Group Managing Director/Chief Executive officer, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, has described The Sun Banker of the Year, 2016 award, due to be conferred on him later this month, as an inspiration that will keep him going in his career.
Wigwe, who was responding, after receiving a letter formally notifying him of the award from the Managing Director/Editor-Chief, The Sun Publishing Limited, Mr. Eric Osagie, said the Banker of the Year award placed a huge responsibility on him to contribute more towards building a better Nigeria, where opportunities for the citizens would be limitless.
He said: “Thank you very much, because for me it’s a rare privilege to be nominated, as the Banker of the Year by the Sun Newspapers. But what you probably may not understand is the enormous responsibility this award places on the awardee. And it is not just for the day, but it guides your conduct even thereafter. It is not just for 2016, because sometimes certain things just happen and mistakes are made and it puts a responsibility on you, knowing you have just been given this type of award. Indeed, the integrity and the values that come with this kind of award put one under some kind of pressure.”
According to him, when people work in an environment as in the Nigerian banking industry, “where they come under all sorts of attacks, some right, some wrong, and often more wrong than right and they will have to keep managing themselves until they can come out of the muddy waters, and suddenly being recognised with an award of this nature, it usually places a new burden on one.”
Wigwe said awards, such as The Sun Banker of the Year, “keeps us going, to know that we are being appreciated and can continue to contribute our quota to make our country a better place to live.”
The renowned banker pointed out that although there could be mistakes, as the country progresses, as can be seen with the experiences from developed nations, “the lesson that everyone needs to learn is that there is no other country but Nigeria and no matter the pains we go through, we must continue to build it until we make it a better place to live in.”
Earlier in his remarks, Osagie said The Sun Banker of the Year was “for that man or woman who has, over the years, proven to be of integrity, with an uncommon resolve to conduct banking business according to universally accepted best practices. He/she has, in and out of office, displayed unquestionable commitment to ethics and professionalism with one goal in mind: to ensure good returns to all stakeholders and engender confidence in the Nigerian business space.”
He said the Board of Editors of The Sun voted Wigwe as Banker of the Year, in recognition of his strategic foresight, sustained efforts at repositioning Access Bank as a reference financial institution and his focused as well as result-oriented management style.
The MD noted that since Wigwe took over the management of Access Bank, he left no one in doubt about his commitment to sustain the tempo of innovation and growth at the bank, in his bid at transforming the bank from an obscure Nigerian financial institution to a world-class African lender.
He said the efforts of Access Bank’s boss made the bank to rank among the five largest banks in Nigeria, “by size of assets, loans, deposits and branch network, among other criteria, a feat that has been achieved through strong long-term commitment to client solutions, product quality and innovative advice.”
Osagie said the impact of the transformation agenda in Access Bank was reflected in the first year, when the balance sheet grew by 100 per cent and the bank posted an impressive N1 billion profit before tax. The profit before tax was more than the cumulative profit made by the bank in the previous 12 years, he said.
The Sun Awards ceremony is billed for February 18, 2017 at the Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Distinguished awardees at this year’s occasion include: Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Ogun State Governor (Man of the Year); Barrister Nyesom Wike of Rivers State (Governor of the Year); Hon. Yakubu Dogara (Political Icon); Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari (Courage in Leadership) and Sir Tony Ezenna (Manufacturer of the Year).
Other winners of The Sun Awards, who will also be honoured on February 18, are: Dr. Stella Okoli, CEO, Emzor Pharmaceutical (Business Personality of the Year); Dr. Cosmas Maduka, Chairman of Coscharis Group (Investor of the Year).
Others are Prof Anya O. Anya, Chief Nike Akande, Chief Razak Okoya, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu and Alhaji Abubakar Balarabe Musa (Lifetime Achievement); Alhaji Tajudeen Owoyemi, Chairman, Avalon Intercontinental Limited (Hospitality Firm of the Year); Rita Dominic (Nollywood Personality of the Year); the late Lt Col Mohammed Abu Ali (Nigerian Hero) and Azubuike Nelson (Phyno) & Olamide Adedeji (Creative Personalities of the Year).
Former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, will be chairman of The Sun Awards.