By Lateef Adegbite and Elizabeth Chukwuma
Asiwaju Bola Ahme Tinubu, popular, Jagaban, a former governor of Lagos state and Nigeria President –elect, on the platform of the All Progressive Congress, APC, after the February 25, 2023, Presidential election, appears to have known that he needed to carry along the nation’s business moguls: Femi Otedola, Samad Rabiu, Aliko Dangote, President Dangote Group, and Tony Elumelu, among others, to be able to empower the millions of the unemployed Nigerian Youths.
ON March 7, 2023, the President – elect and Elumelu, the founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation, TEF, African leading Philanthropist Organisation, were said to have held a closed door in Lagos. The Nigerian President –elect was said to have visited the Business mogul for the meeting at the United Bank for Africa, UBA, Towers, in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre. The meeting, according to informed sources was said to have been at the instance of the President –elect. The duo were said to have focused their discussion on how the incoming Administration would ‘’empower and support the immensely talented Nigerian youths’’.
The Nigerian President-elect was emphatic when he said that ‘’the Elumelu Foundation will be one of the factors that will contribute to the development of youth potential and businesses’’ across the 36 states of the Federation and Abuja, the Fderal Capital Territory, FCT.
Barely two weeks after Tinubu, the Nigerian-elect and the Delta state business mogul business mogul met in Lagos, the staff and Management of United Bank for Africa, UBA, the pan African financial services group which operates in 20 Africa countries, including the United Kingdom, UK, France, the United Arab Emirate, UAE, and the North American country of the United States, and TEF, alumni rolled out the drums to celebrate his 60th birthday in Lagos on March 22, 2023.
The highlight of the 60th birthday bash was the impact of TEF’s ten year –old $100 million Entrepreneurship programme launched in 2010, which was said to have filled the gap of capital and support networks for over over 15,000 Entrepreneurs within the African Continent.
Awele Elumelu, a Medical Doctor and wife of the business mogul had said that Entrepreneurs from Nigeria, Gambia, and the Central African countries of Cameroon, Congo and other parts of the African Continent were in attendance at the founder of TEF, birthday celebration, attended by people from all walks of life , both within and outside the country.
Note that Elumelu, who is one the Nigeria’s most decorated Entrepreneurs, is also the founder and Chairman of Heirs Oil and Gas, an upstream Oil and Gas Company, which assets include Nigerian oil block OML 17 with current production capacity of 50,000 barrels of oil per day and 2P reserves of 1.2 billion barrels, with an additional 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent resources further exploration potential.
Oge Elemelu, daughter of the business icon, may have taken advantage of the business icon 60thbirthday to speak out. She had said that she is always’’ inspired by her father’s achievements’’. She noted that from Nigeria, Togo, Cameroon, Congo and other parts of the African Continent, the TEF, Entrepreneurs had shared their success stories of how the Foundation is spearheading economic growth, poverty eradication and job creation in the Continent during the birthday symposium.
Oge, who could not hide her feelings was said to have described his father as an ‘’amazing man on his 60th birthday, stressing that ‘’the most significant of such achievements- being the mirror of the world and a role model to the children’’.
TEF , which was said to have been founded in 2010, is credited , according to informed sources with the rooming of over 16,00 Entrepreneurs and creating a digital ecosystem of over one million Africans , as part of a ten –year $100 million commitment ‘’ to fund, mentor and train young African investors’’. The Value News findings shows that so far, the Foundation has empowered 4, 4,700 entrepreneurs with a total investment of over $20 million. A source disclosed that 4000, of the beneficiaries were funded directly by the Foundation while the other 470 beneficiaries were funded by the TEF, partners.
Some of the beneficiaries of the Foundation who spoke out during the UBA, Chairman, birthday Ssymposium, in Lagos, include Temitayo Johnson Olaleye, a Nigerian, whose firm specializes in youth empowerment through the funding sourced from the Foundation, stated that it has helped his business to expand to Ghana, UK, US and other African countries countries.
Another beneficiary, Monica Bolingo, from the Gambia, also said through the Elumelu Foundation’s funding support, her firm has expanded, that it could engage the services of 21 people, thereby creating job opportunities for the Gambians.
Elumelu, who sits, on a number of public and private sectors boards , including the World Economic Forum Community of Chairmen and the Global Leadership Council of the United Nations Educational,Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNICEF’s Generation unlimited, appeared to have endeared himself to many world Leaders, including Bill Clinton, a for President of the US.
The former US, President, who could not hide his feelings in a touching video that was said to have been aired during the 60th birthday celebration of the Chairman of Nigerian’s largest quoted Conglomerate, Transcorp, had said that the Nigerian investor have’’ achieved so much’’ throughout his first remarkable six decades.
Hear him: It has been inspiring for us to see you pass on to the philanthropist up close and to watch as you empower a rising generation of entrepreneurs across the African Continent. He was said to have credited the proponent of African brand of Capitalism , which positions the private sector , most importantly , the entrepreneurs , as the catalysts for the social and economic development of the African Continent.
Describing the Elumelu 60th birth day as a great celebration, he had said that he’’ deserves it’’, stressing that Nigerians and indeed, people from other parts of the world need him’’ ‘’to remain strong, wealthy and young in spirit’’.
French President Emmanuel Macron, Tony Blair, ex-British Prime Minister, Nana Akofo –Addo of Ghana, Gambia’s Hage Geingob, Felix Antoine Tshilombo, Democratic Republic of Congongo and George Weah, a former Liberian Football Captain and now the country’s President including Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan, both former Nigerian Presidents, were said to have sent goodwill messages to Elumelu, describing him a ‘’true pan Africanist’’.
President Muhammadu Buhari, may have joined other world Leaders to felicitate with Elumelu, on the milestone, affirming the honour and pride that the business mogul has brought to Nigeria and the African Continent in general, noting that he has lighted up the way for many’’ to grow through inspiration, mentorship and training with focus on raising a generation of new African entrepreneurs’’.
The Katsina state born Nigerian President who was said to have alluded to TEF , describing it as the leading philanthropist Organisation in the African Continent that has identified and catalyzed nearly 16,000 entrepreneurs and created digital ecosystem of over one million Africans , as part of a ten year $100million commitment to fund, has confirmed that the Foundation has mentored and trained young African entrepreneurs.
The Nigerian President who is felicitating with Elumelu, the founder and Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the family owned investment company, on his 60th birthday, commended him for his commitment ‘’to improving lives and transforming the African Continent’’.
The Nigerian President averred that his’’ benevolence typifies his humble background and family upbringing’’ , starting out as a young banker, daring to dream of a modern and technologically friendly financial institution, Standard Trust Bank, STB, and now leading to one of the biggest mergers with the UBA, which made history and strengthened the nation’s economy .
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former minister of Finance and Coordinator of the Economy during former President Obasanjo’s Administration and now Director General, World Trade Organisation, WTO, and, Akinwumi Adesina, a former minister of Agriculture and Rural Development during Jonathan’s regime, and now President, African Development Bank, AfDB, and Okey Oramah, President, African Export – Import Bank, were said to have also sent goodwill messages to the UBA Chairman, noting that his contributions to the nation’s banking sector has helped ‘’to strengthen the country’s economy. Vintage Elumelu.