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Bill Gates Visits Nigeria, Endorses private sector health intervention, Jonathan Confers him with CF

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IMAGE: Bill Gates Shaking Hands with President Jonathan at the State House in Abuja »



Bill Gates, one time world’s richest man and the chairman of Microsoft, has endorsed The Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PHN), a platform created by a coalition of private sector business leaders and the corporate community to accelerate Nigeria’s progress in achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 4, 5 and 6.

Gates, along with Aliko Dangote, Jim Ovia, Muhammad Ali Pate, Aigboje Aig-Imokhuede and Sola David-Borha, gave his nod to the landmark alliance at its inaugural launch in Lagos, which had in attendance who-is-who in Nigeria’s business and corporate community including Mark R Ward, chairman/managing director, Exxon Mobil Companies Nigeria; Tunde Folawiyo, managing director, Folawiyo Oil and Gas; Hakeem Bello-Osagie, chairman, Etisalat; Pascal Dozie, chairman, MTN; Bisi Onasanya, GMD/CEO, First Bank; and Toyin Saraki of Wellbeing Foundation.

Other business leaders at the launch included Segun Agbaje, CEO, GTBank; ABC (Bryant) Orjiako, chairman, Seplat; Akin Kekere-Ekun, former MD/CEO, Habib Nigerian Bank Limited; Oba Otudeko, chairman, Honeywell Flour Mills; Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, vice chancellor, Federal University Ndufu Alike, Ebonyi State, among others.

Muhammad Ali Pate, PHN’s co-chair, stated in his remarks at the launch that it would mobilise Nigeria’s private sector to harness its collective capabilities, influence and resources to significantly improve healthcare delivery through a strategic and coordinated approach.

Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq, PHN’s newly appointed executive director and chief executive officer, shared the vision of PHN, saying: “With the leadership of the founding board and the strength of our private sector members, we believe that we can play a key role in the coalition of partners that will save one million lives by 2015 and eliminate inequities in care in the longer term.”

While Aig-Imokhuede highlighted the need for collective action against malaria and malnutrition, Dangote thanked Bill Gates for the inspiration and support, saying his goal was for the continent to feel the impact of PHN.



President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday conferred the prestigious title of Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) on Mr Bill Gates for his developmental efforts in Nigeria.

Jonathan announced the conferment at a meeting of the Presidential Task Force on Polio and Recognition Award held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said Bill Gates would be decorated with his title of CFR in December alongside other beneficiaries of the various national awards.

He particularly commended Bill Gates for his commitment to fighting polio, hunger and providing life saving commodities to humanity across the world.

“Let me specially appreciate Bill Gates, the Co-chair of Bill and Melinda Foundation, for his total commitment to help Africa to solve her health problems.

“In addition to his commitment to help us fight polio with our commitment to provide life saving commodities he is also assisting us in agriculture.

“We have to thank Bill Gates for his support and on my own part as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic, I hereby confer on Bill Gates, one of our prestigious titles, the Commander of the Federal Republic.

“Bill Gates decoration will come up in a ceremony in December when we will do the decoration for every other persons (because) we just don’t isolate his case,’’ he said.

Jonathan also commended Alhaji Aliko Dangote for showing high degree of support for government and all sectors of the nation’s economy.

He reiterated the determination of the Federal Government to continue to partner with all stakeholders in the eradication of polio in the country.

“Like Dangote mentioned, there is no reason we should not eradicate polio by 2014.

“Let me assure you that the Federal Government is totally committed to eradicating polio.

“We promise that we will work hard because we don’t want to hand over polio to another government in 2015.

“With the support of all stakeholders present here I believe we will succeed in our commitment to eradicate polio,’’ he said.

The President challenged politicians on the need to incorporate the campaign against polio eradication in their manifesto.

“I charge you all to be so committed especially as the elections are coming. In fact from the analysis I was just briefed I’m really surprised that in 2011 there was lapse and it was attributed to the elections.

“That during campaigns for elections we the politicians think more about winning the elections and forget about other things.

“I charge you all that we must work together to make sure that the 2014/2015 will not create any kind of gap in our commitment to eradicate polio.

“In our local governments and states that have suffered polio, it should be part of our campaign.’’

In his remark, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, said traditional rulers were committed to total eradication of polio by 2014.

He, therefore, warned against politicising the campaign against polio as 2015 and called on the three tiers of government to resist any attempt to frustrate the campaign.

The Sultan, who decorated Bill Gates with traditional attire, commended him for donating 1.5 billion dollars for the fight against polio.

“Bill Gates has encouraged us both financially and morally. We thank him for his support in helping humanity not only in Nigeria but in the world.’’

In his contribution, Bill Gates noted with delight that Nigeria was getting closer to the goal of polio eradication.

He commended President Goodluck Jonathan, the Sultan of Sokoto and other traditional rulers for their commitment towards the eradication of polio in Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that best performing states in polio eradication in 2012 were given certificates of recognition.

Ondo, Cross River, Anambra and Kogi States emerged the best performing states from the South West, South South, South East and North Central respectively.

Borno won that of North East; Zamfara won North West; while Niger emerged as the best most improved state in the country.(NAN)

Article Credit: Business Day Newspaper, Daily Post

Updated 6 Years ago

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