,By Daniel Kalu, Vincent Kalu
Chukwudi Nweje And Chinelo Obogo
The award recipients no doubt relished the honour done to them by The Sun Publishing Limited, as winners of the various categories of the awards for 2020. And it showed in their various speeches.
Gov Wike, Man of the Year
Receiving his award, Gov Wike who was represented by his deputy, Mrs. Ipalibo Banigo, thanked The Sun for the honour. Wike, whose sterling performance radiates particularly in the area of infrastructure delivery, noted that the desire to ensure that he bequeaths a legacy to the present and future generation was the major force driving the infrastructural development of his administration.
Mrs. Banigo said Wike’s administration had continued to vigorously pursue the new Rivers State vision, touching on every aspect of the state for the present and future generation.
The Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, who also won the Man of the Year Award, said the turnaround in the NNPC was because of purposeful leadership that had been brought to bear in running the corporation. He thanked the president for giving him the opportunity to prove himself.
Mele Kyari, Man of the Year
Managing Director of NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, who was the Man of the Year, said the turnaround in the organization, was because of purposeful leadership that had been brought to bear in running the Corporation.
He thanked the president for giving him the opportunity to prove himself.
Gov Abdulahi Ganduje
Kano State governor, Dr Abdulahi Ganduje won the Governor of the Year Award, alongside the Kogi State governor. Dr Ganduje could hardly curtail his appreciation for the award, which he said was not solicited. He said he was particularly shocked that no financial demand was made of him by the company. He praised The Sun Management team for the honour and promised that he would continue to serve the people of Kano State conscientiously.
Gov Mai Mala Buni, Political Icon of the Year
Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, who was the recipient of the Political Icon of the Year, thanked the management of The Sun Publishing Limited for ensuring through its reportage that there is political stability in the country. He dedicated the award to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Philip Shaibu, Sports Personality of the Year
The Edo Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, dedicated the award to Governor Godwin Obaseki, whom he said created the enabling environment for him to thrive and excel, without which the award couldn’t have come. Gov Obaseki was physically present to support and felicitate his deputy on the momentous occasion.
“I am very grateful to Governor Godwin Obaseki for the opportunity he gave me to serve. If he didn’t entrust the sports sector to me, this would not have happened. He gave me the wings to fly and I am very grateful to him for that. This is a reason for me to work harder and I do not take it for granted. For us in Edo, we do not complain; we only proffer solutions and that is why things are working well the way they are,” he said.
Allen Onyema, Exceptional Philanthropy Award
The Air Peace boss, while receiving his award called on the Federal Government to grant amnesty to the Yoruba separatist leader, Sunday Igboho; and the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, as a way of restoring peace to Nigeria.
He said he believes in the unity of Nigeria, but stressed that only dialogue could resolve the issues that have lately given rise to insecurity in the country. He argued that if amnesty resolved the issue of militancy in the Niger Delta, it would also resolve the separatist agitations in the South-East and South-West.
“I am not saying that once the Federal Government grants Igboho and Kanu amnesty everything would end. Amnesty should not be given to just the two of them but to every other person that is involved in some sort of rift. When you are granting amnesty, you don’t just go and announce it, there must be some negotiations involved. You have to open up dialogue with them where you can say if you give me this, I will give you that. I am for amnesty because we did it before in the Niger Delta. When I started taking militants out of the creeks and training them, a lot of them changed and when the government saw what I was doing, they decided to give the militants amnesty, believing that they could drop their guns. So, the same thing could be done for Igboho and Kanu. Yes, mistakes have been made but we can sort it out without engaging in violence,” Onyema said.
Dr Chris Igwe, Investor of the Year
Also, Dr. Chris Igwe, an Investor of the Year award winner, in his acceptance speech, said he was grateful and highly honoured to receive the award and thanked the Sun Management for the honour.
He said the award signifies that nothing on earth can stop a man with the right mental attitude from reaching his height in life. “I dedicate this award to the staff and management of Mainland Oil. I thank everyone that attended this event,” he said.
Chief Obinna Iyiegbu (Obi Cubana), Hospitality Icon
In his acceptance speech, Chief Iyiegbu expressed gratitude to God for placing him where he stands today. He dedicated the award to his late parents, his wife who has stood by him all through, his associates and well wishers, as well as his teeming fans.
“I feel great, elated and proud to be among the 24 eminent Nigerians honoured by The Sun Newspaper. It means the management of The Sun has followed my work over the years, and I accepted this award because of the reputation of The Sun Awards.
This award is a clarion call for me to do more, touch more lives, impact more Nigerians and make sure excellence remains my watchword. The event is so classy and orderly. The hall is so beautiful and colourful. I’m happy to have witnessed this great event.”
Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, Most Supportive First Lady
In her response, First Lady of Ondo State, Mrs. Akeredolu, whose advocacy against breast cancer and involvement in other projects that have helped women in Ondo State earned her the award, expressed gratitude to her husband, Governor Akeredolu, for his support. She also thanked The Sun Management for the award.
“I thank the management of The Sun Newspapers for finding me worthy of this prestigious award among the existing First Ladies in Nigeria. I don’t work alone, I have a team of supportive people who make my work easier, and this honour is for us all. This award means a lot to me and my girls who will be the future of ICT and solar technology both in Nigeria and in the world. On the flip side, I would have loved to see more women honoured by The Sun Newspaper.”
Kanayo O. Kanayo, Nollywood Icon Award
It is a great privilege and honour for me to be recognized by The Sun Newspaper. I’m thankful to God almighty and the management of The Sun for this honour. The award is for the industry that has given Nigeria a name, face and voice on the international scene.
With this award, Nigerians should expect my continuous contribution to the national economy through entertainment. They should also expect my continuous devotion to building more actors and entertainers, and using my platform to ensure that youths who want to get into the entertainment industry have proper guidance.
Chief Bode George, Lifetime Achievements Award
Notable politician, Chief Bode George, who received the Life Time Achievements Award, commended The Sun Newspapers for finding him worthy of the award. He paid glowing tributes to Senator Orji Uzor Kalu for his efforts in ensuring the victory of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo during the former president’s second term election. He dedicated the award to his family members and political associates.
Rt. Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, Public Service Award
Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji said the Sun award is highly credible, submitting that “ the process is very tenacious and in their judgment, they say their mind no matter whose ox is gored. He said the award is a great motivation. The political strategist is the winner of The Sun Award Public Service.
He told The Sun that he did not set out to be a politician but that politics found him and he could not resist the urge as he innocently found himself in the midst of politicians, politics, and governance. He said he has led the State Assembly to make good laws for the development of the state.
The scion of the Orji political dynasty is a Knight of the Anglican Communion and a member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers.
Nnamdi Ezeigbo, Entrepreneur of the Year
Nnamdi Ezeigbo, who won the Entrepreneur of the Year category, expressed gratitude to The Sun Management for the recognition. He said: “I feel so honoured. I thank the Sun leadership.”
He called on the government to pay attention to entrepreneurship, saying, “It is high time the government paid attention to entrepreneurship because it is the bedrock of any society. Let us build a Commonwealth for our people.
“It is one thing for someone to conceive an idea, work towards it consistently for years and another thing to be recognized and celebrated by a prestigious newspaper like The Sun. I am grateful to God for this award. I appreciate my wife who has always been my pillar of support, and I’m looking forward to the future with optimism, renewed vigour and strength. This award means a lot to me and I commend The Sun Newspaper for the good work they are doing.”
Mr. Moses Ekpo, Lifetime Achievements Award
Deputy Governor Akwa Ibom State, Mr Moses Ekpo, said he was glad to be part of the success story of Akwa Ibom State.
A former Commissioner for Information in Akwa Ibom, he dedicated the award to Gov Udom Emmanuel, who he said gave him the opportunity to be part of the state’s success story.
Ekpo also thanked God for preserving his life to date.
He said he was detained during the civil war for two months and that after the war, he went back to the newly created Cross Rivers State and helped set up the state-owned Nigerian Chronicle, and served as the pioneer editor.
Babagana Kingibe, Lifetime Achievement Award
The take home from the award night was the response by one of the lifetime achievers, Babagana Kingibe.
Born and groomed in Nigeria, he noted that his belief in Nigeria’s unity has never been in question. But, he disagreed with those who insist that Nigeria’s unity and indivisibility is non-negotiable, even when mutual suspicions among various ethnic nationalities seem to be tearing apart everything that holds the country together. He stressed that all hands must be on deck to ensure peaceful coexistence of all nationalities, arguing that Nigerians would be better off if they remain under one corporate entity.
Said Kingibe “This is not an evening of wise statements but an evening of appreciation and one that we must say things the way it is. I believe in Nigeria. Those who are saying that we have no option, there is nothing like that, there is an option. The unity of Nigeria is negotiable, even the unity of the family, the unity between the husband and the wife are all negotiable and should be done peacefully.
“But let us respect one another; respect the views of others so that in future you can also interact in love. Let us mind our language as we address national issues. We have the right to sit down considering the condition after rational examination of the pros and cons, it does not require abuses. You have the right to say you are not fine with the union, do you feel the grass is greener on the other side but you must consider every option properly but do not demonise your partner, discuss in dignity and respectfully.”
Kingibe also extolled The Sun platform for providing the balanced podium for a rich debate.