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JPDS: Experts present financial agenda for Nigerian Universities amidst ASUU strike

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In the wake of yet another industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, the focus was on fundraising, capital campaigns and strategic communications when experts gathered at the third edition of the Jacksonites Professional Development Series (JPDS), to examine the principles, strategies, and tactics for planning and executing effective campaigns in raising funds for educational institutions.

The webinar which covered such areas as how to plan and execute a successful fundraiser, how to set up and run an advisory board for fundraising campaigns, why fundraising campaigns fail and how to avoid the pitfalls and what to do at the end of the fundraiser witness a huge turnout of participants for the free event including communication scholars and professionals, administrators in the education sector, alumni groups, fundraising volunteers and coordinators, marketing communication professionals and other public personalities from across the world.

Speaking in his address, Chief Host and President of the Jacksonites Alumni Association Worldwide, Prof. Pat Utomi who welcomed guests and presenters to the session expressed excitement on the new modification to the JPDS by the Chinedu Mba-led Steering Committee as well as the topic of discourse and the rich lineup of speakers ready to do justice to the subject of fundraising.

Setting the tone for the presentations, he said, “The JPDS has very helped our understanding of so many strategic issues in communication and performance. In this particular edition, we are getting into an area of great importance.”

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Referencing Angus Deaton’s ‘The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality,’ Utomi opined that without education and healthcare, performance is challenged. “It is evident that the society that has made a lot of progress are dependent on the investment on healthcare and education. But as a purely commercial venture, it will be limiting to depend on just those who can pay to open the possibilities from education and healthcare. So, we need to find ways of funding education other than reliance on what people can afford to pay.

“We live in a country where we are now in a prolong crisis for higher education. ASUU is on strike again, which has become a pattern. In 1959, the report by Sir Eric Ashby who chaired the Higher Education Commission set up in Nigeria by Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa, revealed that the quality of higher education was as good as the very best in the world. We now see a significant decline, driven majorly by the fact that from a strategic point of view, when government opened up higher education in the late 70s, early 80s, it could not fund accordingly. So, we need to build models for funding universities.

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“How can we do fundraise in a way that will open access, yet ensure that we raise enough revenue to make the universities of high quality? This is what Chinedu and co have brought experts to discuss. These experts are people of practice and people who have lived as researchers in this area. It is so fundamental and critical to what has been referred to as the tripartite approach to development-where the public and private sectors as well as the private development agencies collaborate to drive development,’ he concluded.

Speaking on the topic, “Fundraising and Capital Campaigns as Strategic Communication,” Charles Okigbo, Professor Emeritus of Strategic Communication at North Dakota State University and former Executive Coordinator of the African Council for Communication Education (ACCE) explained that Strategic communication is vital for fundraising campaigns from initiation to completion. Noting that there is no bad time for fundraising and capital campaigns, Okigbo revealed that the historical rules and principles of Pareto and Gift Range Chart where 20 percent of people and institutions approached will donate 80 percent of the target still hold sway in sourcing for funding.

In yet another paper he presented titled “Inviting, Training and Developing Board Members For Fundraising Engagement,” Okigbo emphasised that fundraising is essentially about people. In the paper he co-authored with Dr. Elizabeth Birmingham of Lakehead University, Canada and Prof. Kelly Sassi of the North Dakota University in the United States, Okigbo further revealed that the constitution of Board Members for fundraising is very strategic to achieving set fundraising target, hence, the need to get the right people of honour and integrity and train them accordingly to be successful.

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Presenting his paper on “Fundraising Not Asking for Money,” John Klocke, CFRE, Advancement Director/Planned and Major Gifts at St. John Paul II Catholic Schools, revealed that there is so much more to fundraising than asking for money. He explained that from conceptualisation till after donation is made, the entire process of fundraising is basically about relationship building and maintenance, among other things.
One key takeaway he left participants with is, “Do not ask for a gift until you have thanked the donor at least two times and you have communicated the impact of their gift, so that they are satisfied with that gift.”

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“Fundraising for higher institutions is not random or left to chance. There is an art and science to it.” Prof. Bartholomew Okolo revealed as much in his presentation, “The Art and Science of Resource Mobilization for Higher Education.” Drawing from his years as a Vice-Chancellor of the prestigious University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Okolo gave practical lessons on resource mobilization strategy development, relationship building, and reward mechanism, philanthropic culture in Nigeria as well as challenges and set back in fundraising.

It is worthy of note that during his tenure as the VC, UNN executed over 400 projects drawing from Tertiary Education Trust Fund and Federal Government capital allocations as well as internally generated revenue. He attracted 2.6bn from Tetfund and 1.7bn from federal Government capital allocations. UNN was also a net recipient of invaluable capital projects by major private sector organisations including the Shell Petroleum Development Company, Fidelity Bank, First Bank, Capital Oil, and Ibeto Group, among others.

Professor of Broadcasting at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Ladi Adamu, Nigeria also delivered a paper on “Strategic Fundraising and Capital Campaigns in Higher Institutions in Nigeria,” where she examined five case studies in fundraising and capital campaign. They are Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (straight forward request of 2 billion naira to build hostels-Dangote/BUA); University of Nigeria, Nsukka (Old Student Inspired fundraiser of 5 billion naira); Yobe state government (25 billion naira) and transformation of the Government College, Umahia by the College’s Old Boys’ association with 2.5 billion naira.

Noting that these are some exceptional cases, she explained that fundraising in Nigeria comes with a lot of challenges including weak alumni networks, lack of alumni database, lack of complete funding, poor community participation, lack of or weak after-fundraiser relationship management and personality-identity ego.

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Prof. George Owunari, Vice-Chancellor, University of PortHarcout who was also a participant at the series commended the organisers of the JPDS for the session, revealing that he was invited by a former Vice-Chancellor. He asked about the cost of fundraising, a pertinent question as agreed by Okigbo. In his response, Okigbo explained that the cost of fundraising depends on the scale of amount to be raised.

He added that everything should begin with a strategic plan beyond just gathering people together and asking them for support.

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The highly interactive session was moderated by David Bakare, a consummate Marketing Communications practitioner and MD/CEO of DD-IMC Ltd, a 360-degree Marcomms.

The Jacksonites Professional Development Series Steering Committee Chairman, Prof. Chinedu Mba of Algonquin College, Ottawa, Canada, who gave the Vote of thanks thanked all participants and paper presenters for the insightful session. She revealed that there will be a follow up workshop on a date that will be communicated across and facilitated by Prof. Charles Okigbo, Dr. Elizabeth Birmingham, Prof. Kelly Sassi, John Locke and Prof. Ladi Adamu.

About the JPDS
The Jacksonites Professional Development Series (JPDS) is a professional and personal development initiative of the alumni of the Department of Mass Communication, University of Nigeria Nsukka. It was formally launched in July 2021.

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Its vision is to consistently promote the holistic development of Jacksonites, professionals and students in communications and allied fields through periodic interdisciplinary research-based seminars that foster academic research and development which contribute to the advancement of all its stakeholders. These stakeholders include Jacksonites, the Nigerian government, the Nigerian public, allied professionals, practitioners, students, academics and media-related professionals.

The scope of the seminar themes includes all disciplines of Mass Communication (Journalism & Media Studies, Public Relations, Advertising, Broadcasting, Film, Multimedia Studies, Development Communication Studies, as well as Information & Media Studies). These quarterly interdisciplinary sessions will engender the intersection of town and gown/theory & praxis.

JPDS has organized two well-received seminars since its inception. Its inaugural seminar held in July 2021 and was delivered by Dr. Nduka Otiono, an Associate Professor at the Institute of African Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. The title was “A Captured Media in an Insecure Nation: Democracy and Free Speech on Trial?”. Mr. Obi Emekekwue, a former Director and Global Head of Communications and Events Management at Afreximbank, delivered the second seminar in November 2021. The title was “Crisis Survival in Today’s Viral World: The Communications Conundrum.”

All activities of JPDS are made possible through the efforts of a team of volunteers: the Steering Committee chaired by Chinedu Mba of Algonquin College, ON, Canada as well as committed and passionate professionals who make up the working groups (Logistics, Publicity & Mobilization, and Sponsorship & Partnership).

For more information on the JPDS, kindly visit: https://jacksonitespds.com/

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UBA launches year-end festivities with Christmas carol

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United Bank for Africa Plc has commenced the Yuletide season with a Christmas carol service held at UBA Foundation Garden at Marina, on Lagos Island.

The ceremony, attended by staff, customers and members of the general public, is part of the group’s corporate social responsibility activities.

The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, UBA, Oliver Alawuba, was joined by other management staff to officially light up the Head office and the UBA Foundation Garden, which according to him, signifies how the bank has been bringing light to the lives of the people and communities around it.

Alawuba said, “We are here to officially light up the season and as you know, UBA has been the light in the financial sector on the continent and beyond. Going by our performance, we will continue to ensure that we spread light and joy wherever we go. This is very symbolic for us all, and we want to take time to appreciate the staff and customers who have made us achieve great things this year. At UBA, we are all about spreading love and giving hope.”

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The Light-Up ceremony featured Christmas carols renditions by UBA’s Customer Fulfilment Centre Choir, a guided tour around the beautiful UBA Foundation Garden and more.

UBA’s Group Head Marketing and Corporate Communications, Alero Ladipo, while talking on the essence of the annual event, said, “UBA is a bank that values its environment and as an organisation that is corporately responsible, we have taken it upon ourselves to beautify our environment and add colour, especially as the year comes to an end.

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“I hope that as always, we will be able to make many smile and give a glimmer of hope during a special season like this.”

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Afrochella rebrands as AfroFuture Fest for Detty December 2023

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Affectionately known as Detty December, this is the month that the Western region of Africa hosts a season-long lineup of festival-hopping partygoers at carnivals and concerts, inspiring thousands of people from across the diaspora to flock to their ancestral land for the holidays.

Though many aren’t quite sure how Detty December originated, what was once a tradition reserved for people on the continent has become a time when overseas visitors, including Black Americans, are choosing “home” away from home and making it their own.

Some say this particular holiday custom emerged during the inaugural Calabar Carnival in 2004, in the south-eastern Nigeria region; others claim it became popularised during Ghana’s 2019 “Year of Return.” The campaign, launched by the Ghana Tourism Authority, encouraged brothers and sisters of African descent to make the voyage to Ghana and unite as family of the diaspora. Since then, the actual number of visitors has far exceeded expectations, with about a million people making the trek in 2019—a rise of 45% from the previous year, which reflected a significant increase in travellers from the United States and the United Kingdom, according to the BBC.

Yet even as tourists converged on the continent in ever-rising numbers, few could have predicted that Detty December would become an annual pilgrimage for so many global travellers, who come to the city hot spots of Lagos and Accra for a month of music, arts, culture and entertainment.

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One event in particular, Afrochella—which has now been rebranded as AfroFuture—is sandwiched between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Held at the peak of Detty December in the city of Accra, the music and cultural festival is staged annually at Accra’s El Wak Stadium. It was first launched in 2017 as the brainchild of Abdul Karim Abdullah, AfroFuture’s New York–born CEO and cofounder.

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What started as an idea for a food festival became a 4,000-attendee event in its first year. It has since exploded into one of the most-lauded events during the holiday season in Africa, with attendance numbers hitting 31,000 in 2022.

While this year marks the first time that the festival will not be under its original Afrochella imprint, the occasion is sure to be just as magical, if not more so. The renaming of the festival comes on the heels of Coachella organisers suing Afrochella for trademark infringement, citing a confusion between the competing brands. But make no mistake, whether “chella” is in the title or not, this event remains deeply relevant for Black attendees, especially those travelling to the continent from abroad.

AfroFuture Fest occupies its own unique lane, and by design, it shares the beauty of Ghana’s cultural identity with the world. But what makes this festival so distinctive is its organisers’ ability and determination to support the Ghanaian economy.

Abdullah, whose business partners are based in Ghana, strives to ensure that everyone—from production staff and event designers to maintenance workers and vendors—is from the country, and that every extra dollar poured into the festival goes directly into local hands.

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As a result, the economic impact has been staggering, with approximately 16% of Ghanaian tourism income for the year of 2019 coming from AfroFuture Fest, and an average of $2,650 spent by each festival attendee.

“Our numbers have grown since we launched, so we know that our impact is very visible on the continent,” says Bronx native Abdullah.

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“We are excited by the transition of Afrochella to AfroFuture Fest,” says Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority. “The event has become a flagship of our December in Ghana programme. It brings in a lot of visitors and, with them, attendant economic benefits for our industry and our country. Hotels peak in occupancy; airlines are fully booked; and the entire value chain of tourism thrives during the period.”

With attendees representing people of African descent from regions as far flung as the U.S., UK, France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland, the brand has expanded to speak to these patrons, with spin-offs being held this year in New York, South Africa and London.

“Our goal is to be able to touch all parts of the continent,” explains Abdullah. “So we’re also doing a lot more events involving Francophone Africa and Southern Africa. A lot of our global markets don’t have experiences that are similar to what we’re doing in Ghana, so this is our opportunity to market to the festival more broadly and tell them about what’s happening and what we’re doing.”

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Carrying the torch of Black nationalists and civil rights leaders such as Marcus Garvey—who consistently preached that Black Americans should “go back to Africa”—AfroFuture Fest has given this message of returning to the ancestral homeland a new meaning.

“We want to grow and do a lot more storytelling,” says Abdullah. “It’s one thing for the diaspora to come together to enjoy music, fashion, food and art, and have a great time in Ghana, but it’s another thing for us to be able to uniquely tell the nuanced story of the continent.

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“We don’t know enough about each other—and that fosters competition rather than collaboration. By telling more stories, and sharing our culture and uplifting what each culture means, it gives us an opportunity to build alliances and increase the appreciation for all those cultures that show up at our festival.”

There is something incredibly special about celebrating on African soil in December—but there’s something even more special about a “for us, by us” festival accompanied by warm sun, sweet food and welcoming people.

AfroFuture Fest has not only changed the tourism outlook on the continent, but it has also expanded the world’s view of what it means to vacation at the beach while celebrating Black culture. This is for Ghana—and by extension, for the entire diaspora.

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Gospel artists to commemorate Sammy Okposo in Houston

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Gospel artists are set to commemorate late legendary musician, Sammy Okposo in Houston with a praise concert titled Sammy Okposo Memorial Legacy Praise Party.

The Sammie Okposo Memorial Legacy Praise Party which will take place on Saturday, November 25, 2023, is set to see feature performances by top Gospel Artists including Tim Godfrey, Gabriel Eziashi, Nikki Laoye, Henrisoul, Funke Akinokun, Mike Stuckey, Dare David, Dee Jones, Lihle Adeyemi and many more.

The praise party will hold at the Dominion Chapel Houston. 1203 Cravens Road, Stanford, TX 77477 by 4 pm EST.

The concert is set to recreate the explosive praise atmosphere Sammie Okposo was known for championing during his incredible career that touched many lives.

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The legendary gospel musician Sammie Okposo passed away on Friday, November 25, 2022, at the age of 51.

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