Ubon Udoh Chosen to Head ASR Africa Initiative
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Abdul Samad Rabiu Africa (ASR Africa) initiative has announced the appointment of consummate International Development and Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) expert, Mr Ubon Udoh, as its pioneer Managing Director/Chief Executive effective immediately.
The ASR Africa Initiative, which is the brainchild of industrialist and philanthropist, Mr Abdul Samad Rabiu, was recently set up with an annual pledge of $100 million dedicated to health, education and social development issues within the African continent.
Out of this, Nigeria will benefit $50 million yearly and the rest of Africa, $50 million, in what is the largest private philanthropic giving of its kind by an individual in Africa.
Speaking on the appointment, Mr Rabiu, Chairman of ASR Africa, who is also the founder/chairman of the African conglomerate, BUA Group, said Mr Ubon’s appointment signalled the seriousness with which the initiative intends to carry out its mandate with a focus on systems, programme development and deployment, monitoring and evaluation as well as sustainability.
“We are pleased to have Ubon Udoh lead the team at the ASR Africa initiative which has been set up to help bridge the development gap in these key areas of health, education and social development within Africa.
“A well respected and proven expert in building systems and processes and managing donor funds and grants, with an exceptional record of tangible results and value for money.
“Ubon has added immense value to every institution he has been a part of, and we believe he is a perfect fit for the goals and aspirations of ASRi. He brings with him many years of experience as well as the expertise needed to drive the ASR Africa Mandate whilst also engendering sustainable partnerships for development across the African continent.
“ASR Africa is confident that he will bring these to bear in developing a sustainable programme for the initiative’s annual $100 million Africa Fund for Social Research & Development.”
With over 20 years of international development and project management experience, Mr Udoh has a strong Monitoring & Evaluation background, and an operational track record of programme coordination and result management of international donor funds and loans from Multilateral development banks.
Prior to joining the ASR Africa Initiative, he was the Head of Monitoring & Evaluation at the North East Development Commission – North East Recovery and Stability Programme which included responsibility for over $1 billion in loans and grants (World Bank, AfDB, Islamic Development Bank) across various projects dedicated to the recovery of North East Nigerian states from the ravages of the Boko Haram Insurgency, and multilateral interventions with national coverage for COVID-19 response.
Over the course of his career, Mr Ubon has provided expertise and support in several capacities with multiple agencies like The World Bank (North-East Nigeria Multisectoral Crisis Recovery Project), Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), African Development Bank (Nigeria Inclusive Basic Services Development Programme), GIZ, UN Women Peace and Security Programme, Presidential Committee on the North-East Initiative (PCNI), North East Development Commission, North East Recovery and Stability Programme (NERSP) and several state governments in Nigeria.
Mr Ubon Udoh was responsible for the overall coordination of M&E of the World Bank-supported Multi-Sectoral Crisis Recovery Project – NERSP at the Presidential Committee on North-East Initiative – a role he joined from being an M&E consultant to the UN Women in Peace & Security Programme (WSP-UNSCR 1325).
Mr Ubon has also supported the coordination of interventions in the Lake Chad region with the countries of Chad, Niger, and Cameroon as part of the World bank PROLAC intervention. An Alumnus of Ahmadu Bello University with experience cutting across multiple sectors like Capacity Development; Water, Sanitation & Health; Infrastructure; Peacebuilding & Social cohesion; IDP Management & Durable Solutions; Education, Health & Governance, Mr Ubon has completed a diverse spread of gender mainstreaming, management, monitoring and conflict prevention courses.
He is a past winner of the prestigious President Nana Akufo Ado Presidential Award of Excellence from the Kofi Anan International Peacekeeping and Training Institute.
Tinubu Swears in George Akume As SGF
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The former Governor of Benue State, Mr George Akume, has been sworn in as the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
Mr Akume, who moved into the Senate after he left office as Governor from 1999 to 2007, was appointed as SGF by President Bola Tinubu last week.
On Wednesday, at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, he took the Oath of Allegiance and Oath of Office in the presence of his boss and others.
Those present were the Vice President, Mr Kashim Shettima; the Senate President, Mr Ahmed Lawan; the Benue State Governor, Mr Hyacinth Alia; the Kwara State Governor, Mr AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq; and the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Folasade Yemi-Esan.
The 69-year-old former lawmaker from 2007 to 2015 is the 21st person to occupy the position, taking over from Mr Boss Mustapha, who served under the immediate past administration of Mr Muhammadu Buhari.
“It is an honour to be chosen to serve in this exalted position out of over 200 million Nigerians.
“It is a challenge to serve in line with the oaths I have taken today. I assure Nigerians I will do my best and I will not disappoint the President.
“I will not disappoint this country; I will not disappoint my party. I believe Nigerians will find fulfilment in my responsibility as I discharge my duties,” Mr Akume said after the brief ceremony today.
Mr Akume served under Mr Buhari as Minister of Special Duties from 2019 to 2023.
Tinubu Chooses Gbajabiamila as Chief of Staff, Akume as SGF
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, has been appointed as the Chief of Staff to President Bola Tinubu.
Mr Gbajabiamila won his re-election into the lower chamber of the National Assembly on February 25, 2023, but with this appointment, he will have to lose his seat in the parliament to coordinate the activities of his new boss.
Also, Mr Tinubu has picked the former Governor of Benue State, Mr George Akume, as the new Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF).
He is take over from the former occupier of the position, Mr Boss Mustapha, who served under the administration of the immediate past President, Mr Muhammadu Buhari.
Similarly, the former Deputy Governor of Jigawa State, Mr Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia, has been chosen by Mr Tinubu as his Deputy Chief of Staff.
Paxful Announces Roshan Dharia as Interim CEO
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Mr Roshan Dharia has been appointed as the interim chief executive of Paxful, a leading global peer-to-peer Bitcoin platform.
In a statement issued by the company’s press team, it was disclosed that the appointment of Mr Dharia became effective on Wednesday, May 31, 2023.
Recall that Paxful returned to business some weeks ago after it shut down its operations due to internal issues.
Mr Dharia would be expected to reposition the firm “with the objectives of strengthening operations and exploring strategic alternatives.”
He was most recently a senior executive at TrustToken (now known as Archblock) where he led the DeFi institutional lending business, successfully deploying over $1.5 billion in stablecoin loans to crypto-native companies.
Prior to TrustToken, Roshan founded and built the investment platform PTHL Affiliates, which specialized in the acquisition and turnaround of distressed private companies across multiple industries.
As a seasoned executive, he has held various positions as an investor and investment banker with transactional experience totalling over $30 billion across mergers and acquisitions, financial restructurings, and financings.
The interim CEO, who is highly adept in navigating special situations with complex risk profiles and significant intrinsic value, said he was greatly honoured “to become CEO of Paxful.”
“Over the last eight years, Paxful has been a pioneer in establishing the real use cases of Bitcoin and helping millions of people in the process.
“I look forward to hitting the ground running and building on the innovative technology developed by the Paxful team,” he added.
The Custodian of Paxful, Srinivas Raju, while commenting on the appointment, said, “I’m delighted that Roshan has joined Paxful and will take over day-to-day management of the company. I’m confident under his leadership; the business will keep building a financial system that truly serves the 100 per cent.”
Since its inception in 2015, Paxful has grown to a community of over 12 million users around the world, with billions of dollars traded on the platform over the last eight years.
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