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End of the road for Ekezie as Wakanow appoints new CEO

One of Nigeria’s largest online travel companies, Wakanow announced the appointment of Mr. Adebayo Adedeji as its interim Chief Executive Officer.

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End of the road for Ekezie as Wakanow appoints new CEO

One of Nigeria’s largest online travel companies, Wakanow, announced the appointment of Mr. Adebayo Adedeji as its interim Chief Executive Officer. The appointment is with immediate effect. Before now, Adedeji was the Chief Commercial Officer of the company.

Official Statement: According to the company, Mr. Adedeji is “assuming his new responsibilities at a time of great excitement for the company which is on the cusp of transition and significant positive change. The Board of Wakanow is confident that Mr. Adedeji will provide an invaluable contribution to setting goals and objectives for the company’s future growth, whilst also providing the administrative guidance and direction required during this period of significant transition and transformation.”

End of an era: The appointment of Mr. Adedeji as interim CEO of Wakanow marks the end of an era for the company after being led by its founder Obinna Ekezie (its founder) since 2008. Ekezie invested millions of dollars in aggressive marketing scaling the company’s operations exponentially. He also introduced a large scale retail participation in the business offering huge discounts to travelers as well as credits. At some point, the company was making over $55 million in sales and was said to own about 10% of the market share. The company also explored listing on the NASDAQ as its operations grew bigger amidst financial constraints and shareholder impatience.

Scoop: Sources within the industry who prefer to be anonymous inform Nairametrics that the exit of Ekezie was rather dramatic and involved security operatives. Reports suggest he may have had a feisty relationship with Mr. Adedeji who at some point during the year left the company. His return, we understand is at the behest of the shareholders who have been frustrated with the progress of the company’s turnaround strategy under Ekezie.

Back Story: In January 2018 Nairametrics exclusively reported that Wakanow was facing a financial crisis with IATA threatening to yank Wakanow off their BSP program over unpaid settlements. However, in December 2018, the company announced it had received a $40 million investment from Carlyle Group, a global alternative asset manager.

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About the new CEO: The company reports that Mr. Adedeji, who is the current Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of the company, has been responsible for driving the transition program of Wakanow since mid-2019.  Prior to taking up his CCO role at Wakanow, he was a Senior Finance Manager at Amazon.com, in charge of fulfillment supporting product teams in 16 countries.

He was also responsible for driving topline, profitability, inventory optimization, seller promotion and improved customer experience through technical product innovation. Previously, he served as a senior finance professional in the consumer retails sector, including with Petsmart and Walmart Stores.
Wakanow has been able to grow its customer base and market share since the end of last calendar year as it continues to service its customers and maintain its best value proposition with improved product offering & customer service.

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Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 21st of September 2020, 195 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 57,437 confirmed cases.

On the 21st of September 2020, 195 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 1,162 samples across the country.

To date, 57,437 cases have been confirmed, 48,674 cases have been discharged and 1,100 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 480,874  tests have been carried out as of September 21st, 2020 compared to 479,712 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 21st September 2020,

  • Total Number of Cases – 57,437
  • Total Number Discharged – 48,674
  • Total Deaths – 1,100
  • Total Tests Carried out – 480,874

According to the NCDC, the 195 new cases were reported from 11 states- Enugu (51), Gombe (40), Lagos (39), Plateau (23), FCT (15), Rivers (12), Kaduna (8), Ondo (3), Bauchi (2), Edo (1), Ogun (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 18,982, followed by Abuja (5,566), Oyo (3,254), Plateau (3,231), Edo (2,612), Kaduna (2,356), Rivers (2,255), Delta (1,799), Ogun (1,767), Kano (1,734), Ondo (1,600), Enugu (1,285), Ebonyi (1,038), Kwara (1,025), Abia (881), Katsina (848), Gombe (839), Osun (817),  Borno (741), and Bauchi (691).

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Imo State has recorded 562 cases, Benue (473), Nasarawa (448), Bayelsa (394),  Jigawa (322), Ekiti (317), Akwa Ibom (288), Niger (254), Adamawa (234), Anambra (232), Sokoto (161), Taraba (95), Kebbi (93), Cross River (85), Zamfara (78), Yobe (75), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.

On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.

READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

 

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Business

AfCFTA: Nigeria securing approval to ratify agreement – Trade Minister

The Minister revealed that Nigeria has set up a National Action Committee on AfCFTA.

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AfCFTA: Nigeria securing approval to ratify agreement- Trade Minister, FG meets group to access AfCFTA's $650 billion market, UNIDO’s $60m investment programme to boost Nigeria’s industrialisation - FG, FG to strengthen economic ties with Turkey, FG moves to facilitate tax incentives for SMEs, Made-in-Nigeria vehicles gulp N364 billion from FG

Minister of Trade, Niyi Adebayo said Nigeria is currently in the process of securing approval to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement soon.

The Minister disclosed this during a meeting with the Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area(AfCFTA), Mene Wamkele on Monday.

Recall that Nairametrics reported last week Mr. Adebayo said that Nigeria is actively working to attract more foreign direct investments into key industries to meet the demands of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“As we gear up to meet the demands of the enlarged continental market which will be fostered by AfCFTA, we are actively working to attract more foreign direct investments into key industries,” the Minister said.

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In today’s meeting, The Minister told the delegation that Nigeria has set up a National Action Committee on AfCFTA, which would implement Nigeria’s roll-out strategy in a bid to take advantage of the agreement. He added, “Nigeria is currently in the process of securing approval to ratify the agreement within the shortest possible time”.

The African Union announced in August that the first commercial deal of AfCFTA will be taking off on January 1, 2021.

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Business

FG inaugurates Committee on the Commercialization of the Nigeria Film Corporation

The Minister said that the FG is repositioning the NFC for effective service delivery.

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FG increases hate speech fine from N500,000 to N5 million, moves against monopoly and antitrust, Coronavirus, covid-19, Minister of information briefing

The Federal Government inaugurated a Steering Committee on the Commercialization of the Nigeria Film Corporation (NFC), with the aim of making Nigeria’s film industry a continental entertainment power.

This inauguration was performed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in Abuja on Monday. The Minister added that the FG is repositioning the NFC for effective service delivery.

“What we are doing today is to simply reposition the NFC in a manner that will enable it to play the role statutorily assigned to it,” he said.

The Minister added that Nigeria’s film industry is a major boost for Nigerian soft power and entertainment, citing the need for repositioning by the FG as a means to enable effective service delivery for the film industry to grow.

The Minister added that Nigeria lags behind her film making counterparts in the film production value chain, citing Nigeria’s 142 movie theaters compared to 782 in South Africa and 11,209 in India and many others. He urged state governments to invest a part of their infrastructure budgets for the entertainment industry as a means to generate jobs and grow the GDP.

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“It is important to appeal, especially to our state governments, to invest in infrastructure in the industry. I don’t think it will be too much for the state governments to ensure they build at least one cinema house in each local government area of their state. That will give us additional 774 cinema houses, ” he said.

The Minister added that the role of the NFC is to regulate Nigeria’s film industry and organise professional practice in the sector and also addressed challenges facing the NFC like the inability to produce its own films for commercial purposes due to the law establishing the Corporation limits on its operational functions.

Lai Mohammed said the NFC will be repositioned as the FG has engaged the services of a Business Development Consultant to conduct due diligence on the corporation and the sector and recommend a strategy that is suitable for its reform and commercialization.

“Dear members of the SC, your appointment into this committee comes with huge trust and belief in your ability and capacity to make this reform happen. I therefore urge you to consider this a critical national assignment that requires unflinching commitment and zeal,” he stated.

The members of the Steering Committee are: Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Alhaji Mohammed as Chairman; Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Deaconess Grace Isu-Gekpe; Director-General, BPE, Mr. Alex Okoh; Managing Director, NFC, Dr. Chidia Maduekwe, and Director, Industries and Communications, BPE, Abdullahi Dikko, as Secretary.

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