15th edition of the Sun Awards
Just Simply Awesome
By Ismail Omipidan
The Sun Awards lived up to the billings last Saturday. From the organisation, to the arrangement in the hall, to the crowd control inside the hall, the ceremony clearly stood out. It was simply awesome.
This year, 15th in the series, which also coincided with The Sun Publishing Limited’s 15th anniversary, saw 23 eminent Nigerians honoured in 17 categories of awards. In spite of the number of the awardees, in less than three hours, the whole event was over.
Explaining the choice of the awardees for the year 2017, Managing Director/ Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Publishing Limited, Mr. Eric Osagie, said: “The reason we chose these Nigerians for recognition is clear: They set themselves apart from the pack. They are game changers; the pacesetters.”
Leading the awardees was a man who has been christened ‘Mr. Project,’ Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, who made history as the first governor to win the Governor of the Year Award back to back, having won the 2016 edition. And he has even vowed to win the 2018 edition, which would hold next year, by redoubling his efforts in service delivery to the people of Rivers State, making critical difference in their lives.
His Lagos State counterpart, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, who was unavoidably absent, but represented by Culture and Tourism Commissioner in the state, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, won Man of the Year Award which is the flagship prize.
Wike, a lawyer by training and a consumate administrator par excellence, has continued to change the Rivers narratives, and has proved doubting Thomas, who had doubted his capacity to pilot the affairs of the oil- rich state, wrong. Before his election as governor in 2015, Wike had served as Chief of Staff, Government House, Port-Harcourt, Director-General of the campaign team for the re-election of the former governor, Chibuike Amaechi and also as Minister of State, Ministry of Education in 2011 and later as Supervising Minister of the same Ministry, from 2013 till when he left to contest the governorship of Rivers in 2015.
President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, went home with the Outstanding Politician of the Year award.
Saraki, a former presidential aide to former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, was a two-time governor of Kwara State, and he is in his second term as a senator of the federal republic of Nigeria. He brazed all odds and against a strong and formidable opposition from within his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), to emerge President of the 8th Senate in June 2015.
Obi Ezeude got the Manufacturer of the Year Award. At the event, held at the Convention Centre of Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos, about eight million naira was raised for the family of the late Sergeant Chukwudi Iboko, who fought gallantly to foil a robbery operation at the Zenith Bank branch, Owerri, Imo State, but lost his life in the process. For his rare display of bravery, he was bestowed with the Hero of the Year award.
The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nsima Ekere, went home with the Public Service Award, just like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele,.
Other Nigerians who were honoured for distinguishing themselves in their various fields were: Wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Hajia Aisha Buhari, who was represented by the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the president, Mr. Femi Adesina. She got the award for the Most Supportive First Lady; Dr. Emeka Okwuosa, Investor of the Year; Mr. Amaju Pinnick, Sports Personality of the Year, just like Super eagles Chief Coach, Gernot Rohr; Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, Humanitarian Service Award and Mr. Ayo Makun (AY), who got the Nollywoood Personality of the Year Award.
Others are: Mallam Ismaila Isa Funtua, Prince Samuel Adedoyin and former Vice Chancellor of University of Benin, Prof. Grace Alele-Williams, all of whom got the Lifetime Achievement Award. Governor of Ebonyi State, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Bernard Odoh, and his Kebbi State counterpart were awarded Outstanding Performance in Agriculture Award, while Dr. Chika Okafor won the Business Person of the Year Award. On his part, emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi 11, who was represented by the Group Managing Director of Freedom Radio, Alhaji Abbas Muhammad Dalhatu, Yan Dagan Kano, got the Courage in Leadership Award.
The event, anchored by A-list compere and former Big Brother Africa (BBA) host, IK Osakioduwa, was livened up by ace comedian, Bovi Ugboma and a foremost Nigerian musician, Innocent Idibia, popularly known as Tu-Baba, who thrilled the audience to hilarious jokes and music respectively.
Bovi, held the audience spellbound with his joke on “The Animal of the Year Award,” the video of which has since gone viral on the social media.
Nigerians must make country work – Kalu
former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, was on hand to give the publisher’s remarks. While speaking, he said that Nigerians must make effort to make the country work because the responsibility of the progress of the country was a collective one from all Nigerians, irrespective of tribe.
He said: “At a time when Nigeria is passing through some challenges and recovering from the mistakes and failures of the past years, it is gratifying that some individuals, who believe in Nigeria, are doing great things to prove that when the potentialities of this country are well harnessed we will meet our expectations and be among the big economies and leaders of the world.
“I want to enjoin Nigerians to believe in themselves, love the country and to bear in mind that our destiny lies in our hands. We are the ones who will make our country great. We have to rise above ethnicity, our differences, and see ourselves as people put together by God for a purpose. We will realise this God’s purpose when we all embrace justice, fairness and equity, knowing that Nigeria is nation ‘bound in freedom, peace and unity.”
He also congratulated the recipients of the awards and urged them not to relent in using their talent for the progress of the country.
“We are happy to celebrate 15 years of keeping faith with the yearnings and aspirations of our faithful readers, advertisers and stakeholders in Nigeria and abroad as well as Nigeria as a nation.
“In the past 15 years, The Sun has made it a duty to identify people who have distinguished themselves in their various endeavours for recognition. It is a celebration of excellence, innovation, hard work, enterprise and distinction. People who have used their God-given resources, talents and positions to do extraordinary things, which have boosted the socio-economic and political development of our great country, are being recognised and I congratulate them”, Kalu said.
The Sun Awards underscores Nigeria’s greatness – Osagie
The Sun Awards is an event, which underscores the greatness of Nigeria as a country.
This is the view of the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, The Sun Publishing Limited, Mr. Eric Osagie.
Osagie disclosed this on Saturday while delivering his opening remarks at the 15th edition of The Sun Awards.
The Managing Director of the newspaper who lauded the 23 awardees for the year, described The Sun Awards as the biggest Africa’s media event.
“Every year when we gather for The Sun Awards, we seek to make the point that Nigeria may be going through all kinds of things -recession, depression- but we are not a people in depression, we are not a people in recession, though our nation may be.
“Though tribes and tongues may differ, though parties may differ, when we go to God, we go as Nigerians. fifteen years on when we gather here, we seek to make the point that Nigeria is indeed a great country.
“How can we talk about The Sun awards for 2017 without celebrating the efficient governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode?
“How can we celebrate 2017 awards without talking about Mr. Projects, the work machine of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike? How can we talk about the Sun Awards without talking about the Saraki effect in Abuja, the outstanding politician for the year 2017? How can we talk about The Sun Awards without the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria?”
Mr. Osagie also lauded the gallantry of the late Sgt Iboko, the police officer who lost his life to a robbery operation at a branch of Zenith Bank in Imo State last year.
Glamour, glitz as The Sun shines on outstanding Nigerians
saturday, February 24, is a day that many who witnessed the classic The Sun Awards will not forget in a hurry. It was a night 23 Nigerians were honoured by The Sun Publishing Limited on its 15th edition of the annual award, which coincided with the 15th anniversary of the organisation.
By 4 pm, roads to Victoria Island, Lagos were busier than usual as guests trickled into the premises of Eko Hotels & Suites, the venue of the prestigious 2017 The Sun Awards.
The cream of the Nigerian society, including top politicians, economic titans, media bigwigs, traditional rulers, and entertainers as well as other people from all walks of life, filled the expansive hall of the Convention Centre of Eko Hotel. Indeed, the calibre of the personalities and guests in attendance elevated the event above the usual social gala.
The show was infused with a good measure of entertainment. The Veentage Band was simply in its element as it entertained guests and award winners with evergreen and contemporary.
The band’s electrifying performance added vim and vigour to the gathering. With its repertoire of local and foreign songs, the band ensured that the guests didn’t regret their presence while the awards night lasted.
Those who were not privileged to attend the high-class event watched it via live transmission on two national television stations – Channels and Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).
The entrance of the entourage of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and that of the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike created a stir. The next few minutes were spent for the exchange of pleasantries among the dignitaries, in a display of camaraderie that obliterated political, religious and ethnic differences. The event provided a fitting vent for dignitaries to say everything that needed to be said as they threw jabs at one another and engaged in long chats.
One of the finest comedians in the country, Abovi Ugboma, popularly known as Bovi, thrilled guests with rib-cracking jokes. His wisecracks, focusing on trending issues, such as money-swallowing snakes and Big Brother Naija television show, had the hall reeling for some minutes.
Bovi who took on Senator Dino Melaye, calling him a senator who delved into music production without proper grooming, also gave the Senate president, his own piece of the comedy pie. He fired so many salvos at him to the point that the senators joined the rest of the audience to applaud the comedian.
Benue-born sensational singer, Innocent Idibia, popularly known as Tubaba raised the tempo of the night when he took the stage and belted out his hit tracks to the pleasure of the participants. Some of the guests, both old and young, could not resist the vibes jumped to their feet and dance to the melodious voice of the music maestro.
The occasion’s compere, popular On-Air-Personality, Ikponmwosa Osakioduwa (IK) who was on top of his game, brought his wealth of experience to bear, with his flawless directing of the night’s proceedings with a blend of modesty and panache.
The highlight of the night was the 23 Nigerians who were recognised and honoured for making indelible marks in various spheres of human endeavour last year,
Described as extraordinary men and women who went the extra mile to display character in the face of daunting challenges bedevilling Nigeria, they were honoured for their hard work and excellence.
The Managing Director of the Sun Publishing Limited, Mr Eric Osagie, who was visibly elated at the proceedings of the night, said the reason the organisation set aside the Nigerians for recognition was that they distinguished themselves from the pack.
“Our 2017 awardees are Nigeria’s game changers. The pacesetters. And we salute them,” Osagie said.
Merit creates maximum growth – Kalu Idika Kalu
the Sun Awards have become phenomenal within Nigeria and beyond because of the thorough screening process the winners pass through before they are chosen. The award recipients are chosen from all walks of life through a thorough selection process by the Board of Editors of The Sun Publishing Ltd.
The screening is to ensure that the winners not just merit their award, but are seen to have indeed deserve it.
This much was confirmed by former minister of Finance and National Planning and Transport, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu, who served as chairman of the occasion, when he declared that the award is an assertion for “overriding urgency of reinstating explicitly the place of merit in the various levels and tiers of the selecting process in this nation.”
He further said “Merit needs to be restored to our examinations, schools, our public services, our corporate organisations, small, medium and large scale enterprises and in all sectors of our polity as we seek to move our society and economy to the next level. We should and we can and we must.
“Merit creates maximum growth of opportunities and employment, and the scope of the young and vibrant entrepreneurship and maximum development of individual talents and capacity. Merit is good for every corner, every segment and every activity area of our potentially massive economy that has been long projected to join the ranks of top economies of the world.
“It is the reinstatement of merit and consequent creation of rising employment opportunities that will blunt potential frustrations arising from rapid population growth, the rapid growth of the labour force, and double digit growth of demand of new jobs and the general capacity requirement of the entire Nigerian economy from our societies and organisations, our various states, right through to all levels of government, to governmental organisations , private and corporate world.
“The list of award recipients is particularly outstanding in its spread across the entire nation in its distribution between public and corporate sectors of our society and by its professional and gender sensitive without sacrificing the basic merit underlining the outstanding choices they have made. This is glaring from the appreciative large audience, the effervescent interest from all media and enthusiasm of the general public”, he said.
Award’ll spur me to do more – Senator Izunaso
Many foundations are springing up everyday but only few are impacting on the less privileged. Kpakpando Foundation, founded and funded by Senator Osita Izunaso is one of those that currently enjoy good reputation.
Izunaso, from very humble beginning has grown through the ranks to appreciate what God and the Nigerian society have deposited in him by using whatever God has blessed him with including his intellect to impact on those who are not as privileged as he is.
From his days as an aide to the Governor of Imo State, Izunaso saw the need for those who have been blessed to share with the less privileged. He came in direct contact with the reality of suffering during the infamous Ikeja Military Cantonment bomb blast when he came to Lagos as an emissary of the Imo State Government.
That experience must have reworked the mind of the man, Izunaso, making him appreciate better the biblical injunction on giving. His experiences were catapulted when as a member of the National Assembly, he sponsored a bill on the welfare of the less privileged.
Kpakpando Foundation for the Physically Challenged Persons (KFPCP) established on October 30, 2006 to cater for Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs) has become an outlet through which he attends to the needs of thousands of less privileged Nigerians. Izunaso’s journey into politics is one of service to the less privileged.
Receiving The Sun Humanitarian Service Award 2017, the National Organising Secretary of the All PProgressives Congress (APC) , restated his determination to continually impact on the less privileged in the society.
“We don’t regard them as disabled people because we believe that in every disability there is proper ability,” he said.
He dedicated the award to the over 25 millioNigerians living with disabilities.
Sound bites… Sound bites… Sound bites…
A wonderful Event
– Godswill Akpabio, former governor, Akwa Ibom State
The Sun Awards stands out as it continues to inspire Nigerians. The recipients of this year’s award are great men and women who stand out. They are people of excellence who have made a name for themselves in their areas of specialisation.
It is good that The Sun newspaper has set a day aside to celebrate these people who continue to do good things for humanity. I congratulate the recipients of this year’s award as well as management of The Sun for putting together a wonderful event.
– Charles Odunukwe, Vice President, Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo
Like every other year, The Sun has done well but this year is exceptional. The people selected are in line with the standards already set by The Sun. They are special people who have done well. The event is well organised and coordinated. The crème de la crème of Nigeria are here because they identify with the good job The Sun is doing with their annual award ceremony. Even though this year’s event is good, The Sun should not stop improving.
The Sun Awards is for people who truly deserve them – Ralph Nwadike, Filmmaker
This is my first time attending The Sun Awards. I have heard of it for a while and that was why I decided to
attend this year’s edition. It is one of the best things to happen in the industry. The awards are being given to people who truly deserve it. I think The Sun newspaper should also give more awards to those in the entertainment sector.
A well-organised event – Nikki Laoye, Recording Artiste/Humanitarian
I am excited when I see people who are being celebrated for the great things they have done for humanity in different industries. On the list, there is Banker of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Artiste of the Year and Creative Personality of the Year. For someone like me who loves humanitarian works, I am interested in the humanitarian service awards to Senator Osita Izunaso. He is someone who has been working with people with disabilities and he deserves the award. I am happy that someone like him is being celebrated for the works he is doing in that direction.
From what I have seen so far, the event is well-organised. The setting is lovely and I give The Sun kudos for encouraging people who are doing well in their chosen fields because it actually encourages them to do better next time. But more women should be celebrated next year. Many women are doing great things. They should be encouraged and celebrated too.
People will talk about this event for a long time – Chief Tony Okoroji, Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON)
I like the set of this year’s The Sun Awards. It is a show-stopping event that I am proud to be part of. The Sun has come a long way and they shine every year. This awards ceremony brightens up the sky every year and this year’s is no exception. I know that people will talk about this event for a long time to come.
I congratulate all the awardees but I look forward to what they will do after being celebrated not what they have done. Our nation desperately needs inspirational leadership from politicians at this point, people who can give hope to young Nigerians. That way, young men won’t risk their lives going over the Mediterranean and young girls won’t have to sell their bodies for money. These politicians being celebrated should give confidence to Nigerians and teach them that Nigeria is worth dying for.
The Sun is a success story – Eze Nwabueze Ohazulike, Eze Ndi-Igbo of Lagos
The Sun newspaper is taking the lead because a lot of dignitaries are being celebrated for the good works they have done. I am happy that The Sun at 15 is a success story and the awards ceremony keeps getting better. The standard of the awardees keeps getting better every year.
I am proud to say that the awardees deserve their awards. It is a merited honour for them all. The Sun selected the best of the best and they have set a standard for other newspapers to follow.
One of the Best – Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, Chairman, Silverbird Group
This year’s The Sun award ceremony is one of the best I have attended in recent times. This country needs to hear of notable Nigerians who are working silently to impact lives and the country as a whole. The humanitarian award nominees deserve all the honour accorded to them.
I also like the fact that the gallant policeman who died while on duty in Owerri is being celebrated. These are the kinds of people who should be celebrated so that others can be encouraged to be selfless, inspirational and bold. I am proud of what The Sun Newspapers have achieved in 15 years.
The Sun leads the way – Chief Chris Ekwilo JP, Chairman, Igbo Coalition in Lagos
I celebrate The Sun at 15. This annual awards ceremony is one that people cannot ignore, no matter how hard they try because The Sun,
celebrates people who truly deserve it.
For the past 15 years, I have been attending The Sun Awards; this year’s event takes the lead. I love the setting. The list of awardees is commendable.
I didn’t even know about the wonderful works these people who are being awarded have been doing until The Sun decided to celebrate them.
I congratulate The Sun for leading the way for others to follow when it comes to honouring prominent Nigerians. The Sun newspaper remains unique among equals. They should keep the good work.
The Sun always surpasses expectations – Ingram Osigwe, MD/CEO, Full Page International Communications Ltd.
The Sun Awards ceremony was a lovely event. It is no longer news that The Sun always surpasses expectations, but this year, they took it a notch higher.
Organisation of the event was superb. The setting was beautiful. The awardees were carefully selected on merit. I am glad that The Sun has not compromised on excellence when it comes to her annual awards ceremony.
It is commendable that at this time, a newspaper house is selecting inspirational people to celebrate as against celebrating mediocrity. The Sun should keep on shining.
Wike vows to transform Rivers
“there is no substitute for hard work. A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work. Believe you can and you’re half way there. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.”
When a great thinker, Thomas A. Edison made the above statement, perhaps he had the governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike in mind. Yes, because, for the governor of the oil-rich state, life is about hard work and service to the people.
The virtues of the man popularly known as Mr. Projects resonated at the Convention Centre, Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island last Saturday where he emerged as the Governor of the Year at The Sun Awards.
From commendations for Wike at the colourful event, it was evident that he did not become Mr. Projects by happenstance. He is living the dream of his inaugural speech on May 29, 2015 that he would work hard to improve the lives of Rivers people. Hear him: “As we reiterated at several fora during the campaigns, our blueprint is an agenda of hope. We pledge to offer a new Rivers vision based on a new thinking.
Our goal is to make Rivers State a land of peace and prosperity with boundless opportunities and possibilities; a place where no one is left behind because of his or her station and everyone who works hard can achieve his or her life’s dream. Please be assured that we are committed to actualise our vision and mission already in the public domain.”
His works across the state speak volume for him; hence he has won The Sun Awards Governor of the Year back to back having been earlier crowned in 2017.
Speaking after this year’s honour, he expressed his determination and commitment to work for the people of the oil-rich state.
He assured that he would continue to work and serve the people of Rivers State and thanked The Sun Publishing limited for finding him worthy to win the award back to back.
Chief Wike said he would not relent to serve his people and assured that by the grace of God, he would still win the same award next year.
He said: “I will continue to work for the people of Rivers State. I dedicate this award to the people of Rivers State and my wife.”
Over the first 31 months of his administration, Governor Wike had embarked on the massive construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of roads, schools, hospitals, land reclamation, manpower development and provision of other critical infrastructure across the 23 local governments of the state.
The Sun Awards, globally accepted – Mbisiogu, Blue Diamond boss
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”
The above quote by a popular motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, is apt in describing the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who won the Outstanding Politician of the Year award.
Despite the challenges he has faced as the Senate President of the 8th National Assembly, there is no gainsaying that his leadership acumen has stabilised the red chamber.
Many believe that even though the journey has not been easy for him, he has shown a lot of good qualities of an effective leader in the presence of adversity.
It is not surprising that he was chosen for honour by The Sun Publishing for the 2017 edition.
Appreciating the recognition, Dr. Saraki had expressed delight over his choice as winner of the 2017 award, pledging that it would encourage him and the Senate to do more for Nigeria.
Saraki described The Sun as a reputable organisation that is enjoying widespread respect among Nigerians. He promised that the award, which came as a surprise, would spur him and the Senate to do more for the country.
Saraki said: “Thank you for this surprise gift. The Sun is one establishment that has built its own good reputation. It is well respected. You don’t do things without thinking through it. I am humbled by your recognition and I appreciate it. I give God the glory for this recognition. It will certainly further encourage us at the senate.
“We have always said that the legislative arm is the most misunderstood. I think this is because it is the youngest arm of government. The electorate sometimes do not understand what our role is and how to assess us. They sometimes do not know what is expected of us. But we will continue to do our best for the country.”
The Senate President gave assurance that he would continue to work for the people of Nigeria and described The Sun as an institution that speaks for the people and thanked the management for finding him worthy for the award.
He said: “ On behalf of my family, constituency and colleagues who voted for me, I want to thank The Sun for finding me worthy for this award.
“When I was the governor of Kwara State for eight years, I expected The Sun awards but I never got it but I thank God I have been found worthy this time. It is an award of a great institution.”
Lagos is working because of taxpayers – Ambode
When Akinwunmi Ambode took over as governor of Lagos State on May 29, 2015, expectations were very high. He was stepping into big shoes. His predecessor, Babatunde Fashola, was regarded as one of the best governors of his time.
In less than three years, Governor Ambode surpassed all expectations and has set the pace and tempo of governance for his counterparts in other states. His name reverberates and his accomplishments are celebrated in superlatives.
It was against this background that he was crowned The Sun Man of the Year 2017.
Receiving the award at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos last Saturday, Governor Ambode attributed his feat to the support of taxpaying Lagosians.
According to him, “ Lagos is working because of taxpayers money.”
Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, who represented the governor at the ceremony, noted that the state was working because taxpayers were living up to their obligations by paying their taxes.
“It is with this taxes that the state is carrying out massive infrastructure development and also providing insurance for security men, especially the police in the state,” Ayorinde disclosed.
According to him, the sum of N10 million is paid to any policeman who dies in active service and N5 million to injured policemen.
While dedicating the award to taxpayers in the state, he said it would spur him to do more.
Ambode, born on June 14, 1963, in Epe, Lagos, is a chartered accountant, a Harvard-trained accounting expert. He hit the ground running immediately after his inauguration as governor of Lagos. He has been fixing all sectors, including infrastructure, health, security, transportation, education, sports, and agriculture.
Ambode’s urban renewal initiatives have transformed transport hubs in Epe, Abule Egba, Ojodu Berger, Lekki, Agege, Ikorodu, Oshodi, and Airport Road, among others.
He provided answers to Lagos’s vexing traffic gridlock with new lay-bys at congested bus stops.
Hundreds of vehicles, power bikes and three helicopters, totalling over N4 billion, were procured for the police in one day.
His partnership with Kebbi State resulted in LAKE Rice. Also artisans and physically challenged people are empowered with billions of naira from time to time.
CBN workers COMMITTED, dedicated – Emefiele
When Dr Godwin Emefiele, was settling down as the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the nation ran into an economic quagmire.
The onerous task of salvaging the country, to a large extent, rested on the apex bank’s governor.
His current policies geared towards strengthening the country’s economy, are giving the nation fresh hope. These include various interventionist programmes clearly targeting poverty eradication and which have continued to engender sustainability and restoration of confidence in the Nigerian economy.
Under his watch especially, the country has witnessed a massive drop in rice importation and an upscaling in rice sufficiency, leading to relaxed pressure on foreign exchange.
With over 26 solid years experience in commercial banking, Emefiele is a strategic thinker who, passionately, deploys his expertise in stabilising the economy that has been buffeted on all sides. This, he couldn’t accomplish alone without a dedicated workforce.
Receiving The Sun Public Service Award 2017, last Saturday, Dr Emefiele said staff of the apex bank were very dedicated and can compete with workers of the central bank anywhere in the world.
To this end, he dedicated the award to his workers who he praised as being very dedicated and hard working.
How slain policeMAN resurrected at THE Sun Awards
• Family’s sorrows turned goldmine as NDDC offers 7 children scholarship
For the family of the late police sergeant, Chukwudi Iboko, who died confronting armed robbers last year in Owerri, the Imo State capital, nothing could be more comforting than to realise that Nigerians felt their pains.
This was clearly demonstrated when Iboko’s widow received the posthumous award for her late husband from The Sun Publishing Limited, during The Sun Awards ceremony held on Saturday, February 24, at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The late Sergeant Iboko’s spirit came alive as his name reverberated in the hall, filled by the crème de la crème of the society, cutting across politics, business, entertainment and religion, all of whom poured encomiums on the late officer.
The award, which had a cash reward of N300, 000, opened a flood gate of financial donations to the late officer’s family, with the Publisher of The Sun and former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, leading the pack with N500, 000 donations.
While announcing the financial donation to the family, Kalu had admitted that he knew what it meant for a policeman to battle armed robbers in the bank. He narrated his personal experience with bank robbers as governor of Abia State. He said: “I was in Government House, Umuahia and I witnessed one at the Standard Trust Bank, which was in front of the Government House. I nearly lost my life because I went with the police to battle them. If they had succeeded, they could have come into the Government House, but we battled them and chased them away.”
He congratulated Iboko’s widow, saying: “Madam, your husband is alive; he is not dead. He is a hero of the gun; a hero of the people and a hero of the police force.”
The former governor also used the opportunity to urge state governors to insure all the policemen serving in their various states as a way of boosting the officers’ morale.
“I call on the state governors to provide insurance covers to the policemen serving in their states, because if the late Iboko had one, The Sun does not have to give this woman N300, 000. The insurance company would have given N10 million to this woman. We did and it worked, and that was why Abia State was crime free when we were there. Try it and see that it works. With less than N20 million, you can insure about 3000 policemen in your state. Insure even the commissioners of police. A sergeant that was killed in Abia State during our time got N10 million. When a superintendent of police was killed, he equally got N33 million from the insurance company. So, if that is done, the police force will work harder and I want to call on anybody who is touched by this woman’s predicament to support her. It is painful for this little boy not to have a father because he was working for the nation. It is touching and I invite all of you to do something,” he implored.
With Kalu’s clarion call, the philanthropic spirit of Nigerians was charged, forcing the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki to promptly rise to the occasion. He quickly made a cash donation of half a million Naira to the Ibokos.
The Methodist Church Nigeria was the next with a financial support of N1 million to the Ibokos. And then, the National Assembly PDP caucus emerged with N300, 000 donations.
The business community was not left out as the chairman of Eleganza group of companies, Chief Razak Okoya pledged N500, 000 to the family of the slain officer. Also one of the award recipients, Chief Samuel Adedoyin, also announced the donation of N500, 000.
At this point, donations were pouring in from various quarters, with Senator Lee Maeba pledging N1 million to the family. The Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) leadership present at the event pledged N500,000, in anticipation that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), would respond, so as to start a subtle war of financial supremacy, but the ruling party kept sealed lips.
At the last count, over N8 million was raised for the late Iboko’s family at the event, with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) pledging to support the family with another N1 million, as well as offer scholarship to the university level for the seven children left behind by the late officer.
Also speaking at the event, the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike, who represented the Inspector General of Police, expressed delight and gratitude to the management of The Sun Newspapers for what he described as unprecedented, unique and yet, very humble honour. “If it was a matter of choice, I am sure, out of all the awardees, we would want Sergeant Chukwudi Iboko to take his plaque alive, but, it is not a matter of choice. It beckoned and he gave his best shot,” he noted.
He harped on the need to properly equip the police for efficiency, saying, “there are several Chukwudi Iboko out there; living and dead, who do great jobs. Today, it is Chukwudi; tomorrow, it may be some other person. The police institution needs to be capacitated. The banks need to have operational points for security officers that are well fortified. They don’t need to be feeble and they don’t need to be flimsy. They need to be fortified, so that it becomes the first directive order to operatives.”
He also commended Zenith Bank, saying, “the bank tried its best; it has done uncommon things at the wake of the incident. But, if Chukwudi Iboko Junior and his siblings don’t get to the top, we still have a lot of work to be done. We are happy that out of the four-man gang that went for that robbery, all of them have been arrested and all their arms recovered. The last one was arrested on February 21. I just had a press conference, where we paraded him and shockingly, he is a graduate of Government and Public Administration.”
He called on other newspapers to emulate The Sun, when he said: “There are many Sun newspapers out there. This is a wakeup call, so that this sorrowful moment for this family will turn to a joyous moment for them. Thank you very much; we appreciate you.”
Presenting the award to Mrs. Iboko, the former Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Publishing Limited, Mike Awoyinfa, accompanied by his successors, Tony Onyima and Femi Adesina as well as the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of The Sun, Eric Osagie, reminded Mrs. Iboko that her husband was a hero and that she would never be left alone.
“Madam, your husband is a hero. You will never be alone in Jesus’ name. On behalf of The Sun, we will like to present you with this award and a token cash of N300, 000. I am sure there are great men and millionaires here, who are going to give you more tonight. So, the floor is open for whoever that will honour this great man,” he said.
Sergeant Chukwudi Iboko was the police officer, who managed to foil an armed robbery attack on a branch of Zenith Bank in Owerri through sheer courage and determination. He gunned down one of the armed robbers, but pathetically lost his life in the process.
The policeman gave his life for the protection of others, leaving behind his wife and seven children. One minute silence was observed in his honour and other fallen heroes at the event.
The Sun award unique and special – Odumakin
The Story of Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin is the stuff great women are made of. Okei-Odumakin is a Nigerian women’s rights activist and the president of the rights groups, Women Arise for Change Initiative and the Campaign for Democracy. She has lived a better part of her life as an activist and traversed, courageously, where even some men fear to tread.
The activist remained consistent without minding the hazards to her person in a society where critical voices are loathed by an unjust system. All her life, she has remained consistent and has lent sinew to the struggle for justice and human dignity and remains an inspiration to men and women both old and young.
She was born on July 4, 1966, in Zaria, Kaduna State. She had a bachelor’s degree in English Education at the University of Ilorin and obtained a Master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from the same school.
Over the years, Odumakin has refused to change. She has remained consistent in her quest for the enthronement of egalitarian society even as her critical voice has landed her in trouble. In fact, she has been detained 17 times in various places, including Alagbon, Lagos.
Odumakin met her husband, Comrade Yinka Odumakin, a fellow activist in prison. One thing led to another and they ended as husband and wife.
Presenting The Sun Humanitarian Service Award to the activist, former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, said presenting the award was an honour, having heard about her and only watched her on television.
“I’m pleased that I am finally meeting her in person.” On a lighter note, the former governor jocularly added: “It is time you start fighting for animal rights as well.”
Odumakin said she would forever cherish her award. She said: “I had received many awards in the past, but The Sun Award remained unique and special.”
She states that she was not expecting any reward for defending the defenceless and therefore thanked the organisation for finding her worthy of the recognition.
Okei-Odumakin, who dedicated the award to the struggle of the girl-child, said she was encouraged to do more for humanity, even as she commended the management of The Sun for sustaining the struggle so far.
She pleaded with Nigerians not to fail the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls and urged all stakeholders to expedite action to ensure that the girls were freed.
She called for the release of the remaining kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls in Maiduguri, Borno State.
Umahi dedicates award to farmers
Rice farmers in Ebonyi State got major prop as their governor, Dave Umahi, clinched the award for Outstanding Performance in Agriculture at the 15th Annual Sun Awards, held in Lagos, last weekend.
The award was given to the Ebonyi State governor in recognition of his ingenuity in redirecting the people to rice farming as a survival strategy during the recession period. Interestingly, the move by the state government have led to the resurgence of massive rice farming in the state, thereby creating another viable source of income for the government.
The award was presented to him on behalf of The Sun, by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi.
Receiving the award, Umahi who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Professor Bernard Odoh, said he was dedicating the award to the thousands of rice farmers in state. He poured encomiums on them, hinting that the state government would not have won the award if not that they heeded to government’s call to put the state in the limelight through rice production.
“I want to profoundly thank the staff and management of The Sun newspapers for this award. I dedicate this honour to the thousands of rice farmers in the state. This award belongs to all of them,” Umahi said.
He also extended appreciation to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its support in giving loans to rice farmers and for formulating lofty policies that encouraged rice farming in the state.
“I also want to thank the CBN for their support shown to rice farmers. They’ve worked side by side with the state government in ensuring the massive growths in rice farming being witnessed today. And we are immensely grateful. We are all partners in progress and together we would all ensure we sustain the growth in rice production.”
The Sun Awards 2017
This year’s The Sun Awards might have come and gone, but the memory will linger for a while. Those that attended the prestigious award, where hard work and excellence was glamorously celebrated, and Nigeria’s best and finest in different endeavours honoured, spoke glowingly about the event.
I thank The Sun for finding me worthy I will not relent in serving my people and by the grace of God, I would still win this award in 2018. I thank The Sun Publishing Limited for finding me worthy to win the award back-to-back in 2017 after winning that of 2016. I dedicate this award to the people of Rivers State and my wife.
• Gov. Nyesom Wike
It is an award of great institution
The Sun remains an institution that speaks for the people. I thank The Sun management for finding me worthy of the award. It is an award of a great institution.
• Senator Bukola Saraki, Senate President
The list of awardees for this prestigious prize is particularly outstanding
The Sun Awards is a bold endeavour that asserts the need for an overriding urgency of reinstating the place of merit in the various level and tiers of the selecting process in this nation. I commend The Sun newspaper for sustaining and improving the quality of the awards. The list of awardees for this prestigious prize is particularly outstanding in its spread across the entire nation, in its distribution between the public and corporate sectors of our society and by its professional and gender-sensitivity without sacrificing the basic merit underlying the outstanding choices they made.
• Idika Kalu, former Minister of Finance and National Planning
The Sun has not disappointed Nigerians
The Sun Awards is classic and of a high standard. The Sun Newspaper did not disappoint in its choice of awardees and has remained consistent with the standard it set for itself right from inception 15 years ago. The award recognises Nigeria’s finest who have distinguished themselves in their chosen fields.
• Femi Adeshina, Presidential spokesperson
The Sun stands for truth
I commend The Sun for always standing for the truth. I thank them for choosing me as one of the winners of the awards.
• Prince Samuel Adedoyin
The Sun Awards is a masterpiece
The award is an encouragement to people who have performed to do more. It is also a good motivation for other individuals to do more for the society. All the nominees are achievers of a kind. The Managing Director of NDDC, Mr. Nsima Ekere is a good man and a transformer. The Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike is a performer and an achiever. The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, is a man of courage and he is transforming Lagos into a megacity. His drive towards providing amenities that is gradually changing the face of Lagos is unprecedented. Everything about The Sun Awards is a masterpiece. The Sun Newspaper has not lost focus.
• Dr Samuel Emeka Kanu Uche, Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria
I will forever cherish this award
I will forever cherish this award. I have received many awards in the past, but The Sun Award is unique and special. I thank The Sun for finding me worthy of the recognition. I dedicate this award to the struggle of the girl-child and I am encouraged to do more for humanity.
• Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin
The award will spur me to do more for the less privileged
This award will spur me to continually impact on the less privileged, especially those living with disabilities in the country. I dedicate the award to the over 25 million Nigerians living with disabilities.
• Senator Osita Izunaso
It is awesome and classy
The Sun Awards is one of the greatest in Nigeria. It is awesome and classy. When you take a look at the line-up of recipients, you will know it was an excellent pick. They are all square pegs in square holes. I hope The Sun will continue to honour merit and excellence. They should not lower their standard to favour any individual. The award by me is branded excellent.
• King Jaja of Opobo, Chairman, Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers
The best in Nigeria
I knew when The Sun Newspapers started with its very resourceful and talented staff. It remains one of the most reliable newspapers in Nigeria. I believe the management team made the right choice in terms of selecting those to be recognised. Those recognised today are tested individuals with proven track records of integrity. The Sun Awards is the best in Nigeria and it stands out.
• Otunba Gani Adams, Aare-Ona Kakanfo
The Sun Awards has gone solar
I am very impressed with what The Sun Awards has evolved into. It is gladdening that something we started on a smaller scale has blossomed into something great, something extraordinary. It remains the prayer of every parent that their child will do better than them. I am like a proud father. This award has been taken to the highest level. What the Managing Director, Eric Osagie, has achieved is like that of Usain Bolt being handed the 100 meters baton; he hit the ground running. The award has gone solar. You know the sun is the highest celestial body, so the award has been taken to the height of the sun.
• Mr Mike Awoyinfa
The most colourful award in the media industry
It is a thing of joy that something we started on a modest scale in 2004 has grown this big. I recall when the whole idea of The Sun Man of the Year was conceived, we were looking at an individual or institution that best embodied our values and the first awardee was Mike Adenuga. Looking back now and with what I am seeing, those in charge have not disappointed. Without any iota of doubt, I will rank the award as the most colourful award in the media industry.
• Mr Louis Odion
The management keeps getting it right every year
The Sun Awards is the most well-organised event in the media industry. Last year, I was honoured with The Sun Lifetime Achievement Award. The management keeps getting it right every year. They should not let down the tempo.
• Chief Nike Akande
The Sun award remains unique
I was one of the awardees last year and I believe strongly that The Sun team always gets it right every year. I have no doubt that the expectations of the guests would be duly surpassed. The pick and analysis from all the sectors, where the awardees were selected from showed it was an excellent job. The Sun awards remain unique.
• Dr Uche Ogah, President, Masters Energy Group
The choices are the voice of the masses
The awardees deserve the honour bestowed on them. The choices are the voice of the masses. With the much I have seen, the selection appears transparent. The Sun Awards over the years has always been marvellous.
• King Samuel Amaechi, Onye-Ishi Agwuru Igbo Kingdom
The Sun is the pacesetter of media awards in Nigeria
The Sun is the pacesetter of media awards in Nigeria. It blazed the trail and others are just trying to emulate. I congratulate The Sun management for a job well done. I have never faulted their choice of awardees.
• Eze Nwachukwu, Eze Ndi-Igbo, Lagos State
The Sun Awards remains unrivalled
The objective of this award is to celebrate the achievements and excellence of each awardee. The Sun should continue with its tradition of encouraging excellence. Each year, the paper keeps upping its standard. The Sun Awards remains unrivalled.
• Lynda Ikpeazu, member, House of Reps