Tennis Champ, Serena Expecting Baby Girl

Tennis champ Serena Williams is expecting a baby girl, her sister, Venus, spilled the beans in a short interview with Eurosport on Wednesday.

She said at the French Open in Stade Roland-Garros, Paris, France that, `‘I want to be known as the favourite aunt”.

Venus was asked about the baby in the interview on Wednesday, where she referred to the baby as ‘she’ and said she wanted the tot to be named after her, according to Dailymail.

Serena announced she is expecting her first child back in April . She also said she still did not know the gender of her baby.

Talking at the Met Gala on May 1, she said: ‘We’re waiting. It’s a surprise. We call it “baby,”‘ she said.

Serena recently revealed she had actually accidentally announced her pregnancy.

The star confessed the Snapchat which revealed she was 20 weeks along was sent by mistake.

Agency Report. .

Malaysia Airline: Passengers Subdue Man From Blowing Up Plane

Heroic Malaysia Airlines passengers tackled a man who tried to storm the cockpit of a plane armed with a “detonator”.

Dramatic pictures captured on board flight MH128 show how the man was tied down when he was restrained shortly after the plane took off from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur.

The flight returned to Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport less than an hour into the flight before midnight local time (3 p.m. UK time).

Witnesses said the man said “I’m going to blow up this plane” as he tried to enter the cockpit before he was taken down by passengers.

Saiqa Chaudhery, who claimed her husband Arif was on the plane, alleged the passenger was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and that he attacked a flight attendant.

While a woman named Vanessa whose boyfriend Andrew was on the flight told Australian radio station 3AW he was the first to confront him after he intimated cabin crew.

She said: “He was the one who first confronted him when an air hostess was getting scared of this guy and that’s when the guy said ‘I’m going to blow up this plane’

“That’s when he was detained by other passengers I believe.”

In a statement, Malaysia Airlines confirmed a “disruptive passenger” had tried to enter the cockpit. Local media reports suggest he claimed to have explosives.

While passengers suggested he was armed with a “detonator”.

The airline stressed at no point was the plane “hijacked” following reports the man had tried to take control of the flight.

 

A picture shared on Twitter appears to show armed police on the grounded plane as the flight was evacuated.

No-one is believed to have been injured.

Armed police entered the plane when it landed at Melbourne Airport

The Malaysia Airlines spokesman said: “MH128, which had departed Melbourne Airport at 11.11 p.m. scheduled to arrive Kuala Lumpur at 5.28 a.m. on 1 June, made a turn back to Melbourne after the operating Captain was alerted by a cabin crew of a passenger attempting to enter the cockpit.

“Malaysia Airlines would like to stress that at no point was the aircraft ‘hijacked’.

“MH128 safely landed in Melbourne airport at 11.41 p.m.

“Following the incident on MH128, the disruptive passenger has been apprehended by airport security. Malaysia Airlines together with the Australian authorities will be investigating the incident.

“Safety and security are of utmost priority to malaysia airlines. The airline wishes to apologise for the inconvenience caused.

“Passengers have safely disembarked the aircraft and will be screened by Australian authorities.

“They will be accommodated at hotels and offered on the next available flight or on other carriers.”

A large area around the airport has been closed off and emergency crews are said to have met the plane after it landed safely at the airport.

A Victoria police spokesman said: Emergency services were called to Tullamarine Airport around 11.40 p.m. last night after a request for assistance from an airline.

“It is alleged that a man tried to enter the cockpit and threatened the safety of passengers and staff.

“The man did not gain entry to the cockpit.

“The man was subdued and a safety plan was enacted.

“The plane landed safely at the airport and passengers are currently exiting the plane and speaking to investigators.

“There appears to be no imminent threat to passengers, staff or public and the investigation is ongoing.”

Flights bound for Melbourne were reportedly diverted while the incident was being dealt with.

The airport has now reopened.

 

Source: Mirror

Osinbajo To Sign 2017 Budget Tomorrow

Acting President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo will sign the 2017 Budget into law on Thursday by 9:00 A.M at the Presidential Villa.

A source told our correspondent in Abuja that the representatives of the President had just concluded a meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly where the date and time of the budget has been announced.

The National Assembly on Thursday May 18, passed the N7.44 trillion 2017 Appropriation Bill after over 4 months since it was submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari to a joint session of the National Assembly.

Both chambers of the assembly raised the figure from N7.30 trillion presented by the president to N7.44 trillion.

The National Assembly transmitted same to the President on Friday May 19 for assent.

However, the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari has raised a lot of questions as to who would sign the budget.

However, Osinbajo doused the misconception when he told Nigerians that he would sign the document into law as Acting President.

Osinbajo while presenting his Democracy Day speech on May 29 also promised that the budget would be signed soon.

About two days after the speech, there are now clear indication that the budget would be signed into law on Thursday June 1 at 9:00 A.M.

According to the source who spoke with our correspondent, the leadership of the National Assembly have been briefed on the time and venue where the Appropriation Bill document would be signed into law.etion of the standard operation processes.

 

 

Youths Should Be Part Of The Solution To Unemployment- Hamza Gbate

Hamza Umar Gbate, graduate of Public Administration and CEO of Hamza Photos takes us into the world of photography in this chat with TMG.

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TMG> Many people are going into Photography nowadays. What inspired you?

Hamza> I’ve always had a keen passion to take pictures right from my childhood and this inspired me to take it up as a profession.

 

TMG> What was your career path and how did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full time, for a living?

Hamza> Whenever there is an occasion I always pictured myself capturing the event and ever since, the spirit of photography kept soaring high.

 

TMG> Did you take any professional courses in photography?

Hamza> I attended a diploma course online on photo base which equipped me with the basic ideas on photography.

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TMG> What other positions have you previously held before going into photography?

Hamza> I was an event manager at Shaani-baa Arena in Bida, Niger state.

 

TMG> What motivates you to continue taking pictures: economically, politically, intellectually or emotionally?

Hamza> Given the preceding circumstances surrounding my involvement, emotion is the key factor that does it for me; seeing and meeting happy people celebrating altogether.

 

TMG> Which photographers inspire you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?

Hamza> The opening of a branch by Photo Palace in Bida boosted my morale as far as the photo profession is concerned.

 

TMG> Exactly what do you want to say with your photographs, and how do you actually get your photographs to do that?

Hamza> Quality control should be maintained. As a photographer, you must have a story to tell about every picture you take.

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TMG> How do you get the subject or place you want to capture onto the film, chip or paper just the way you want?

Hamza> Before capturing any motion I ensure that all the parties involved are at their best and have the angle of the story of the picture. Every picture has a story to tell.

 

TMG> What technology/software/camera gear do you use?

Hamza> I have two sets of cameras that help me with that. Canon 6D and Nikon D90.

 

TMG> How do you get paid to do what you want to do with your photography?

Hamza> When customers are happy with your work, it motivates and fast tracks payment no matter the quantity. What is important is quality must be achieved.

 

TMG> Do you seek for advice or help from other professionals in case of problems?

Hamza> Yes I do. Which confirms the adage that, “a single tree cannot make a forest”.

 

TMG> What is the volume/revenue your establishment has gained in a year? Any profit?

Hamza> Yes, it is profitable. However, the passion for the profession keeps the spirit high even when little or nothing is gained at times.

 

TMG> What do you do to stay educated about new trends?

Hamza> Persistent research via internet and even taking pictures, also intraction with customers helps. Some will advise and teach you what you don’t know. You can meet intellectual people during business hours.

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TMG> What are your challenges and how do you intend to handle them?

Hamza> Funds to buy new technology gadgets and getting customers to pay for their services promptly. I am taking measures to re-organise my company but right now I am dealing with it the best way I should.

 

TMG> Give us an example of someone you have trained or mentored. Where did they start and where are they now?

Hamza> I’ve trained five (5) sets of photographers since my establishment and they are all doing well now in their respective establishments.

 

TMG> Tell us about an accomplishment that you are most proud of in your career?

Hamza> I was chosen to cover the 10th anniversary of the 13th ETSU NUPE in 2013 at Wadata Palace Bida, Niger state.

 

TMG> Describe to us a problem you have had with a customer and how you handled it.

Hamza> I once had difficulty with a customer who refused to pay for the services. But despite that, I persevered and handled the situation in a very mature manner because you never know what tomorrow could bring.

 

TMG> Tell us about your management style and how you handle your Customers?

Hamza> In whatever activity I find myself engaged in, planning is always my watch word. Careful handling of customers is very important. You shouldn’t rush them nor be in a hurry in this kind of profession otherwise everything may become disorganised. One needs to be humble and understanding.

 

TMG> Tell us 3 things that you consider to be your strengths in photography?

Hamza> Passion, motivation and socialization.

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TMG> Tell us something you would like to learn or improve upon as a photographer?

Hamza> The photo effect.

 

TMG> How do you manage costs if your labour is running high with low profit and what measures do you take to control it?

Hamza> I cut down on expenses by relieving some of my aides.

 

TMG> How do you manage risks in terms of damages or loss?

Hamza> As sole proprietor, I bear the risk alone. The number of risks I take determines the level of my success and vice versa.

 

TMG> What way can you encourage other youths as an entrepreneur for them not to depend on government for job but to be self dependent?

Hamza> Choose a line of business, nourish the dream, become a boss of your own and be part of the solution to unemployment in the society.

 

TMG> Do you socialise and when?

Hamza> Of course, during my leisure hours.

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Face Of Hope Charity Reaches Out To Shape Community

Stimulated by love for humanity and the desire to support the under privileged in the society, Face of Hope Foundation reached out to the Shape Community in the FCT.

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This was part of its mission to help the less and under privileged through her programs which includes; education, health, food and clothing for one project.

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Pronounced “Shapee”, the village is situated on top of the hills after Apo mechanic Village, Abuja.

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The outreach was a remarkable one in the lives of the people living in Shape Village. The turn out was impressive as the whole community came out to welcome the team from Face of Hope Foundation. The Village Head, Chief Yakubu Kuruzhi welcomed Ms. Grace Ibironke Ojo, the Coordinator of the Foundation and her team.

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In her address to the members of the community, she stated that the essence of the visit was to show love and to give back to the society.

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The initiative was welcomed with open arms by the villagers as the event took off. Free medical consultations were given to the sick and medicines were dispensed accordingly while all the children were dewormed by the medical personnel among the team.

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Educational materials such as books and pencils were distributed to nursery and primary school children by the winners of the 2016 Face of Hope Kids pageantry -Little King of Hope 2016 runner up, Paul Pius and the Queen and her runner up, Victory Udoka and Inioluwa Olanrewaju respectively. These children were on ground to elevate the spirit and associate with the children living in Shape Community. They engaged in activities with the children of the village such as dancing, exercising, spelling bee competitions. These were done so as to bridge the gap between the rich and poor; give hope to the poor kids and also to imbibe in the kids the act of giving.

An amateur fashion show was organized at the village square where some selected children were dressed in Grazee Stitches’ designs and were taught how to use the run-way. The people of the Community were thrilled to see their kids hit the runway in simple but stylish designs by Grazee Stitches, the mother company of Face of Hope Foundation. After the fashion show, every child was given a garment.

 

IMG-20170527-WA0011The male and female adults were also not left out as they were opportuned to pick outfits of their choice from the available variety brought by FHF. Food items were also distributed to the women.

While giving a vote of thanks on behalf of his community, the village head, Chief Yakubu Kuruzhi appreciated the coordinator and team members of Face of Hope Foundation for finding it worthy to visit their community. He said the visit will create a lasting impression on the people of the community.

 

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Old Story: ‘I Hate My Husband!’

This is how a letter starts in my Inbox today. It’s from a 41-year-old woman named Zee who has been married for 12 years. I get mail like this using slightly different language several times a week. Substitute the word “hate” for “loathe”, “despise”, “can’t stand” and occasionally, “wanna kill”.

I always tell these women the same thing: You are definitely not alone. Plenty of wives feel this way. Plenty of wives think about divorce at least once a month, if not more, and manage to stay married for decades.

My conclusions about the see-saw between hate and love come not as a psychologist or as a minister who counsels her flock. Also the secret lives of wives, to whom women tend to tell all, about joy and sorrow and cheating and lying, about hot sex and no sex – and lots of dish in between.

Any woman married for longer than six months, if she is honest, knows the eggshell thin line that separates loving from loathing. The deeper the love, the deeper the potential to hate. Any wife who is honest knows the compulsion to throw things, to hiss, to swear, to sit in the driveway in your bathrobe, engine running, sobbing.

What wife among you hasn’t occasionally sucked down too much wine to numb the pain of grinding against the same person, in the same house, every day, for weeks, months, years?

Yet we stay married because the love out-muscles the hate in our relationships. On those days we are socked under a gray malaise, we are suddenly lifted into the light as we walk by an old photo of the family, arms looped, heads pressed together, as if we are one big animal.

And so it goes; happy some moments, miserable some moments, yet grounded in this flux of emotions by a fundamental commitment to each other, to the children, to forge onward.

I know from my own 24-year marriage and from the resilient women in The Secret Lives of Wives who have stuck it out for up to 60 years that marriage is ever-changing. Their own survival stories prove that periodic explosions can open up the channels to richer and stronger relationships.

I ended up having an hour-long email conversation with Zee. She hit my heart. I felt her pain. I’ve been there, and persevered. Hopefully these snippets from our exchange will help you swing through the moods of hating toward loving, or at least toward liking him a lot, again.

From Zee: “At some point every week I feel like leaving him. When we got married I imagined this great life we would have together and instead we seem to always be fighting, about the kids, about the fact that he is so remote, about the stupidest things.”

 

From me: “Are you still attracted to him?”

 

From Zee: “Sex is still, good, yes. But we don’t have it very often. I find myself lusting after other men.”

 

From me: “Have sex more often with your husband. Keep the lusting in your imagination unless you want a torn up heart and buckets of guilt. Fantasy can be way better than reality; e.g, take it from one married woman who told me how she took a hubba-hubba office mate to a nearby hotel. Once he took off his shirt she saw a back that was so hairy she couldn’t even kiss him: As she put it: ‘He was gorgeous in his suit and I should have left it at that.’

 

“Sorry if this offends because your husband has a hairy back. I’m sure he’s adorable, but it wasn’t this woman’s taste.

 

From Zee: “No hairy back – don’t like them either. I know I’m lucky to be married to someone sexy. Some of my friends don’t go near their husbands. But this hate I feel, it simmers and I wonder if it’s a sign that there could be a better partner out there for me. Little things grate on me every day. My husband chews his food loudly. I hate his father. I hate our domestic hum-drum. This can’t be love!”

 

From me: “Does he beat you? Is he gambling away all your money? Is he verbally abusive to you? Does he whack your children? Is he a philanderer?”

 

From Zee: “No, he’s a gentle man and a hands-on father. I have never been suspicious of him being with other women. He makes a good living, and that has enabled me to stay home with the kids.

“My hate comes from this feeling that I’m missing out on something else.”

 

From me: “Here’s what you are missing out on, according to some wives who write to me. How about the agony of finding out your husband is sleeping with your best girlfriend? Or, getting daily critiques from your husband that you are repulsive to look at and lazy? One woman shared with me how her husband grew so frustrated with their autistic five-year-old he tossed him across the room.”

 

From Zee; “Yikes! Okay I admit I don’t have any really big problems. So what about this sense of just feeling bored?”

 

Last one from me: “In the early years of marriage, during my 30s and into my early-40s, I often longed for a different life. In my 50s, I am grateful for a predictable routine with the same husband who has helped me raise four interesting sons. We loathe and we love and we carry on. When boredom hits, I go out with my girlfriends or visit someone from my family who will keep me happy for some hours.

“Could my life be better with someone new? Perhaps, until the new becomes old, which it inevitably does. Does my head get turned by chiseled men in well-cut suits? Yes. Then I remember that I don’t want to necessarily see what’s under those threads. Acting on lust often turns out not to be true love but to be true disappointment. It takes grit and prolonged intimacy to love deeply and hate deeply and thus is the rhythm of family relationships. Ever tell a sibling or a parent, ‘I hate you’? Then, an hour later, you are hugging and wetting each other’s faces with tears.

“It takes a lot of love to hate.”

 

True Old Story By I.K

South Africa: Man 23, Raped By Three Women

Three young women took turns raping a man over several days in South Africa, after they drugged him and held him against his will, say police.

Detectives said the man, aged 23, was left severely traumatised after he was abducted from a taxi and gang raped for three days.

He told police he lost consciousness after being injected with a substance and woke up in a room where he was raped several times a day.

Police launched a hunt for the women and driver, and appealed for information after the man was freed by his captors.

The man, from Pretoria, South Africa, told detectives that the women were inside the taxi, along with the driver, when he hailed it down on May 19.

They were travelling towards the city’s central business district when the taxi changed direction, police spokeswoman Captain Colette Weilbach told Times Live.

She said the man was ordered to sit in the front passenger seat, where one of the women injected him with a substance.

The man passed out and was taken to an unknown location.

Ms Weilbach said: “He stated that he woke up in an unfamiliar room on a single bed.

“The female suspects then allegedly forced the man to drink an energy drink‚ before taking turns raping him numerous times a day.”

She said the man went to police after he was dropped off in an open field in Benoni, about 30 miles south of central Pretoria, on May 22.

He was “very traumatised” by the incident and received medical treatment.

Ms Weilbach promised a “robust” investigation, adding: “The South African Police Service take all sexual offences seriously regardless of gender.”

As they hunt for the trio, police are investigating whether the suspects have carried out similar attacks.

Source: Mirror

 

 

Democracy Day Speech By The Acting President, Prof Osinbajo

DEMOCRACY DAY SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, COMMEMORATING THE SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF THE BUHARI ADMINISTRATION, MAY 29, 2017

Dear Nigerians, I bring you good wishes from President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, who as we all know is away from the country on medical vacation.

Today marks the second anniversary of our assumption of office. We must thank the Almighty God not only for preserving our lives to celebrate this second anniversary, but for giving us hope, strength and confidence as we faced the challenges of the past two years.

Our administration outlined three specific areas for our immediate intervention on assumption of office: these were Security, Corruption and the Economy.

In the Northeast of our country, the terrorist group Boko Haram openly challenged the sovereignty and continued existence of the state, killing, maiming and abducting, causing the displacement of the largest number of our citizens in recent history. Beyond the North East they extended their mindless killings, as far away as Abuja, Kano and Kaduna.

But with new leadership and renewed confidence our gallant military immediately began to put Boko Haram on the back foot. We have restored broken-down relations with our neighbours, Chad, Cameroon and Niger – allies without whom the war against terror would have been extremely difficult to win. We have re-organized and equipped our Armed Forces, and inspired them to heroic feats; we have also revitalized the regional Multinational Joint Task Force, by providing the required funding and leadership.

The positive results are clear for all to see. In the last two years close to one million displaced persons have returned home. 106 of our daughters from Chibok have regained their freedom, after more than two years in captivity, in addition to the thousands of other captives who have since tasted freedom.

Schools, hospitals and businesses are springing back to life across the Northeast, especially in Borno State, the epicentre of the crisis. Farmers are returning to the farms from which they fled in the wake of Boko Haram. Finally, our people are getting a chance to begin the urgent task of rebuilding their lives.

Across the country, in the Niger Delta, and in parts of the North Central region, we are engaging with local communities, to understand their grievances, and to create solutions that respond to these grievances adequately and enduringly.

President Buhari’s New Vision for the Niger Delta is a comprehensive peace, security and development plan that will ensure that the people benefit fully from the wealth of the region, and we have seen to it that it is the product of deep and extensive consultations, and that it has now moved from idea to execution. Included in that New Vision is the long-overdue environmental clean-up of the Niger Delta beginning with Ogoni-land, which we launched last year.

More recent threats to security such as the herdsmen clashes with farmers in many parts of the country sometimes leading to fatalities and loss of livelihoods and property have also preoccupied our security structures. We are working with State governments, and tasking our security agencies with designing effective strategies and interventions that will bring this menace to an end. We are determined to ensure that anyone who uses violence, or carries arms without legal authority is apprehended and sanctioned.

In the fight against corruption, we have focused on bringing persons accused of corruption to justice. We believe that the looting of public resources that took place in the past few years has to be accounted for. Funds appropriated to build roads, railway lines, and power plants, and to equip the military, that had been stolen or diverted into private pockets, must be retrieved and the culprits brought to justice. Many have said that the process is slow, and that is true, corruption has fought back with tremendous resources and our system of administration of justice has been quite slow. But the good news for justice is that our law does not recognize a time bar for the prosecution of corruption and other crimes, and we will not relent in our efforts to apprehend and bring corruption suspects to justice. We are also re-equipping our prosecution teams, and part of the expected judicial reforms is to dedicate some specific courts to the trial of corruption cases.
We are also institutionalizing safeguards and deterrents. We have expanded the coverage of the Treasury Single Account (TSA). We have introduced more efficient accounting and budgeting systems across the Federal Government. We have also launched an extremely successful Whistleblower Policy.

The Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance has succeeded in plugging leakages amounting to billions of naira, over the last two years. We have ended expensive and much-abused fertilizer and petrol subsidy regimes.

We have taken very seriously our promise to save and invest for the future, even against the backdrop of our revenue challenges, and we have in the last two years added US$500m to our Sovereign Wealth Fund and US$87m to the Excess Crude Account. This is the very opposite of the situation before now, when rising oil prices failed to translate to rising levels of savings and investment.

Admittedly, the economy has proven to be the biggest challenge of all. Let me first express just how concerned we have been, since this administration took office, about the impact of the economic difficulties on our citizens.

Through no fault of theirs, some companies shut down their operations, others downsized; people lost jobs, had to endure rising food prices. In some States civil servants worked months on end without the guarantee of a salary, even as rents and school fees and other expenses continued to show up like clockwork.

We have been extremely mindful of the many sacrifices that you have had to make over the last few years. And for this reason this administration’s work on the economic front has been targeted at a combination of short-term interventions to cushion the pain, as well as medium to long term efforts aimed at rebuilding an economy that is no longer helplessly dependent on the price of crude oil.
Those short-term interventions include putting together a series of bailout packages for our State Governments, to enable them bridge their salary shortfalls – an issue the President has consistently expressed his concerns about. We also began the hard work of laying out a framework for our Social Intervention Programme, the most ambitious in the history of the country.
One of the first tasks of the Cabinet and the Economic Management Team was to put together a Strategic Implementation Plan for the 2016 budget, targeting initiatives that would create speedy yet lasting impact on the lives of Nigerians.

Indeed, much of 2016 was spent clearing the mess we inherited and putting the building blocks together for the future of our dreams; laying a solid foundation for the kind of future that you deserve as citizens of Nigeria.

In his Budget Presentation Speech to the National Assembly last December, President Buhari outlined our Economic Agenda in detail, and assured that 2017 -would be the year in which you would begin to see tangible benefits of all the planning and preparation work. It is my pleasure to note that in the five months since he delivered that speech, we have seen tremendous progress, as promised.

Take the example of our Social Investment Programme, which kicked off at the end of 2016. Its Home Grown School Feeding component is now feeding more than 1 million primary school children across seven states and would be feeding three million by the end of the year. N-Power, another component has engaged 200,000 unemployed graduates – none of whom needed any ‘connections’ to be selected. Beneficiaries are already telling the stories of how these initiatives have given them a fresh start in their lives.

Micro credit to a million artisans, traders and market men and women has begun. While conditional cash transfers to eventually reach a million of the poorest and most vulnerable households has also begun.

Road and power projects are ongoing in every part of the country. In rail, we are making progress with our plans to attract hundreds of millions of dollars in investment to upgrade the existing 3,500km narrow-gauge network. We have also in 2017 flagged-off construction work on the Lagos-Ibadan leg of our standard-gauge network, and are close to completing the first phase of Abuja’s Mass Transit Rail System.

In that Budget speech in December, the President announced the take-off of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative. Today, five months on, that Initiative – the product of an unprecedented bilateral cooperation with the Government of Morocco – has resulted in the revitalisation of 11 blending plants across the country, the creation of 50,000 direct and indirect jobs so far, and in the production of 300,000 metric tonnes of NPK fertilizer, which is being sold to farmers at prices significantly lower than what they paid last year. By the end of 2017, that Fertilizer Initiative would have led to foreign exchange savings of US$200 million; and subsidy savings of 60 billion naira.
The Initiative is building on the solid gains of the Anchor Borrowers Programme, launched in 2015 to support our rice and wheat farmers, as part of our move towards guaranteeing food security for Nigeria.

All of this is evidence that we are taking very seriously our ambition of agricultural self-sufficiency. I am delighted to note that since 2015 our imports of rice have dropped by 90 percent, while domestic production has almost tripled. Our goal is to produce enough rice to meet local demand by 2019. In April, the President launched our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan which built on the foundations laid by the Strategic implementation Plan of 2016. The plan has set forth a clear vision for the economic development of Nigeria. I will come back to this point presently.

Another highlight of the President’s Budget Speech was our work around the Ease of Doing Business reforms. As promised we have since followed up with implementation and execution. I am pleased to note that we are now seeing verifiable progress across several areas, ranging from new Visa on Arrival scheme, to reforms at our ports and regulatory agencies.

The President also promised that 2017 would see the rollout of Executive Orders to facilitate government approvals, support procurement of locally made goods, and improve fiscal responsibility. We have kept that promise. This month we issued three Executive Orders to make it easier for citizens to get the permits and licenses they require for their businesses, to mandate Government agencies to spend more of their budgets on locally produced goods, and to promote budget transparency and efficiency. The overarching idea is to make Government Agencies and Government budgets work more efficiently for the people.

The impact of our Ease of Doing Business work is gradually being felt by businesses small and large; its successful take-off has allowed us to follow up with the MSME Clinics -our Small Business support programme, which has taken us so far to Aba, Sokoto, Jos, Katsina, and we expect to be in all other states in due course.

Let me note, at this point, that several of our Initiatives are targeted at our young people, who make up most of our population. From N-Power, to the Technology Hubs being developed nationwide, to innovation competitions such as the Aso Villa Demo Day, and our various MSME support schemes, we will do everything to nurture the immense innovative and entrepreneurial potential of our young people. We are a nation of young people, and we will ensure that our policies and programmes reflect this.

One of the highlights of our Power Sector Recovery Programme, which we launched in March, is a N701 billion Naira Payment Assurance Scheme that will resolve the financing bottlenecks that have until now constrained the operations of our gas suppliers and generation companies. Let me assure that you will soon begin to see the positive impact of these steps.

Our Solid Minerals Development Fund has also now taken off, in line with our commitment to developing the sector. Because of our unerring focus on Solid Minerals development over the last two years, the sector has, alongside Agriculture, seen impressive levels of growth – in spite of the recession.

On the whole, just as the President promised in the Budget Speech, these early months of 2017 have seen the flowering of the early fruit of all the hard work of our first eighteen months.
We opened the year with an overwhelmingly successful Eurobond Offer – evidence of continuing investor interest in Nigeria. We have also launched the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020, to build on the gains of last year’s Strategic Implementation Plan. And the implementation of our 2017 Budget, which will soon be signed into law, will bring added impetus to our ongoing economic recovery. In the 2016 Budget we spent 1.2 Trillion Naira on infrastructure projects, another milestone in the history of this country. Our 2017 Budget will double that investment.

That budget also provides for substantial investment to implement the rollout of Industrial Parks and Special Economic Zones (SEZs), as well as our Social Housing Programme. The Industrial Parks and Economic Zones will fulfill our ambition of making Nigeria a manufacturing hub, while the Family Home Fund of our Social Housing Programme will provide inexpensive mortgages for low-income individuals and families across the country.

These plans offer yet more evidence that we are ramping up the pace of work; the work of fulfilling all that we promised. In the next two years we will build on the successes of the last two. We have demonstrated a willingness to learn from our mistakes and to improve on our successes. The critical points that we must address fully in the next two years are : Agriculture and food security, Energy, (power and Petroleum,) Industrialization and Transport infrastructure. Every step of the way we will be working with the private sector, giving them the necessary incentives and creating an environment to invest and do business.

Our vision is for a country that grows what it eats and produces what it consumes. It is for a country that no longer has to import petroleum products, and develops a lucrative petrochemical industry. Very importantly it is for a country whose fortunes are no longer tied to the price of a barrel of crude, but instead to the boundless talent and energy of its people, young and old, male and female as they invest in diverse areas of the economy.
And that vision is also for a country where the wealth of the many will no longer be stolen by or reserved for a few; and where the impunity of corruption – whether in the public or private sectors – will no longer be standard operating practice; a land rid of bandits and terrorists.
As citizens you all deserve a country that works, not merely for the rich or connected, but for everyone. And our promise to you is that we will, with your support and cooperation, take every step needed to create that country of our dreams.

We also know that this journey will of necessity take time. But we will not succumb to the temptation to take short-cuts that ultimately complicate the journey. We did not find ourselves in crises overnight, and we simply do not expect overnight solutions to our challenges.

The most important thing is that we are on the right path, and we will not deviate from it, even in the face of strong temptation to choose temporary gain over long-term benefit. As the President has summed it up: “The old Nigeria is slowly but surely disappearing, and a new era is rising.”
And so we commemorate this second anniversary of our administration with confidence and optimism. I firmly believe that we have put the most difficult phase behind us; and we are witnesses to the ever-increasing intensity of the light at the end of the tunnel. We ask for your continued cooperation and support, to enable us realise all our best intentions and ambitions for Nigeria. On our part We will continue to carry you along on this journey, speak to you, explain the challenges, and share our Vision.

And while we all daily pre-occupy ourselves with pursuing the Nigerian Dream – which is the desire to better our lives and circumstances vigorously and honestly – it is inevitable that grievances and frustrations will arise from time to time.

This is normal. What is not normal, or acceptable, is employing these frustrations as justification for indulging in discrimination or hate speech or hateful conduct of any kind, or for seeking to undermine by violent or other illegal means the very existence of the sovereign entity that has brought us all together as brothers and sisters and citizens.

Nigeria belongs to all of us. No one person or group of persons is more important or more entitled than the other in this space that we all call home. And we have a responsibility to live in peace and harmony with one another, to seek peaceful and constitutional means of expressing our wishes and desires, and to resist all who might seek to sow confusion and hatred for their own selfish interests.

Before I end this speech, let me ask for your continued prayers for the restoration to full health and strength and the safe return of our President.

I congratulate all of you on today’s commemoration of this important day in the democratic calendar our country. Nigeria is on a journey of greatness, and together we shall arrive at the destination of our dreams.

May God bless you all, and bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 

Dr Alfa Sa’adu, BSc. MSc. PhD. MB.BS. MRCP. FRCP. DTM&H – Biography

Dr Sa’adu was born on 31st August 1952 in Pategi, Kwara State.

He went to London on 6th October 1960 and enrolled at Manorside Primary School in North Finchley for a year. He was attended Preparatory School and then Grammar School in Shropshire as a boarding student (1961-70).

He graduated from University College, London with a BSC in Anatomy in 1973 and from University College Hospital Medical School with MB.BS in 1976.

He passed the MRCP specialist examination when he was just a Senior House Officer at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London in 1979

Dr Sa’adu returned to Nigeria in 1979 and did his Nigerian National Youth Service for a year before teaching and training at Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital in Zaria.

He came back to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1984 and carry out a series of research studies leading to a Diploma (DTM&H), a Masters (MSC in Clinical Tropical Medicine) and a Doctorate degree in Tropical and Infectious Diseases (PhD).

Dr Sa’adu trained as a MRC Research Senior Registrar in Clinical Immunology and Allergy at the Clinical Research Centre, Harrow from 1989-92. After further training in Geriatric Medicine at University College Hospital, London (1992-94), he was appointed a Consultant Physician in Care of the Elderly Medicine at Watford General Hospital in 1994.

His leadership role in the NHS started as Acting Clinical Director of the Care of the Elderly and Intermediate Care Department at Watford in 2000. He was promoted to Divisional Director of Acute Medical Care (Accident and Emergency, Medicine, Care of the Elderly and Sexual Health) in 2002 at West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust. He was appointed as Deputy Medical Director from 2004 to 2010 and served as a non-voting member of the Trust Board.

Dr Sa’adu was selected a member of the cohort 2 of the National Top Talent Programme and was seconded to the East of England Strategic Health Authority as Chair and Clinical Lead of the Acute Care Programme Board (2009-11). He was also elected to serve as a member of the NHS East of England Innovation Council.

From 2011 to 2014, he appointed as the Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive at Ealing Hospital NHS Trust and worked as an Honorary Consultant Physician in the Department of Medicine for Older People there.

Since December 2015, Dr Sa’adu has been working at The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust as the Associate Medical Director for the Medicine Healthcare Group and as a Substantive Consultant Physician in the Care of the Elderly.

Dr Sa’adu, is the third Galadiman Pategi and was turbaned in March 2000.