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Sex education lessons from Mississippi and Nigeria

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Nigeria and Mississippi are a world apart physically, but the rural American state and the African country have much in common when it comes to the obstacles they had to overcome to implement sex education in their schools.
Three lessons about overcoming these obstacles come out of research that several colleagues and I conducted on how sex education came to be in Nigeria and Mississippi.
The lessons are particularly relevant for similarly religious and conservative places where people often worry – as they do throughout the world – that teaching young people about contraception and condoms will make them more likely to have sex. The lessons also come as the United States itself is embroiled in an ongoing controversy over whether to fund comprehensive sex education or emphasize the abstinence-only approach. More than half of states in the U.S. require that sex education stress abstinence. Comprehensive sex education in African and other developing countries is more the exception than the rule.

Sex education does not cause more sex

Although people often worry that sex education will lead to promiscuity, the evidence doesn’t support the notion that sex education makes young people more sexually active – at least not in the United States or in Africa.
Despite the fact that comprehensive sex education has been shown to protect adolescent health, it can be difficult to dispel fears that it will corrupt young people and reduce parental and religious authority. This is particularly so in socially conservative places.

Different approaches

Not all sex education is created equal. The gold standard from a health perspective is referred to as “comprehensive” sex education. The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States defines this as “age-appropriate, medically accurate information on a broad set of topics related to sexuality including human development, relationships, decision making, abstinence, contraception and disease prevention.”
Comprehensive sex education has been shown to delay the age of the first sexual encounter, increase use of condoms and contraception, and reduce rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
Comprehensive sex education is very different than abstinence-only education. Abstinence-only education, in best-case scenarios, teaches the same life skills but without reference to contraception. Most of the research on abstinence-only education finds it to be less effective than comprehensive sex education in delaying the first sexual encounter, increasing condom use or reducing the number of sexual partners.

Same problems, different places

Why compare experiences of sex education in a mid-sized U.S. state to those in the most populous country in Africa? It turns out Mississippi and Nigeria share some key similarities.
Mississippi is among the U.S. states with the highest teen pregnancy rates. In Nigeria, almost a quarter of women have begun childbearing by age 19.
Mississippi and Nigeria are also highly religious and rural. Both also have underfunded education and health systems. Despite these conditions, Nigeria mandated the teaching of sex education in 2001. However, implementation didn’t begin in earnest until 2011 with the support of a grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. By that time, the curriculum had shifted from comprehensive to abstinence-only. Mississippi required school districts to implement sex education by 2012 but under similarly restrictive conditions.
The jury is still out on the effects of sex education in Mississippi and Nigeria. However, some positive evidence exists for both places. For instance, in Mississippi, more than three-quarters of instructors surveyed in 2015 believed that sex education was promoting healthy relationships. And in four states in Nigeria, researchers concluded that the curriculum increased students’ confidence to refuse unwanted sex.
Three lessons about overcoming controversies around sex education emerged from my research in Nigeria and Mississippi.

Local organizations are crucial

First, strong, local organizations are necessary to promote sex education. In both places, homegrown organizations lobbied, connected people and provided legitimacy to the idea of teaching sex education. Crucially, these organizations were supported by funding from private donors or the federal government.
The Women’s Foundation of Mississippi funded and published a report showing the cost of teen pregnancy to taxpayers. The Center for Mississippi Health Policy supported a 2011 survey that showed parents overwhelmingly supported sex education. Mississippi First trains teachers on comprehensive sex education. It also helps channel funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to school districts that teach evidence-based sex education curricula.
In Nigeria, Action Health Incorporated led a coalition of NGOs, professional associations, donor organizations and federal ministries to form a task force. The task force helped write guidelines for sex education in 1996 that led to the adoption of curriculum in 2001. The Association for Reproductive and Family Health led the nationwide implementation of the curriculum with support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

A cure for societal ills

Second, to promote sex education, these organizations presented sex education as a solution to social problems. In Mississippi, the problem was identified as the taxpayer cost of teen pregnancy. In Nigeria, it was the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The Mississippi Economic Policy Center found in 2011 that the county-by-county cost of teen pregnancy to taxpayers was an estimated US$155 million in 2009. This cost was due to lost tax revenue, medical care, public assistance, foster care and other expenses. In Nigeria, data in the late 1990s indicated that 2 to 4 million Nigerians – approximately 5 percent of the adult population – were HIV positive. Many feared that Nigeria’s epidemic would come to resemble those in southern Africa. Sex education, which promised to reduce teen pregnancy and quell HIV transmission, served as a solution to these problems.

Compromise is necessary

Third, those promoting sex education were strategic. Proponents reached out to religious leaders, school officials and parents in order to allay their fears about teaching their kids about sex. And they made sure to stress that sex education was about health and life skills.
Still, in Mississippi and Nigeria, supporters had to compromise about the content of the curriculum. They agreed to change words and remove controversial sections. Consequently, in Mississippi, school districts can choose to teach abstinence-only curriculum. Condom demonstrations are not permitted, and the curriculum must be taught in gender-segregated classrooms. In Nigeria, the name of the curriculum was changed from the “National Comprehensive Sexuality Education Curriculum” to the more euphemistic “Family Life and HIV Education.” In addition, several more conservative states removed the words “sex” and “breast,” as well as images that show sexually transmitted infections.
While there is no universal way to ensure access to sex education, the experiences in Nigeria and Mississippi show that it can be done – even in places that are most resistant to the idea.

 

Rachel Sullivan Robinson
Associate Professor, American University School of International Service

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Nigeria awards scholarship to 3 young Scientists

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The government has granted full scholarship up to Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) level to three young scientists who came tops at the 2018 Young Nigerian Scientists Presidential Award Competition.
The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari said this while declaring open the Technology and Innovation Expo 2019 in Enugu, South-east Nigeria.
Commendation
President Buhari commended the creativity and competitive spirit of the Candidates; Master Okeke Obianuju from the Federal Capital Territory, Master Fafemi Daniel from Kwara State and Master Joshua Mark from Akwa Ibom State who emerged first, second and third respectively.
He said; ”Nigeria’s greatest resource is human capital and this administration will continue to support human resources development which is richly embodied in our youth who make up tens of millions of incredible talented persons, constantly pushing and striving towards greatness.”
“The future of Nigerians belongs to our youths and it behoves on government to create the enabling environment for them to develop to the fullest their potentials. We will harness their energy and their talents to make Nigeria achieve true greatness” the President stated.
Science and Technology
President Buhari said; ”It is my conviction that we need the effective promotion and application of science and technology to take Nigeria to the next level of prosperous, strong and stable country. This we can only achieve by deploying innovations in science and technology to improve on our existing and new infrastructure, fighting corruption and poverty, improvement in national security, promotion of job creation and encourage local and foreign investment.”
Government support
Speaking further, he stated that the government would support the creation of invention funds to strengthen Research and Development, training programmes and partnership with tertiary institutions, technical schools and trade centers in the area of research.
President Buhari emphasised that the National Science Research and innovation Fund is being considered to remove grey areas for the passage into law in the country.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha represented President Buhari at the event.
Innovation
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu says the present administration is moving Nigeria to a new direction of a knowledge-based economy that is innovation driven.
“Many of our research findings are now products available in the market place for our people to buy and use. We now make sure that the research we do focus on urgent national needs,” Dr Onu stated.
The Governor of Enugu State, Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwaunyi and all the top Executives of the State including all the Stakeholders in the Science and technology sector witnessed the opening ceremony.

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Government reaches agreement with Academic Staff Union of Universities

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The Nigerian Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have reached possible agreement towards resolving the ongoing strike by the lectures.
Minister of Labour and Employment Senator Chris Ngige, said this at a reconciliatory meeting with ASUU on Monday in Abuja.
The Agreement
Ngige said the meeting was fruitful as an agreement had been reached between Government and the striking university lecturers.
According to him, “Government has released 15.4 billion naira for the payment of the salary shortfalls which is one of the major demands of ASUU”.
He stated further, “the issue of salaries in tertiary institutions, especially in Universities, the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Accountant General have provided evidence that on 31 of December, 2018, 15.4 billion naira was remitted.
“Also the issue of Earned Allowances in the Universities system, showed the evidence that Mr President has approved the sum of 20 billion naira to be used to offset the outstanding arrears of the 2009 and 2012, audit verified earnings, in the University system”.

Ngige noted that the money was being worked on and will be released to ASUU as soon as the process are completed.
Pension
On the issue Pension, Ngige stated that “ASUU has fulfilled their own side of the bargain in terms of NUPECO, which is the Pension Fund Administration company that ASUU floated to take care of pension for people in the University system.
“The Pension regulator, the PENCOM, has asked certain positions to be fulfilled and they gave ASUU a temporary license and that license has expired, and ASUU have submitted all the documents and have fulfilled the conditions needed for them to get their license,” Ngige said.
He noted that the meeting resolved to mandate the Ministry of Education, to get in touch with PENCOM to make sure that the permanent license is issued to ASUU as soon as possible.
University Revitalisation
The Minister also addressed the issue of University revitalisation the previous Administration entered into with ASUU. The issue was for the revitalization of 220 Universities annually for the next 6 years.
“This is starting from 2009, this Government will look for resources for the funding.
“We have also offered ASUU some token to show good faith and that amount is known to them. Issue of visitation panel is taken care of.
“These are major issue we discussed and ASUU is supposed to take back the resolution of these meetings to their members. We expect they will get back to us by Thursday, ” he said.
ASUU Response
Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU National President, said the National Executive Committee of the union will review its decisions based on the new commitment by the Federal Government.
He said the strike could only be called off after the NEC meeting of the union but did not say when the meeting will hold.
The lecturers have been on strike since November 4 to demand improved funding of Universities and implementation of previous agreements with the government among other things.

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Fees increment: NANS vows to shut down Ibadan Polytechnic

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The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has threatened to shut down the Ibadan Polytechnic over the astronomical increase in tuition fees by management.
NANS gave the threat in a statement jointly signed by its leadership, Mr Adeyemi Azeez, NANS National PRO and Mr Adekitan Adebisi, NANS South-West Coordinator on Friday in Abuja.
It expressed displeasure over the increment noting that nothing the poor had the right to be educated in the country.
“NANS condemned this in totality as we cannot continue to watch our fundamental rights being turned to a source of revenue by the anti-poor and anti-students by the government.
“NANS describes this increment at this trying period for civil servants as a deliberate attempt towards making the future of promising Nigerian students to become sudden academic dropouts.”
The leadership of NANS also alleged that the present administration by this increase was making education not affordable to the sons and daughters of the poor.
The association however, called on the government to reverse the school fees to status-quo to avoid industrial action.
“Failure to adhere to the above ultimatum, NANS national leadership shall mobilise en-mass for protest on Thursday, Jan. 10, and shut down activities in Oyo State.
“NANS hereby directs all students not to pay the school fees until NANS informs otherwise.”

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Scholarship: Nigerian students in Russia send SOS

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Nigerians studying in Russia under the Bilateral Education Agreement (BEA) say that they are finding it increasingly difficult to continue with their scholarship in that country.
Under the BEA scholarship, the Russian Government takes care of the students’ tuition, while the Nigerian government pays each of the students 500 dollars monthly for their upkeep.
Mr Lawal Mustapha, President, Association of Nigerian Scholarship Students in Russia, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone from Samara, Russia, on Thursday that students were owed 20 months arrears.
“We are appealing to the Nigerian government to pay 20 months stipend arrears owed to us; we also plead that they pay us the stipend as at when due.
“The BEA award stipulates that the Nigerian government takes care of our living cost monthly with 500 dollars, while the host country pays the students’ tuition,” he said.
He said the Russian government had faithfully held up their end of the agreements by paying BEA scholarship students’ tuition as at when due.
“But unfortunately, the Nigerian government has not faithfully kept their own part of the agreement,” Mustapha said.
He said the students needed the money to pay for their accommodation, Visa renewals, health insurance cover, feeding and other bills.
According to him, the affected students have been living in hardship as many have been threatened with eviction notice from their hostels and deportation.
“We have resorted to looking for other means to fend for ourselves by working illegally for long hours in the cold winter for meagre pay. We are suffering,” he said.
Reacting, Alhaja Asta Ndajiwo, Director, Federal Scholarship Board, said that efforts were being made to pay the students their outstanding arrears.
She said the board had forwarded memos to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to start payment of both 2017 and 2018 arrears of the stipend.
“The arrears will be paid to the scholars bank accounts,” she promised.
NAN reports that the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, during a news conference in Abuja on Thursday also assured the students that their arrears will be paid.
He said the Federal Government was committed to fulfilling its financial obligations to students pursuing undergraduate and postgraduate degrees both at home and abroad.
“On our part, we will do our utmost best to meet our obligations arising from all bilateral agreement as much as circumstances will permit.
“Nigeria under the Federal Government Scholarship, BEA and Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme, has 2,953 students studying abroad,” he said.
Adamu said that the balance of the 2018 appropriation had been released with focus to offsetting the arrears owed to students.
“It is important to note that since the inception of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, the Federal Government has committed about N3 billion under the three schemes.
“As I speak, the balance of the 2018 appropriation has been released and preparation is on to pay the scholars,” he said.
No fewer than 753 Nigerian students under the BEA programme are currently pursuing various undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Russia; Algeria; China; Hungary; Morocco; Egypt; Cuba; Romania; Turkey; Ukraine, Tunisia and Serbia.

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Education

FG To Sack Unqualified Teachers

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There are indications that Nigeria needs two hundred and fifty thousand teachers annually to bridge the existing deficit even with the presence of a large number of those said to be unqualified.

This situation has become worrisome to the registrar, teachers registration council professor Josiah Ajiboye.
As much as there is prevalence of unqualified teachers with the attendant effect on the education standard, the shortfall in the number of teachers may not have been helped by the mass sack in Kaduna state.

The existence of unbaked teachers makes it imperative to clean up the sector and this has attracted the attention of the teachers’ council.
Although over five hundred thousand teachers have been registered since 2016, the Nigerian government is concerned that the annual requirement of teachers of two hundred and fifty thousand is yet to be met.
Poor salary for teachers is one major reason the profession is becoming unattractive, which in part explains the short fall.
With a push by organized labour in Nigeria for an N30, 000 minimum wage which include teachers salaries, it is the expectation of many that more graduates will show interest in teaching.

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Education Minister Absent At FG/ASUU Meeting

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The federal government is not happy with the five weeks old strike by the academic staff union of universities and has appealed to the teachers to call off their action.

The minister of labour and employment Chris Ngige at the opening of yet another meeting with ASUU at which the minister of education, Adamu Adamu was conspicuously absent relayed government’s position.
Ngige appealed for the industrial action to be called off in the interest of students who bear the brunt with loss in academic calendar
Also at the meeting was the president, Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba who challenged government on ending the strike rather than unnecessarily delaying the process
Present at the meeting were the president of ASUU, representative of the permanent secretary, ministry of education and representatives of the office of the secretary to the government of the federation and national incomes, salaries and wages commission.

In the last two weeks the minister of education, Adamu Adamu had held inconclusive meetings with the lecturers
ASUU is demanding full implementation of the 2009 agreement among others.

 

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Education

Buhari reduces cost of forms for JAMB, NECO

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Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the reduction in the cost of forms for the Joint Admissions Matriculation’s Board’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (JAMB UTME), National Examination Council’s Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (NECO SSCE) and the Basic Education Certificate Examination.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, announced this on Wednesday during the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja.

“The Exam Agencies are not meant to be revenue generating bodies, they’re only supposed to cover costs/operating expenses,” Adamu said.
“The sharp increase in remittances by JAMB (from less than N60m in 2010–2016 to >N15 BILLION in 2017/18) have shown that the fees being charged could be reduced,” he added.
Meanwhile, JAMB Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, in August had said that there was no plan to review downward the fee of Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) form from the current N7,500.
He said the UTME registration fee is one of the cheapest in the world and stated that remittances were made possible by the prudent management of resources by the board.
However, the minister, in his announcement stated that the president directed the Ministry to look into the reduction following the “significant improvement in revenues being remitted to the Treasury by the Education Agencies.”
The reduction will be implemented from January 2019 with the cost of JAMB UTME Form dropping from N5,000 to N3,500, NECO will drop from N11,350 to N9,850.

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Education

Scholarships awarded to Commonwealth students

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Commonwealth Shared Scholarships are available each year to fund Commonwealth citizens’ study in the UK

ALUMNI: Toyyib Oladimeji Abdulkareem

THE UNIVERSITY of Wolverhampton has secured four Commonwealth scholarships to support international students during their studies.
Commonwealth Shared Scholarships are available each year to fund Commonwealth citizens’ study in the UK.
The students are doing full-time postgraduate qualifications and are jointly supported by their university.
The Scholarships support candidates from the least developed and lower middle income Commonwealth countries and the University of Wolverhampton is supporting four students from Nigeria, Ghana and Pakistan.
The scholarships have been awarded to:
– Toyyib Oladimeji Abdulkareem from Nigeria, who is studying for a Master’s in Public Health.
– Eugnia Agnes Gillette from Ghana; Mary Ogwuma Ogaga from Nigeria and Muhammad Awais – Paracha from Pakistan who are all Master of Science in Health and Social Care students.
Commonwealth scholar Mary Ogwuma Ogaga, from Nigeria, said: “Being granted the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship to study in the University of Wolverhampton is an opportunity of a lifetime.
“It is a chance to get high-quality education in one of the UK’s universities, renowned for high academic standards and research excellence. “
Funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Commonwealth Shared Scholarships enable talented and motivated individuals to gain the knowledge and skills required for sustainable development, and are aimed at those who could not otherwise afford to study in the UK.

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Education

Lagos Polytechnic marks 40th anniversary

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The Lagos State Polytechnic, LASPOTECH South West Nigeria has kicked off activities to mark the anniversary of its 40 years of existence.
The institution says it has made remarkable impact on individuals and the society since it began operations in 1978.
Rector of the institution, Mr. Samuel Ogunro said the last four decades has placed the institution a global scale among its counterpart with numerous achievements which makes the celebration a deserving moment.
International collaboration
He explained that the institution had earned several awards and was reputed to signing memorandum of understanding with International College of Aeronautics and Aviation Studies, South Korean Government and other international agencies to enhance its global relevance.
According to the Rector, the polytechnic has produced over 120,000 students over the years and who are making impacts in various works of life including the current Deputy Governor of Ogun State in South West Nigeria, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga.
He gave an assurance that the polytechnic would continue to maintain excellence in all its programmes and activities, bearing in mind the contributions of successive governments of the state towards the development of the institution.
Introducing Agriculture
Sogunro who announced the approval of the commencement of ‘General Agriculture’ for all students by the Academic Board of the institution said development of Agriculture is one of the cardinal objective of the institution.
“This is in effect to mobilise our students for the realisation of mass production of Agricultural produce, poultry and fish farming.
It is also in line with the 40th Anniversary Public Lecture on ‘Repositioning Education for Technological Development and Food Security’; which will be delivered by one of Nigeria’s iconic figures, Mr. Tony Elumelu, Chairman Heirs Holdings, United Bank of Africa (UBA), Transcorp and founder, Tony Elumelu Fondation on 20th November at the school premises.” he said
The one-week programme which kicked off on Thursday with a football match, followed by an Interdenominational service, and a Jummat service on Friday, is expected to round off on November 22nd with recognition of staff of the polytechnic who have distinguished themselves in various capacities.

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NGO organises spelling bee for educational excellence

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An Abuja-based Non-Governmental Organisation, “Shamudo Spelling” has organised a spelling bee competition in the nation’s capital to help promote excellence in education among the youth.
The event which had about 22 primary and secondary schools participating, attracted highly placed members of the society and Nollywood, including the former Niger State Governor, Dr. Mua’azu Babangida Aliyu who is the grand patron of the NGO and popular actors, Charles Awurum and Emmanuel Fred, among others.
The former Governor of Niger state, Dr Babangida Aliyu who spoke during the event advised the organizers, students, parents, public and private sectors to give more priority to support the organisation in other to improve educational standard in the country.
Dr Babaguda Aliyu encouraged organizers to stratiegise the words so as not to have both primary and secondary schools spelling same words as he praised the pupils and students who participated while urging them to also engage in extra-cullicula activities
Commenting on the forthcoming general election, he urged them to vote wisely so as to ensure that the right persons are the ones voted into power come 2019.
“When you vote, do not vote based on emotions or on the fact that the person is from your place, but vote for competence, experience, development and welfare. Whether the cat is white or black does not matter, so long as it catches the rat. It does not matter where our President is from, so long as he is competent,” the grand patrol said.
Always bear in mind the sacrifices your parents are making, to get your uniform and school fees, when they give you rice, they eat eba. when you grow, the responsibility will switch. Dont play with this opportunity.
“Parents, pay attention to the education of your children, pay attention to the kinds of friends they keep, but dont go attacking their teachers when they err, report them to appropriate authorities, so they do not copy such habit from you,” Dr Babagida Aliya noted.
He therefore presented awards to teachers, police officers, and others who were selected based on nomination.
The Coordinator of the NGO, “Shamudo Spelling Bee”, Comrade John Anyebe, while addressing the press, appealed for adequate attention to educational programs such as these.
While expressing his gratitude to the grand patron, Babangida Aliyu, Dr. Jumai Ahmadu and other supporters of his NGO, Mr Anyebe underscored the importance of giving children qualitative education and urged parents and teachers to make it a reality so that the future of their children would be brighter.
Some of the prizes given out to winners inluded a bicycle, galaxy tab, text books and medals, among others.

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Chief Chinedu Obidigwe ( Akaoma Jide Aku) The Federal House of Representatives Candidate of APGA Anambra East and West federal constituency

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Divisional Head, Listing Business at the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Jude Chiemeka comes with over 24 years’ experience in Securities Trading and Asset Management across markets in Africa. He joined NSE from United Capital Securities Limited a subsidiary of United Capital Plc, where he was the MD/CEO. He had previously helmed affairs at leading investment banking firms in Nigeria such as Chapel Hill Denham Securities and Rencap Securities (Nigeria). He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers and an alumnus of University of Lagos, Lagos Business School as well as University of Oxford, UK.

 

Winning Sunday with Creative /Visual Artist ,Kingsley Ayogu @ the Ayogu Kingsley digital gallery Space. : The Young Netpreneur for the Week.

Art steps beyond the realms of being just an illustration when the piece which has been created holds a narrative. This depth of artistic expression can be achieved through diving into the abundant ocean of human emotion, a depth achieved by 23-year-old artist Ayogu Kingsley Ifeanyichukwu. He accomplishes this depth not only through the photographic precision of his oil paintings, but through the scenes captured within his work.

 

 

 

 

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