cool-headed even in the face of his achievements. However, the musician has switched positions. Many years ago, he abandoned the secular and flamboyant music world with its pomp and ceremony for gospel music and evangelism. Now, he provides guidance and spiritual nourishment with soul-lifting songs and messages to hundreds of Christians and other people as an evangelist and shepherd of God’s flock.

Born on April 3, 1942 in Idogo, Ogun State, Obey is credited with over 50 albums and hundreds of performances.

This article was first published in alice, the in-flight magazine of Air Peace.

SHACMAN Delivers Additional 400 SHACMAN Trucks to Dangote

Following the partnership deal and commitments to quality, the biggest customer of SHACMAN brand in Nigeria, Dangote Group, have taken delivery of an additional 400 units of SHACMAN trucks.

The largest buyer of SHACMAN brand in Nigeria, Dangote Group has since the entrance of SHACMAN vehicles into the Nigeria market through Transit Support Services Limited (TSS) as SHACMAN Nigeria six years ago bought over 3,500 units of the brand.

The recognition of SHACMAN as reliable heavy duty vehicles, and the growing need for such vehicles within the continuously expanding conglomerate, influenced its decision to patronise the trucks, Dangote group has absolute trust on the quality of the locally assembled SHACMAN trucks that are backed by warranty that is of global standard and after-sales services. 

Since the partnership started in 2016 with an initial order of 500 locally assembled SHACMAN Trucks by Dangote, his commitment to empower local manufacturers and the continuous patronage have created jobs in the South East by reviving ANAMMCO plant in Enugu with an opportunity to produce trucks locally instead of importing them, It has also brought back Onne Port in Rivers State with over 3000 containers since ANAMMCO was resuscitated.

Speaking to the General Manager, TSS motors, Mr Dave Chukwudulue, he said “We will continue to create value for users of SHACMAN trucks in Nigeria by supporting them with the best after sales service programme. This has indeed resulted in the increasing demand for our trucks”

Shaanxi Heavy Duty Automobile, Manufacturers of SHACMAN Heavy and Medium Duty Trucks and Road Tractors is one of the biggest trucks manufacturing company in China. With other customers like BUA Cement, ABC Transport, AA Global logistics, NUSTANZA Motors and many others, over 4,500 SHACMAN trucks are running on Nigerian roads at the moment. 

FirstBank Launches New Corporate Website, Reiterates Its Commitment To Service Delivery Excellence

FirstBank, Nigeria and indeed West Africa’s premier financial inclusion services provider has announced the launch of its newly designed website at https://www.firstbanknigeria.com/.  The new website is upgraded with features that are streamlined to reinforce its role in delivering seamless banking and technology solutions to its customers across the world.

The website is configured with modern design and improved functionality that eases customer experience whilst carrying out various activities on the site, including electronic banking. Non-customers are also able to open an account, putting them at an edge in the industry as they establish a relationship with the Bank that puts YOU, its customers, First.

The new website seamlessly adopts a fresh, magazine-style look and feel for easy navigation in order to promote the access to essential information for its customers, FirstMonie agents, prospective agents and the public. This upgrade also guides one to make well-informed decisions about one’s personal, business and private financial needs.

Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO of FirstBank Group, while speaking on the launch of the New Corporate Website, said that “as one of the key contact points to existing and potential customers, the Bank’s website remains a gateway to our business, supporting our unique value propositions and financial services solutions. As such, we are committed to continuously improve the overall user experience through intriguing content quality, exciting features and ease of navigation’’.

He further noted that “the Bank’s new website will be updated on a regular basis with exciting features that will continue to reinforce the Bank’s resolve to promote digital customer interactions and transactions across our virtual touchpoints and platforms’’.

Concluding, he remarked that ‘’the website will also serve as a financial services library that will keep customers and the public abreast of various financial services solutions and offerings, thereby helping them to improve their economic and social wellbeing’’. He encouraged everyone to explore the website and follow the Bank’s social media pages for updates.

FirstBank has continued to evolve over the years, successfully adopting the latest technology and embracing innovation in its quest to be African’s bank of first choice.

Starting 2021 Strong, UBA Records 27% PAT Growth, 20.5% ROAE

Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has released its unaudited results for the first quarter ended March 31st, 2021, showing impressive double-digit growth across most of its major income lines.

The bank leveraged on modest growth in both interest and non-interest income as well as increased efficiency to deliver an impressive 24% year-on-year growth in Profit Before Tax in the first three months of the 2021 financial year, to N40.6 billion compared with N32.7 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2020.

Profit After Tax also grew by 26.8% from N30.1 billion in March 2020 to N38.2 billion in the period under review. Interestingly, UBA again sustained its strong profitability recording an annualised 20.5% Return on Average Equity (RoAE) compared to 19.9% in the same period of 2020.

Driven by a year-on-year growth in interest income, UBA Group recorded another impressive 5.5% percent year-on-year growth in Gross Earnings to close at N155.4 billion for the three month period ending March 2021, compared to N147.2 billion recorded in the first three months of last year 2020.

The bank’s total assets also rose by 2.5% to N7.9 trillion in the period under review, compared to N7.7 trillion recorded at the end of the 2020 financial year whilst shareholders’ funds grew to N762.4 billion up by 5.3% from N724.1 billion as at FY 2020.

The Group Managing Director/CEO of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, expressed satisfaction with the Bank’s performance in the first quarter of 2021, stating that the result reflects UBA’s capacity to sustainably grow earnings even in a highly uncertain macroeconomic environment.

He added that the robust capital and liquidity positions have positioned the bank as it continues to support its customers across diverse sectors and markets, guided by prudent risk management practices.

“This impressive 2021Q1 results reflect the capacity of our business to sustainably grow earnings even in a highly uncertain macroeconomic environment. We remain upbeat on the macroeconomic outlook of the countries in which we operate, especially as the COVID-19 vaccine distribution gains traction globally, whilst commodity prices and currencies continue to stabilise. Our robust capital and liquidity positions have positioned us to continue to support our customers across diverse sectors and markets, guided by prudent risk management practices,” The GMD said. 

Uzoka pointed out the bank’s effort towards diligently executing its priorities for the year 2021, as it leverages people, process, and technology to deliver the best customer experience across all  its channels and touchpoints, achieving industry leadership and dominance, adding, “The bank is making strong progress in Nigeria where our continuous market share and efficiency gains are translating into higher profits. We are committed to sustaining this strong start throughout the year, leveraging our customer-First (C-1st) philosophy and unparalleled execution to deliver even stronger returns to our esteemed shareholders in 2021 and beyond;” Uzoka said.

Further breaking down the figures, UBA’s Group Chief Finance Officer, Ugo Nwaghodoh, said, “I am particularly pleased with our annualised return on average equity of 20.5% and return on average asset of 2.0%, as these indices buttress our commitment to delivering sustainable value to our stakeholders. We continued to deploy our balance sheet efficiency and digital-led cost optimisation initiatives to achieve desired outcomes. Cost-to-income ratio improved by 200bps to 60.4% during the period, whilst cost of funds settled at 2.0%, a 130bps reduction from 3.3% in 2020Q1.

Nwaghodoh expressed confidence that the bank will meet and surpass its target for the remaining three quarters of the year, adding that, “We are confident on the strong prospect for earnings growth, particularly as we are better positioned to consolidate recent market share gains in Nigeria and other geographies where we operate. This result is a strong start for the year, and we are optimistic about sustaining the exciting performance throughout the year and beyond.”

United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading Pan-African financial institution, offering banking services to more than twenty-one million customers, across over 1,000 business offices and customer touch points, in 20 African countries. With presence in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and France, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail; commercial and corporate banking; innovative cross-border payments and remittances; trade finance and ancillary banking services

Pregnant Widow Demands Justice Over Husband’s Murder On Lagos APC Chief’s House

A 31-year-old pregnant woman, Mrs Rose Etunmisen, has demanded justice over the gruesome murder of her husband by hoodlums at Oke-Eletu community at Ijede, Ikorodu, Lagos State.
Ifeanyi Etunmisen was murdered by suspected hoodlums who invaded the premises of Oluwatosin Onamade, an All Progressives Congress (APC) chairmanship aspirant for Ijede LCDA, on Friday.
The hoodlums also injured one Oluwafemi Onamade who is currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital.
“About 7.30 in the evening, my landlady called me and broke the news of the death of my husband to me through a friend.
“I want justice to be done, I am pregnant and about to deliver, Nigerians and Lagos State Commissioner of Police should come to my rescue.
“The CP should not allow me to suffer this injustice because my husband has gone for ever,” she said.
According to her, the deceased was a domestic staff on the premises where he was murdered by the hoodlums.
Speaking on the incident, Onamade said he was the target of the attack.
“The hoodlums attempted to kill me but in the process, they started shooting sporadically and Ifeanyi was killed by stray bullets.
“My sibling was severely injured by the bullets and is currently in coma, the hoodlums carted away the sum of N1.7m meant for a client.
“I am calling on the Acting Inspector General of Police to come to my aid to unravel this mystery,” Onamade said.
Confirming the incident, spokesperson of Lagos State Police Command, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi, said that the incident was reported at Ijede Police Station.
“We have a case reported to the police in Ijede and the Commissioner of Police has directed that the case be transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti, for proper investigation.
“We cannot be judgemental at this stage, we need to widen the scope of our investigation to unravel the incident.
“We are on the case and we will get to the root of the matter,” said Adejobi.

Buhari Felicitates With Veteran Journalist, Oshunkeye, at 65

President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated with the winner of CNN African Journalist of the Year 2006, Shola Oshunkeye, as he turns 65 on April 20, 2021.


The President, in a congratulatory message by his Media Adviser, Femi Adesina, hailed the professional strides of Oshunkeye, garnered over more than three decades with media houses like Concord Press, where he rose to edit the then best-selling Weekend Concord, Associate Editor at TELL Magazine, Editor of The Spectator, a publication of The Sun Publishing Limited, and Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Ghana.

President Buhari rejoiced with the Oshunkeye family, the media fraternity, and all those who celebrate the journalist of repute, who also won the Nigerian Media Merit Award Best Print Journalist laurel in 1996.
The President urged Oshunkeye to continue sharing knowledge and experience with the younger generation of journalists.

Miss Abia State Carts Away Brand New Car, N200K, One-year Modeling Contract

Miss Abia State carts away brand new car, N200,000, 1 year modeling contract

After a rigorous process and several postponements, a beauty Queen has emerged as the Miss Abia State Beauty Pageant. 

Already the new Queen, Chikodinaka Agidi Roseline has gone home with a brand new car and cash prize of two hundred thousand Naira amongst others. 

The Pageant was organised by Hands Across the Globe Foundation, a non profit oriented organization with bias for Service to humanity  in conjunction with Gees Concept Modeling Company in Abia State, and the state government to mentor young people on character and composure. 

The pageant which was devoid of any exposure of body parts associated  with swim suit catwalk also had  miss Chikodinaka apart from the start price of a car, cash and modelling contracts also won a seven days holiday trip to Dubai and support in America. 

The state government while announcing  the new Queen at Michael Okpara Auditorium Umuahia venue of the contest said Miss Chikodinaka

will act as an ambassador and a role model to the younger generation. 

The first and second runners up went home with a cash prize of 200k and 150k  scholarships respectively.

The  pageant was organised in conjunction with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Office of the SSA to the Governor on Arts and Culture and Ambassadors for Hands Across the Globe Foundation 

Many have argued that beauty and physical endowment are an  integral part of the selection process but much emphasis was on the charisma, character, carriage, composure and communication skills of the contestants.
 
To qualify, contestants must hail from Abia State or resided in the State for two year or more to be selected as a representative for each council. 

 Earlier, the regional pageant had produced three regional Queens Abia North, Abia South and Abia Central Queen. 

The outbreak of Covid-19 had caused the organisers to postpone the event severally. The history was made on the 11th April 2021.


Akeredolu and Wife Celebrate 40th Wedding Anniversary

Ondo State, Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN and his wife, Betty-Anyanwu, celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on Sunday, April 18, 2021.

Anyanwu-Akeredolu affirmed that although marriage is not a bed of roses, she and her husband were able to come this far by making use of communication tool and by understanding each other.

Anyanwu-Akeredolu, an indigene of Emeabiam in Owerri, Imo state, added that she has enjoyed total support from her spouse over the years.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better husband. In fact, my crossing the Niger was worth it”.

She explained that for people from different backgrounds to survive the storms of marriage, there is a need for them to identify each other’s likes and dislikes, while advising young couples to give space to each other to grow in the union, saying: “Marriage must not be a master and slave relationship”.

She lamented a disheartening situation where an educated woman is being subjugated in marriage due to her husband’s lack of support in her career advancement while appreciating her late father and the Governor for giving her voice and the liberty to explore her potential in life.
Her words: “There is nothing more depressing than for an educated woman to feel suffocated in marriage due to husband’s lack of support in her career advancement or in some extreme cases, outright stoppage of a wife pursuing a career for fear of a woman having a voice in her home or being in control of her wealth.
“This state of mind leads to frustration and an unhappy home. Its ramification is better imagined.
“My case is different. My husband and I believed in building our home together and from the scratch. With love and understanding, we feel fulfilled, today, 40 years. While my father gave me the wings to fly, my husband oiled the wings for me to soar. I have a supportive husband in all my endeavours”.

The First Lady of Ondo State who asserted that one cap fits all does not apply in marriage, further enjoined young couples to see marriage as partnership where both sides should contribute to make it succeed.
“There will be quarrels and fights but once you understand yourselves, each other’s likes and dislikes and give room for compromise, your marriage will last”.
According to the mother of four and grandma, it is a beautiful thing to fall in love before marriage.
She noted that her union with Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, was love at first sight which could have been a physical attraction but it endured the test of time.
“Ours is, indeed, a true love. As love leads into marriage, you do not rest on your oars. You have to work on it to keep the flame aglow.
”It requires understanding each other and the handy tool is communication. Once you can communicate with each other, it becomes easy to iron out your differences. Make no mistake, marriage is not a bed of roses. Roses, after all, have thorns”, she noted.