President Ramaphosa re-elected to lead South Africa

Cyril Ramaphosa has been re-elected as the President of the Republic of South Africa, who will lead the seventh democratic administration.

After a full day of proceedings during the first sitting of the National Assembly of the seventh Parliament, Ramaphosa — the President of the African National Congress — was on Friday evening nominated for the position of President.

The sitting took place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) in the Western Cape.

Three hundred and thirty-nine ballot papers were issued and counted, with 12 invalid ballots. Ramaphosa received 283 votes against Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema, who received 44 votes.

African National Congress Member of Parliament (MP), Mdumiseni Ntuli, nominated Ramaphosa for the position of President, and was seconded by Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader and MP, Velenkosini Hlabisa, during a process that was presided over by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

The President’s election came after former Agriculture, Land Refo
rm and Rural Development Minister, Thoko Didiza was elected as the Speaker of the National Assembly after a vote in the House.

READ | Didiza appointed new National Assembly Speaker

Didiza was declared by Justice Zondo as a Speaker after receiving 284 votes against her contestant, Veronica Mente from the Economic Freedom Fighters, who received 49 votes.

The Democratic Alliance’s Dr Annelie Lotriet was elected as the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly for the seventh Parliament. This after she received 273 votes, while fellow nominee, Vuyolwethu Zungula, the African Transformation Movement leader, received 54 votes.

The first sitting of the National Assembly took place after the General Election on 29 May. The day’s proceedings started with the swearing in of Members of Parliament, who either took an oath or affirmation that enjoins them to be faithful to the Republic of South Africa, and to obey, respect and uphold the Constitution and all other laws of the Republic.

READ | New Members of Parliament
sworn in

South Africa’s recent National and Provincial Elections were the most contested and most compelling since the dawn of democracy in 1994. As in the post-1994 election period, President-elect Ramaphosa is expected to lead a Government of National Unity into the future.

This will be his second term as the leader of South Africa’s government.

He is expected to be inaugurated next Wednesday, 19 June.

Messages of congratulations

After Justice Zondo declared the re-election of President Ramaphosa, various political parties took turns in congratulating him.

Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen said the day is a historic day for the country, and the start for a new chapter of building, cooperation, and putting the country’s interests and future first.

‘In these elections, the voters chose not to give any party its own majority, and in doing so, they have told us that they want us to work together to build a prosperous non-racial, united South Africa, with a great economy that works for everybody
. We must now rise to the occasion and rise to the call of South Africa,’ Steenhuisen said.

EFF leader Julius Malema also congratulated the President, saying his party accepts the results and the voice of people of South Africa expressed during the elections.

‘We are going to ensure that this Parliament is functional,’ Malema said.

Inkatha Freedom Party leader, Velenkosini Hlabisa, said this is the beginning of a new era.

‘The IFP stands ready to serve in the government of South Africa. We enter the government of national unity with an open mind and eyes wide open.’

READ | Date set for Presidential inauguration

Ramaphosa was sworn in as the President of South Africa for the first time on 15 February 2018 and again on 22 May 2019 after the 2019 elections.

The early years

The President was born on 17 November 1952 in Johannesburg. His family was moved from Western Native Township to Soweto in 1962, where he attended Tshilidzi Primary School.

He completed high school at Mphaphuli High School in Sibasa,
Venda in 1971.

Ramaphosa began his studies at the University of the North in 1972, where he became involved in student politics, joining the South African Student Organisation (SASO) and the Black People’s Convention (BPC).

The President holds a law degree from the University of South Africa, and has received several honorary doctorates from local and international universities.

He received the Olof Palme prize in Stockholm in 1987 and was awarded the National Order of the Baobab in Silver in 2009 for his contribution to the multiparty negotiations and for chairing the Constitutional Assembly.

Prior to becoming the President of South Africa, Ramaphosa served as the Deputy President since 2012.

Source: South African Government News Agency

EU consultant says AI, art can play significant roles in food security

Patricia Carvalho, a Policy Support Consultant of the European Union (EU) said science, technology in the form of Artificial Intelligence (AI), arts, and culture have significant roles to play in ensuring food security in Africa.

Carvalho said this via webinar in the course of a media briefing organised to unveil the S-T-ARTS4AFRICA Programme, an art-driven initiative aimed at creating opportunities for African artists to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to proffer solutions.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the S-T-ARTS4AFRICA Programme is an initiative driven in Nigeria by the Gallery of Code, a research, development, and innovation company.

The EU consultant said it would be intriguing to get to the core of what artists could achieve in promoting food security and access to clean water using science and technology tools such as AI.

‘We believe that science, technology, arts, and culture can play a significant role in tackling socio-economic and ecological challenges that are science-relate

‘Through host institutions like the Gallery of Code, using an already existing approach from the European continent, we are connecting local and international artists with regional stakeholders to boost synergy among continents.

‘Currently, there are eight residencies going on in Africa under the S-T-ARTS4AFRICA programme.

‘One of the residencies is in Nigeria. The second one is in Tanzania. The third one is in Senegal, and there are two in Ghana, among others.

‘At the end of the projects, there will be a final event in Senegal to bring all the residency hosts together at a meeting point to connect.

‘It is a short project but not a one-off collaboration, and I believe that lessons will be taken away from it and will be applied across continents,’ she said.

She reaffirmed EU’s commitment to supporting the programme and praised the visual artist that the Gallery of Code is working with to develop an innovative modular storage system for roots and tubers like Yams.

Speaking at the briefing, Mr Oscar E
kponimo, the Managing Director of Gallery of Code, stated that the initiative is a dedicated version of STARTS for Africa, an EU-led intervention in Nigeria.

‘STARTS was initiated in 2016 but now there is a dedicated version for Africa.

‘This is the first phase and the first time this is coming up in Africa and a Nigerian has been selected from among 300 applicants.

‘Jibril Baba, a visual artist, has just been awarded a grant to support his project – a smart technology (model) that will address food storage challenges, boost food production, and curb rising food insecurity gaps in Nigeria,’ he said.

Ekponimo stated that the EU is pushing for innovations, with an artistic perspective because innovation is more practical and impactful when it is artistically driven.

‘Our visual artist that has been selected is to implement a model yam barn that will use artificial intelligence to monitor the change in climate conditions and also check the air quality around the yams, as well as monitor the possibility of s

‘This will automatically control food wastage and address food insecurity.

‘This will be the first of it’s kind and the project is still in its early stages,

‘We have just finished the reflection stage and going further to the actualisation stage.

‘I am happy to say that there will be a final exhibition in Nigeria and our artist has also been selected to exhibit at a festival that will be held in Austria early in September,’ he added.

Dr Femi Adeluyi, the National Co-ordinator, National Talent Export Programme (NATEP), a new initiative of the Federal Government, said the project ‘is in full alignment with what the President Bola Tinubu administration seeks to achieve by investing in the creative industry.

‘This is a good model that could be enhanced and made elaborate.

‘Today it’s yams we are focusing on. Tomorrow it could be another agricultural product, and we can leverage this one.

‘We want opportunities where our artists can showcase their skills and our products abroad and then benefit
from such investments.

‘This can enhance our socio-economic strength, and it shows we have a lot of value that we can bring to the table,’ he said.

Speaking on the initiative, Baba said the core of the project ‘is a prototype yam barn; a modular storage system where yams will be slotted into storage spaces and use sensors that can check the climate conditions, and air quality and equally shield the yams from too much sunlight.

‘During our preliminary research we visited different states in the Northeastern part of the country and discovered that out of 1,500 yam tubers harvested, 600 are lost due to lack of a good storage system.’

According to him, the production of the yam barn can help reduce wastage due to spoilage while increasing productivity and strengthening the chances of ensuring food security in Nigeria.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

FG to introduce electronic blood management system – Minister

Prof. Muhammad Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, says efforts are in place to introduce Electronic Blood Management System for effective and efficient blood service delivery nationwide.

He disclosed this at a press briefing in commemoration of the 2024 World Blood Donor Day with the theme ’20 Years of Celebrating Giving: Thank You, Blood Donors!’, organised by the National Blood Service Commission (NBSC).

The minister, who was represented by Chris Isokpunwu, Director, Health Planning, Research and Statistics, said that the idea was to ensure availability of safe blood and blood products in Nigeria.

He said ‘we are in the process of scaling up activities of the commission to all parts of the country, and introducing an Electronic Blood Management System to ensure effective and efficient blood service delivery.’

He acknowledged the role of blood donors in saving lives, adding that ‘the donation rate in Nigeria shows that over 80 per cent of blood collected are from family replace
ment and commercial blood donors.

‘Data on the donation rate in Nigeria shows that more than 80 per cent of blood collected are from families.

‘Empirical evidence shows that the most reliable and safest source of blood comes from a stable base of regular, voluntary, unpaid blood donors, rather than from commercial sources.

‘The World Health Assembly resolution WHA63.12 urges all member states to develop national blood systems based on voluntary unpaid donations and to work toward the goal of self-sufficiency.’

The minister said that the use of blood and blood products had become an integral part of modern medical practice as access to safe blood and blood products was critical to achieving an effective health system.

‘With a population of over 200 million, Nigeria’s estimated blood need is about two million units per annum.

‘Unfortunately, much less is currently donated, leading to avoidable deaths, morbidities, or ill health, particularly among our womenfolk, newborns, and victims of road traffic acci
dents and insurgency.

‘This situation can improve if only one per cent of our country’s adult population commits itself to voluntary non-remunerated blood donation regularly,’ he said.

Also, Prof. Saleh Yuguda, the Director-General, NBSC, said ‘blood donation plays a critical role in saving lives and strengthening the healthcare system in the country.’

According to Yuguda, transfusion of blood and blood products help patients to live longer and with higher quality of life.

‘Additionally, blood transfusion supports complex medical and surgical procedures, thus, making it indispensable in maternal and childcare, as well as during man-made and natural disasters.

‘Recent data indicates that more people are dying from lack of access to blood and blood products than communicable diseases in developing countries,’ he said.

Dr Walter Mulombo, the Country Representative, World Health Organisation (WHO), said Nigeria is one of the 16 African countries with 80 per cent of blood donation from voluntary blood donati

Mulombo, who was represented by Dr Hamzat Tayo, however, stressed the need to create awareness on blood donation as the total number of blood collected was still low at 5.2 units per one thousand population.

Mohammed Ibrahim, the Chief Route Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), emphasised the need for more voluntary non-remunerated blood donors.

According to Ibrahim, the goal is to save lives and to see that injury and death are reduced by five per cent.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other highlights of the commemoration include conferment of awards to notable blood donors and engagement and advocacy with the media, community and religious leaders.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Adewumi pledges support for golf development in Nigeria

Dr Rowland Adewumi, a golf enthusiast and promoter has pledged to invest more in the development of golf in Nigeria through his ‘Rowland Adewumi’ golf classic tournament.

Adewumi stated this on Saturday at the tee-off of the tournament at the prestigious IBB International Golf and Country Club, Abuja, where both professional and amateur golfers are slugging it out for honours.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the inaugural tournament is meant to serve as a veritable platform for the development of amateur and professional Nigerian golfers to international standards.

The philanthropist stressed the need to have sustainable tournaments for golf development across the country, in line with international best practices.

‘I think the game of golf has been lagging behind, so I just decided to make my own contribution to the develop the game better in Nigeria.

‘This is the inaugural tournament and I intend to make it a yearly affair in the spirit of developing the sport further.

‘So apart from the
game, we intend doing charity today, so we are supporting about four charity homes/orphanages and widows, so it’s not all about the game but at the same time supporting charity,’ he said.

Adewumi, who is a professional golfer Handicap 7 with the IBB Int golf and country club called on government and the private sector to show more commitment to the development of the sport in the country.

‘We need to support the pros in the country,, because if you look at the ranking in the world, Nigerian pros are not performing better.

‘So I think the private sector, the government and other stakeholders need to support the pros as well to lift up the game to a higher height,’ he added.

He said the tournament was put together to celebrate his 50th birthday, but promised to make it an annual event that will serve as platform for grooming professional and amateur golfers.

Earlier, Captain of the IBB International Golf and Country Club, Ibrahim Babayo extolled the support of Adewumi to the growth of the sport in the cou
ntry, while calling on others to emulator him.

‘We have got talents that are not opportuned to be exposed to this game and this philanthropist, Dr Adewumi has created a platform for these talents.

‘I can tell you what he has done for us in this club is unprecedented, so we wish him happy birthday.

‘We thank him for deepening the game of golf in Nigeria, we thank him for the sponsorship he’s been doing in IBB golf club, he’s one of our biggest donors and he’s been supportive of all our programmes,’ he said.

NAN reports that the three-day tournament featured more than 100 golfers competing in a stroke play format over the renowned 18-hole, lush green IBB golf course.

A total of N20 million prize money and other consolation prizes are up for grabs at the end of the classic.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

NGOs distribute menstrual pads, hygiene kits to students in IDP camp

Two NGOs, Civitas Auxillium Foundation (CAF) and BHAJ Helping Arm Foundation, on Friday, donated essential items to schools in Wassa Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Abuja.

The NGOs specifically distributed sanitary pads and hygiene kits to female students of Moving Star International School, Holy Trinity Academy, Welbired Academy and ECWA Zion Academy, all in Wassa IDPs Camp.

Mrs Elizabeth Duile, the Chief Operating Officer of CAF, said that the idea was to create awareness on menstrual hygiene management, and to dispel some myths and beliefs surrounding menstruation among underprivileged children in the camp.

She said ‘we need to create more awareness and empower the children with the right knowledge about how to take care of themselves on days when they have their menstrual flow.

‘Shockingly, while we were having the lecture, some of the girls said they use rags, tissue paper and other things that are not appropriate for menstrual protection.

‘So, it is important that we create awareness by
educating and empowering them with the right knowledge,’ she said.

Duile acknowledged the challenges of accessing menstrual pad for people in IDPs camps, urging government and other stakeholders to implement policies that would ensure provision of facilities and materials for their well-being.

‘There is need to have toilets in the schools, especially for the girls to be able to have access to clean water and sanitary pads, and for them to freshen up without disrupting their learning.

‘This is because we had cases of girls who do not come to school whenever they are on their period, as they rather stay at home because there’s no toilet in school,’ she said.

Similarly, Dr Adejoke Ogundana, BHAJ Helping Arm Foundation, said the students were educated on menstrual hygiene management to reduce risk of infections during their menstrual cycle.

‘We were able to educate them on proper menstrual management and ways to access hygiene products and breaking stigma.

‘We did not limit it to just the girls; the boys we
re also included so that they can support their sisters and friends, instead of embarrassing or stigmatising them.

‘We delivered these messages also in their native languages to really impact knowledge into them and also help them to be responsible in their environments,’ she said.

Maryam Ibrahim, a junior student of the school, expressed appreciation to the NGOs for the support.

‘I am so happy with this gifts, I always used rags during my menstrual period because my mother here in the IDP camp cannot afford to buy me sanitary pads,’she said.

Similarly, Reuben Obadiah, another student said that he learnt lot on maintaining good hygiene, how to support girls when the need arose, and to fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV).’

Speaking on behalf of the schools, Mrs Chidimma Obiegwue, a teacher in Moving Star International School, said that the gesture would reduce student challenges of accessing sanitary pads and absent from school during menstrual period.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Blood donation noble act of giving-NNPC

Mrs Mirian Anabui, Manager Diagnostics Services NNPC Medical Services Limited (NMSL), has described blood donation as a noble act of giving that symbolises the essence of humanity.

Anabui expressed this view on Friday in Abuja at an event to commemorate the 2024 World Blood Donor Day.

The theme of the event was ’20 years of Celebrating Giving: Thank You Donors!’

‘We stand united in gratitude and admiration for the noble act of giving; the act that sustains lives, fuels hope, and embodies the essence of humanity.

‘Today, we come together to celebrate a remarkable milestone: 20 years of giving.

‘With each donation, you have provided hope to those in need, strength to the vulnerable, and reassurance to the weary,’ she said.

According to her, donors have represented the spirit of solidarity and compassion; demonstrating that a single act of kindness has the power to transform lives and shape the course of our shared humanity.

She urged them to reaffirm their commitment to supporting blood donation initiati
ves, raising awareness and advocating for equitable access to safe blood supplies for all.

‘Together, we can ensure that the legacy of giving continues to thrive and that future generations inherit a world where the gift of life knows no boundaries,” she said.

Delivering a lecture, Mr Oyetunde Akinloye, a educator, Blood Safety Consultant, said that the event was to create awareness for blood donations to ensure the quality, safety and availability of blood and blood products.

According to him, there is life in every drop; hence the need to give blood.

Akinloye said that blood services were vital part of the healthcare system, providing life-saving transfusion for a variety of medical conditions.

‘However, maintaining a sustainable blood supply can be challenging due to factors like short shelf life of blood products, fluctuations in donor availability and increase demand for blood transfusions.

‘Others are fund, high turnover of trained, skilled personnel and infrastructure/equipment,’ he said.

ding to him, blood transfusion situation in Nigeria lacks of reliable data.

Akinloye said that enhancing blood service sustainably should be a national blood policy.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that certificates was given to donors.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria