Nigeria Bobsled Women Qualify For 2018 Winter Olympics

The Nigerian Women Bobsled Team (Driver Seun Adigun and brake women Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga) has qualified for the first time ever, for the bobsled event at the 2018 Winter Olympics Games in PyeongChang.

Driver Seun Adigun, Brakemen Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga completed the fifth of their required five qualifying races, becoming the first African team, men or women, to qualify in the Bobsled category.

The Nigeria team, led by Driver Adigun – a former African 100m hurdles champion and 2012 summer Olympian – completed races in Utah, one in Whistler, and their final two races in Calgary.

Driver Adigun stated:

“This is a huge milestone for sports in Nigeria, nothing makes me prouder than to know that I can play a small role in creating opportunities for winter sports to take place in Nigeria. Our objective now is to be the best representation of Africa that the Winter Olympics have ever witnessed.”

Solomon Ogba, President of the Bobsled and Skeleton Federation of Nigeria, was understandably thrilled at the achievement, saying via a media statement:

“I commend the personal dedication and commitment of these women. Their hard work was inspiring and I hope Nigerians can appreciate what it took for them to achieve this – the work, the discipline, and the personal sacrifices. They were amazing throughout this journey. They are all very successful people in their own right – in sports and out of it, and somehow they are still motivated and still push for more success.

I have watched them train and work hard to represent Nigeria at the Winter Olympics in a very technical and high risk sport and they have achieved that. They should be very proud, and I am very proud of them.”

Nigeria could yet secure another spot at the 2018 Winter Olympics Games, with Driver Simidele Adeagbo just three races away from qualifying for the Skeleton competition.

Precious Adeho & Ngozi Deborah Atalor Win 2017 Shell LiveWIRE Entrepreneurship Prize

Two Nigerian business owners, Mr. Precious Adeho and Mrs. Ngozi Deborah Atalor, have emerged winners in the 2017 Shell LiveWIRE Top Ten Innovators competition, a global contest open to beneficiaries of Shell LiveWIRE, and aimed at rewarding shining cases of innovation in businesses supported by the programme.

The two Nigerians won the Merit prize along with four others in the same category, while businesses from the United Kingdom and Pakistan took the top and runner-up awards. The winners were announced during the Global Entrepreneurship Week holding November 13 – 17 in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

According to the General Manager, External Relations, The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC):

“We congratulate the Nigerians on this feat. Three Nigerians came up with creative ideas on energy efficiency and access to chemical and paint products, and were among 22 entrepreneurs from nine countries who vied for the prestigious prize. We are happy that young Nigerians have deployed the skills and funding assistance in our LiveWIRE training schemes and made a mark for themselves and our country.”

Mr. Precious Adeho and Mrs. Ngozi Deborah Atalor won $5,000 each, the only Africans to clinch the prize. The overall winner received $15,000 while the three runners-up got $10,0000 each. Shortlisted businesses for the LiveWIRE Top Ten Innovators competition were judged by an international panel of business leaders, chaired by Mark Gainsborough, Executive Vice President of New Energies at Shell.

Trained by Shell LiveWIRE Nigeria, Adeho got a start-up grant to reposition his company, Emobella Engineering Nigeria Limited, which provides engineering services with a USP of 24-hour availability and high-quality customer service. The business model integrates a training programme for young people facing employment challenges in the region.

Mr. Adeho said:

“This is the best thing that has happened to me and my business. Shell LiveWIRE has taken our business to the global stage, and I want to thank Shell for the opportunity to showcase our vision.”

Mrs. Atalor, a 2016 Shell LiveWIRE grant recipient, offers affordable solar energy solutions on a small scale to empower families and businesses in rural areas to adopt the technology. Her company, De-rahbs Energy Services, installs, services and repairs solar energy equipment, and provides a low-cost solar energy payment plan and training to future engineers and energy entrepreneurs.

She said of the Merit prize:

“I see the award as an encouragement to pursue my dream of taking solar energy to every home in Nigeria.”

Since its introduction in Nigeria in 2003, the LiveWIRE programme has trained 6,550 Niger Delta youths in enterprise development and management, and provided business start-up grants to 3,313.

sKan Wins 2017 International James Dyson Award

The Skin Cancer-Detecting Device (sKan), a low cost, non-invasive and handheld device has won the 2017 international James Dyson Award.

Invented by a team of four (a Nigerian and 3 Canadian) bioengineering undergraduates from Ontario’s McMaster University; Rotimi Fadiya, Michael Takla, Prateek Mathur and Shivad Bhavsar, the sKan is made from widely available and inexpensive components and can possibly make detection of the disease more accessible.

According to the World Health Organization, one in every three worldwide diagnosed cancer cases is a skin cancer.

James Dyson, founder of the Dyson company said the sKan received the award because it is “a very clever device with the potential to save lives around the world“. Since 2002, the James Dyson Award has been open to university or recent design graduates across the world and celebrates significant, practical and commercially viable designs.

To develop the device, the four graduates were awarded C$50,000 ($40,000; £30,000).  The device uses temperature sensors to help in the early detection of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer because cancerous cells have a higher metabolic rate than normal tissue cells. Cancerous tissue usually warms at a faster rate than non-cancerous tissue when the tissue skin is cooled.

The team plans to use the funds to build a new prototype that can be used in pre-clinical testing. Their ultimate goal is to select patients who should be sent for a biopsy because early detection is key for the treatment of melanoma.

Amina Mohammed Receives 2017 FP’s Diplomat Of The Year Award

Foreign Policy (FP) magazine has conferred the “2017 Diplomat of the Year” award on deputy United Nations Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed.

The diplomat of the year gong is a yearly event by the Foreign Policy magazine that reviews the accomplishments of leading officials and diplomats worldwide and seeks to identify those who have made the greatest contribution to international relations.

Mrs. Amina Mohammed, also the former Environment Minister of Nigeria takes over this award which was won by Google in 2016 and in 2015 by former United States Secretary of State, John Kerry.

In her acceptance message, the 56-year-old said she was receiving the accolade on behalf of the U.N. “that I proudly serve.” Adding, “I believe diplomacy is a tool that should bring us together to close the gap between what is and what should be in a world of peace, development and human rights.” She spoke about the challenges the U.N. faces in its global operations but stressed that there was the need to do all it takes to put the world on a good footing for future generations, adding that it was important for every one to become a diplomat in their own small way.

In her words:

“Today, as a woman of colour, a Muslim, an African, a mother of 6, a grandmother and as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, I owe it to the world to dig deep and to do my part in support of António Guterres to achieve our goals for a more peaceful world of dignity and hope, managing international relations, building trust, and leveraging diplomacy in the most unconventional ways and always speaking truth to power for those whose voices cannot reach these corridors of power.

Finally, I accept this honour for those women diplomats gone before me as I stand on their shoulders to carry on their unfinished work in our world of pain, desperation and yet we don’t have the luxury of failure.”

Before her appointment, the Nigeria and UK trained development expert, Amina Mohammed, was acclaimed in Nigeria as one of President Buhari’s most vibrant and best-performing appointees – since she took office in 2015. She served as UN Under Secretary-General and Special Adviser to immediate past Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Post-2015 Development Planning. She was instrumental in bringing about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals.

As Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Mrs. Amina Mohammed has largely been in the forefront of global diplomacy much more than most of her predecessors at the global body headquartered in New York. Her appointment according to the Antonio Guterres, the U.N. Secretary-General was in line with restructuring the organization to reflect gender parity. She continues to play an outward role especially in the area of the U.N. development agenda.

The ‘‘citizen diplomat of the year’’ went to Becca Heller, she is co-founder and director of the group International Refugee Assistance project (IRAP). Wendy Sherman, a former U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs was named the ‘‘national security diplomat of the year.’’

Odinaka Anudu Is Nominated To Investigate In Guateng [2017]

University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, has nominated Odinaka Anudu as one of the five Africans to participate in a fully-funded investigation in Guateng.

Odinaka Anudu, a BusinessDay journalist won the Industrialisation and Development category and will be guided by John Bailey, an international and senior journalist for eNCA, a 24-hour television news broadcaster focusing on South African and African stories.

Anudu’s winning project deals with the nature and type of skills transferred to South Africans and Africans in general by Guateng-based vehicle manufacturers and assemblers. He will travel to South Africa in early November [2017] to investigate the story and present his findings to the university. He will work with Zheng Qingting, who was described as ‘a very competent Chinese journalist’.

As a development economist, philosopher and journalist, Odinaka Anudu manages BusinessDay’s Start-Up Digest and Real Sector Watch sections, covering SMEs, manufacturing and trade. He was formerly the secretary-general of the National Drug Abuse Control Association. He has received local and international trainings in journalism, authoring two books, ‘Top-Class English for Schools and Colleges’ and ‘Drug Abuse and Our Future: Who Will Bell the Cat’.

Odinaka Anudu won the 2016 Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Reporter of the Year and was trained by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) on trade negotiation, having been nominated by ECOWAS.

Anudu was nominated alongside four other journalists from Botswana, Cameroon, Uganda and Liberia after a highly competitive scrutiny of investigation projects and stories.