Nigeria’s Ambassador To Cote D’Ivoire, Isah Is Dead

Nigeria’s Ambassador to Cote D’Ivoire, Ibrahim Isah is dead. He died after a protracted illness on Tuesday.

George Ehidiamen Edokpa, Spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja, in a statement said the government regretted to announce the demise of Ambassador Ibrahim Isah, who until his death, was the Ambassador of Nigeria to the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire.

“The late Ambassador, a career Diplomat, passed on after a protracted illness, on Tuesday, 15 January 2019 in Abidjan. The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and members of Staff of the Ministry received the sad news of his death with great shock and prayed that the Almighty God grant his family and the nation, the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss,” the statement said.

Isah, who hails from Niger State, joined the Nigerian Foreign Service in 1983. During his career, the late Ambassador served in different capacities both at Headquarters and in our Missions. He served at the Nigerian High Commission in Sierra Leone, Consulate-General in New York, Jeddah and Embassy in China.

Moreso, he was Chargé d’Affaires of the Nigerian Embassy in Ankara, Turkey until his appointment as Ambassador Extraordinary/Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire in 2018.

He was happily married and blessed with children.

Ifeoma Fafunwa’s Hear Word! Goes On Stage In US, Germany

Nigeria experienced the biggest live performances as the highly anticipated stage play tagged Hear Word! returned to Lagos last December, at the MUSON Centre, Onikan Lagos.

The play, which was staged on December 28, 29 and 30th, was announced to be part of an international tour that includes New York, California and Hamburg. The critically acclaimed woman empowerment play, directed by Ifeoma Fafunwa, shares generational stories highlighting political, social and cultural factors that limit the lives of women. It is staged for the empowerment of women all over the world.

The play starring Nollywood icons Joke Silva and Taiwo Ajai-Lycett has other amazing cast members, including Elvina Ibru, Ufuoma McDermott, Omonor, Zara Udofia-Ejoh, Rita Edward, Odenike, Debbie Ohiri and Oluchi Odii. They are currently on an international tour of the United States, with stops in New York, California and Germany.

After their Lagos show, the amazing cast left for New York, to perform six shows at the world-renowned Public Theatre in Manhattan, New York City from January 3 -7, 2019. The team will then cross the USA to showcase at the Segerstrom Center in California January 10 and 12th, 2019 before heading to Thalia Theater in Hamburg, Germany.

MC Oluomo Discharged From Lagos Hospital, Travels Abroad

A chieftain of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly known as MC Oluomo, has been discharged from Eko Hospital in Lagos where he was receiving treatment.

He was discharged on Tuesday night.

MC Oluomo was attacked at an All Progressives Congress (APC) rally in Ikeja on January 8, and was immediately taken to the hospital, following injuries he sustained.

A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), who visited the Eko Hospital in Ikeja on Wednesday, gathered that MC Oluomo left the hospital on Tuesday night after payment of over N2 million medical bill.

A very reliable source, who preferred anonymity, told NAN that the NURTW leader may have left for the United States immediately he was discharged from hospital on Tuesday night.

“He is very fine and has nothing to worry about his health after his treatment at the hospital. Before he finally left on Tuesday night, he was receiving a lot of well-wishers.

“Sometimes, he moves around and sometimes walks his visitors to the corridor, so he was in a sound health before leaving the hospital.

“Few days before he left the hospital, his associates were making arrangements for his trip,’’ the source said.

NAN also observed that there was no more police presence around the hospital, as the three police vehicles stationed there had been removed.

The police in Lagos had said it arrested some suspects and also declared wanted another NURTW chieftain over the disruption of the APC rally in Lagos.

Lagos police spokesperson, Chike Oti, had said that those arrested in connection with the incident were helping the police in their investigation.

Buhari Didn’t Know About Plans To Arraign Onnoghen At CCT – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has distanced President Muhammadu Buhari from having any knowledge or involvement into the trial of Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, at the Code of Conduct tribunal, CCT.

Sahara Reporters quoted Mr Osinbajo as saying that during the Annual New Media Conference of Online Publishers Association of Nigeria in Abuja with the theme: ‘Free Press and Objective Reporting in the 2019 Election Year’.

According to him, President Buhari didn’t know of any matter regarding financial misdemeanour involving the CJN until Saturday evening.

“It is highly regrettable that the CJN has to go through this process but Buhari had issued specific instructions that anti-graft institutions be allowed to do their job without any interference. He did not even know that there was going to be any kind of trial until Saturday evening,” Mr Osinbajo said.

“He has said categorically that there shouldn’t be interference with whatever the institutions are doing. Sometimes, it has consequences such as we have today, such that people say how can such an important person be subjected to trial without the Federal Government, but I can tell you without any equivocation that he was not aware.

“I must tell you in clear terms that for President Muhammadu Buhari, his whole approach is that institutions should just do their work. I can tell you for a fact that he did not even know about this until Saturday evening.”

He charged online publishers to endeavour to crosscheck facts and resist attempts at making their platforms purveyors of fake news. He also spoke on the need to actively support local and international framework for preventing misuse of social media.

He, therefore, called for self-regulation to avoid opening the system to charlatans, adding that it is also important to be conscious of over-regulation or infraction of freedom of the press.

“It is important that self-regulation is robust enough to prevent a situation where government or formal establishment passes laws and actually think that there is need to regulate. I think once self-regulation is robust enough, it easier to make a case that we should not have government regulation.”

Rihanna Sues Own Father For ‘Stealing Fenty Brand Name’

American pop singer and actress, Rihanna Fenty, has taken her father, Ronald Fenty, to court for stealing her ‘Fenty’ brand name to launch a business for himself.

According to TMZ, Rihanna claims her father, recently started a talent development company in 2017 called Fenty Entertainment and he is profiting off the reputation she has created with Fenty.

“Rihanna has already trademarked “Fenty” to use in a number of biz ventures, including her well-known Fenty Beauty line.

“In the court documents, Rihanna says her father and a business partner falsely advertised themselves as her reps to solicit millions of dollars.

“And tried to book her for 15 shows in Latin America in December 2017 for $15 mil… all without her authorisation.”

TMZ explained that Rihanna claimed that her father even unsuccessfully tried to file a trademark for “Fenty” to use with resort boutique hotels.

It added that the singer said she had sent multiple cease and desist letters to her father, ordering him to stop capitalizing off of her Fenty trademarks.

He however ignored them and continued to make money off of Fenty Entertainment.

“She is asking a judge to place an injunction on her dad using the name Fenty… and, of course, for damages.

“We’ve reached out to Ronald for comment… so far, no word back,” TMZ said.

Frank Mba Named As New Police PRO

Former Police spokesman, Frank Mba, ACP, has been named the new force Public Relations Officer.

Mba studied law at the University of Lagos, and was called to the Nigerian bar in 2002.

The police spokesman, who hails from Ezimo in Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State, was the best graduating cadet inspector in academics at the Police Academy, Kano, in 1993.

He rose up the police ladder and was promoted to assistant superintendent of police in 1999, deputy superintendent of police in 2003, superintendent of police in 2006 and chief superintendent of police in 2012.

He replaces erstwhile Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood.

Buhari, Tinubu Hail Bisi Akande At 80

Chief Bisi Akande, first Interim Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), turned 80 on Wednesday.

Akande, a former governor of Osun State from 1999–2003, was born in Ila Orangun on 16 January 1939.

The progressive politician was a staunch member of Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), a party that revolved around the political leadership of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

As one of the founder of the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, Akande continued to preach progressive ideals, good governance and champion citizens’ welfare and rule of law.

As the politician marks his birthday, President Muhammadu Buhari, has joined all members of APC and Nigerians in greeting Akande.

The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Mr Femi Adesina, said in Abuja on Tuesday, that President Buhari congratulated Akande, his family and friends for his laudable achievements over the years.

The president noted that Akande’s achievements had thrown him into the limelight at an early age, particularly highlighting his sacrifices in public service at both state and national levels.

Buhari affirmed that the former governor’s pivotal and visionary leadership as the first Interim Chairman of the APC, prepared the party for history in 2015, which saw it unseating an incumbent president for the first time in an election in Nigeria.

He, therefore, extolled Akande’s loyalty and faithfulness to the party and the cause of building a strong and unified nation.

According to him, Akande consistently challenges governments and leaders to higher ideals, and reminds them to think out of the box in meeting the needs of the poor and vulnerable.

The President believed that the octogenarian’s good-nature, large heart and broad outlook on issues had impacted positively on party politics and democracy in Nigeria.

He prayed that almighty God would grant Chief Akande longer life, strength and wisdom to serve more.

The Leader of APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, has also hailed Akande.

Congratulating Akande in a tweet, Tinubu said: “the party might not have recorded quick success without its former Interim Chairman”.

Tinubu hails Bisi Akande at 80. All Progressives Congress chieftain, Bola Tinubu, says the party might not have recorded quick success without its former Interim Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande. In a tribute to congratulate Akande as he clocks 80,
— Rahma Television (@RahmaTelevision) January 15, 2019

Microsoft 4Afrika Partners FirstBank To Spport SMEs

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, together with Microsoft 4Afrika, will host a free-to-attend event for SMEs in Nigeria, designed to promote technology adoption and skills development.

The event will serve as an official launch of the new partnership between Microsoft 4Afrika and FirstBank, following a memorandum of understanding signed earlier in June 2018. The partnership seeks to build the capacity of local SMEs and accelerate their digital transformation, by providing them with exclusive and tailored non-financial solutions. Participants will be exposed to skills development resources, access to business networks and an educational platform.

According to Taiwo Shonekan, Head Customer Experience and Value Management, First Bank of Nigeria Limited: “This partnership with Microsoft enables us to deliver a portfolio of non-financial solutions to our SME customers. We have over the last 125 years supported SMEs in building their business, whilst contributing to the national economy. This partnership is a landmark step in our quest to leverage the influence of technology in businesses, especially in today’s digital age.”


“With this partnership, FirstBank customers can buy Microsoft products at discounted rates in the local currency – the naira – as this seamlessly aids technology adoption, skills and capacity development among SMEs in Nigeria,” she adds.


Amrote Abdella, Regional Director of the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative and the keynote speaker for the event says: “For SMEs, integrating technology into their operations is no longer an option, but a necessity for future growth and success. We’re looking forward to engaging in discussions that explore how technology can extend reach to new markets and improve productivity, which results in better customer service, more competitive offerings and the ability to act with agility.”


Across the continent, Microsoft 4Afrika is forging partnerships with several players in the SME ecosystem – from banks to telcos – to enhance SME offerings and reach a broader audience.

“Technology and the relevant digital skills today play such an integral role in business success. We’re working with organisations to extend this support to as many SMEs as possible, ensuring not only their success, but the growth and competiveness of our continent in an increasingly digital world.”

Coronation Research Issues 2019 Economic Outlook For Nigeria, With ‘A Tale of Two Halves’

In its 2019 economic outlook report titled “A Tale of Two Halves”, Coronation Research – industry-leader and a subsidiary of Coronation Asset Management Limited–believes the narrative for the Nigerian economy in 2019is largely hinged around the performance of the oil.

Speaking on the report, Guy Czatoryski , Head of Coronation Research said: “We forecast an average US$58.00/bbl for 2019. An average much below this means the CBN will have to keep rates very high and could even challenge the Naira / US dollar exchange argument. An average much about US$60.00/bbl means the CBN will have confidence its reserve position and will be able to cut rates later in the year, in Q4, less likely Q3.

The current rate of N365.29/US$1, or close to it, is likely to prevail this year. The CBN’s policy is to defend the rate and with reserves at US$43.0bn, it is in a strong position to do so.  We think the CBN will supply US dollars to the FX markets at an average rate of US$500m per month during 2019.  This is compatible with maintaining a strong reserve level

If, as we think, the oil prices will average US$58.00/bbl this year, then we think the CBN will want to keep interest rates high. It will do this through its open market operations (OMO).  We think OMOs will be issued in a range of 17.00% to 19.00% and that T-bill rates will be very close to this level during 2019.

We look at Nigeria in the international context of interest rates. Nigerian T-bill rates look competitive in the context of other emerging market rates – which is why the CBN is having success in attracting inflows of Foreign Portfolio Investment

However, if oil trades at substantially above US$60.00/bbl during 2019 then foreign investors in T-bills will be encouraged and the CBN might well be in a position to cut rates in Q4 2019, or even in Q3 2019

This could be helped by a downtrend in inflation. Inflation has proved stubborn and has trended at around 11.00% over the past few months. But if inflation trends, in 2019, towards the CBN’s target band of 6.00% to 9.00%, then it will help the CBN cut rates in order to stimulate the economy.

We are agnostic on politics. However, there is some evidence that in the period after general elections (2011 and 2015) yields in the T-bill market tend to fall. This might help persuade the CBN to cut OMO rates later in the year.

According to the report, GDP growth is expected to be 2.25% in 2019, as a result of very weak consumer demand, and a lack of growth in government expenditure relative to the 2018 budget.

Banks are unlikely to post large gains in profits this year. They are unlikely to experience much loan growth, given the weak economy and the fact that they can benefit from high T-bill yields. On the other hand, bank stocks are cheap in historical terms.  So, if interest rates come down later in the year and the market conditions improve, then there could be a sharp rally in bank stocks later in the year.

Coronation Research is a subsidiary of Coronation Asset Management; a leading financial services company, licensed and regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Nigeria.