The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), an NGO, has lauded former minister, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, for sponsoring the National Tobacco Control Bill.
The Executive Director of CAPPA, Mr Akinbode Oluwafemi, gave the commendation on Tuesday, August 8, 2023, during a “Thank You Dinner” in honour of Mamora in Abuja.
Oluwafemi noted that CAPPA and the Coalition Against Tobacco (CAT) supported Mamora to raise the bill on tobacco control during the sixth National Assembly.
Oluwafemi said Senator Mamora was worthy of the honour he was being accorded because of the pivotal roles he played in the Sixth National Assembly leading to the first effort to pass Nigeria’s National Tobacco Control Bill into law in 2011.
Oluwafemi explained that though the process of passage of the Tobacco Bill was stalled in the Sixth Assembly, Senator Mamora still played behind-the-scenes roles which culminated in the bill becoming an Act in 2015 under the Seventh Assembly. He was also a strategic pillar for the #Transfatfree Nigeria Coalition in the processes that led to the gazette of the Fats and Oils Regulations 2022 which addresses the consumption of trans fats and its negative health impacts among Nigerians.
Oluwafemi said that CAPPA’s campaign for the federal government to increase the Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSB) Tax from N10/per litre of SSB to the World Health Organisation (WHO) -recommended minimum of 20 percent of final retail price has grained traction due to the senator’s support at the Ministry of Health where he was Minister of State.
Responding, Mamora thanked CAPPA and other public health community members for honouring him and his family.
“I am overwhelmed by the support and love that all of you have shown me. I can’t thank you enough.
“As you have honoured me and my family tonight, may God honour you as well.
“Let me thank CAPPA for sponsoring and spearheading this honour tonight,” he said.
Mamora, who was Minister of Science and Technology, said that sponsoring the National Tobacco Control Bill was a tough battle but that CAPPA and CAT were very supportive.
“You know all over the world tobacco industry has a powerful lobby strategy. So, there was an attempt to scuttle that bill.
“It was a strong battle but by the grace of God, we succeeded in pushing it through and it was passed by the Senate and concurred by the House of Representatives.
“Before I left in 2011, the bill could not be assented to. Good enough, the seventh Senate took over the bill and was very supportive. We now have the National Tobacco Control Act, 2015,” he said.
Recollecting his years as Speaker at the Lagos State House of Assembly, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and as Minister, he reminded those entrusted with the leadership in the country to leave behind a legacy to be reckoned with since power is transient.
He explained that his dedication to work is because of his conviction that public office is a public trust, service, and an opportunity to influence decisions on the positive side.
The highpoint of the event was when Mamora was invited to receive the award and other packaged gifts flanked by his wife.
The dinner was graced by eminent dignitaries including serving and former ministers, members of the federal and state houses of assembly and the development and civil society community. They include former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha; former governor of Ogun State, Senator Gbenga Daniel; Senator Magnus Abe; Senator Victor Ndoma Egba; Hon. Wale Ahmed; and former Women Affairs Minister, Paulen Tallen.
Representatives of the development and the civil society community came from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK). The participants took turns to eulogise Senator Mamora and extolled his humility despite having a wealth of knowledge about governance and parliamentary matters.
Other dignitaries at the occasion were Professor Ngozi Azodoh, Director, Federal Ministry of Health; and Professor Mustapha Abdullai, and Director-General of the National Agency for Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), among others.
By Deji Abdulwahab