I Refused to Let Stereotypes Define My Capabilities- Ekene Mgbechikwelu


In celebrating Women’s Leadership, Ekene Mgbechikwelu, Head of Innovations and product development at Coronation Registrars Limited, an expert in technology and finance illuminates groundbreaking initiatives reshaping investor relations. Join us to uncover Coronation Registrars’ digital revolution, gaining insights into evolving investor engagement. With Ekene leading, prepare for a journey of discovery, innovation, and empowerment.


Can you provide an overview of the innovative digital solutions developed by Coronation Registrars and their impact on investor relations?

Certainly. At Coronation Registrars, we have introduced innovative solutions such as ShareholderLive, which is a platform built to service our shareholders where they can view their portfolio value and valuations among other services. We have IssuerLive which is an analytics platform tailored to help our issuing companies manage their shareholders and shareholding reports.

We have Coronation eMeetings solution, which is an all-inclusive meetings management solution that can help a group or organization host their virtual, hybrid and in-room meetings. We have our Capitalization table solution, CapTable By Coronation which a platform that help company founders track and manage their equity and finally our Equity-Based Crowdfunding platform which connects startup companies with investors with the aim of raising funds for their business. These digital tools have revolutionized investor relations by providing seamless communication channels, enhancing shareholder engagement, breaking into the startup market, and fostering transparency in corporate interactions.


How do these digital solutions align with Coronation Registrars’ broader strategic goals and vision for the future?

Imagine Coronation Registrars as a ship charting its course through the vast seas of innovation and opportunity. At the helm of this journey, our digital solutions serve as the compass, guiding us towards our destination of unparalleled success.

Our broader strategic goals and vision for the future are anchored in our commitment to delivering excellence, driving efficiency, and enhancing the customer experience. Now, let’s set sail into how our digital solutions align perfectly with these aspirations:

Our digital solutions streamline processes, automate tasks, and eliminate inefficiencies, ensuring smooth sailing on our journey towards operational excellence. By digitizing workflows and harnessing the power of automation, we navigate through tasks with speed and precision, freeing up valuable resources to focus on strategic initiatives.

At the heart of our vision lies the desire to provide unparalleled service to our clients. Our digital solutions empower us to better understand and anticipate their needs, delivering personalized experiences that set us apart in the industry. Through intuitive platforms and seamless interactions, we strengthen relationships and build trust, laying the foundation for lasting partnerships.

Innovation is the wind in our sails, propelling us towards new horizons of possibility. Our digital solutions serve as the vessel through which we explore uncharted waters, pioneering new technologies and approaches that redefine industry standards. Whether it’s leveraging blockchain for secure transactions or harnessing AI for predictive analytics, we embrace innovation as a means to shape the future of registrar services.

In a world of constant change, agility is our compass. Our digital solutions are designed to be flexible and adaptable, allowing us to navigate through shifting currents and emerging trends with ease.

Whether it’s scaling our operations to meet growing demand or swiftly adapting to regulatory changes, we remain agile in our approach, always ready to chart a new course towards success.

Ultimately, our digital solutions are not just tools; they are the harbors where success finds its anchor. By aligning with our broader strategic goals and vision for the future, they become integral to our journey, guiding us towards prosperity and growth.

As a female leader in the tech industry, what challenges have you faced, and how have you overcome them to drive innovation within Coronation Registrars?

As a female leader in the tech industry, I’ve encountered a variety of challenges on my journey, but each hurdle has only fueled my determination to drive innovation within my organization.

One of the most prevalent challenges I’ve faced is breaking through the glass ceiling in a predominantly male-dominated field. Early in my career, I often found myself underestimated or overlooked simply because of my gender.

However, I refused to let stereotypes define my capabilities. Instead, I embraced every opportunity to showcase my expertise, competence, and leadership skills. Through perseverance and unwavering confidence in my abilities, I gradually earned the respect and recognition of my peers and superiors.

One of the key challenges I’ve faced is navigating the gender dynamics prevalent in the tech world. Despite tremendous strides, the industry still grapples with gender bias and stereotypes. As a result, gaining credibility and earning respect as a female leader can sometimes be an uphill battle. Additionally, balancing the demands of a high-pressure career with the responsibilities of marriage and family life presents its own set of challenges, requiring careful prioritization and time management. I’ve had to juggle competing priorities and overcome the guilt of not always being present in every aspect of my life. I have also been able to allow myself some grace and also to understand that I cannot be successful at all at the same time.

The truth is there is no such thing as balance. That is being a woman. If you are a working woman, you are often not there as much as you’d like to be. So if I spend all day (and sometimes night) brainstorming with my team, I am ultimately missing date night with my partner; If I spend all my time on video calls to my family then I am missing an important board meeting deliverable.

That’s what happens. Those are the trade-offs. You must com to terms with the fact that you’re going to miss one thing and be good at another. I’ve always said if I’m winning at one thing, I’m failing at another. And a lot of people say, ‘failure?’ And I say, ‘yes!’ I like to call it failure because it makes me feel better.

However, I’ve come to realize that being a role model and paving the way for future generations of women in tech is a powerful motivator.

Another obstacle I’ve encountered is navigating the subtle biases and microaggressions that can undermine women’s authority and credibility in the workplace. Whether it’s being interrupted in meetings or having my ideas dismissed, I’ve learned to assert myself assertively and unapologetically.

By speaking up and advocating for myself and other women in the industry, I’m actively working to dismantle the barriers that hinder diversity and inclusion.

Ultimately, overcoming challenges as a female leader and wife has reinforced my commitment to driving innovation and positive change within my organization. By embracing adversity as an opportunity for growth and leading with authenticity, empathy, and resilience, I’m paving the way for a more inclusive and innovative future in the tech industry.

How do you see the role of innovation in shaping the future of financial services, particularly in the African context?

Innovation plays a pivotal role in transforming the financial services landscape in Africa. By embracing technology and innovative solutions, we can overcome traditional barriers to financial inclusion, drive economic growth, and empower individuals and businesses across the continent to achieve their financial goals. Innovation is the cornerstone of progress, and nowhere is its potential more transformative than in the realm of financial services, especially within the dynamic landscape of Africa. Here, innovation isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the driving force propelling economies forward, empowering individuals, and reshaping the very fabric of society.

Picture this: a continent brimming with untapped potential, where traditional barriers are being dismantled by the power of innovation. In Africa, financial inclusion isn’t just a goal; it’s a necessity. And innovation is the key to unlocking access to financial services for the millions who have been underserved or excluded by traditional banking systems. Look at what we at Coronation Registrars is doing with our Capital management solutions.

From mobile money revolutionizing payments to blockchain technology transforming remittances and dividend payments, the African financial services sector is a hotbed of ingenuity and disruption. But innovation isn’t just about flashy technologies; it’s about solving real problems and meeting the unique needs of diverse communities.

In this context, the role of innovation is multifaceted. It’s about creating inclusive financial ecosystems that cater to the unbanked and underbanked, providing them with the tools and resources they need to thrive. It’s about leveraging data analytics and AI to drive financial literacy and empower individuals to make informed decisions about their money. It’s about fostering partnerships and collaboration across sectors to drive innovation at scale and amplify impact.

Can you share any success stories or case studies that highlight the impact of Coronation Registrars’ digital solutions on clients and stakeholders?

Answer: Absolutely! Let me take you on a journey through the digital transformation successes of Coronation Registrars, where innovation meets impact. Imagine a seamless virtual platform where shareholders from across the globe convene effortlessly, making decisions with just a few clicks. With Coronation Registrars’ eMeetings solution, this vision became a reality for one of our esteemed clients. By transitioning their shareholder meetings to a digital format, we not only enhanced accessibility but also improved engagement levels. The result? A significant increase in participation rates, smoother decision-making processes, and reduced carbon footprint through paperless proceedings. Our eMeetings solution isn’t just about efficiency—it’s about fostering connectivity and collaboration in the digital age.

Picture a dynamic dashboard that empowers CEOs and finance teams to manage capital with precision and foresight. That’s exactly what our CapTable By Coronation solution delivers. By harnessing the power of real-time data analytics and predictive modeling, we’ve enabled our clients to optimize their capital allocation strategies, minimize risk, and maximize returns. From strategic investments to liquidity management, our innovative approach has unlocked new levels of financial agility and resilience, driving sustainable growth and value creation for stakeholders.

Step into the world of democratized finance, where every investor—big or small—has the opportunity to fuel innovation and entrepreneurship.

Coronation Registrars’ crowdfunding platform has revolutionized the fundraising landscape, empowering startups and SMEs to access capital in ways never before imagined. Through our secure and user-friendly platform, entrepreneurs can showcase their vision, attract backers, and bring their dreams to life. Whether it’s launching a new product, expanding operations, or driving social impact, our crowdfunding solution is leveling the playing field and catalyzing economic growth one campaign at a time.

In summary, Coronation Registrars’ digital solutions have reshaped the landscape of corporate governance, investment management, and shareholder engagement. By harnessing the power of technology and innovation, we’ve empowered our clients to unlock new opportunities, drive growth, and achieve unparalleled success in today’s dynamic business environment.


How does Coronation Registrars prioritize data security and privacy in the development and implementation of its digital solutions?

At Coronation Registrars, safeguarding data security and privacy isn’t just a checkbox-it’s woven into the very fabric of our digital solutions, forming the bedrock of trust and integrity upon which we build our services. Here’s how we prioritize data security and privacy with creativity and unwavering commitment: Imagine our data security measures as a fortress, complete with layers of impenetrable defenses. From robust encryption protocols to multi-factor authentication, we leave no stone unturned in fortifying our systems against potential threats.

Just as knights protect the realm, we are the guardians of privacy for every piece of data entrusted to us. Through stringent access controls and anonymization techniques, we ensure that sensitive information remains shielded from prying eyes, honoring the sacred trust placed in us by our clients.

Our commitment to innovation goes hand in hand with our dedication to integrity. Each new digital solution undergoes rigorous scrutiny to ensure that it not only pushes the boundaries of what’s possible but also upholds the highest standards of data security and privacy.

We empower our users to take charge of their data security and privacy through education and empowerment. From intuitive privacy settings to transparent data handling practices, we put the power back into the hands of those who matter most-our clients.

Just as a vigilant sentry keeps watch over the kingdom, we maintain constant vigilance over our digital ecosystem. Through proactive monitoring, threat intelligence analysis, and regular audits, we stay one step ahead of potential risks, preempting threats before they can materialize.

Compliance isn’t just a box to tick-it’s a way of life at Coronation Registrars. We embed a culture of compliance into every aspect of our operations, ensuring that data security and privacy aren’t afterthoughts but integral components of our DNA.

What role does collaboration play in driving innovation within Coronation Registrars, both internally and externally?

Collaboration is the heartbeat of innovation at Coronation Registrars, pulsating both internally and externally to fuel our journey towards pioneering solutions and transformative change.
Internally, collaboration serves as the cornerstone of our innovation ecosystem. It’s the fusion of diverse minds, perspectives, and expertise that ignites the spark of creativity. Within our walls, collaboration isn’t just encouraged; it’s celebrated as the catalyst for groundbreaking ideas to flourish.

Whether it’s cross-departmental brainstorming sessions, hackathons that bridge technical and business acumen, or collaborative workshops that blend data analytics with design thinking, every interaction is an opportunity to inspire innovation.

Externally, collaboration extends our reach beyond boundaries, forging strategic partnerships that amplify our impact and accelerate our progress. We believe that innovation knows no bounds, and by collaborating with industry experts, startups, academia, and even competitors, we unlock new avenues of possibility. From co-creating disruptive technologies to participating in industry consortia aimed at shaping regulatory frameworks, our external collaborations are a testament to our commitment to driving collective progress.

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25 Under 40 Energy Women Rising Stars: Gbemisola Adeyemi Afolabi Shares Success Story

Gbemisola Adeyemi Afolabi is a Junior Geoscientist at AMNI International

The 25 Under 40 Energy Women Rising Stars is a list dedicated to celebrating the women who are redefining the possibilities in Africa’s diverse energy sector. Featured on the list for 2023 is Gbemisola Adeyemi Afolabi, Junior Geoscientist at AMNI International, and an individual who has emerged as a trailblazer in her industry. The African Energy Chamber ( spoke with Afolabi about her work in the energy sector and vision for the future.

Please share a brief overview of your journey in the energy industry that led to your current role? What are some key achievements or milestones that you are particularly proud of?

I am currently a geologist at AMNI Petroleum Resources International. I started my journey in the Geosciences in 2015 when I realized that I want to be able to bring electricity to remote parts of Africa. In order to do that I needed to understand how the Earth works and the processes that lead to creating petroleum resources. After receiving my Bachelor of Science in Geology from Texas Tech University, I started working at AMNI. This year, I will be receiving my Master of Science in Energy Data Management from Rice University.

The energy industry is known for its complexities. What were some significant challenges you faced along the way, and how did you navigate through them to achieve your goals?

I would say that I am still navigating challenges in the energy industry. The job is never done, but I’ve learned that as long as I am always willing to learn innovative solutions the problem can always be solved.

What advice would you give to young females aspiring to excel in the energy sector? Are there any specific strategies or mindsets that helped you overcome obstacles and reach your current position?

I would tell young females to keep their head down and just keep going. Challenges will come, people will doubt that you can do it, but as long as you want to accomplish your goals, you can. I would also say that having a female mentor that you look up to is a big part in understanding the industry and learning how to navigate the everyday life of the energy sector. If you want to pursue a higher degree than your bachelor’s, find a company that is willing to support you through that while working. Most importantly, remember that through God, all things are possible.

A career in energy can be demanding. Could you describe a typical day in your life?

Since I am currently working and attending school for my master’s, my day is fairly busy. I go to work from 8 am to 5 pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday, after sitting in traffic for an hour, and then I attend school in between or in the evenings. While I am at work, I attend meetings and work on subsurface projects. I typically get home around 9 PM and proceed to study or finish up my assignments.

Looking ahead, what changes or advancements do you hope to see in the energy sector, and how do you envision your role in shaping that future?

I hope that the energy sector becomes more digital. I believe that projects can be done much faster and more efficiently. Data can be transferred from one program to another. Using AI to determine when equipment will go bad, or to track a well’s performance can help reduce errors and keep platform workers safer. I hope to be able to create a software that streamlines the different areas of the energy sector, bringing engineers and geologists under the same platform without the worry of whether data can be transferred from one program to another.

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God Prepared Me to Become First Lady –Ekiti Gov’s Wife, Olayemi Oyebanji

The First Lady of Ekiti State, Olayemi Oyebanji, who until recently, was a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Education Management at the University of Ibadan, tells ABIODUN NEJO about her relationship with her husband, childhood, background and other issues

Not much was known about you until the emergence of your husband as the governor of Ekiti State. How would you describe your childhood?

My early life was just like that of any typical Ekiti girl, who is nurtured to appreciate the core value of ‘omoluabi’ (responsibility) and uphold those unique attributes that single out an Ekiti person. Those attributes include integrity, honesty and self-esteem. My father, the late Prince Samuel Adedipe, was a Christian, community leader and businessman, who did not only want all his children to live Christian lives, but also imbibe basic moral principles that would distinguish us in society.

Our parents also taught us virtues such as integrity, love and being respectful to elders. Like many parents of his generation, my father believed in education and expected good character from all his children. To a large extent, I think those values have helped me tremendously in my educational pursuit, career and as a wife and mother. As I was grew older, I realised that the state being called ‘the land of honour’ was not accidental. That sobriquet is not just a nomenclature, but the truth. Thus, we (people from Ekiti) have to embody the values that the sobriquet connotes. That way, the outside world won’t only see us as a people from a state called ‘land of honour’; but perceive us as people of honour.

That simple philosophy aptly guided my early life, relationships in the workplace, and shaping me into who I am today.

As a child, did you ever imagine that your life would turn out the way it did?

Yes. I had always loved to become a lawyer, because by nature, I am very expressive, and I’m not easily intimidated. However, at the point of gaining admission into the university, the result of my Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination did not meet the cut-off mark to study Law; and, I was advised to change to another course.

I then had to change to Educational Management. Back then, I thought that when I got to 200 level, I would cross over to Law. But, by the time I got to 200 level, I had fallen in love with the course I was studying. That was how I ended up becoming an educational administrator, with my areas of specialisation being personnel management, quality assurance in education, and leadership in education. I actually did not plan it, but providence led me to it. I eventually bagged a Bachelor, Master’s and doctorate in the field.

Of course, when someone’s academic trajectory is along that line, it is natural for one to head towards being a vocational professional. I ended up being a lecturer; not because that was what I planned to be, but because fate led me in that direction. I never thought of becoming a lecturer, but I later enjoyed it.

Did you ever see yourself becoming the First Lady of Ekiti State?

It never crossed my mind that my husband would one day contemplate seeking an elective post. As a child, I had an indifferent view about politics. That was, perhaps because I was already aware of what was happening around me during the 1983 (political) crisis in the old Ondo State, when there was a lot of violence which led to the loss of lives and property. Ekiti was still part of Ondo State then. The fallout from that singular crisis created fear (of politics) in many children of our generation, and I tried as much as possible not to be attracted to politics.

It will also interest you to know that subconsciously, one of the first questions I asked my husband when we were dating was whether he would one day go into politics. His answer was diplomatic, but I followed it up by boxing him into a corner to promise me he would never go into politics. Aside from the experience of 1983, the fact that my husband had his first and second degrees in Political Science also spurred my curiosity (about his interest in politics).

Did he make the promise at that time?

(Laughs) As a lover boy then, who was determined to sweep me off my feet, he made the promise to me. You will agree with me that the question became necessary then because of my level of understanding of life, and how God works in our lives. Also, he made the promise because he was ready to do everything I wanted to win my heart. The rest is history.

What was your reaction when he told you he would be contesting the governorship position in Ekiti State?

Between the time I asked him not to contemplate going into politics and the time he eventually chose to aspire (for public office), my scope had widened, and my experience about life had changed.

Above all, I am a born-again Christian, and God had given me many signs that my husband was being prepared to fulfill destiny in the public service. When God sends His own on a mission, He empowers the person for the work ahead. My husband was a university lecturer, who later had a stint in the banking industry, before the present Minister of Industry and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, invited him to serve in his government as the first elected governor of Ekiti State between 1999 and 2003. He (my husband) served in three capacities— personal assistant, special adviser and later Chief of Staff.

In 2014, the immediate past governor of the state, Kayode Fayemi, again invited him to become a commissioner, and he also served that government in three capacities, including being the Secretary to State Government. Unknown to both of us but clear to God, he was being prepared (for a higher office). As a result of all these, when God showed me the sign that he would become the governor, I was helpless. I had no option but to support him spiritually, emotionally and morally. We thank God it ended in praise.

How did you feel when the other governorship aspirants in his party, the All Progressives Congress, kicked against his emergence as the party’s candidate?

Naturally, when one is in such situation, one would definitely be concerned. However, I was not in any way demoralised.

In the first place, politics is dynamic and complex. As a result of its complexity and competitive nature, it is expected that there would be disagreements, reconciliation and power sharing. Having spent years as a political spectator, I was experienced enough to know how the APC settled rancour (within its ranks). I was, therefore, not surprised that everything was later resolved, and all parties involved worked for my husband’s emergence as governor.

Coming to the second leg of your question that my faith must have been shaken at that time; that’s to the extreme. As a born-again Christian, my faith in God is ever strong. From day one, my belief was that if it was God’s will that my husband would be governor, nothing would change it.

Now that he is governor, what are your fears, especially looking at the humongous tasks before him, such as the state of Ekiti roads, uncompleted projects, workers and pensioners’ arrears, and other expectations of the people, in view of the limited resources accruing to the state from both the federation account and internally generated revenue?

I don’t have any fear. I know that since it is the will of God for him to emerge as the governor, he would be empowered to do the job. For instance, despite the lean resources and other challenges you made reference to, the people of the state can bear witness to the fact that in the last 100 days, Governor Oyebanji has embarked on rehabilitation of roads, paying monthly salaries to workers, among other activities. However, I may not be able to dwell so much on issues relating to many of these issues because they are not within my purview.

As the first lady of the state, how do you intend to complement the efforts of your husband in impacting the lives of Ekiti people?

Again, God has prepared me for the office and He guided my ways to actualise whatever I plan to do as the first lady. My primary area of focus is to champion the cause of women and children, especially widows and orphans.

However, that does not mean I will close my eyes to issues that concern every Ekiti citizen and resident. To raise the bar, I believe that my upbringing (experience) as a girl who attended public schools all through my educational pursuits will come in handy when it comes to tackling some of the challenges that could come with occupying such office.

I am not just a university lecturer; I have expertise in areas such as institutional administration, higher education, quality assurance in education and human resource development, and leadership in education. Besides, I have undertaken research works, either singlehandedly or with other scholars in many relevant fields that will help me address issues concerning education in Ekiti, especially that of the girl-child. For instance, I have in my library, literary works bordering on work-life balance, and teachers’ job satisfaction in Lagos State secondary schools. I also have materials on sex education and moral decadence among senior secondary students in public schools in Ibadan. This is in addition to works on the funding of higher education in Nigeria beyond the monthly government subvention. All these research findings will, of course, help in my area of focus as the state’s first lady.






Credit: The Punch

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With Women Exclusion in Politics, Nigeria Operating at Half-Capacity – Gender Rights Activist

Gender rights activist, and former Commissioner for Women Affairs in Ekiti State, Mrs Fola Richie-Adewusi, tells ABIODUN NEJO in this chat that women will create and implement programmes that will be more beneficial to all if in positions of authority

You are involved in advocacy or campaigns to increase the participation of women in politics and leadership; what do you believe the marginalisation or low participation of women in politics has robbed Nigeria of?

Nigeria is being robbed of the opportunity to have the full benefit of all the potential God has endowed the country with. There is a saying that a bird does not fly with one wing.

As a result, Nigeria has been operating at half capacity. Women’s marginalisation or low political participation has denied Nigeria the opportunity to fully realise her greatness.

But really, what do you think has been holding women back from participating in politics?

There are many factors responsible. There is a power relationship between men and women. This power relationship is still embedded in patriarchy, where the man, as the head, is not supposed to lift a finger to assist the woman at home.

So, creating a work-life balance might pose some challenges for women who are interested in politics but need to keep the home front going because the children are young and the man is not providing the necessary support. There is also the aspect of the economic factor. Women do not have the same access to financial resources as men. So this limits the chances of the women.

Participation in politics requires money, even if it is for basic logistics. Political violence, on the other hand, scares many women off the field of politics. Many women are not interested in do-or-die politics.

Looking at these, do you see equity, equality or inclusion as really attainable?

Yes, by creating a level playing field for all, intentionally allocating seats for women, and looking out for and including those who are marginalised, such as female persons with disabilities.

Do you have any appeals for women’s support and encouragement for groups and organisations?

My appeal will be that women are smart and have a lot to offer. So, they should do all within their power to encourage and support them.

Taking a cue from Ekiti, which has a female deputy governor, House of Assembly Speaker, and Secretary to State Government, what do you think the impact of women will be on women, children, and the state as a whole?

The impact on women and children will be positive. Women in positions of authority, because of their nurturing abilities, will create and implement programmes that will be beneficial to all.

For example, within one month of her assumption of office, the first female Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba implemented a programme to mark the 16 Days of Activism on Violence against Women. The Assembly was involved for the first time.

Within the same month, she led her members for a comprehensive health check at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital to forestall sudden deaths among the parliamentarians. She even spoke of the possibility of a law to that end, making it compulsory for all government workers to go for medical examinations in the interest of their health.

But if I may ask, do women really have the strength for the murky waters of Nigerian politics, especially looking at it from the angle that violence has been part of Nigerian politics?

The answer is simple: It is that the more women we have the less violence the country will witness in politics.

With the 2023 elections around the corner, the major parties still engage largely in personality-focused campaigns as opposed to issue-based campaigns. Do you think Nigeria can ever get its politics right?

I believe Nigeria can get its politics right. It is all about doing the right thing. I am aware that the All Progressives Congress candidates for the 2023 general elections have been meeting with stakeholders across the board to sell their manifestos and candidacies. So, I believe it is not all the candidates who are not doing the right thing.

What advice do you have for the political parties as they gear up for the polls and the citizens as well?

Let the political parties sell their manifestos to the electorate, and let the electorate review what each candidate has to offer. Allow citizens to collect their Permanent Voter Cards and vote based on their verifiable voting history.

What can you make of the constant verbal attacks on your party’s presidential candidate as the election approaches?

It is part of the game of politics all over the world to look for something negative to say about your opponent to distract him and gain an advantage. However, a serious candidate will not be distracted.

That is why the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima are focused on telling the people what they will do based on their verifiable track record of achievements.

Do you see him winning the 2023 election?

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is one politician who understands politics and has a positive track record of accomplishments compared to others in the race. I believe he will win the 2023 election; he is working hard to win, and he has all it takes to win.

What gives you that assurance? I mean, why do you think Nigerians should vote for him, and what do you think he will do differently?

The Yoruba have a saying that if someone promises to buy you a dress, you will first look at what he/she is wearing so you can judge if he/she can fulfil the promise. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu transformed Lagos under very difficult circumstances, to the admiration of all.

He displayed an uncommon ability to identify great talents resident in Lagos, irrespective of tribe or religion, to create a benchmark that no other state has yet to beat since 1999. I think Nigerians should not gamble with their votes. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and his running mate will make the desired positive difference in Nigeria.
Despite laws, efforts, and implementation, rape and other gender-based violence cases have continued to be an issue in Ekiti State.

What is the way forward?

The implementation of the laws has given people confidence that they will get justice. What we are witnessing is a surge in the reporting of cases, which was not the case before. The other area of gender-based violence that has also come to the fore is female genital mutilation. The FGM Law needs to be revised to give stiffer penalties to perpetrators. Criminalising FGM in all its forms will help curb the practice. Continuous and sustained implementation of the laws will greatly help reduce GBV in Ekiti State.

While the Ekiti State governor’s wife, Dr Oyebanji, is seeking a special court for GBV cases, some people think that they should be settled out of court. What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of the two options?

I agree with Her Excellency, Dr Olayemi Oyebanji, on the need for a special court for GBV cases because such a court would provide confidentiality while also reducing shame and embarrassment, which often prevent victims of GBV from reporting.
It will also make for a quick dispensation of justice, unlike the regular courts.

Settlements out of court will continue to give perpetrators power over their victims if they know they can always buy their way out. Perpetrators should be made to face the full wrath of the law!

How has the brain drain in the medical sector (among doctors and nurses) affected women’s and children’s access to quality healthcare delivery?

The brain drain is affecting all sectors of healthcare delivery, not only women and children. However, since one of the indicators tracked to measure the success of a healthcare delivery system is maternal and child mortality, morbidity, and the number of patients to doctor ratio, the brain drain is impacting negatively women’s and children’s access to quality healthcare.
For example, in Nigeria now, according to a statement by the Nigeria Medical Association in one report I read, the ratio is 1 medical doctor to 4,000 patients instead of the World Health Organisation recommendation of one doctor to 600 patients, while for nurses, it is one nurse to 1,160 patients instead of the recommended one nurse to 5 patients. Governments and all stakeholders in the healthcare delivery sector must address this and save the health of the country.






Credit: The Punch

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‘Yanga Came from Six-Month Research on Women, Banking Services’

Divisional Head, Retail, Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) and eBusiness, Unity Bank Plc, ‘Funwa Akinmade, speaks with GEOFF IYATSE on retail banking in a tough economy and the social impacts of Yanga, a product of the bank.

There is an assumption that Nigerian banks profit from the difficulties people go through during tough times rather than support them. To what extent do you think this is true?

The money banks lend belongs to people and not the banks. So, when we lend, we want the money to come back to where it was taken. If we don’t get it back, there is a problem. So, banks need to take precautions in ensuring that they do not lose customers’ deposits.

People say banks ought to be more supportive when things go bad. We agree but there are limits to how banks can play with money. At Unity Bank, we are doing a lot of corporate social responsibilities (CSRs) as part of our way of supporting Nigerians in this trying time.

Everywhere we go with Yanga, we go with our HMO partners. And the service is affordable. The partners are very supportive. We render free health checks. The health checks cost about N10,000 per person. But they are rendered at no cost to Nigerian women who are struggling to cope with the economic challenges. That is part of our way of giving back to society.

The HMO subscription is also extremely cheap. It is about the cheapest you can get in the country. We discovered that when a woman visits a hospital, the least she spends is over N10,000. She will pay for a card, a consultation fee, run a test and pay for drugs. But with an N1,000 monthly subscription on the HMO our partners provide as part of Yanga, their basic medical needs are covered.

What has been your experience managing the Yanga campaign?

It has been a fantastic experience. So far, there have been a few learning points. But overall, it has been a huge success anywhere we go. And it is a win-win situation. A win for Unity Bank, a win for the women and a win for the financial inclusion drive of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Individuals who have never operated bank accounts own all the accounts that we have opened. When we are opening Yanga, we take the bank to the market rather than waiting for the market women to come to us.

We go along with a mobile BVN machine to enrol unregistered women who need BVN for account opening. This is a win for women who do not have the time to visit a bank. That is also deepening the financial inclusion drive. Everywhere we go, we create what we call Yanga woman who is a female banking agent.

Why is the product only for women?

Yanga is a product of extensive research and peer review. From the name to its features, it is driven by research. According to CBN data, more than 52 per cent of unbanked people in Nigeria are women.

There are various reasons adduced to support this but the most prominent revealed by our research was that men make the money and only give to women to spend. I don’t know the extent to which this is true.

For six months, we were with the Lagos Business School on research across 18 cities. We also did a focus group study. Mainly, we wanted something that will resonate with Nigerian women. Several names were suggested but research showed that Yanga strikes better than the other names that were considered.

There is no product by any bank that is specifically created for women even though more percentage of women have bank accounts than women. That is the gap Yanga wants to fill. We aspire to take the product to a point when it will be synonymous with women’s retail banking. Our managing director is the longest-serving female in any bank. This is something she will look at for some years to come and be proud of.

There will be a gap in KYC protocols when you go to the market to convince individuals to open accounts. How do you deal with this?

The CBN has made KYC much easier. Some years ago, it launched what is called the tiered KYC guidelines. So we have tier one, tier two and tier three KYC requirements. Tier one means one can open an account with only a passport photograph. That is the minimum KYC required to operate an account. The second tier requires an ID but no reference while the third KYC requires references.

About 99 per cent of women open a tier-one account, which has the lowest level of KYC. They only need a bank account where they can pay in money and withdraw when they need it.

Yanga is about market women who are into small trading and not necessarily big shop owners. There are cases where some women say they want a higher version of Yanga because their business turnovers have increased. At that point, all they need is to provide additional documents and other requirements to upgrade the accounts. But Yanga is a sufficient starting point for every market woman who has not operated a bank account.

Why Yanga and not any other retail banking product?

There are three added values. Every quarter, we organise a capacity-building programme where experts train women on how to manage a business. We also have an agreement with highly-rated HMO operators to offer health insurance services as an added value. It is the cheapest anybody can get. We also offer free health checks as part of the health package.

So to answer your question; one we do capacity building; number two, we are the only bank product that offers an HMO. With the HMO subscription, operators can access services at different hospitals, both private and public, across the country.

At every area or market, there is a Yanga woman, where you can withdraw money. You don’t need to visit the banking hall. That saves time and money. No other bank offers these services in one package.

We issued a dedicated debit card that also serves as an HMO card. We noticed that many women misplace their HMO cards easily so we creatively come up with a debit card that is tied to HMO. The last five digits of the card serial number are the HMO number.

Credit: The Guardian

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Dr. Helen Okoye: Thriving in An Area of Medicine With Manpower Shortage

Where are you based?

I currently work at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu, Nigeria, as a consultant haematologist where I focus on thrombosis and haemostasis.

Tell us a bit about yourself
I got my medical degree at Abia State University and completed my residency training at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital respectively. I grew up in Zaria in Kaduna state, in the Northern part of Nigeria. I come from a large family – we were eight children – which had the benefit that none of us ever felt lonely or bored – variety was the spice of our family life! The downside was that financial resources were limited as my parents tried to give each of us the very best they could afford. Things like structured extracurricular activities were a luxury, but I remember my mum making sure my siblings and I took part in church activities so that we could explore our talents by joining drama and singing groups.

When did you decide to become a doctor?

As a child I wanted to be so many things, from an actress and a dancer to a musician…. The one constant was my desire to care for the weak. My mum kept poultry, which we’d sell, and I was very drawn to those little birds. I helped take care of them and nursed them if they got ill – I enjoyed assisting the Veterinary doctor who’d come to review them! We also had a dog, Gilly, of whom I was very fond of and loved taking care of. One day when I was 10 my dad asked us children what we’d one day like to become. I gave it serious thought, then blurted out that I wanted to become an animal doctor. My family was amused but my father said, “That’s a good one but have you ever thought about being a human doctor so you can take care of daddy, mummy, and your siblings?” That conversation sparked my dream of becoming a doctor – the day marking the start of my lifelong obsession to help humans get better and stay healthy.

Was it plain sailing from there, to become a doctor?

My journey to being the doctor I am today has not been a completely easy one. After secondary school I gained admission into Abia State University to study Medicine and Surgery, but, as I’ve mentioned before, my family’s limited finances meant I often couldn’t afford the textbooks I needed. I had to either make copies of textbooks or borrow from friends. As much as my parents made sure I had the basic needs as a medical student, other things were not within my reach. To earn money, I made and sold beaded jewellery and interned at a nearby hospital during the holidays. I also turned my love of shopping into an entrepreneurial venture by hunting down bargains at Ariaria market and reselling them to friends at a margin.

Any life lessons you learned along the way?
Sustaining myself through a financially difficult time wasn’t easy, but it helped me appreciate the things I did have and to see the value in them, like books and good friends. I hope that my experiences will serve as inspiration to anyone facing the same financial challenges I did in becoming a doctor. I know that the curriculum is overwhelming and leaves you little to no time for anything else, but try to maximze every little moment you have for your studies.

How did you get into the field of Hematology?

During my last year at medical school, students were encouraged to move into subspecialties of medicine. My dream of being a doctor caring for humans changed into a burning desire to be in an area of medicine where there was a shortage of manpower. It led me to specialise in Haematology.

What kind of support system do you have?

I’ve always had a support system that doesn’t just let me bloom, but helps me soar. When I was a child, my parents were part of every step of my academic journey. I remember they’d go through my classwork every day when I got home from school. They readily gave up their comfort just to give us children the best. Now I’m blessed with an amazing husband who believes so much in me and encourages me to attain academic excellence and self-development.

What inspires you? 

I’ve always wanted to take my achievements a step further. During my residency days, I knew that to make a name for myself I’d have to go beyond the norm. Once I’d obtained an MBBS, I decided to specialise, and then go for fellowships, training, and update courses. Your career is a constant journey to get better in order to stay relevant. It’s not easy, but it is worth it. Put in the work. Be convinced by your dreams and believe in yourself.

What is your motto?

Once you have a dream, nothing but you can stop you. Believe in yourself and keep on trying. All that you need to become who you want to be, will come.

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Women of SubstanceInterview

2023 Presidency: Khadijah Okunnu-Lamidi Shares Her 5-point Agenda For Nigeria

2023 Presidential aspirant, Khadija Okunnu-Lamidi, has disclosed the 5-pillars she would use to tackle most of the prevailing issues in Nigeria.

Speaking with this reporter, she highlighted industrialisation, women inclusion, education and innovation, governance and welfare, law and security, as her proposed solutions to Nigeria’s problems.


The media professional said she intends to merge all specific projects to create a product that can be easily evaluated in 10 years.

She said, “The way we intend to go about it is to create a vision for what we want the country to look like. There are specific projects, but rather than having them as projects we need to combine them to create products, whereby in 10 years, we want to have this amount of industrialization in this area.

“So we are creating jobs, employment, health services, everywhere you have an industrial path, and powering them with the energy sector. By this, we are also creating an enabling environment for investors, and a safe place for skill acquisition and transfer of knowledge.”

Women Inclusion

An Okunnu-Lamidi-led government will advocate for a 50% inclusion rare for women in politics and governance.

In her words, “as a woman, I cannot but champion these policies for us to have a 50% women inclusion rate.

She explained that this is what Nigeria needs if leaders must make good decisions. She also noted that women determine the wealth of the nation.

It is definitely what we need if we are going to make good decisions. Women’s inclusion ensures that policies are able to carry along as many women as possible. There’s a woman in every household. If you do not enable these women, the poorer the women the poorer the nation,” she said.

Education and Innovation

The 38-year-old, who hails from Lagos Island, noted that Nigeria is yet to meet world standards, and if elected, her government would bridge the knowledge and application gap between the nation and the rest of the world through technology.

Our children here can learn the same things that their counterparts are learning across the world. This also helps us in the application of knowledge. What we do in Nigeria is to only teach, we do not actually teach to apply knowledge, or how to think in different scenarios and situations.

“We have put these two hand-in-hand (education and innovation) because where we are at the moment is so far behind that we have to use technology to meet the standards of the world.”

Governance and Welfare

Mrs Okunnu-Lamidi said that the Nigerian government has missed its essence of governance by competing with local businesses.

We think governance is business, that is why governments are competing with businesses, that is wrong government.

She further said her government, if elected, will ensure that the government agencies and parastatals will focus on their functions in order to elevate people living “beneath the dignity average of human existence.”

Law and Security

Without law, there is no order“, Okunnu-Lamidi said. She explained that the state of security in the country can be controlled by law and justice.

So we put law and security hand-in-hand so that the justice system can work very closely with the security system and we can solve our security issues through legal means.”

The presidential aspirant, who is the daughter of former Federal Commissioner of Works and Housing, Lateef Femi Okunnu (SAN), officially declared her intention to run for the Office of the President of Nigeria in 2023 in January 2022

The founder and chief executive officer of Slice Media Solutions disclosed that she is motivated to vie for the presidency because of her desire to restore hope and make Nigeria work for all Nigerians.









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Medebem-Relationship, collaboration key to accelerate growth of advertising

Experiential marketing Amazon, Tolulope Medebem, the Chief Executive Officer of Aster Integrated Marketing, and Vice President of the Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria (EXMAN), has posited that relationships and collaborations are major key elements to accelerate the growth of advertising industry. The agency boss, who emphasised the need for agency owners to nurture good relationships with clients while promoting industry collaborations, noted that “technology does not run a business, but good relationships do”.

The EXMAN VP stated this in a close chat with MARKETING EDGE. Sharing her experience on how she benefited immensely from business opportunities that were birthed out of sustained good relationship during the peak of the pandemic, she said: “I can say that one of the things that has kept us in business so far during the pandemic and even presently, is relationships. All through the period, those that kept working with us were actually those clients that we have relationship with, and strangely this year, based on words of mouth and relationships, we got a couple of new clients as well.”

Mrs. Medebem urged agencies to embrace collaborations to achieve a 360 degree growth of the industry, a success which she added, will be ploughed back to the entire growth of advertising industry.

“We all need to come together to find ways that we can cooperate to ensure that we all grow, because at the end of the day, if somebody holds unto everything and thinks he or she will grow alone, somewhere along the line, it is going to affect not only the person but everyone else. But if we collaborate with healthy competitions, of course, working together also means that we are putting back into the ecosystem. From there we will be able to grow, not just on personal businesses but the industry and the country as a whole.”

The Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Consultants while assessing the experiential marketing within the marketing communications ecosystem, reaffirmed the fact that experiential is growing and evolving despite the direct hit of Covid-19 on the industry, due to the nature of its operations and activities. She stated that experiential, despite being under-explored, has the capacity to contribute exponentially to the growth of the IMC ecosystem in terms of activities and budgets. The Amazon reiterated that technology is integral to experiential and therefore urged industry players to access every innovation for its function. She called on the practitioners to move in line with time and trends so as to be at par with other counterparts around the globe.

“The truth about being in a global world is that whatever is happening internationally, we should continually keep tabs here. Obviously, we need to tap into whatever is going on in the world. Ideally, every activity in experiential marketing is supported by technology. There is need for technology amplification and integration.”

Mrs. Medebem encouraged agencies to ensure value addition in their dealings with clients in order to remain relevant and indispensable in the industry. She advised them to move from the point of agency-client relationship to partnership point in order to enjoy a symbiotic relationship.

The business founder expressed her joy and excitement towards Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) for instituting the long awaited Advertising Industry Standard of Practice (AISOP) which took effect from the 6th of October, 2021, as a legal framework and new guideline for all advertising practitioners.

“With AISOP, EXMAN is now well positioned as an industry player under APCON. As a member of EXMAN, Aster Integrated Marketing can boldly practice experiential marketing as covered by APCON.”

Source: Marketing

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Gist MeInterview

Agnes Aileluelohia-Creativity powered by technology is the future of agencies

The COVID-19 pandemic has irreversibly changed the advertising landscape, therefore agencies, in particular, should recreate customers’ experience to correspond with changing customer expectations. In fact, creativity enshrouded in technology is the future of today’s agencies.

The above assertion was made by Agnes Ailuelohia, the Chief Operating Officer and General Manager of First Katalyst Marketing Limited.

Assessing the marketing and advertising ecosystem in view of the impact of the new normal, the experiential marketing expert noted that, today’s consumers have high degree of expectations, hence the need for agencies to embrace digital apps in their journey towards consumers’ satisfaction. She urged them to adopt convenient business models by integrating and leveraging technology to help foster competitive advantage and also build better products and services for customers’ engagements and interactions.

Citing Peter Drucker’s maxim, “innovate or die”, Mrs. Ailuelohia mentioned that, technology is the panacea for any business growth. “If we look at the world today, it is all about digitization. If there is one thing that Covid-19 has taught us, it has more or less accelerated the digital agenda for us. In the same way, agencies need to position themselves in such a way that there is a lot more in terms of innovation and thinking outside the box. It is about creatively steering adaptive strategies that work for us.”

She added that digital technology has the potential to boost more inclusive and sustainable growth by spurring innovation, and helping agencies to confront and recover from the pandemic, which has disrupted economies and societies globally.

“It is about digitizing operations for adequate information on data analysis and consumer insights, as well as developing skill set in a bundle of talents, data, technology and creativity for the future. Agencies need to move from the point of waiting for a brief, to a point of getting briefs by themselves through data, which is basically insights.”

Speaking on decline in advertising spend, the general manager explained that ad spend had already dropped pre-Covid-19, adding that clients’ disposition for now is to meet up with the lost transactions. “The decline began before Covid-19, indicating that a portion of the advert budget is below the marketing budget. This is because a lot of clients are looking at how to make new contacts and make quick return on investment for their brands. Clients are a bit more cautious; however, they are also trying to gain the time lost.”

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InterviewWomen of Substance

Wofai Fada, A Woman On The Rise

Women are celebrated every day, however, the month of March provides a great opportunity to celebrate international women’s day and Mother’s day in the month so it was only right to sit with the one and only WofaiFada, the definition of funny, hard-working, and God-fearing.


Wofai explains the power of women and she personifies the characteristics of a woman who has demanded and achieved more from life because of her boldness. She is happy women are being invited to the table, and play part in decisions that have to do with the entertainment industry.


Wofai moved to Lagos five years ago with the dream of creating a name for herself all the way from Calabar. She moved in with a friend before she got a room in Surulere and now “I have a restaurant in Lekki close to the sea” (Wofai says at the top of her voice) which is where the shoot took place. The restaurant is called ‘Just Afang’ and Wofai’s love for food came from her family as she worked in her grandmother’s restaurant as a kid.


When asked on where she sees herself in five years. “I will leave that to God because I did not see myself coming this far and he got me here so I will leave it to him. But the goal is expansion and growth, I will want my restaurant in all corners of the world.”


Wofai’s advice to people is to enjoy the process be resilient and be patient in achieving your goals. “Social media makes it look like success comes overnight but it takes time and if you have someone that inspires you, learn from them and understand their journey.”


“Wofai is a dream chaser and she is reaping the benefit of her hard work and its motivating to hear her background story. The sky is just the starting point for her career ”said Colette Otusheso, Head, Accelerate TV.


To watch Wofai’s full interview with “The Cover”, CLICK HERE


The Cover magazine is a digital publication aimed at inspiring a youthful audience through well informed and in-depth interviews from people of interest.


Viewers can learn more about “The Cover” on Accelerate TV’s Website, Youtube Channel, Facebook and Instagram pages and share comments on social media using #acceleratecover #thecovermagazine. For previous editions of “The Cover” please visit

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