Greetings and best compliments of the season as I wish you God’s divine mercy and protection during this festive period.
We entered 2014, twelve months ago with great hopes and expectations of substantial progress in the way of the Commission. You will recall that we had just come out of the Strategic Management Retreat in December of 2013 at which we planned to engineer the implementation of the most effective and efficient corporate governance model. It was expected that when implemented the initiative would precipitate change that would create sustained revenue stream for the Commission. Through the process of carefully mapping performance targets coupled with strong regulatory and enforcement mechanisms, and diligent implementation we were sure to be on the road to a successful year.
However, these well-conceived plans suffered devastating set-backs arising largely from cash-flow problems from the Ministry of Finance, something we least anticipated at the beginning of the year. We have learnt this lesson in a hard way. Of course, it had to be that bad because of our total dependence on government for funds to run our programmes and activities.
As we enter into the New Year, we must in retrospection reflect on our performance with a mind to take drastic measures to chart our collective survival. Tomorrow beckons at us for change – the future is renewable and the time to do so is now. The decisions we take in 2015 will either make or mar a better future for us as a group or indeed as individuals. I used 2014 to study the lottery environment and to identify our weaknesses and strength as regulators. I am exceedingly happy that telescoping into 2015, I see the ushering in of extraordinary abundance. Things cannot be this bad anymore.
But, I am aware that abundance for the Commission cannot be guaranteed on a platter of gold unless we change the way we do things. There is need for total overhaul of structures to drive the system hard before we can achieve accelerated revenue generation.
I take this challenge personally as your Director-General and as the pilot driving the affairs of the Commission. I therefore wish to call on all of you to follow me to reset our journey with renewed determination to recreate the future through the far reaching innovations and revolutionary changes I shall be introducing in 2015. We have to put our corporate survival ahead of any other interests. I call on you to continue to strengthen the bonds of teamwork, camaraderie and purpose to ensure achievement of targets I will be setting for each Department/Unit and to individuals.
As a commercial enterprise set up to generate revenue and urged by the doctrine of necessity, we can no longer delay but must urgently move operations towards full commercialization towards self-sustainability for the NLRC. This is the time to do so.
By the law setting up the Commission the NLRC has all it takes to free itself from dependency and to take its destiny in its own hands. We have the capacity to generate money enough to fund our operations, provide enhanced conditions of service for the staff and even justify our case for a better salary package. That is the way we were conceived when we were placed in category ‘A’ list of federal agencies together with FIRS, Customs etc.
The year 2014 is indeed the year of “break through” in the lottery industry in Nigeria. For the first time in the Nine years existence of the Nigerian Lottery industry, an approval was obtained from the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR to provide lottery Good Causes to the Nigerian people.
Consequently the Nigerian Lottery Trust Fund on the 28th of November 2014 signed a Contract Agreement with some offshore companies from China and Turkey for the provision of branded sporting equipments to over 1000 selected primary schools across Nigeria. This is a landmark in the history of the Nigerian Lottery industry. A major “break through” in the use of lottery for national development.
I thank the Honnourable Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs and Supervising Minister of Labour, Hon Tanimu Kabiru Turaki SAN for the support given to the Commission and myself in 2014. I thank the Board Chairman, Damian D. Dodo SAN, OFR, FNIALS and other Board members for their personal sacrifices, sense of mission and dedication to the goals of the Commission.
I sincerely appreciate contributions from the Directors, Management and all staff without whose good works and support the NLRC would not have come thus far.
To God be the glory. I thank God for the release of his divine protection upon our lives, households, for being our shelter, shield and protector throughout 2014. I commit the remaining days of 2014 into God’s hands to preserve and keep us in his wings.
My prayer for 2015 is that God should direct and lead us in the right way to go. He should break the circle of delay, dependency and usher us into extraordinary favour, increase and abundance.
We can work out our abundance. Yes, we can.
Thank you all and best wishes in 2015.
Adolphus Joe Ekpe, FNIM
December 31, 2014