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A New Dawn at Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu

The story of Akanu Ibiam International Airport’s transformation is a beacon of hope. It underscores the importance of effective leadership, accountability, and the power of positive communication.

Festus Keyamo SAN, Minister of Aviation

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▪️ Ben Etiaba

In recent times, the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu has been thrust into the spotlight, not for its usual hustle and bustle, but due to a viral video that cast a less-than-flattering light on its officials. The video, shared by a user known as @nwanyi_ocha on various social media platforms, highlighted an embarrassing and beggarly attitude of airport officials who were seen harassing passengers for money. This scenario, familiar to many regular travelers, drew a reaction that was both empathetic and infuriated, as it resonated with the experiences of countless others who pass through this crucial gateway into and out of Nigeria.

However, in a commendable response to these complaints, the Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo SAN, swiftly acknowledged the issue. His statement confirming that he had received numerous complaints about the extortionate behavior of some airport staff was a beacon of hope for many. It suggested that the government was listening and was ready to act.

A Remarkable Transformation

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Akanu Ibiam International Airport

Just yesterday, I had the opportunity to pass through this same airport and my experience was nothing short of transformative. The contrast was stark and almost unbelievable. Where one might have expected the usual demands for money, there was now a refreshing sense of professionalism and courtesy. Every official I encountered, from the entry gate to the boarding area, was polite, helpful, and, most importantly, did not ask for any money. For the first time in as long as I could remember, I was not accosted by staff seeking bribes or handouts.

This remarkable change did not go unnoticed. I took the time to commend the various government agency officials on duty, including the Chief of DSS, for their improved attitude and conduct. This shift is a testament to what can be achieved when there is a genuine commitment to change from the top echelons of leadership.

The Power of Positive Communication

It is crucial that we communicate not only the negative stories about the hard-pressed officials of government agencies but also the positive changes when they occur. The viral video and subsequent actions by the Minister of Aviation have shown us that our voices can lead to tangible improvements. The negative stories may draw attention and prompt action, but it is the positive stories that sustain morale and encourage further progress.

In this context, Festus Keyamo deserves special mention. His swift response to the viral video and the changes it catalyzed are commendable. By addressing the issue head-on and ensuring that improvements were made, he has set a precedent for accountability and responsiveness in public service. His actions have instilled a new level of trust and hope among travelers and stakeholders alike.

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Festus Keyamo SAN (R) and Ben Etiaba

A Tribute to the Minister of Aviation

Festus Keyamo SAN, since taking office, has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to reform and excellence in Nigeria’s aviation sector. His tenure has been marked by a series of initiatives aimed at improving the experience of travelers, enhancing airport infrastructure, and promoting Nigeria as a hub of international aviation.

Keyamo’s background as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and his reputation for integrity and diligence have been instrumental in his approach to governance. He has consistently shown that he understands the complexities of the aviation sector and is willing to tackle its challenges head-on. The recent improvements at Akanu Ibiam International Airport are a testament to his leadership and vision.

Under his stewardship, the aviation sector has seen increased investment, better regulatory oversight, and a focus on customer service that is gradually transforming the industry. The changes at Enugu airport are just one example of how effective leadership can bring about positive change.

Encouraging a Culture of Excellence

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The improvements at Akanu Ibiam International Airport should serve as a model for other airports and government agencies across Nigeria. It is essential that we build a culture of excellence and professionalism within our public service. This can only be achieved through continuous training, adequate remuneration, and a system that rewards good behavior while swiftly addressing misconduct.

Public servants are the face of government to the average citizen. Their conduct can significantly influence public perception of the government’s effectiveness and integrity. When officials are courteous, professional, and honest, it not only makes for a pleasant experience for citizens but also fosters trust and confidence in the government.

A Hopeful Outlook for Nigeria

The transformation witnessed at Enugu airport gives us a glimpse of what is possible for Nigeria. It shows that with the right leadership and a collective commitment to improvement, we can create a system that works as efficiently and effectively as any in the world.

It is easy to be cynical and pessimistic about the state of affairs in Nigeria, given the numerous challenges we face. However, stories like this remind us that change is possible. They remind us that there are dedicated individuals within our government who are working tirelessly to make things better.

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We must continue to hold our public servants accountable, but we should also be ready to commend them when they rise to the occasion. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool for encouraging good behavior. When officials see that their efforts are recognized and appreciated, they are more likely to continue on that path and inspire others to do the same.

Conclusion

The story of Akanu Ibiam International Airport’s transformation is a beacon of hope. It underscores the importance of effective leadership, accountability, and the power of positive communication. By acknowledging and celebrating the good, we can foster an environment where excellence is the norm rather than the exception.

Let us continue to support and encourage our public servants. Let us share stories of progress and improvement, no matter how small they may seem. Together, we can build a Nigeria that works for everyone, a Nigeria that we can all be proud of.

Festus Keyamo’s role in this transformation cannot be overstated. His swift action and commitment to improving the aviation sector are commendable. As we look to the future, let us take inspiration from this story and work towards a brighter, more hopeful Nigeria.

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Chief Ben Etiaba FCA, FCCA, AIMC, is a distinguished professional and community leader. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant and became a Fellow of both ACCA and ICAN. With over thirty years of professional experience, he has held significant positions in industry and practice, including founding his own firms in London and Nigeria. He has served as Chairman of the ICAN UK District and the Enugu Sports Club. His dedication to community service is evident through his involvement in numerous boards and organizations, earning him several international and national awards. Ben, who ran for governorship in Anambra in 2021, is passionate about his family, public service, golf, and tennis. He holds the traditional titles of ‘Ifennia Nnewi’ and the ‘Ezechikwadolu of Ukpo Ancient Kingdom’.

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FG and Labour Unions Agree on ₦70,000 Minimum Wage—Minister Announces

In his Democracy Day speech on June 12, 2024, the President had assured that an executive bill proposing the new national minimum wage for workers would soon be forwarded to the National Assembly for passage.

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Bola Tinubu

In a significant development for Nigerian workers, the Federal Government has reached an agreement with Organised Labour on a new minimum wage of ₦70,000. The announcement was made by the Minister of Information, Mohammed Idris, following a crucial meeting held in Abuja on Thursday.

The meeting, which included President Bola Tinubu and leaders from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), resulted in the breakthrough decision. “We are happy to announce today (Thursday) that both the Organised Labour and the Federal Government have agreed on an increase on the ₦62,000 minimum wage. The new national minimum that Mr President is expected to submit to the National Assembly is ₦70,000,” said a visibly elated Idris to the State House correspondents.

The announcement was further endorsed by the presence of notable figures such as NLC President Joe Ajaero, TUC boss Festus Osifo, and Labour Minister Nkiruka Onyejeocha. These officials flanked the minister as he broke the news.

Joe Ajaero confirmed this agreement, stating, “₦70,000 was where we were on the issue of the minimum wage.” He emphasized that the minimum wage is set to be reviewed every three years, moving away from the erstwhile five-year period. “What they have announced in terms of the amount of ₦70,000 happens to be where we are now. But we will not wait for another five years to come and agree,” Ajaero reiterated.

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In turn, Onyejeocha revealed that President Tinubu has instructed the Ministers of Finance and Budget, Wale Edun and Atiku Bagudu, to devise strategies to address ongoing disputes, particularly concerning the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU).

This landmark agreement follows a prolonged series of discussions between labour leaders and the President over recent weeks, succeeding months of unproductive negotiations with a tripartite committee on the minimum wage, constituted by President Tinubu in January.

The tripartite committee, encompassing representatives from state and federal governments and the Organised Private Sector, had proposed ₦62,000. However, labour unions had staunchly demanded ₦250,000, recognizing the current ₦30,000 wage as unsustainable given the country’s economic conditions, including inflation and the high cost of living spurred by the removal of the petrol subsidy.

During last Thursday’s meeting, Tinubu called for realistic expectations regarding the minimum wage, saying, “You have to cut your coat according to available cloth. Before we can finalize the minimum wage process, we have to look at the structure.”

In his Democracy Day speech on June 12, 2024, the President had assured that an executive bill proposing the new national minimum wage for workers would soon be forwarded to the National Assembly for passage.

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Confirming this on Thursday, the information minister stated that the ₦70,000 “agreed” amount would be communicated to the National Assembly in the coming days, signaling a prompt follow-up to the decision reached.

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EEDC Commends TCN for Its Support Towards Efficient Service Delivery

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▪️Ferdinand Agu

Enugu, Nigeria – The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company PLC (EEDC) has lauded the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) for its invaluable assistance in ensuring network stability and enhancing service quality across the South East. This commendation underscores the significance of cooperation between these key players in the Nigerian electricity sector.

During the second-quarter interface meeting held at the TCN Enugu region office over the past weekend, the Deputy Managing Director of EEDC, Dr. Ernest Mupwaya, expressed his appreciation. He emphasized the critical role TCN has played in helping EEDC address operational challenges and improve power supply to its customers.

Dr. Mupwaya, who led the EEDC delegation alongside Chief Technical Officer Engr. Vincent Ekwekwu and other senior management staff, highlighted the importance of these interface meetings. He noted, “The meetings have been incredibly useful in resolving operational challenges, thus enhancing the quality of supply to our customers.”

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Further praising the relationship between the two organizations, Dr. Mupwaya described it as both cordial and fruitful. He reassured all stakeholders of EEDC’s commitment to ongoing collaboration with TCN to sustain and improve service delivery.

Representing TCN’s General Manager, Dr. Thomas Inugonum, the Assistant General Manager of TCN Enugu Region, Engr. Charles Iwuamadi, also spoke highly of the collaboration. Accompanied by the Regional Operations Manager, Engr. Anthony Akinuli, and other management staff, Engr. Iwuamadi reiterated the significant impact of these interface meetings.

Engr. Akinuli echoed these sentiments, pointing out the mutual benefits of the partnership. “If EEDC grows, part of the credit will come to TCN,” he stated, underscoring TCN’s commitment to supporting EEDC. He called for enhanced communication between the entities to ensure seamless operations and efficient service delivery.

The quarterly interface meeting, marking its second session for the year 2024, was instituted to foster collaboration between EEDC and TCN. This initiative focuses on reviewing operational activities and discussing challenges affecting network performance and customer service.

Through these regular interactions, both EEDC and TCN aim to synergize their efforts, ensuring that the electricity sector’s overall performance continues to improve. The ongoing dialogue and cooperation exemplify a shared passion for excellence and a commitment to meeting consumer needs.

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By maintaining this collaborative relationship and addressing challenges head-on, EEDC and TCN are setting a precedent for how partnerships can drive growth and service improvement in the power sector.

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BHSO Old Boys Association Inaugurates Health Insurance Committee, Pledges N1 Million Support

“Your first task is to identify, assess, and select a capable insurance company to partner with for this project. This initiative underscores our dedication to providing quality healthcare services for all,” Chief Nnamede stated.

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Chief Ambrose Nnamede

Ferdinand Agu (Enugu)

In a move towards enhancing the well-being of their members, the President General of Boys High School Ozalla (BHSO) Old Boys Association, Nkanu West LGA of Enugu State, Chief Ambrose Nnamede, this afternoon inaugurated the Health Insurance Committee of the body through a Zoom meeting. During this virtual event, Chief Nnamede read his address and offered words of encouragement to the committee, underscoring the association’s commitment to providing quality healthcare services for its members and their families.

“This moment marks a significant milestone in our efforts to enhance the well-being and security of our members and their families,” Chief Nnamede stated. “Your first task is to identify, assess, and select a capable insurance company to partner with for this project. This initiative underscores our dedication to providing quality healthcare services for all.”

The committee is tasked with creating a comprehensive and affordable health insurance plan, educating members on the plan’s benefits and health practices, efficiently managing insurance claims, and ensuring the plan’s financial sustainability. Regular assessments and stakeholder engagement will guide the committee’s progress towards fostering a healthier community.

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Responding on behalf of the committee, Honourable Chijioke Ogbodo, the Deputy President General (DPG) of the association and Chairman of the committee, expressed his gratitude to the President General and the entire association for the confidence reposed in them. “We are honoured by this trust and will diligently work to meet and exceed the expectations set before us,” Honourable Ogbodo said. “Our commitment is to ensure that every member and their family can access quality healthcare services.”

In a gesture of significant support, Chief Nnamede pledged 1 million naira to the project, which will greatly bolster the committee’s efforts as they embark on this crucial initiative. This generous contribution exemplifies the association’s dedication to the well-being of its members.

The Health Insurance Committee comprises notable members, including the association’s Secretary General, Olisemeka Obi, who serves as the committee secretary; BoT Chairman, Chief Chris Arum; Pharmacist Vincent Nwani; Chief Magistrate Osondu Chukwuani; and Prince Chijioke Chukwuani. Each member brings valuable expertise and commitment to the table, promising a robust and effective approach to the project.

Honourable Ogbodo further emphasized the importance of the committee’s mission, stating, “Our work will not only provide immediate health benefits but will also build a foundation for long-term health security within our community. We are committed to making a tangible difference.” His dedication and leadership are expected to drive the committee towards achieving their goals efficiently and effectively.

The BHSO Old Boys Association’s initiative is a call to action for other associations and the wider society to prioritize health and well-being. “We encourage other associations to take similar steps towards ensuring the health and security of their members,” Chief Nnamede urged. “Healthcare is a fundamental need, and collective efforts can lead to substantial improvements.”

The inauguration of the Health Insurance Committee is a testament to Chief Ambrose Nnamede led Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the BHSO Old Boys Association’s proactive approach to member welfare. The committee’s efforts are poised to set a benchmark for other organizations aiming to enhance their members’ quality of life.

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As the committee begins its work, the association looks forward to the positive impact this initiative will have on its members. The collective effort of the committee, supported by the generous pledge from the President General, promises a brighter, healthier future for all.

This inauguration marks the beginning of a transformative journey for the BHSO Old Boys Association. The focus on health insurance reflects a broader commitment to comprehensive member welfare, setting a powerful example for other organizations to follow.

Chief Nnamede reiterated the association’s commitment, “Together, we will make a difference in our members’ lives. This is just the beginning, and we are confident that with the dedication of our committee, we will achieve our goals and more.” GMTNewsng

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