A group of journalists has felicitated the Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Tony Elumelu, on his diamond jubilee birthday anniversary, describing him as a selfless investor in Nigeria’s education sector.
The group- Education Writers’ Association of Nigeria (EWAN)- a body of print, online, and broadcast journalists reporting issues around education, innovations, and entrepreneurship in Nigeria and beyond, said the businessman has continued to prioritise education and entrepreneurship through the corporate social responsibilities of various organisations he leads.
In celebration of his landmark birthday, EWAN at the weekend presented a portrait to the philanthropist, urging him to do more, and that he should “encourage his coterie of friends to also prioritise education in their support for humanity.”
In a statement issued by the association, the presentation was done as part of the activities organised by the financial institution to welcome the new Group Head of Marketing and Corporate Relations, Alero Ladipo.
Mrs Ladipo was introduced to the media at a lunch organised by the bank’s media and public relations unit, where she received the gift on behalf of Mr Elumelu.
EWAN was represented at the event by its Chairman, Mojeed Alabi, and the Education Editor of The Guardian Newspaper, Iyabo Lawal.
Mr Alabi is the Head of the Development Desk at PREMIUM TIMES, one of Africa’s leading online investigative media platforms.
Education as bedrock for national development
Speaking during the presentation of the gift, the EWAN Chairman, Mr Alabi, said no nation develops beyond the quality of its education sector, adding that since successive governments have failed to invest adequately in the sector, “it is not out of place to look in the direction of private investors and philanthropists.”
Mr Alabi said: “Whether through the Tony Elumelu Foundation or the UBA Foundation, Mr Elumelu stands out as one with deep interest in the promotion of quality education and entrepreneurship not only in Nigeria but the continent of Africa.
“Journalism does not bar people from being appreciated when they do well, but without doubt, the reasons for such appreciation must be well known. We believe it is in order to commend Mr Elumelu’s investment in this all-important sector he has prioritised for support and encourage him to bring more selfless friends on board.”
Mr Alabi said without investing adequately in education, every other sector of national development cannot stand the test of time.
Meanwhile, the association also presented a congratulatory letter framed in a plaque to the bank’s Head of Media and External Relations, Ramon Nasir, who also marked his birthday recently.
Mr Alabi said apart from his support for the association, Mr Nasir’s recent return to his alma mater- Ado Odo High School, in Ado Odo Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State for a donation of a block of classrooms to mark his birthday is commendable and inspiring.
In her response, Mrs Alero thanked EWAN for being thoughtful and pledged to deliver the message to Mr Elumelu.
According to the new head of marketing and corporate relations for the UBA group, the call by the journalists would be heeded not only by the chairman but by the corporate body as an entity.
Also speaking, Mr Nasir said he was overwhelmed by the association’s encouragement, saying the donation to his alma mater would soon be completed.