By Ikenna Asomba
Democracy, Good Governance, Economic Diversification and Diplomacy, Finance and Banking, Aviation, Travel and Maritime Industry, as well as Trade and Investment, are among the top agenda for the 2017 US-Nigeria Legislative and Executive Leadership Forum (USNIGLELF)/FACE HONORS Awards, billed to hold Wednesday, 15 November – Saturday, 18 November, 2017, at the the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Largo/ Washington DC, USA.
Tagged, “Nigeria Revitalization Initiative: Global Partnership For Effective Development & Restructuring,” the 4-day event is also expected to touch on pertinent issues such as Infrastructure and Housing, Terrorism and Insurgency, Consumer Protection and Food Security, Healthcare and Education, Customs and Immigration Compliance, Agriculture and Energy, Environmental Sustainability, as well as Media, Tourism and Hospitality.
Princess Asha Okojie-Osazuwa, the Founder, Festival of Arts & Culture Expo Inc. (FACE), who is organizing the 2017 USNIGLELF/FACE HONORS Awards in collaboration with AFRIQTALK CONSULT, UNITED PEOPLE FOR AFRICAN CONGRESS, CONDUIT COMMUNICATIONS LIMITED, INTERNATIONAL ART RESOURCE CENTRE and HOST CITY- MARYLAND STATE GOVERNMENT, made this known on Friday, October 6, 2017, during a Press Conference/Reception at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, to herald activities for the event.
Others who spoke at the Press Conference were the Chief Executive Officer, Kazeem Royal Properties Limited, Prince Kazeem Eletu-Odibo, one of the 2017 FACE Honorees to be awarded for Community Recognition; Chief Executive Officer, Conduit Communications Limited and a Guest Speaker for the 2017 USNIGLELF, Mr. Victor Gotevbe; CEO/Publisher CKN News and President, Guild of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria, Mr. Chris Nwandu, also one of the Keynote Speakers for the 2017 USNIGLELF and Princess Agboola Fisher-Thomas, who represented the Chief Executive Officer, Millennium Shipping & Marine Services Limited, Engr. Alex Egenti.
Speaking at the Press Briefing/Reception, Okojie-Osazuwa said the goal of the USNIGLELF is to improve the U.S-Nigeria bilateral relations by exploring the political economic and policymaking process of both federal/state/local system of government and business enterprises in private and public sectors, even as she traced the U.S-Nigeria bilateral relations to July 25, 1961, when Nigerian Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa addressed the U.S Congress.
Purpose Of The USNIGLELF
On the purpose of the USNIGLELF, Okojie-Osazuwa, who is also the Chief Executive Officer, AfriQtalk Consults, pointed that it is “to enhance public and private sectors involvement in promoting community economic development initiatives, Nigeria’s restructuring agenda, small and medium enterprises for economic growth and job creation by creating an enabling environment for investment, and capacity building with the goal of strengthening regional security, energy, inter-parliamentary diplomacy, foreign policies, trade relations and philanthropic initiatives through cultural diplomacy.”
According to her, “As the world is becoming a global village, in which there are no boundaries to trade and communication, there is a need in today’s fast paced society and culture, coming together to engage in frank dialogue to gain a better understanding of the political economic, and social trends to remove constraints and recommend strategies that would bring about positive change and peace in the world by addressing challenges and opportunities for sustainability of democracy, regional security, economic growth and development.
“The 2017 U.S-Nigeria Legislative and Executive Leadership Forum, is a non-partisan high-level event, and we are excited to hold this press conference here in Nigeria, Thank you in advance for making plans to attend this highly anticipated event, an empowerment platform for young leaders to also, engage in productive dialogue that would prepare them for future leadership role in the world. We hope that the experience you bring back will go beyond just participating in the event to becoming Goodwill Ambassadors, to affect real change in Africa, Nigeria and African diaspora.”
Four-Day Programme Overview
Reeling out the programme overview for the 4-day event, she disclosed that “DAY 1 WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15- 9:00 am – 4:00 pm (Workshop and Study Tour), 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm (Welcome Reception); DAY 2 THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16- 9:00 am – 4:00 pm (Onsite Visits and Study Tour), 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm (Exhibition, Meet and Greet Networking); DAY 3 FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17- 9:00 am – 4:00 pm (Conference and Exhibition), 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm (VIP Reception, Business and Industry Networking); DAY 4 SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18- 9:00 am – 3:00 pm (Conference and Exhibition) and 5:00 pm – 12:00 am (FACE HONORS AND GALA BALL with Red Carpet, Award Ceremony and Cultural Entertainment).
She further stated that the Key Themes for the epoch-making event include, “The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Prospering together through small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) civil society organizations and diaspora; The Role of Virile Anti-trust and Consumer Protection Regime in Promoting Investment and Economic Expansion in Nigeria; Nigeria’s Anti Corruption Legal Framework and its Effect on Economic Development; Using Arts, Music and Culture to Stimulate Economic Development Initiatives; Improving Health and Educational systems for Job Creation and Community Capacity Development; The Role of Government in Good Governance, Poverty Alleviation & Social Welfare; Reviewing the Legal and Regulatory Framework of Public Private Partnership and Foreign Direct Investment Policies,” adding that others are “The Future of Aviation, Transportation and Food Safety in emerging global threats; Maximising Microeconomic Reforms and policies through legislation and best practice sharing; Managing Compliance and Security Risk in the Oil and Gas Industry; Implementing cost effective technologies for efficient processes and productivity in public and private sectors; Weighing the Benefits and Risks of International Trade, import and export in Global Economy, as well as Efficient border Security and Migration Management.”
Why Should You Attend?
On why delegates should attend, she said: “The 2017 U.S-Nigeria Legislative and Executive Leadership is the most anticipated event of the year, showcasing exhibitions, business-to-business match making, investors/entrepreneurs round table discussion and award celebration of Africa’s influences on global economy, cultures and entertainment, to benefit charity causes, research and education, while creating an interactive environment for effective policy discussions, exchange of expertise and idea sharing, in an ambient environment to build new connections and long lasting business relationships with over 400 attendees.”
Who Will Be In Attendance?
Expected at the 2017 USNIGLELF are Decision makers, business, state and legislative leaders, Foreign High-ranking government and public officials, dignitaries and celebrities, Chief executives of state, federal and local government, agencies, companies, enterprises, foundations, private and public sectors, Investors group, international development partners and business experts, Senior leadership or representatives of foreign diplomatic corps, chambers of commerce, organisations, associations, institutions of higher learning, corporate law firms among others.
Speaking on the Strategic Benefits for this event, Princess Okojie-Osazuwa said delegates would have “Opportunity to interact and connect with foreign government and public officials, diplomats, legislative, judiciary, executives of federal, state, and local government officials, decision makers, CEO’s of leading international companies and multilateral finance institutions; Explore the U.S public and private sectors in government and business enterprises, including, EB-5 Program , matching of investors with project promoters, entrepreneurs and stakeholders with potential signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) and Exhibition opportunities for primary, secondary & tertiary sectors of organisations, government & business enterprises to showcase their services, products or investment incentives.”
She added that Delegates would also have the opportunity to “Speak in high-level networking session or make presentations to an audience comprising prestigious international experts, industry colleagues, key decision makers, group investors, government organisations, public and private sectors, as well as Participate in roundtable Discussions, where delegates will engage in substantive exchanges, plenary sessions, presentations, panel discussions, B2B meetings, investors and entrepreneurs round table dialogue.”
FACE Honors Gala Ball
According to her, the “FACE HONORS is an award celebration of Africa’s influences on global economy and cultures, in recognition of outstanding individuals, organizations, corporations and institutions whose outstanding courage, commitment, and passion have contributed to the promotion of democracy, education, cultural heritage, public service, philanthropic activities, diplomacy, community development, peace and security, in Africa and the African diaspora.
“The event brings together over 200 VIP guests, among them corporate representatives, entrepreneurs, business leaders, federal/state executives, top government officials, celebrities, dignitaries, current and former legislators and ambassadors of U.S and African Countries.”
Past FACE Honorees
Some of the past FACE Honorees include: Hon. Mildred Crump, Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Newark, New Jersey, Sir Emeka Offor, Chairman Chrome Group, Barrister Oladipo Okpeseyi, Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Chairman, Island Club, Nigeria, Mr. Rob Brunner, VP Arik Airlines, USA, Chief Edem Duke, former Hon. Minister of Culture Tourism and National Orientation, Abuja, Mayor, Kasim Reed Atlanta, GA, HON. ARC. Micheal Oziegbe Onoleme, former Minister of Works, Abuja, Ambassador Geoffrey Teneilabe, former Ambassador/Consul General, Nigeria Consulate of Atlanta GA and Ambassador Andrew Young, Atlanta GA
2017 FACE Honorees
Meanwhile, this year, the honorees include First Lady of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, Her Excellency, Mrs Aisha Muhammadu Buhari (HUMANITARIAN AWARD); CEO, Kazeem Royal Properties Limited, Prince Kazeem Eletu-Odibo (COMMUNITY RECOGNITION AWARD); CEO/MD Medview Airline, Alhaji Muneer Bankole (OUTSTANDING EXECUTIVE AWARD); Senator Representing Edo Central Senatorial District, Senator Ordia Aimienmona Clifford (LEADERSHIP IMPACT AWARD); Emir of Kano, His Royal Highness, Muhammadu Sanusi Lamido II (LIFETIME AWARD & ROYAL FATHER OF THE DAY) and His Excellency, Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State (COMMUNITY RECOGNITION AWARD).
Others include, General Overseer, Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare (PUBLIC INTEGRITY AWARD); Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (GLOBAL STATESMANSHIP AWARD); Former Speaker, Edo State Assembly, Rt. Hon. Justin Okunbo (COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTION AWARD); U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Amb. Donald Yamamoto (EXEMPLARY DIPLOMATIC SERVICE AWARD); National Chairman of Royal Traditional Rulers, His Royal Highness, Eze (Dr.) Thomas Obiwuru Obiefule, (CIVIC STATESMANSHIP AWARD); Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama (INTERNATIONAL PERSON OF THE YEAR AWARD); Nollywood Actress, Loveth Ebede (BEST ARTISTIC FACILITATION AWARD) and Executive Director, Agbonhagwe Leemon Ikpea Foundation, Chief Dr. Leemon Leemon Ikpea (OUTSTANDING PHILANTHROPIC FOUNDATION AWARD).
The event organizer thanked those who participated during the online voting to nominate a mentor or role model, even as she revealed that voting had officially closed.
2017 FACE Honoree, Prince Kazeem Eletu-Odibo Speaks
Also speaking at the Press Conference/Reception, one of the 2017 Honorees, the Chairman, Kazeem Royal Properties Limited, Prince Kazeem Eletu-Odibo, expressed delight to be selected to receive the Esteemed FACE HONORS AWARDS, scheduled for next month in Washington DC, USA.
According to Eletu-Odibo, “Truly, there are a lot of awards that are flying around and some of them are bought with money. However, yours faithfully has not lobbied for any of such because I believe strongly that you cannot give what you do not have.
“It is because I have chosen the path to be a blessing to others whom I believe that God first chose for me and unknown to me my contributions to humanity is being noticed in far away America. Today is not a day for long speeches, but I must say this as I remain grateful to God for the privileged position He has placed me.
“I hope my story is one that can only bring hope and motivation to people around the world because every child is born with his or her God given potentials. I knew that as a child I would someday be great but I could not tell how but believe that’s why our youths should be encouraged.”
“Today, God has blessed me. I am the Chairman of Kazeem Royal Properties Limited. I want to thank the organisers of the forum for such outstanding press conference as I look forward to participating at the event. I am grateful for this honour and by the grace of God, I will be in Washington DC to receive the award,” he said.
Eminent Speakers expected at the event include Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, Hon. Boyd Rutherford; Senator C. Anthony Muse, Maryland State U.S; Former Nigeria Ambassador/Consul-General to U.S, Amb. Geoffrey Tenilabe; Governor of Zamfara State and Chairman Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Alhaji Abdul-Aziz Yari Abubakar and Director General of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Barr. Tunde Irukera.
Others are the CEO/Publisher CKN News & President, Guild of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria, Chris Kehinde Nwandu; Founder Eneanya Foundation, Mr. Emeka Eneanya; CEO Conduit Communications Limited (IVLP Alumnus), Mr. Victor Gotevbe and CEO Career Education Academy (Safe Skies for Africa), Ejike Fashina.
Conduit CEO Victor Gotevbe Speaks
Equally speaking with newsmen on the need for the forum, one of the Guest Speakers and CEO Conduit Communications Limited (IVLP Alumnus), Mr. Victor Gotevbe said the forum is necessary because the policies and other discourse that would be exchanged at the event would have a direct impact on the lives of the common man on the streets of Nigeria.
He said his organisation, Conduit Communications Limited and other bodies, including Festival of Arts & Culture Expo INC. (FACE), Afriqtalk Consult, United People For African Congress, International Art Resource Centre are partnering the host city- Maryland State Government to achieve a better socio-economic, political and diplomatic relations between Nigeria and U.S.
UPAC CEO, Dr. Sylvester Okere Speaks
Similarly, President/CEO, United People for African Congress (UPAC), Dr. Sylvester Okere, in his remarks said, “We in America are very concerned about the struggles and challenges of our people. Nigeria being the most populous nation of Africa and the largest single black community in the world is faced with many opportunities as the Giant of Africa.
“We are rest assured that this robust program and continuing in partnerships, collaborating, and the huge networks of likeminded great men and women of noble ventures…the Boat shall rise again. And the Eagle “Nigeria” will soar steady and enviable as never before.”
Okere, who reminisced on the 57years Journey of the Nigerian nation, said, “Therefore, casting our minds back in remembrance and willing to follow the footsteps of the founding fathers of this great nation…in the 1960s, Nigeria was at the leadership of great fathers who put the country and the citizens first before politics, tribe, religion and other affiliations.
“We the organizers of this epic forum believe that with the same vein, this same Nigerian blood, the same vision and striving spirit “the lost glory shall come back” as it was in the days of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Belewa and Chief Obafemi Awolowo, men who love their country and put ALL Nigerians first in their agendas.”
“We therefore challenge our leaders and fellow Nigerians everywhere; “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country. Come join us to rebuild Nigeria,” he said.