#GivingTuesdayLagos, Gov. Ambode is setting an example for others to emulate, says Maiden Alex-Ibru

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, you are all most welcome to this historic event. Today, we are here to celebrate and support the number one citizen of the most populous, most diverse, most developed and most cosmopolitan State in Nigeria, which also happens to be the largest city in the whole of Africa. H. E., Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, FCA, whom we have come to support today is a true PIONEER IN PHILANTHROPY imbued with the spirit of excellence with which Lagos has been associated since the State was created fifty (50) years ago.

Your Excellency, the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP-Nigeria), is sincerely grateful for your personal support, by dedicating your first two birthdays in office towards supporting the Big War Against Cancer in Nigeria. We understand that you are not usually given to celebrating your birthdays, but here we are today as witnesses of your large heart and compassion. When the history of this initiative is written, you will be honoured by posterity as the very first Governor in Nigeria to specifically devote your birthday to the well-being of the teeming masses of Nigeria through this noble project.

In recognition of your dedication to the promotion of philanthropy, CECP shall today induct you as the first CECP State Patron among all the 36 Governors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Before now CECP has had only two Patrons; namely the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Grand Patron) and the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as National Patron).

Today is the maiden edition of #GivingTuesdayLagos.

#GivingTuesday was introduced in 2012 by the United Nations, to engender and celebrate philanthropy globally. Worldwide the initiative is promoted by political, social and business leaders, who complement the effort of government by championing fund-raising for community development.

Incidentally, in many cultures and religions, Tuesday is regarded as the most auspicious weekday. For example, the Jews regard Tuesday as a day of multiplicity of Blessings. This is because in the Bible on the Third Day of Creation the phrase ‘‘and God saw that it was good” is mentioned twice (see Genesis 1:10 and Genesis 1:12). All the other days have this phrase mentioned only once (except for the second day, Monday, where it is not mentioned at all). Similarly, in Yoruba mythology Tuesday is the most auspicious day of the week. Yorubas regard Tuesday as a day of double blessing and a day of victory. This is why the day is known as ‘Ojo Isegun.’ We believe that today would turn out to be a day full of unfathomable blessings for the Governor, for all of us here present, for Lagos State and for all Nigerians.

#GivingTuesdayNg is powered by Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP Nigeria). CECP is a private sector-led initiative aimed at implementing high-impact solutions to societal problems through the establishment of tripartite (private-social-public) partnerships with special emphasis on united philanthropy.

This year, #GivingTuesdayNg kicked off on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 with an exclusive luncheon for One Hundred Pillars of Philanthropy in Nigeria (‘Philanthropic Centurions’), convened and hosted by the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

As a follow-up on this, H.E., Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, FCA is today hosting #GivingTuesdayLagos to mark his birthday. Today’s event is a prelude to the Grand Finale of #GivingTuesday 2016 which will be hosted by H.E. President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR , in Abuja (FCT),

It is worthy of note that this maiden edition of #Giving TuesdayLagos is taking place within the Golden Jubilee Anniversary Celebration of Lagos State (Lagos@50). We believe that there is no better way to mark the Golden Jubilee than through activities such as this, which would lead to significant improvement in the lives of the people.

The event of today, also resonates with the #MoreLife initiative of CECP. The CECP #MoreLife initiative is aimed at encouraging the use of individual and corporate milestones (e.g. private birthday celebrations and corporate anniversaries) to promote life-giving philanthropy as a way of giving back to society.

By dedicating his birthday to the BIG WAR Against Cancer, H.E., Akinwunmi Ambode, is keying into the #MoreLife campaign and setting an example for others to emulate.

The goal of CECP for today’s #GivingTeusday is to raise funds for at least 25 Mobile Cancer Centres (MCC). As you may be aware CECP has successfully raised funds for the first set of MCC. I am happy to let you know that as we speak, the pilot set of MCC has already been ordered.

At this point, we must commend the philanthropic giants who donated the first set of Mobile Cancer Centres (MCC), especially Mobile Cancer Units, the President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, the Managing Director of the Folawiyo Group, Dr. Tunde Folawiyo; the MD of Northwest Petroleum and Gas Company Ltd, Dame Winifred Akpani, as well as the Chairman of Zenith Bank, Mr. Jim Ovia, who donated ten (10) MCC.

The audio-visual presentation that will be shown shortly will let us know why the acquisition and deployment of the 37 MCC is an urgent task.

Cancer is no respecter of persons. It affects all age groups and every social class. Cancer has cut short the lives and careers of many gifted and talented professionals, and should therefore, be a major concern to the private sector.

Cancer not only affects the direct sufferer but also the family and society at large. The recent shocking death of the football icon, Steven Keshi was attributed to health issues which was aggravated by the loss through cancer of his wife of 33 years, 6 months ago after she had battled the disease for 3 years. It is said that Steven Keshi never truly recovered from the death of his wife until his own death a week ago. May his soul rest in peace.

I can testify to how devastating the impact of cancer can be. As you may know, I lost my beloved husband to colon cancer which was diagnosed at stage 4. For the sake of time, I cannot go into details. Suffice it to say that the agony and trauma is immense. The good news is that it is preventable.

Today is a day of celebration because Governor Ambode is giving us the opportunity to share through giving in the great joy of saving millions of precious lives, especially the lives of the unfortunate 240 Nigerians who die everyday from preventable cancers. Together we can! You can! I can! Yes we can.

As you prepare to give generously and sacrificially, may I remind you of the immortal words of Henry Thoreau who said:
“Goodness is the only investment that never fails. Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.”

• Speech by Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru (MFR, Sphi, GCOW)

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