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The 15th Annual THISDAY Awards: Nigeria at 50 Awards

The 15th Annual THISDAY Awards: Nigeria at 50 Awards  ; I must confess,I am confused about few of the Names mentioned here. 50 Years of Independence... Celebrating 50 Makers of Modern Nigeria Prologue: Tugging at the heart of every golden ...

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    Default The 15th Annual THISDAY Awards: Nigeria at 50 Awards



    I must confess,I am confused about few of the Names mentioned here.

    50 Years of Independence...

    Celebrating 50 Makers of Modern Nigeria


    Prologue: Tugging at the heart of every golden jubilee anniversary is the desire to celebrate, to take stock. Indeed, 50 years in the life of any nation is a long time. For those old enough to remember, watching the final lowering of the Union Jack from the flagpoles of Nigerian public buildings 50 years ago could have been the ultimate teary moment. How often they must have relived in their subconscious those cherished moments when the Green-White-Green fluttered gloriously as they hopefully looked forward to the future! Nigeria, they hoped, would be among the developing countries to be reckoned with in future.
    Was this not consistent with the dreams of the founding fathers of the Nigerian nation? Though the crystallisation of these dreams into reality has fallen short of their great expectations... Gloom descended on the land less than a decade into its disorienting journey to nationhood and continued to haunt its people as it plodded on. Dreams of a few of never-say-die spirits meanwhile fanned the embers of the dying hopes of millions of Nigerians. Even under the most inhospitable conditions, the ingenuity of human creativity continued to hold the torch for optimism.
    Indeed, there were moments of lucidity even as the nation veered off its intended course on its daunting march to a greater future. And these hopeful moments glimmered through the efforts of the iconic Nigerians mentioned below. As THISDAY celebrates these figures come February 21, 2010, its board of editors revisits the rationale for their selection as the 50 great Nigerians to be honoured on that day.

    Titans/Builders: Adetokunbo Ademola

    Justice Adetokunbo Ademola was the first indigenous Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN). He was Chief Justice of Western Region before his appointment as CJN. His time as CJN spanned the colonial and post-colonial eras, making him a bridge between the two epochs in the country’s history. The colonial government made him CJN in 1958 after the abolition of the West African Court of Appeal (WACA) prompted by Ghana’s independence in 1957.
    Ademola helped to lay the foundation for the post-independence Nigerian judiciary. He was instrumental to the establishment of the Nigerian Law School and was chairman of the Council for Legal Education in Nigeria.
    His era as CJN paraded some of the most vibrant and brilliant set of judicial officers the country has ever seen. Nigeria at the time exported judges to serve in other countries. For example, Justice Akinola Aguda went to Botswana to become chief justice.
    Besides his role in the judiciary, Ademola also played a key role in politics. His intervention and persuasion helped prevent the disintegration of Nigeria following the regional tensions instigated by the first military coup in 1966.
    Ademola is revered in the legal world for his monumental judgements that have, even after his death in 1993, continued to shape judicial arguments. Important here is his ruling that the court could review military decrees. This was in a case now referred to as Lekanmi versus Attorney General of Nigeria. A minister in the then Western Region had sued the central government over the confiscation of his assets by a decree enacted by the military in the aftermath of the emergency rule in the region in 1965. Even though the Yakubu Gowon tried to destroy the effects of Ademola’s ruling by enacting another decree that ousted the power of the court to review military decrees, the ruling has continued to be viewed as one of the boldest steps in judicial activism in the country.

    Obafemi Awolowo

    Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo started as a regional political leader of his native Yoruba people like his contemporaries in the pre-independence period. But he is today popular as the only real leader of opposition the country has ever produced. His radical views and inclination for having a mind of his own brought him in conflict with the central government in the immediate post-independence period, leading to his imprisonment for alleged treason. His conviction is widely believed to be based on trumped up charges.
    A journalist and unionist, Awolowo founded many organisations, including Egbe Omo Oduduwa, the Trade Unions Congress of Nigeria, and the Action Group (AG).
    Socialist-leaning in his politics, Awolowo was the first indigenous premier of Western Region. His government’s educational and infrastructural development in the Yoruba South West remains legendary. He introduced free education and healthcare in the Western Region, established the first television service in Africa in the region in 1959 and set up the Oduduwa Group of Companies, which is among very few public companies still surviving since the post-independence era.
    He built the first stadium in West Africa – Liberty Statium, Ibadan – and ran what was widely believed to be the best civil service in Africa at the time. He is also credited with the coining of the name “naira” for the country’s currency when he was Federal Commissioner of Finance under the Gowon government.
    Many today refer to Awolowo as the best president Nigeria never had. He died May 9, 1987.

    Nnamdi Azikiwe

    Dr. Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first Nigerian president and, before then, the country’s only indigenous Governor General, was renowned as a pan-African nationalist and master of compromise. He was key to the ending of the civil war between his native Igbo (Biafra) and the Nigerian state. Though, some of his kinsmen dubbed him a sell-out on account of his conciliatory position in relation to the war, that did not diminish his respect, as he emerged again as the most popular leader of the Igbo during the Second Republic.
    “Zik of Africa,” as he was widely called, provided tutelage to African leaders like former Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah. He founded several newspapers, including the West African Pilot, and wrote columns that helped kindle the fire of nationalism and anti-colonialism in Nigeria and Africa. He edited the Accra-based African Morning Post and tried through his writing to rein in the colonial government’s violations of African rights and racial discrimination.
    A pan-Nigerian politician, Zik was the only one among his contemporaries to be a leader of opposition outside his native region.

    Ahmadu Bello

    Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sarduana of Sokoto, was the first premier of Northern Nigeria. He was one of the most prominent figures from the north in the agitations that led to independence in 1960. He studied local government administration in England and brought his knowledge to bear on the administration of the Northern Region.
    Bello introduced a unique style of local administration that involved consultation and consensus with the major representatives of the people. Before becoming premier, he had served in the Northern Region as Minister of Works, Minister of Local Government, and Minister of Community Development.
    His Northern Peoples Congress (NPC) entered an alliance with Azikiwe’s National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) to form Nigeria’s first indigenous federal government that ushered in independence from Britain in 1960.
    Bello is remembered for his fervent effort to unite and modernise the diverse peoples of Northern Nigeria. He was also famous for prudent management of state resources and a modest lifestyle, attributes that have continued to serve as model for northern political leaders, in particular, and Nigerians, generally.

    Aminu Kano

    Mallam Aminu Kano was a politician known for his keenness in applying religion as a vehicle for positive change in society. He led an Islamic movement in the north in the 1940s that opposed colonial rule. As an educationist, he voluntarily engaged in various educational and political programmes, outside his formal teaching job, to help improve the quality and volume of learning and teaching among his people.
    In 1948, Kano used his position as head of the Teacher Training Centre in Maru, Sokoto, and secretary of the Northern Teachers Association to establish an organisation to improve the quality of Koranic education in the north. He championed the cause of women and the common people through that organisation and other existing structures and, later, through the platform of political parties.
    Kano formed the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU), a progressive leaning party of mainly teachers and intellectuals. He led supporters of the party to modest electoral successes, despite the formidable stature of NPC. Kano piloted the progressive group into the Second Republic and formed the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), which won the governorship elections in Kano and Kaduna states.

    Visionary Leaders & Fighters

    EMEKA ANYAOKU


    Emeka Anyaoku’s enviable career as a diplomat par excellence commenced during Nigeria’s independence in 1960 with roles at the United Nations headquarters in New York and the Commonwealth. He later capped it with two terms as the Commonwealth Secretary-general following his first appointment in 1989 when the organisation was witnessing fundamental changes. Upon his resignation in 1999, he left with a quiver of enviable achievements. These include a long and prolific involvement in diplomatic and international service plus 35 years of Commonwealth initiatives and negotiations across the 54-nation body. His feats in the realm of international diplomacy have also trickled down to the Nigerian setting where he rules as Ichie Adazie of Obosi and makes sound commentaries on the domestic issues bedevilling the polity. These commendable efforts at the global stage have made him a reference point for international diplomacy while attracting awards like the Freedom of the City of London, a $1.8 million chair in Commonwealth studies dedicated to his name at the University of London, and a decoration of Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCBVO) by Queen Elizabeth. Anyaoku is currently President of the World Wide Fund for Nature and Vice-President of the Royal Commonwealth Society. He was Nigeria’s minister of foreign affairs in 1983 under the Shagari administration.

    IBRAHIM BABANGIDA

    Dubbed the most controversial but most popular Nigerian head of State, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida’s entry into power via a bloodless 1985 coup ushered in a glut of carefully crafted programmes for economic development. As the first and only military leader to use the title, president till date, he launched the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in 1986 after issuing a referendum to garner support for austerity measures suggested by the IMF and the World Bank. The policies entailed under the SAP were the deregulation of the agricultural sector through abolition of marketing boards, the elimination of price controls, the privatisation of public enterprises, the devaluation of the Naira to aid the competitiveness of the export sector, and the relaxation of restraints on foreign investment put in place by the Yakubu Gowon and Olusegun Obasanjo military governments during the 1970s.In two years, when these policies were executed as intended by the IMF, the Nigerian economy actually did grow as had been hoped, with the export sector performing especially well. While retiring from public office, he instituted the Interim National Government (ING), preparatory to democratic elections. Till date, he continues to lend his weight to developmental efforts within and outside the country as a notable politician, statesman, and entrepreneur.

    MUHAMMADU BUHARI


    The 1983 entry of the Muhammadu Buhari and Tunde Idiagbon military regime into the apogee of Nigerian power system triggered a clean-up exercise that touched all sectors of the economy. Buhari justified the military's seizure of power by castigating the civilian government as hopelessly corrupt. His administration subsequently initiated a public campaign against indiscipline, known as "War Against Indiscipline (WAI)." The campaign is still lauded by many to have instilled the most orderly conduct of public and private affairs in Nigeria since independence in 1960. Even though Buhari's administration later became unpopular with the majority of Nigerians before it was ousted by the Babangida regime, Buhari, as head of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), demonstrated that his earlier commitment to discipline, especially in public office, was not just a fluke. PTF was a body created by the Abacha government to fund and pursue developmental projects around the country. Buhari’s transparent and efficient handling of the agency endeared him to Nigerians, forming the basis for his preference as presidential candidate of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2003 and 2007. Despite losing on both occasions to Olusegun Obasanjo and Umaru Yar’Adua respectively, he still maintains a role as a revered statesman and one of the pillars of opposition in the country.

    YAKUBU GOWON

    The youngest ever head of state took over the reins of power when the nation was at the peak of its worst political crisis brought about by the coup and counter-coups of January and July 1966. The event showballed into a three-year civil war that had grounded economic activities to a halt. Despite this anomaly, he formed a government composed of brilliant the country personalities to lead Nigeria out of the dark. A fine gentleman with immense heroic exploits, his unflinching advocacy for one Nigeria saw him preside over the hadover of arms by the secessionist forces led by Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu and declared "No victor no vanquished" at the end of the war in January, 1970. Even in retirement, he continues clamouring for the reality of one Nigeria via comments and reigious gatherings, an effort his time as head of the Arewa Consultavie Forum ACF did not stall. The views his service as a national leader rather than, regional champion of interests. His intervention and that of alhaji Shehu Shagari during the executive - legislature fall-out of Obasanjo’s civilian government quelled the lingering discord between the Obasanjo-led executive and Anyim-Na’Abba-led legislature-another example in a long list of efforts that have attracted tags of liberal statesman and detrabilised Nigerian for Yakubu Gowon.

    OLUSEGUN OBASANJO

    After the death of General Murtala Mohammed, he continued the industrialisation strategy which saw the emergence of the Nigerian middle class. A fearless leader, he was not afraid to push for an agrarian nation. He also nationalised British Petroleum's interests in Nigeria and threatened to boycott British imports. This forced Margaret Thatcher to relent and begin the process that led to free elections and majority rule in Zimbabwe. The Obasanjo government made a new constitution before handing over power to the democratically-elected government of President Shehu Shagari in 1979. Twenty years later his return to power as a civilian president saw ample time spent in repairing the country’s image via foreign trips around the world. Under Obasanjo the growth rate doubled to 6 per cent, helped in part by higher oil prices. Nigeria's foreign reserves also rose from $2 billion in 1999 to $43 billion on his leaving office in 2007. He was able to secure debt pardons from the Paris and London club amounting to some $18 billion and paid another $18 Billion for the nation to be debt free as most of these loans were secured and spent by past corrupt officials. His government also introduced the GSM sector by selling licenses to indepent operators through a transparent process. As president he won international praise for Nigeria’s role in peace-keeping missions, a factor that contributed to his recent appointment by the United Nations as its special envoy to the Democratic Republic of Congo, a role he combines with his duties as an elder statesman in Nigerian politics.

    Champions of Democracy & Governance

    Moshood Abiola


    Chief Moshood Abiola was a successful businessman known for his philanthropy and passion for using his material endowments to try to ward off the misery and lack he said had dominated his origins. He entered the 1993 presidential race with that passion and was poised to win before the election was cancelled.
    Though destiny took a stand against Abiola, history is full of kind judgements for him. The June 12, 1993 presidential election he was on the road to winning has been adjudged the freest and fairest the country has seen. He extensively exposed and exploded the myth of ethnic and religious inflexibility in Nigerian politics by leading a Muslim-Muslim ticket that most Nigerians took a fancy to.
    With his international influence, Abiola made a push for reparation for black Africans for the injustices of slave trade. Though, he never succeeded in securing the recompense for his native Africa’s suffering, he has set in motion a process that will forever pressure the world to have a more reflective look on Africa and its travails. He was a philantrophist and sports financier.

    Gani Fawehinmi


    Chief Gani Fawehinmi was a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and one of the most active and consistent human rights activists in Nigeria. He devoted much of his law practice to advocacy and attempts to expand the frontiers of freedom.
    In 1994, Fawehinmi formed the National Conscience Party (NCP). Though, with little chances of winning elections in Nigeria’s money-obsessed political terrain, he succeeded in making vital statements against the injustices of the political system. In 2002, he led other opposition political parties in a legal struggle that culminated in the expansion of the political space, then restricted by the tough registration requirements of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
    A lover of social justice, Fawehinmi was conferred with the award of Senior Advocate of the Masses (SAM) long before he became SAN and he was the only Nigeria to be so honoured.
    In the field of law, Fawehinmi remains a crucial reference point, with his Weekly Law Reports increasingly popular as one of the most important law texts in the country.

    Shehu Shagari

    Former President Shehu Shagari is the first executive president of Nigeria under the current presidential system of government. He helped to form the first political party with the widest national reach in the post-independence era, National Party of Nigeria (NPN). Shagari won the 1979 presidential election on the NPN platform and tried to follow through the nationalistic character by promoting the party’s motto, “One Nation, One Destiny.”
    He made housing, industries, transportation, and agriculture – the most critical needs of the country – the major thrust of his administration. Shagari’s government is remembered for building the popular “Shagari Estates,” completion of the Delta Steel complex, huge investment in the Ajaokuta Steel complex and the Steel rolling mills. He launched a robust roads construction drive across the country and initiated the “Green Revolution,” a scheme intended to ensure food security through promotion of mechanised agriculture to increase productivity.
    Shagari developed strong social views about communal progress early in life. In 1946, he co-founded the Youth Social Circle, a political organisation dedicated to promoting awareness and development in his native Sokoto. This group merged with other organisations to form the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), the platform through which Shagari went into politics in the late 1950s.

    Wole Soyinka

    Professor Wole Soyinka, writer, poet and playwright, is winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, and the first African to win the coveted award. An avid believer in human freedoms, he is known for using his writings to advocate a humane social order where liberty and good governance reign supreme.
    Soyinka has played an active part in the country’s political history. During the political turbulence of 1965 in the Western Region, he made spirited attempts to right the electoral wrongs that fuelled the crisis. Though, some of his steps were controversial, they nonetheless flowed from the pulse of society at the time and ultimately aimed to return society to the path of genuine democracy.
    In 1967, during the civil war, Soyinka made vigorous effort to broker peace between Nigeria and its eastern parts, despite the obvious great cost to his life and liberty.
    He is one of the most consistent voices of opposition to military dictatorship in the country. During the last military interregnum, he sponsored pro-democracy groups and led agitations to pressure the military into returning the country to civil rule. With that mission achieved in 1999, Soyinka has mounted a powerful campaign to condemn maladministration, wherever it is noticed, and promote the rule of law.

    Emerging Tigers

    Godswill Akpabio


    Obong Godswill Obot Akpabio, a lawyer, is the incumbent governor of Akwa Ibom State, elected in 2007 on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Before becoming governor, he had been Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural Resources.
    Akpabio is admired for his transformative programmes in the state, especially in the areas of infrastructure and education. His free and compulsory education policy is celebrated in the state and his ambitious infrastructural projects, including the international airport project, are among achievements Akpabio is honoured for.
    The governor is also famous for his prudent management of public resources, rare interest in completion of projects began by his predecessor, and team spirit in the administration of the state.

    Adamu Aliero

    Muhammad Adamu Aliero, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), was governor of Kebbi State from 1999 to 2007, when he was elected senator for Kebbi Central constituency. He occupied the senatorial seat from June 5, 2007 to December 18, 2008, when he was appointed minister by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
    Aliero, a former customs officer, brought his vast experience in public service, spanning over 26 years, to bear on the administration of the FCT. And it paid off in the efforts to make the FCT one of the best capital cities of the world. He is known for his keen devotion to the return of FCT to its original master plan.

    Donald Duke

    Donald Duke, lawyer and two-term governor of Cross River State – 1999 to 2007 – is celebrated for his efforts to make the state a world tourism destination. He introduced the Obudu Ranch International Mountain Race and nurtured it to one of the most lucrative mountain running competitions in the world.
    A firm believer in private-sector driven economy, Duke’s stewardship saw the setting of Cross River State on the path to becoming one of the most robust economies in the country. He made massive investments in the fields of agriculture, urban development, environment, information and communication, and tourism. He made Calabar, the state capital, the “cleanest city in Nigeria.”
    Duke’s administration established the TINAPA project, taking advantage of the Free Trade Zone, to facilitate his government’s policy trust of making the Cross River State a world business and leisure destination. Projected to earn for the state about N3 billion annually, the TINAPA model remains till date the country’s most concrete preparation for the post-oil economy. Duke was by 1992 Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Planning in Cross River State. He was a member of the National Economic Intelligence Committee, the Federal Economic Council, and Federal Capital Budget Monitoring Committee.

    Nasir el-Rufai

    Nasir el-Rufai was a member of the presidential transition team in 1998 that shepherded the political class towards the start of the Fourth Republic. Dismayed by the quality of leadership in the country, he was devoted to the achievement of change in the conduct of public affairs. Thus, during his involvement with former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s eight years administration, el-Rufai embarked on many programmes, which, though hurting in some ways, ultimately sought to return sanity to public service in the country. He led the privatisation of many government-owned companies, one of the hottest topics during the Obasanjo government. El-Rufai was also Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises during the Obasanjo administration. Appointed FCT minister in 2003, el-Rufai launched an extensive demolition and reconstruction programme aimed at retuning order to what he called “a situation of chaos” that the federal capital was turning into.

    Babatunde Fashola

    Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola was the only governor returned on the platform of Action Congress (AC) after the 2007 general elections. One of the few remaining opposition lights in the country, Fashola is admired in Nigeria and beyond for his pragmatic effort to give the pulsating metropolis of over 15 million people that is Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre a facelift and return it to orderliness.
    Fashola’s government is popular for its massive infrastructural development drive that has seen the construction and reconstruction of many roads, schools, and hospitals as well as provision of electricity in various parts of the state. The Eko Mega City Project is a grand, visionary programme of the Fashola government aimed at transforming Lagos into a mega city through vigorous public-private sector partnership. Though, initiated by his predecessor, Bola Tinubu, the project has received the greatest acceleration under Fashola’s stewardship. The project involves the reconstruction and expansion of Lagos infrastructure and districts.
    Under the programme, there is a transport development plan captured in the Lagos Rail Mass Transit project, which includes the building of light railways and expansion of the Badagry Expressway that links Lagos directly to the south-eastern border of Benin Republic to a 10-lane dual carriageway. The Eko Atlantic City project, planned for development on reclaimed lands at Victoria Island, is another visionary plan of the Fashola government meant to support the accommodation of Lagos inhabitants, estimated to grow up to 25 million by 2015.

    David Mark

    Senate President David Alechenu Bonaventure Mark, a first-time senator, represents Benue South senatorial district of Benue State. He had been governor and communications minister under the last military regimes.
    For all intents and purposes, Mark is the hero of the latest political solution to the constitutional crisis engendered by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s medical trip. His “doctrine of necessity” has become popular in the country’s political lexicon as a pragmatic new strategy in the continuing effort to resolve the Nigerian question.

    Ken Nnamani

    Former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani, no doubt, played a significantly remarkable role during the transformational period in the Nigerian politics. The period was between 2006 and 2007, shortly before the last general election. The issue at the time was third term agenda by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Sadly, the controversy that followed up had brought down virtually all systemic political values. And the only hope at that time, perhaps, was the National Assembly. Thus, Nnamani, as the head of that arm of government, defined the moment and saved the country from the slide into precipice. Quite naturally, this presented him as a “great” man who caused a major change in his society at a crucial moment.
    As the third ranking elected Nigerian politician at the time, Nnamani’s role could not have been over-emphasised. Besides, his position as Senate President barely had much to do with his personality or qualifications but his handling of the situation that confronted him and the nation at the time.

    Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

    As Nigeria’s first female Finance and Foreign Affairs Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was an active player in decision making during the days of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. As a member of the kitchen cabinet that determined the economic fate of the country, Okonjo-Iweala’s era was equally significant.
    During her tenure, particularly as Finance Minister, Okonjo-Iweala combated corruption, made Nigeria's finances more transparent, and instituted reforms that made the nation's economy more investment friendly. The Nigerian government at the time unlinked its budget from the price of oil- her main export, to lessen perennial cash-flow crises. She also attacked corruption with a view to making the country more desirable for job creation.
    More significantly was her role in Nigeria’s external debt cancellation. This has remained one of Nigeria’s notable achievements during the days of Obasanjo. Today, she is a managing director with the World Bank and head, Makeda Fund. She is working for change in Africa.

    Adams Oshiomhole

    Governor of Edo State and former President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was noted for his disdain for incessant, yet obnoxious increase in oil prices in the country. For the period he served as NLC President between 1999 and 2003, his activities raised the profile of the NLC well beyond the labour movement. He broadened the scope of activities of the labour union.
    Oshiomhole was dreaded by the Nigerian leadership as he would not negotiate less for the mass of the Nigerian people. This naturally endeared him to the people but pitched him against the leadership. He took certain decisions at great cost and risk, some of which resulted in his incarceration. Sometimes, he would have to defy court orders to wrestle with the Nigerian leadership against bad policies that are inimical to the interest of the generality of the people.

    Nuhu Ribadu

    Mallam Nuhu Ribadu is the pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The role he played in cleaning up the image of Nigeria was a handful. Although, to some, it was loathsome, his achievements are however believed to have changed the course of the country significantly.
    Ribadu was a key member of the Economic Management Team that conceptualised and navigated the different public sectors reforms agenda from 2003 to 2008. That team laid the foundations for the socio-economic rejuvenation of Nigeria.
    Beyond this, some of Ribadu’s achievements in EFCC include the delisting of Nigeria from the FATF List of Non-Cooperative Countries & Territories; admission of Nigeria into the prestigious Egmont Group and the withdrawal of the US Treasury advisory on Nigeria by the FINCEN which helped make the EFCC a reference Law Enforcement Agency on the continent. Besides, the investigation, prosecution, and conviction of some of Nigeria’s supposed untouchable politicians and businessmen earned him the reputation of being a respected anti-corruption crusader in the world.

    Sanusi Lamido

    He was former Managing Director of First Bank Nigeria Plc. Today, he calls the shot as the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria. Within months of assuming office, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has shown the stuff he is made of.
    In a move indicative of a major shake-up, Sanusi has tightened up the financial sector with calls for stricter regulation, more transparency and accountability. He is also willing to allow more foreign banks to take controlling stakes in Nigerian institutions. The United States' Citibank's profitable stake in Citi Bank of Nigeria is one of the few locally incorporated financial institutions in which foreign investors have majority stake.
    Sanusi, it was who forced out some bank chiefs for flouting Central Bank rules. His criticism of poor management has therefore propelled many bank executives to campaign against his appointment. But he has changed the face of banking in the country as insiders abuse may have become a thing of the past.

    Bukola Saraki

    Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara State is the chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum, a platform through which governors of the federation meet to pursue common interest affecting the country as an entity. Apart from the fact that Saraki has used his chairmanship of the forum to further the cause of nation building, his exploit in Kwara as a two-term governor has also created a big challenge for his prospective successor in office.
    Specifically, Saraki’s approach to agriculture is today a reference point in the country. With the introduction of Zimbabwean farmers who have since changed the face of farming in the country, agriculture has remained a major area of concentration for every government and a yard-stick through which the functionality of any state is now measured, put differently, critical infrastructure. He has made Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, one of the cleanest and most modern state capitals in Nigeria.

    Chukwuma Soludo

    Professor Chukwuma Soludo was the immediate past Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria. As an appointee of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Soludo was also a member of Obasanjo’s economic team as well as his kitchen cabinet.
    With such radical initiatives like bank consolidation and redenomination of the naira (which was later turned down), Soludo kicked off a reform agenda that was sure going to place the Nigerian banking system on a stable operational platform. Today, the whiff of stability enjoyed in the banking sector is a fall-out of the reforms instituted by Soludo and which is now being leveraged on since he left office. As a resounding professor of economics, undoubtedly of world class; Soludo has contributed immensely- his intellectual credentials to the development of the nation’s growing economy.

    Bola Tinubu


    Former Governor Bola Tinubu of Lagos State is today regarded as the face of New Lagos. He earned this title because of where he met Lagos in 1999 and the point he left it in 2007 after eight years as governor. His days as governor were remarkable in many ways.
    But worthy of note was his opposition to the government of Obasanjo, a situation that provided the needed platform for constructive criticism to the government in power at the centre such that kept it on its toes. Coming at a time opposition was practically nil in the country, Tinubu’s Lagos stood its ground and fought a just course even though it had to pay dearly for it. His choice of a solid technocrat as his successor also portrays him as a visionary.

    Udoma Udo Udoma

    A well accomplished Nigerian, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma; chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was Senate Chief Whip where he represented the people of Akwa Ibom State.
    He is presently a director of the UAC. A man of few words, this unassuming senator speaks only when it is practically unavoidable. This was why his position on the failed third term agenda of former President Olusegun Obasanjo carried as much weight.
    “I have said it elsewhere that I am not convinced that President Obasanjo wants a third term, as much as to use the entire process as a clever political ruse to upend some aspirants. I have not changed my mind, even though everyday occurrence related to this issue seems bent on proving me to have been infinitely wrong. But the din of the opposition is on the rise. In time, it will be clear if the president really wants to throw caution to the wind and place Nigeria in harm’s way by seeking a third term.” The position of people like him made all the difference in the death of third term.

    Emmanuel Uduaghan

    As Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has such natural challenges that come with steering affairs of an oil producing state. But his establishment of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) as a starting point was a welcome development. It was therefore not surprising the role he played in the Amnesty-deal of the Federal Government- an initiative put together with a view to finding lasting solution to the problems of the Niger Delta.
    Because of the place of Delta in national polity, majority of Uduaghan’s achievements are seen as having a spiralling effect on the country. For instance, the governor now organises the state back into a huge investment house capable of creating wealth, generating massive employment and reducing the poverty index.
    He has built bridges across social and ethnic divides in the state and systematically brought together, all the dissenting voices and by implication, formed one of the most cohesive networks among the people of Delta state. And since peace in the creeks means a lot to the country, Uduaghan has played a major role in ensuring peace in Nigeria.

    Business Leaders, Entrepreneurs and Corporate Champions

    Mike Adenuga Jnr and Globacom


    Although, Globacom did not commence operations as a GSM service provider in Nigeria until August 29, 2003, the company privately owned by the business mogul, Dr. Mike Adenuga has indisputably left an indelible mark in the nation’s telecommunications industry.
    Today, the company operates in four countries in West Africa namely Nigeria , Republic of Benin , Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire and as of June 2009, the company has employed more than 2,500 people worldwide. GLO has an estimated 25 million subscribers and the company has the reputation of being one of the fastest growing multi-national carriers in the world.
    To demonstrate its uniqueness as the first wholly indigenously-owned telecommunication company, Globacom put a lie to the claims of other operators, who had argued that the introduction of per second billings was not feasible as at 2003 when Globacom came to the scene.
    The company took the plunge by charging its subscribers per minute, a rare feat which compelled other operators to follow suit.
    Globacom has also gone down the history book as the first company to build an $800 million high-capacity fibre-optic cable known as Glo-1. It is the first successful submarine cable from the United Kingdom to Nigeria; and it has the potential to decrease telecommunications cost and provide excess bandwidth to all the countries connected to the cable. Globacom is however the manifestation of one man with foresight, Otunba Mike Adenuga junior who is the company’s vision. Adenuga is also the chairman of Conoil and Director Equitorial Trust Bank.
    The company, in its contribution to the development of the telecommunications market in Nigeria has also introduced an array of products, which market watchers said, have continued to put other operators on their toes.

    Continuation Below............


    "Cowards die many times before their deaths but the valiant never taste of death but once, of all the wonders that I yet have heard,It seems to me most strange that men should fear;Seeing that death, a necessary end,Will come when it will come."




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    Continuation of above.

    Fola Adeola, Tayo Aderinokun and GTBank Plc

    Guaranty Trust Bank has been on the forefront of innovation in the Nigerian banking sector since its inception, with the pioneering of real-time online banking in 1990. It has over the years championed the introduction of novel e-products such as Mobile, Telephone, and Internet banking in 2002; slip-free banking in 2006; Nigeria’s first fully interactive self-service call centre; GT Connect in 2006; as well as drive-through-banking and GTBank on wheels in 2007.
    It has introduced the first MasterCard-branded naira-denominated debit cards in Nigeria and it was not a surprise that the bank was recognised as the “Most Customer-Focused Bank in Nigeria” by KPMG in 2009 and the “Best ICT Support Bank of the Year” at the 2009 National ICT Merit awards.
    Guaranty Trust Bank Plc was incorporated as a limited liability company licensed to provide commercial and other banking services in 1990 through the enterprising spirit of its founding Managing Director, Fola Adeola and his then deputy now Managing Director, Tayo Aderinokun. The bank commenced operations in February 1991, and has since then grown to become one of the most respected and service-focused banks in Nigeria.
    In September 1996, the bank became a publicly quoted company and won the Nigerian Stock Exchange Presidential Merit Award that same year and subsequently in the years 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. In February 2002, the bank was granted a universal banking licence and later appointed a settlement bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2003.
    Under the leadership of Adeola and Aderinonkun, GTB is widely regarded as one of the most solid, well-managed financial institutions in Africa.

    Joseph Ikhide Arumeni-Johnson and Arik Air

    Right from its mission statement which is the commitment to build an airline that will set new standards and change the face of the aviation industry in Nigeria - an airline that Nigeria and the rest of the world will be proud to fly, Arik Air has never left anyone in doubt that its main goal is to revolutionise the aviation sector in Nigeria. Owned by the shrewd businessman, Sir Joseph Ikhide Arumeni-Johnson, who built the company from the scratch, Arik Air has till date, given other airlines, especially foreign airlines, a run for their money.
    It has registered its presence on some foreign routes hitherto monopolised by foreign operators. These include South Africa, UK and the United States of America. In 2002 with the national airline in liquidation, Ararume-Johnson decided to buy a Hawker jet aircraft for his own safety and convenience. The word got out, and before long his contacts in the gas and oil industry were using his aircraft to fly them around Nigeria. So he bought another one and soon, he began a corporate jet business.
    He then set out to find the best people and the best aircraft to build an airline that would set new standards and change the face of the aviation industry in Nigeria - an airline that “Nigeria and the rest of the world would be proud to fly”.

    Otunba Olasubomi Balogun and FCMB

    Otunba Subomi Balogun is today regarded as the “grandmaster” of Nigerian banking industry, having established the first modern indigenous bank, First City Merchant Bank. Balogun, a lawyer-turned banker founded the FCMB, which widened its doors to retail customers in January 2001 and adopted universal banking. The bank has since changed its name to First City Monument Bank Plc and is one of the leading post-consolidation banks in Nigeria today.
    The bank, headquartered in Lagos, with a nationwide network of about 150 branches and several subsidiaries, has distinguished itself in the provision of superior financial services to a broad clientele.
    The turn of the 21st century have been years of remarkable achievements for FCMB during which the bank has established itself as a clear leader in investment banking as well as a training ground for significant number of the highly skilled staff in the Nigerian banking industry. In particular, FCMB produced at the last count, no less than 21 current chief executives and executive directors of banks. The bank has been able to demonstrate the fact that Nigerians can indeed prove their mettle in every segment of the economy.
    During the 2005 banking sector consolidation, FCMB acquired three banks namely Cooperative Development Bank, Midas Bank and Nigerian American Bank (for Nigerian subsidiary of Bank Boston).

    Hakeem Belo-Osagie, Tony Elumelu and UBA

    United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) is the product of the merger of old UBA and the erstwhile Standard Trust Bank Plc (STB) and a subsequent acquisition of the erstwhile Continental Trust Bank Limited (CTB). The union emerged as the first successful corporate combination in the history of Nigerian banking. Whenever the story of UBA as a leading financial institution in Nigeria is being told, two names that will continue to be touted are those of its former chairman, Hakeem Belo-Osagie and the outgoing managing director/chief executive of the bank, Mr. Tony Elumelu.
    Belo-Osagie got hold of the bank when the Nigerian government decided to sell its shares in the UBA, while Elumelu supervised the merger of UBA with STB in 2005.
    Although today’s UBA emerged at a time of industry consolidation induced by regulation, the consolidated UBA has continued to lead the domestic sector to a new era of global relevance by championing the creation of the Nigerian consumer finance market, leading a private/public sector partnership at supporting the acceleration of Nigeria’s economic development and growing the institution from banking to a one-stop financial services institution, while spreading its footprints across Africa to earn the reputation as the face of banking in the continent.
    UBA has become one of Africa’s leading financial institutions offering universal banking to more than seven million customers across 750 branches in 14 African countries with presence in New York, London and Paris and assets in excess of $19bn.

    Aliko Dangote And Dangote Group

    There is no gainsaying the fact that virtually all Nigerian households patronise the Dangote Group owned by the multi-billionaire, Alhaji Aliko Dangote.
    With an estimated current net worth of around $ 2.5 billion, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President, Dangote Group, was ranked by Forbes as one of the richest black African citizens and the third richest person of African descent in the world behind Mohammed Al Amoudi ($9.0 billion) and Oprah Winfrey ($2.7 billion).
    Dangote Group has moved from being a trading company to Nigeria’s largest Industrial group, including Dangote Sugar Refinery (the most capitalised company on the Nigeria Stock Exchange, valued at over $3 billion with Aliko Dangote's equity topping $2 billion.) The group includes Africa’s largest Cement Production Plant: Obajana Cement, Dangote Flour amongst others.
    Apart from providing employment to graduates from different ethnic backgrounds, Dangote Group today ranks the second highest employer of labour after the government.
    Many Nigerians, who are yet to see him face to face, must have heard of his name because of the impact of his business. The focus of his investments is food, clothing and shelter.
    The Dangote Group imports 400,000 metric tonnes of sugar annually which accounts for about 70 per cent of the total requirements of the country and is a major supplier of the product to the manufacturers of Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola and Seven-Up in Nigeria. It imports 200,000 metric tonnes of rice annually just as the company imports tonnes of cement and fertiliser and building materials. His group also plays a major role in the importation of fish, cotton, cocoa, cashew nuts and sesame seed, among others. It is not a surprise that today, Alhaji Dangote sits atop the Nigerian Stock Exchange in his capacity as president, justifying his selection by THISDAY Board of Editors for its prestigious award.

    Alhassan Aminu Dantata

    Today, Alhaji Alhassan Aminu Dantata, a holder of the prestigious award of the Commander of the Order of Niger, has undoubtedly proved his mettle as an outstanding entrepreneur, a shrewd investor and a distinguished industrialist.
    Apart from providing employment for a teeming population of hitherto jobless people through his chain of companies which cuts virtually across all sectors, he also brought his prodigious management of economy to bear during his stint as a commissioner in Kano State, having served as a member of the Northern House of Assembly between 1961 and 1966. His fame as chairman/chief executive of Alhassan Dantata and Sons Ltd, which he used as a veritable platform to register his presence as a major player in the Nigerian economy gave him immediate recognition from the government and the entire business class. It was therefore not a surprise that Dantata led several trade missions to various overseas countries on behalf of the federal and state governments.
    A member of the Steering Committee of the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank Ltd, and member, Constituent Assembly Drafting Committee for the Second Republic Constitution of Nigeria in 1979, Dantata was smart early enough to maximise the opportunities created by the promulgation of the Nigerian Enterprises Promotion Decree by participating fully in commercial and industrial development in the private sector.
    He has served as patron, National Council of Nigerian Farmers; patron, Kano Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture; Chairman and Board of Trustees, Kano Foundation, among others. He is therefore eminently qualified for THISDAY Awards.

    Paschal Dozie and MTN Nigeria

    Paschal Dozie, Chairman of Diamond Bank Plc, was one of the eminent Nigerians who were instrumental to the coming of MTN into Nigeria.
    MTN Nigeria is part of the MTN Group, Africa’s leading cellular telecommunications company. On May 16, 2001, MTN became the first GSM network to make a call following the globally lauded Nigerian GSM auction conducted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) earlier in the year. Thereafter, the company launched full commercial operations beginning with Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.
    MTN paid $285m for one of four GSM licenses in Nigeria in January 2001. To date, in excess of $1.8 billion has been invested building mobile telecommunications infrastructure in Nigeria. Since launch in August 2001, MTN has steadily deployed its services across the country. It now provides services in 223 cities and towns, more than 10,000 villages and communities and a growing number of highways across the country, spanning the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Many of these villages and communities are being connected to the world of telecommunications for the first time ever.
    The company’s digital microwave transmission backbone, the 3,400 Kilometre Y’elloBahn was commissioned in January 2003 and is reputed to be the most extensive digital microwave transmission infrastructure in all of Africa. So for its pioneering efforts in the telecoms industry in Nigeria, MTN Nigeria is therefore conferred with the THISDAY Award.

    Late Henry Fajemirokun

    Late High Chief Henry Oloyede Fajemirokun will long be remembered for his industry, philanthropy and his indelible mark on the affairs of organised private sector in Nigeria.
    For instance, he presided over the affairs of elite business groups like the Lagos Chamber of Commerce, Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, British-Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of West Africa Chamber of Commerce, where he held the position of president. He was also the vice-president, Federation of Commonwealth Chambers of Commerce, among others.
    Late Fajemirokun also left his marks in the development of trade unionism in Nigeria especially during his stint at the then Post and Telecommunications Union (P&T) which was the biggest corporation then. Upon his return from the second word war, where he served in the British Constabulary, late Fajemirokun became the President of the P&T Union and became the most powerful union leader in the country. Chief Obafemi Awolowo made him to represent Action Group on the board of ECN, now Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). That was his first major exposure. From then onwards, he decided to go on his own to form a company called Henry Stephens.
    During the 1970's, as the chairman and largest shareholder of Henry Stephens Group of Companies, he became a major shareholder in some leading companies in Nigeria. A move to diversify the wealth of the country from foreign nationals was taken in 1972; this led to the promulgation of an indigenisation decree. Henry Stephens capitalised on the euphoria of nationalism and acquired or represented major foreign operations in the country. That he served Nigeria meritoriously was demonstrated by the fact that the late business mogul, died on February 15, 1978 at the age of 52 while leading a Federal Government trade delegation to Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
    For his doggedness and enterprising spirit, THISDAY Board of Editors therefore considers him for the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.

    First Bank of Nigeria Plc

    The bank, which traces its history back to 1894 and the Bank of British West Africa, has been the only bank, which has single-handedly laid the foundation for the Nigerian banking industry. Graduating from its initial function which was to serve the interest of the British shipping and trading agencies in Nigeria, First Bank has today, risen with such profundity to become the largest retail lender in Nigeria.
    This is because, while most banks gather funds from consumers and loan it out to large corporations and multinationals, First Bank is said to have created a small market for some of its retail clients. At the end of August 2006, the bank had assets totalling N650 billion. The bank was also the most highly capitalised stock on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, and had about 10 billion outstanding shares. It has a subsidiary in the United Kingdom, FBN Bank (UK), which has a branch in Paris. The bank also has representative offices in South Africa and China. Apart from supplying two governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria (Joseph Sanusi and, the incumbent, Lamido Sanusi), it also served as the training ground for a large crop of officials who are making waves in the banking industry today. Its robustness was underscored by the fact that it survived the two major reforms in the banking industry in 2005 and that of 2009, which claimed a number of financial institutions.
    It is based on this pre-eminent position of the bank that THISDAY Board of Editors considered it for this prestigious award.

    Michael Ibru

    Olorogun Michael Ibru, a prominent Nigerian businessman from Delta State, is the head of the Ibru Organisation, one of the largest conglomerates in Nigeria.
    Ibru started a partnership, Laibru, in 1956 after a stint as a management trainee at United African Company (UAC) when he left secondary school.
    By the mid-1960s, he traded in frozen fish from where he secured capital to branch out into other areas of the economy. Today, the Ibru Organisation is into areas such as tourism, brewery, timber, and poultry, aviation, banking and many other business. Ibru is known today as an entrepreneurial figure that created one of the largest modern Nigerian-owned groups. The organisation was a pioneer in the production of fish and animal protein and it has not only helped to develop Nigeria’s human resources for over 40 years, but has also helped to strengthen the health and viability of the economy. The organisation is also engaged in agro-industrial activities, farming and irrigation schemes, construction and steel works, brewing, bulk and liquid transportation by land and sea, distribution and marketing of industrial chemicals, food processing, chemical preparations, plastics and container manufacturing, oil and gas exploration, aviation and automobile distribution, sales and services, banking and allied matters as well as hotel and tourism.

    Adeyemi Lawson

    Adeyemi Olusola Lawson (1924-1993) was a wealthy Nigerian businessman and lawyer who was president of the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, (NACCIMA) between 1978 and 1984 and of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce in 1975. In the 1960s, he was chairman and chief executive officer of West African Breweries. Prior to that, he was a member and later chairman of the Lagos Town Council from 1954-1960.
    He is also known as one of the chief promoters of Agbara Estate in Ogun State and the Grail Movement Nigeria. He was a businessman who favoured the indigenisation policies of the 1970s. His interest in business started when as a lawyer, he was exposed to various commercial dealings. Lawson was also involved in politics. In the 1950s, he got a start in politics by luck. In 1950, when elections were to be held for the Lagos City Council, his father was a candidate for the B ward of the area council. However, the elder Lawson, who was on leave from the civil service, was deemed to still be employed by the service and thereby unfit to be a candidate. Since many posters had J.O. Lawson's name, many members of the area council asked his son to replace his father. He subsequently ran and won the election.

    Atedo Peterside and Stanbic IBTC

    Atedo Peterside has had a brilliant career as chief executive officer, Investment Banking and Trust Company Limited (IBTC), since its inception in 1989. As one of Nigeria's most experienced and successful investment bankers, he led his bank into a merger with Stanbic Bank, an international bank with global repute.
    He has built an organisation that is very strong in mergers, acquisition, divestment, and corporate restructuring, thus, helping Nigerian businesses to remain afloat and oiling the economic base.
    IBTC in earlier years handled Unilever's divestment from UAC of Nigeria Plc; the merger of Lever Brothers of Nigeria Plc and Unilever Nigeria Limited. It also handled Sterling Products (Nigeria) Plc and Smithkline Beecham Plc N1.8 billion merger and Nigeria Bottling Company's N1.7 billion acquisition of Sapanda Industries Limited. The professional expertise with which it delivered on these deals says a lot about the business acumen of Peterside.
    He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, and a member of the Business Roundtable and Young Presidents' Organisation.

    Ernest Shonekan and UAC Plc

    Ernest Shonekan is a British-trained Nigerian lawyer, industrialist and politician. Prior to his political career, he was the chief executive of United African Company of Nigeria PLC (UAC), a large Nigerian conglomerate.
    Shonekan is a seasoned businessman with wide contacts across the Nigerian landscape. His proven abilities, integrity and no visible political bias made him the preferred choice of the political elite for the headship of the Interim National Government (ING) that took over from then military president, Ibrahim Babangida, when he stepped aside in 1993. Shonekan tried fervently to achieve debt cancellation for the country during his brief reign as head of government. Though, his government was hampered by workers’ strike, he made effort to set a timetable for return of the country to democratic rule.. Shonekan's first major decision was to release political detainees and set a timetable for troop withdrawal from ECOMOG's peacekeeping mission in Liberia. The government also initiated an audit of the accounts of NNPC, an organisation that was mired in operational inefficiency. He also presented a bill for the repeal of three draconian decrees.

    Wale Tinubu, Mofe Boyo, and Oando PLC

    Wale Tinubu is Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Oando Plc. He assumed this position in July 2001. Before then, he was Executive Director, Finance and Administration, at Oando Plc.
    In 1994, Tinubu became one of the founding partners of Ocean and Oil Group. While at Ocean and Oil, Tinubu was mainly responsible for the strategic expansion of the business.
    Tinubu has a Bachelor's of Law Degree from the University of Liverpool, England and received his LLM from the London School of Economics where he specialised in International Finance and Shipping. He is also a member of the Nigerian Bar Association.
    Mofe Boyo is Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Managing Director of Oando Plc. He assumed this position in July 2001. Prior, Boyo was Executive Director, Marketing, at Oando Plc.
    He started his career in 1991 with F.R.A Williams and Co, a prominent law firm in Nigeria, where he worked for four ears. Whilst at F.R.A Williams and Co., Boyo specialised in the shipping and oil services industries and worked on various joint venture deals between NNPC and major international oil companies. He was also a member of the team that represented the refineries at the NNPC judicial inquiry. In 1994, he joined the Ocean and Oil Group where he developed and managed the operations department. Boyo has a Bachelor's degree in law from Kings College, University of London, England. He is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association.
    Together, Tinubu and Boyo have both raised the profile of Oando, making it one of the foremost indigenous organisations.

    Jim Ovia and Zenith Bank Plc

    Jim Ovia is Co-founder and pioneer Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, one of the largest Nigerian banks. He has over 25 years banking experience. Besides banking, Ovia is a major player in other facets of the Nigerian economy.
    He is Chairman of the Nigeria Software Development Initiative (NSDI) and Chairman, National Information Technology Advisory Committee (NITAC). He is a member of the Governing Council, Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) and also member of the Honorary International Investor Council.
    Ovia is a member of the Governing Council of Lagos State University and also a member of the Board of Trustees, Redeemer’s University for Nations, Lagos.
    He has a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana, Louisiana, USA (1979) and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Southern University, Louisiana, USA (1977). He is an Alumnus of Harvard Business School (Executive Management Programme).
    As CEO of Zenith Bank, Ovia helped in making the bank a public limited company in July 2004, and had an initial public offering on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in October of that year. Also in 2004, credit rating agency, Fitch Ratings, identified its credit as AA- on their long-term scale. Awards won by Zenith Bank include the African Bank of the Year (awarded by African Investor magazine), Quoted Company of the Year (awarded by Nigerian Stock Exchange), Socially Responsible Bank of the Year (awarded by African Banker magazine), Most Respected Bank in Nigeria (awarded by PricewaterhouseCoopers) and 2005 Bank of the Year (awarded by The Banker magazine).

    Thinkers & Cultural Warriors

    CHINUA ACHEBE

    With spells in broadcasting, politics, teaching and writing, Chinua Achebe is tagged the father of modern writing due to his quiver o


    "Cowards die many times before their deaths but the valiant never taste of death but once, of all the wonders that I yet have heard,It seems to me most strange that men should fear;Seeing that death, a necessary end,Will come when it will come."


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