Nigeria-Britain Association


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N-BA Presidential Cocktail Speech 2016



Your Excellency, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Awkwright [our host, who is unavoidably absent as a British Minister is visiting Nigeria in Abuja today ] ably represented by the Acting Deputy High Commissioner , Mr. Hammed Bashir;  Our esteemed Patron, Pa  Akintola Williams, CBE,CFR; Our Vice Patrons,  Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen

On behalf of the Nigeria Britain Association, it is my pleasure to welcome you all to the 2016 Annual Presidential Cocktail of the NBA.
The Nigeria – Britain Association has the primary vision “To be the prime promoter of relationships between Nigerians and Britons for common good” and a mission “To be a platform to foster sustainable relationships for development” which remains the driving force of the Association’ s leadership.

The year 2016 has been an interesting and challenging one for  businesses and individuals both in Nigeria and in Britain – Recession in Nigeria, Brexit in Britain; Desperate need for Foreign Direct Investment ; Glut in funds flow from the Diaspora; Individuals and Businesses in both countries seeking to better understand how to deal with the challenging, yet promising economic dynamics between both countries; coupled with the daily increasing comfort of Nigerians [and other nationals of the world] doing business, leisure [including medical tourism] with Asia and Dubai.     There is indeed no better time to improve and tighten the relationship between Britain and Nigeria, and the NBA is committed to playing a major role in doing this.

The Nigeria-Britain Association has, a few months ago, kicked off its UK chapter, appointing Mr. Tomi Davies, a respected IT entrepreneur, Co-Founder and Director of African Angel Investor network, and a long standing member of the Nigeria–Britain Association council, himself both Nigerian and Briton, to begin to harness the huge potentials of Nigerians in the UK as well as Britons looking to better understand Nigeria and associate with Nigeria and Nigerians.

The Nigeria-Britain Association continues to hold the Akintola Williams National Youth Debate which seeks to involve students at secondary education level in issues of National development and to harness the fresh ideas and voices of these all-important stakeholders in shaping the future of Nigeria and the world. The theme of this year’s Akintola Williams Youth debate was \”The Development of Renewable Energy Sources Must Become a Worldwide Economic Priority\”
The event, which was a huge success and has now extended to include public schools and schools from other parts of Nigeria, was coordinated for the NBA by the Association of International Schools Education of Nigeria [AISEN] and supported by the British Council, Diamond Bank, SCIB Insurance and Africa Cancer Foundation. We thank them all.
In furtherance of its objectives to deliver impact in the society, the NBA will continue to collaborate with various organizations like the UK Department For Internal Trade[ what used to be known as UKTI];  the British Council; Sugar Limb Foundation[ which helps disadvantaged people to procure Prosthetic Limbs]; L4L Nigeria[involved in providing digital ,screen-based learning to disadvantaged children]; Basic Education Africa[BEAfrica], who promote the education of  disadvantaged children, especially the girl-child., Team Management Partners[TMPL], to mention a few. Just yesterday, to commemorate World Literacy Day, the NBA partnered with BEAfrica and Laptops For Learning Nigeria [L4LN] to train children from a Public Secondary School on Digital Literacy, specifically the basics of HTML.
The NBA is also reviving its Annual Scholarship Awards which helps train students at post degree level in identified areas of need in the society.

In recognition of the role of the vibrant energy of the youth in shaping the future of the world, and as a tool for youth engagement and re-invention of the N-BA, the association has decided to launch a Youth Empowerment Platform wrapped around Innovation, Sports, Entrepreneurship, Entertainment and ICT.

Under this platform, the association will help channel the creative energies of the youth to productive purposes and empower them through training, including Vocational Training [which is an area of big concern for both corporate organizations and individuals], Internship, Mentorship and Sponsorship.
In furtherance of this empowerment initiative, the N-BA has instituted the N-BA INNOVATION AWARDS which will recognize and sponsor 5 young people who come up with Innovations in any endeavor that uniquely impact the society. We shall partner with Corporates organizations and individuals who may find this intervention a good fit for their Corporate Social Responsibility [CSR] activities or for purposes of Research and Development. [R&D].
This all -embracing Youth platform will be unveiled tonight in a few minutes.

We have begun holding meet-up nights for member engagement, promotion of friendship and to generally letting our hair down. These are great fun evenings and the first one held recently at the Motor Boat club. Be sure to put your details down before you leave tonight, join the N-BA and watch out for our meet-up evenings in the near future.
On a sad note, we lost one of our rare gems only last week in Mr. Sammy Olagbaju- a past president and vice patron of the N-BA. Mr. Olagbaju was a repository of knowledge, a fine gentleman and an art collector of no mean repute. He will be sorely missed.  May I ask that we observe a one minute silence in his honor?
May the soul of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in perfect peace. Amen.

I must thank our indefatigable Grand Patron, the very young Mr.  Akintola Williams – [he only recently turned 96, and  you should see him party-].  He is ever such a pillar of support to the NBA. Kindly help me give Pa Akintola Williams a rousing round of applause;
I thank also all our Vice Patrons, members of our Advisory board, and Past presidents for their immense support and guidance.
Big thank you to our sponsors- SCIB Insurance, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Towncriers Ltd, and the British Residence.  This would not have happened without all of them.

Finally, a very big thank you to his Excellency the Ambassador of Britain to Nigeria, Mr Paul Awkwright, for hosting us in his home and availing us the use of the facilities here. Thanks very much sir.
Once again, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you all most heartily.

Funmi Onabolu
Nigeria Britain Association


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