Centurions’ Luncheon, National Patron Of #GivingTuesdayNG And CECP-Nigeria
REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE CENTURIONS‘ LUNCHEON, NATIONAL PATRON OF #GIVINGTUESDAYNG AND CECP-NIGERIA, AT TRANSCORP HILTON, ON 1ST MARCH, 2016.
In 2012, the United Nations Foundation commenced the #GivingTuesday initiative, a global way of engendering and celebrating philanthropy. #GivingTuesday is observed world-wide, supported by business, political, and social leaders, who jointly champion fund-raising for community development.
Very top government officials, including at presidential and prime ministerial levels, of many nations have become patrons of this philanthropic movement, a universally recognized way for patriotic citizens to jointly contribute towards societal well-being.
It was therefore with gladness and all sense of responsibility that I accepted to be the National Patron of #GivingTuesday Nigeria.
THE COMMITTEE ENCOURAGING CORPORATE PHILANTHROPY (CECP-NIGERIA)
#GivingTuesday activities in Nigeria is powered by CECP. CECP is promoted by six of the core bodies of the Organized Private Sector, namely:
- Institute of Directors (IoD),
- Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI),
- Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA),
- Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA),
- Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), and
- Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
The principal aim of CECP is to provide a platform through which the private sector can support the developmental efforts of the government.
THE CENTURIONS (PILLARS OF PHILANTHROPY IN NIGERIA)
The Centurions are the one hundred most eminent philanthropists of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Each Centurion is a man or woman who is investing his or her resources to create positive change and make life better for the masses, through the practice of massive, exceptional and far-reaching philanthropy, at the national level.
THE ANNUAL CENTURIONS’ LUNCHEON
The Centurions’ Luncheon is an annual event to be held each year on the first Tuesday in March. A luncheon is an exclusive event which also kicks off the #GivingTuesday celebration for each year.
The aim of the Luncheon is to inspire united action by the Centurions through concerted philanthropy in support of the developmental effort of government, especially a government that has articulated a clear, bold and an unprecedented social investment agenda forming more than 9% of the proposed 2016 Budget-I am talking of the allocation of half a trillion Naira the President has set aside for six different safety net schemes he has asked my office to coordinate.
WAR AGAINST CANCER
The flagship focal cause of CECP is the “BIG WAR Against Cancer in Nigeria” aimed at “Taking holistic health care to the Grassroots” by the provision of at least one Mobile Cancer Centre (MCC) for each State of the Federation and one Comprehensive Cancer Centre (CCC) for each geopolitical zone.
After this goal has been achieved, subsequent #GivingTuesday celebrations can focus on other areas of pressing need, including:
- Youth Empowerment and Employment Creation;
- The Underprivileged including the Physically Challenged, Orphans and Widows;
- Ecologically challenged zones, including the Niger-Delta
- Internally Displaced Persons (IDP)
THE FOCAL CAUSE FOR #GIVINGTUESDAY 2016 – THE BIG WAR AGAINST CANCER
The first phase of the Big War Against Cancer involves raising funds to acquire/deploy 37 Mobile Cancer Centres (MCC), one for each state and Abuja.
A Mobile Cancer Centre is NOT the same as a Mobile Mammogram. Rather, it is a clinic on wheels with state of the art facilities for screening, follow-up and treatment including surgeries for pre-cancer and early cancer cases. It also contains facilities for screening against ten cancer-related killer diseases, including hepatitis, diabetes, malaria, HIV/AIDs and others. Thus the Mobile Cancer Centres would tackle the double burden of disease, i.e. Communicable & Non-Communicable.
The MCC is not only a tool for the prevention and early treatment of cancer but is also a means of preventing the ten Major Cancer-related killer diseases.
The MCC is one of the most important means of raising the life expectancy of Nigerians, which is currently ranked as one of the lowest globally. Cancer and the ten cancer-related disease conditions are the main culprits responsible for this low life expectancy.
A single Mobile Cancer Centre in one state of the federation could make a huge positive difference. That state would be divided into smaller units such that every community would be reached by the Mobile Cancer Centre at least once a year.
The MCC (and the CCC -Comprehensive Cancer Centre- to be established thereafter) will not only help to raise Nigerian life expectancy, but also stimulate reverse health tourism into Nigeria, create massive youth employment, support transfer of technology and increase the foreign reserves. In addition, the availability of MCC in every state of Nigeria and FCT Abuja would enhance community cohesion, reduce non-inclusion and help to ameliorate the perception of social injustice which creates the condition needed for militancy to thrive.
According to the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), one out of every three persons will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. However, survival rates have improved tremendously in many countries with better infrastructure for early diagnosis and prompt intervention.
Sadly, however, W.H.O. data shows that within a period of four years, Nigeria has had a significant increase in the incidence of deaths from the common cancers. In 2008, breast cancer killed 30 Nigerian women daily; by 2012 this had risen to 40 women daily. In 2008 prostate cancer killed 14 Nigerian men daily; by 2012 this had risen to 26 men daily. In 2008 liver cancer killed 24 Nigerians daily; by 2012 this had risen to 32 daily.
A total of over 100,000 Nigerians are diagnosed with cancer annually, and about 80,000 die (10 deaths every hour!). This death ratio (4: 5) compares most unfavourably with that in other countries, and is a result of poor facilities.
The good news gladly is that most cancer deaths are preventable. According to W.H.O. (2002), one-third of cancers are preventable, another third curable and the patients in the last third can have a good quality of life with appropriate care.
CECP’s operational partner for the BIG War is the National Cancer Prevention Programme (NCPP), a non-governmental initiative. The NCPP has been at work since 2007; over 100,000 Nigerians have been directly screened and treated so far, and through the awareness created, the NCPP is helping to protect millions of Nigerians from cancer. This monumental effort has contributed immensely to the reduction of cervical cancer deaths in Nigeria from 26 daily in 2008 to 22 daily in 2012 (WHO data). The MCC will facilitate the process of scaling up this effort.
I am very glad to throw my weight behind this initiative, particularly in the light of the integrity of those behind it. The Chairman of the CECP Council, Dr Michael Omolayole is an epitome of integrity, excellence and dedication; and so is Dr Christopher Kolade (CON) who is the Project Anchor of CECP-Nigeria. The CECP council is also made up of highly respected and passionate women including Mrs Margaret Rose Adetutu Adeleke (OON) who was the very first female CEO of a quoted company in Nigeria and of course, Mrs. Maryam Uwais (MFR), Presidential Special Adviser on Social Protection.
There is hardly any family in Nigeria that has not been affected in one way or another by cancer. My family is no exception.
At a personal level, I remember that several years ago I was responsible for introducing representatives of the NCPP when they came to provide free health counselling and cancer screening for one week at the annual RCCG Holy Ghost Congress.
At that time, I was deeply involved with the Coalition Against Tobacco (CAT), the group that led the campaign for the passage of the National Tobacco Control Bill. I discussed with the leader of the NCPP team and promised to support them in any way I can. I am glad that through this private sector-led initiative, I can also do something for the Big War Against Cancer in Nigeria.
I wish to commend the three philanthropists who are the sponsors of the first two Mobile Cancer Centres (MCC). These are the current President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede; the Immediate Past President of the NSE and President of the Dangote Foundation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and the Group Managing Director of the Folawiyo Group, Dr Tunde Folawiyo.
The purpose of this Luncheon is to raise funds for at least twelve MCC. As stated earlier, the ultimate goal is to have at least one MCC in each State of the Federation. This, in turn, would enable us to save millions of Nigerians from preventable suffering and agonizing death.
This vision can only be achieved with the generous support of all people of goodwill. Without these donations, the goal would not be reached and the opportunity to save lives would be lost.
I urge all of you eminent Centurions to rise up and be counted by donating generously towards this worthy cause.
I now declare the 2016 maiden edition of the Centurions’ Conclave and Luncheon open.