- Ambode, Wike, Saraki lock down Lagos
- As The Sun honours 23 eminent Nigerians
The crème of Nigeria’s political class, industry, professions, sports and entertainment will converge on Lagos, the nation’s commercial capital, today to celebrate 23 distinguished Nigerians being honoured at The Sun Awards.
This year’s edition of the annual red carpet ceremony, reputed to be the biggest media and entertainment event in the country, coincides with the 15th anniversary of The Sun Publishing Ltd, publishers of the Daily Sun, Saturday Sun, Sunday Sun and Sporting Sun, Nigeria’s highest selling newspaper titles.
Venue is the Expo Convention Centre, Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island and time 4.00pm
The Sun Awards has been hosted since 2004 by the newspaper company to recognize and promote excellence, innovation, integrity and courage. Today’s occasion is being chaired by former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu.
Among the dignitaries expected at the awards are state governors being led by Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and his Rivers, Ebonyi and Kebbi states’ counterparts, Nyesom Wike, Dave Umahi and Alhaji Atiku Bagudu; Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki; members of the National Assembly; The Emir of Kano, Mallam Muhammad Sanusi II; wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Hajia Aisha Buhari; CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele; Managing Director/CEO, Niger Delta Development Commission, Nsima Udo Ekere, serving and ex-ministers, members of the diplomatic corps, notable politicians and statesmen.
Leading the pack from the private sector are: renowned industrialist and chairman, Doyin Group, Prince Samuel Adedoyin; Chairman/Chief Executive, Oilserv Group, Dr. Emeka Okwuosa; Founder/Chairman, Chicason Group of Companies, Alexander Chika Okafor; Managing Director/CEO, Zenith Bank Plc, Peter Amangbo and President/CEO of Beloxxi Industries, Obi Ezeude.
A host of celebrities from Nollywood and the entertainment industry, notably Hip hop rave, Ayodeji Balogun, a.k.a. Wizkid and popular comedian and film maker, Ayo Makun (AY) and music superstar, Tuface Idibia will be adding glitz and glamour to the ceremony.
Idibia is the main act among an ‘A’ list of entertainers to thrill guests.
Also to grace the occasion is former Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin, Prof. Grace Alele-Williams; Second Republic Minister, Malam Ismaila Isa Funtua; renowned philanthropist, Senator Osita Izunaso; rights activist, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin; the President, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr. Amaju Pinnick and Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr.
Apart from those listed above, who are all recipients, the awards ceremony is expected to draw to the exquisite venue, a whispering distance from the breezy Marina and the Atlantic Ocean, their friends, family members, colleagues and associates including those of Mr. Chukwudi Iboko, the police Sergeant, who lost his life battling bandits in the Owerri, Imo State bank robbery early last year. The deceased brave policeman is being honoured with The Sun Hero of the Year Award.
They will be received by the Chairman, The Sun Publishing Ltd, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu and the Managing Director, Mr. Eric Osagie.
With the volume and calibre of dignitaries pouring in from different parts of the country for the soiree, Lagos may witness a total lockdown, as it had done on previous editions of the awards.
For one, the presence of the invited guests and political heavyweights, many of whom have confirmed their intention to attend the ceremony, is expected to jack up socio-economic activities on the Island.
Specifically, the city’s economy is certain to get fattened by business patronage by the visitors, who started arriving yesterday and are not expected to leave until tomorrow, especially with respect to hotel accommodation, eateries and leisure/recreational haunts.
Already Saturday Sun learnt that Eko Hotels and Suites and many other guest lodgings in Victoria Island, Lekki and environs had witnessed tremendous increase in bookings by midweek.
As it were, the annual media extravaganza has sparked off huge excitement among both the awardees and invitees.
Confirming his acceptance to be chairman at The Sun Awards in a telephone conversation with the MD/EIC, Mr. Osagie, Prof. Kalu enthused that it would be both a pleasure and honour presiding at the event where “Nigeria’s best’ are being recognized.
“I’m delighted to be chosen as chairman of The Sun Awards ceremony. The awards are prestigious and I am happy to be part of the event. Recognising Nigeria’s best is something I want to identify with,” Kalu, a past winner of The Sun Lifetime Achievement Award” said.
Governor Ambode, who will be conferred with The Sun Man of the Year Award at today’s event, described the awards of the newspaper as the most credible and prestigious recognitions in the country.
The governor, whose unanimous choice by the Editorial Board of The Sun for the award was in recognition of the “remarkable transformations” he brought to bear on education, health, agriculture, transportation, security, youth development, infrastructure and utility, among other sectors in the ‘acquatic’ state, said he accepted the award because of the credibility attached to The Sun awards.
He praised The Sun for its achievements and conduct over the years and expressed happiness that its awards were conferred without “inducements.”
His words: “I’m pleased to receive The Sun award because there was no inducement or encumbrance. What you have done, that is, the award, is for Lagosians. This is because it is a reflection that people are enjoying what we are doing.”
His Rivers State counterpart, Wike, who, for the first time in the 15 years history of The Sun Awards, emerged as the Governor of the Year back-to-back, having also won it last year, said the diadem would serve as a big motivation for his administration to do more in the socio-economic development of the state and the people.
The Rivers helmsman remarked that The Sun Awards had proved to be a worthy recognition for people genuinely making the difference.
“This award will spur us to do more, be much better, to focus and continue to provide the necessary infrastructure for the development of the state,” he said.
Governor Wike, who won the prize for his incessant groundbreaking infrastructural projects across Rivers State also said his government would not relent in its developmental drive, even as he stressed: “…We are not tired of working… That is true. For us, we have no choice than to work and put in our best.”
Also, the Emir of Kano, Mallam Sanusi II, who bagged The Sun Courage in Leadership Award, described it as a worthy honour.
According to the foremost traditional ruler, who is being garlanded for consistently speaking truth to power on how Nigeria could be moved forward, especially socially, politically and economically before and even after his ascension, said any honour based on recognition of good cause was welcomed.
The monarch, who expressed gratitude for being chosen as winner of the award, however, insisted that what people may call fearless, which is one of the attributes that earned him the honour was secondary, explaining that what was more important was “speaking the truth.”
His words: “It is not fearlessness that matters. It is speaking the truth. Leaders should be told the truth at all times. That way, they would know what is happening and from there make adjustments, for the benefit of the people.”
On the bill to anchor proceedings at The Sun Awards 2017 is popular On-Air-Personality and compere, Ikponwosa Osakioduwa (a.k.a IK).
The evening will also be spiced with music by a live band amid witty cracks by comedians, to complement Tuface’s performance.
The awards… The winners…
Memo from the Managing director/Editor-in-chief
Every November, precisely the third week, editors of The Sun newspapers, sit across the long table in the company’s boardroom to deliberate on one of the most important items in its annual calendar: The Sun Awards.
The Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief has the rare honour and privilege of chairing the event of this August body, which has in its fold directors, title editors and other top editors.
At robust and heated debate sessions, spanning no less than two days, Nigerians from all walks of life are x-rayed and subjected to intense scrutiny. The purpose? To pick the best of the pack, in the different categories we have created in the recognition, celebration and honour of some of Nigeria’s finest men and women. The stars of The Sun. The men and women who made the critical difference in the year under review.
This year, 2017, was no different. It was, as usual, challenging, the task of selecting and nominating 24 eventual winners, in a country as large and talented as ours.
The Board of Editors threw up names, rejected those it thought didn’t meet the mark, and vigorously defended its nominees and eventual winners.
In all, it was guided by the hallowed and eternal principles The Sun has continued to hold dear and firm since the Awards debuted 15 years ago: Integrity. Excellence. These two qualities remain, for us, unassailable and non-negotiable. They are the reasons The Sun Awards remain the Biggest and Most Credible Media Event in Nigeria today (apologies for the immodesty).
So, here we go. Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, the quiet but efficient governor of Lagos State, wins Man of the Year 2017, for his impacting strides in regenerating the Lagos dream, and making the mega city, a city of possibilities, where things work, where life is less stressful especially with the traffic gridlock, where rapid urbanisation is a wonderful experience.
Chief Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers State, retains the Governor of the Year diadem he won last year. Reason: He’s the work machine, who has proven unstoppable. He continues to daze the people of Rivers State with sterling performance in infrastructural delivery and projects.
Nigeria’s First Lady, Hajia Aisha Buhari wins the Most Supportive First Lady award for consistently speaking truth to power and for the immense contributions of her non-governmental organization, Future Assured Initiative, to the quality of life of many ordinary citizens across the country.
The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi II and Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki won the Courage in Leadership and Outstanding Politician of the Year Awards respectively.
The Nigerian Hero of the Year award went to the late Police Sergeant Chukwudi Iboko.
Business icon and Founder /Executive Chairman of Chicason Group of Companies was voted Business Personality of the Year. Chief Obi Ezeude, founder, president/chief executive officer of Beloxxi Industries Limited, makers of Beloxxi Biscuits emerged Manufacturer of the Year, while the Investor of the Year Award went to the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Oilserv Group, Dr Emeka Okwuosa.
The Banker of the Year is the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Peter Amangbo.
Two Governors, Engr David Umahi of Ebonyi State and Senator Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State jointly won the diadem for Outstanding Performance in Agriculture.
The Public Service Award was also jointly won by the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Godwin Emefiele and the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Nsima Udo Ekere.
For the Lifetime Achievement Awards, four distinguished personalities are winners: They are: first woman university vice chancellor in the country, Professor Grace Alele-Williams; foremost industrialist, Prince Samuel Adedoyin; frontline veteran journalist, Mallam Ismaila Isa Funtua, and renowned Aba-based business tycoon and entrepreneur, Elder Emma Adaelu.
The duo of the President of the Nigerian Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Pinnick and the Technical Adviser of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr are joint winners of the Sport Personality of the Year.
Senator Osita Izunaso with his life changing Kpakpando Foundation and Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, rights activist and president, Women Arise also jointly won the Humanitarian Service Award.
The Creative Personality of the Year is Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun popularly known as Wizkid. Popular comedian, Ayo Makun (AY) clinched the Nollywood Personality of the Year.
The reason we set aside the Nigerians above for recognition is clear: They set themselves apart from the pack.
As Matshona Dhliwayo rightly says: “In a world full of game players, the only way to set yourself apart is to be a game changer.”
Our 2017 awardees are Nigeria’s game changers. The pacesetters. And we salute them!
Toast to a model performer
The Sun Man Of The Year ( Akinwunmi Ambode )
Across Nigeria, his name reverberates in effusive decibels. In Abuja or Abia, in Zamfara or Zaria, wherever and whenever issues of development and exemplary governance are at the core of public conversations, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s inimitable accomplishments are celebrated in flattering superlatives. Even bards and songsters panegyrise the governor’s catchphrase, Itesiwaju Eko, in poetic verses and fulsome musical renderings.
And it cannot but be so. In the past 30 months, the Epe-born accounting expert has sedulously redefined public administration in Nigeria’s commercial capital, leaving ineffaceable footprints all over the state.
Ambode hit the ground running immediately after his inauguration as governor on May 29, 2015. He started by rejuvenating and restructuring the state civil service. Then a fresh breath was injected into the state’s public health system. The general hospitals were equipped with modern facilities. Dozens of brand new Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU) ambulances as well as transport ambulances were procured for the health institutions in the state. New structures sprung up in many health facilities.
Determined to birth a new Lagos operating on a 24-hour economy, Ambode initiated the Light-Up Lagos project, which ensured the provision of streetlights all over the state.
On November 27, 2015, Ambode left millions of Nigerians with mouths hanging open in unabashed incredulity. On that day, the governor handed over 100 salon cars, 55 Ford Ranger pick-up vans, 10 Toyota Land Cruiser pick-up vans, 15 BMW power bikes, 100 power bikes, Isuzu trucks, three helicopters, two gun boats, 15 armoured personnel carriers and a number of other security gadgets valued at N4.765 billion to the Nigeria Police for the safety of Lagos dwellers.
Ambode’s partnership with the Kebbi State government resulted in the popular LAKE Rice. Artisans and physically-challenged people are being empowered from time to time. Town hall meetings are held across the state every quarter. Hundreds of new roads have been constructed while scores of others are being built, all with walkways and streetlights, in all parts of the state. Ambode’s urban renewal initiatives have ensured the incredible metamorphosis of Epe, Abule-Egba, Ojodu-Berger, Lekki, with new flyovers making life better for commuters. Oshodi has since become a huge construction site, even as new lay-bys at congested bus stops are shrinking the gridlocks in the mega city.
Born on June 14, 1963, the governor served in various capacities in the Lagos State Civil Service for 27 years before voluntarily retiring. Married to Bolanle and blessed with children, the 14thGovernor of Lagos, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode is The Sun Man of the Year 2017.
The Work Machine, The Unstoppable
Governor of the year ( Nyesom Ezenwo Wike Governor, Rivers State )
Lest We Forget, The Mission Of Rivers State Government Is “To Actualise The Aspirations Of The People Of Rivers State For Balanced Development And Enhanced Quality Of Life For The Present And Future Generations Through Responsive Governance Guided By The Fear Of God.” But It Takes A Leader With Vision To Bestir The Apparatus Of Governance To Engineer Remarkable Development.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike Has Crossed The Rubicon. Just Like He Did In 2016, Governor Nyesom Wike Has Replicated His Midas Touch In Governance By Making Previous Achievements Look Like A Mere Dot. Like A Matador, He Goes Into The Ring, And The Bull Of Stasis Is Taken Out With His Exertions. Any Wonder He Has Emerged The Sun Governor Of The Year In Quick Succession?
Good Governance, Among Others, Revolves Around Equitable Distribution Of Projects, Judicious Use Of Resources To Impact Lives And Being Considerate To The Citizens, Intent On Galvanizing The Wheel Of Progress. Wike Has Scored An A In Massive Infrastructural, Community, Health Development And Educational Development.
Governor Wike Does Not Do Anything By The Half. For Him, There Is No Need Being Content With The Lollypop When The Gourmet Is Just By The Corner. Every Zone In The State Has Been Impacted In No Small Measure. Some Of His Most Visible Infrastructure Projects Are The Construction And Repair Of Roads Across Every Local Governments In The State, Such As The Dualisation Of The Rumukurushi/Eneka/Igwurruta Road; The Construction And Rehabilitation Of The Chokocho/Umuechem/Ozuzu Road And The Construction Of The Second Nkpogu Bridge In Obio Akpor Local Government Area.
His Administration’s Operation Zero Pothole Has Seen Several Roads In The State Capital, Port Harcourt, Being Rehabilitated Within A Short Time. He Has Also Ensured The Total Clampdown On Cultists And Related Criminal Activities Across The State, Confiscation Of Assets Derived From Kidnapping And Other Related Crimes To Make The State A Haven Of Peace To Live And Do Business.
Thus, Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, Declared During A State Dinner Organised In His Honour After A Project Tour In May This Year: “I Think He Deserves The Title Of ‘Mr. Projects’.”
In The Education Sector, Previously Abandoned State-Owned Schools, Which Included, Government Girls Secondary School, Rumuokwuta; Birabi Memorial Grammar School, Bori; Government Secondary School, Ogu; And Nyemoni Grammar School, Abonnema, Have Been Given A Facelift.
Just As He Is Committed To Development, Governor Wike’s Shrill Voice Has Consistently Echoed In National Sphere, Like A John The Baptist In The Wilderness, In His Pursuit Of Justice And Equity. He Noted Recently At The 57Th Independence Speech At The Sharks Stadium, Port Harcourt, On October 1: “We All Crave For Strong National Institutions To Support Our Democracy, Protect Our Freedoms And Advance Our Development.”
From The Completion Of The Nebo Graham Douglas Building In The Faculty Of Law, Rivers State University, To A Befitting Jetty Built For The Reverine Communities Of Bonny, Bille And Nembe, To The New Specialist Hospital Designed To Stem The Foreign Trips By Nigerians For Healthcare Service, One Thing Is Clear: Governor Wike Is A Leader With A Performance Streak.
And Nothing Beats The Accolades Of Peers. The Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, In Recognition Of His Towering Height, Said Of Governor Wike During His Recent Visit To The State Capital, Umuahia: “I Count Governor Wike As A Special Blessing, Not Only To Our People, But To Human Kind.”
The Skillful Player
Outstanding Politician Of The Year ( Bukola Saraki )
His political trajectory is strewn with immense vitality and intriguing wrap-ups that come with befuddling and intense bravado. As governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011, the state was a compact mass of cohesive web to the point that he weaved a political dynasty that outweighed that of his father, the late Oloye, the acclaimed strongman of Kwara politics and which throbs in sensation to this day.
As chairman of the then influential Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, he infused a stamp of authority, guts and dread on it which trumped it up as the alter-government in power. Now, fast forward to his intricate wash-up as Senate president some 30 odd months back and a thriller of a story book is written in all its dramatic forms and elements.
Bukola Saraki’s story as politician is filled with intense awe, prescience, drive and sunshine. It shapes like a moon walk complete with lightening dazzles. He mangles all calculations and dazes incipient formidable oppositions oftentimes into submission. From an unsure, decrepit, wobbling 8th Senate at inception in June 2015, he has built a rock-solid front that has metamorphosed into a fortress of activism and atavistic courage.
His Senate, despite the rolling barbs of chicanery has kept the Presidency on its toes, carved an image of progressive politics, ensured a steadying nexus of stability, envisioned a pragmatic thread of telling influence on the nation and polity, and stirs hope in apprehension and despair. Operating in an environment where Executive- Legislature face-offs have become a pastime, he has stealthily walked over several landmines and crushed fiefdoms that threatened his reign.
Today, trapped in political stardom and its trappings, Saraki’s name dons the lips of many bookmakers in the calculations for the 2019 presidential race. And this is without twin peaks or eerie shocks. Saraki is here; he burrowed like a cricket, sojourned like a fox, battled like a trojan, overcame like a domino spirit. He says without saying it that when something bad happens, you have three choices- either you let it define you, let it destroy you, or you let it strengthen you. He resonates with John C Maxwell that ‘you don’t overcome challenges by making them smaller but by making yourself bigger.”
He was born on December 19, 1962 and is a medical doctor by profession. He is married to Toyin, nee Ojora and they have four children.
Emir Muhammad Sanusi II: Speaking truth to power
Courage in Leadership Award ( HRH Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi II )
Courage, They Say, Is Leadership. That Is Exactly What The Current Emir Of Kano And Winner Of The Sun Courage In Leadership Award 2017, Muhammad Sanusi 11, Has Exhibited Over The Years, Whenever He Finds Himself In Any Leadership Position.
He First Shot Into Limelight In Public Discourse In 1999, When He Took The Then Zamfara State Governor, Ahmed Sani Yerima To The Cleaners, For Implementing Sharia, Without First Putting In Place Relevant Architecture That Would Make The Implementation Of Such A Law In Multi-Religious Society Like Nigeria Seamless.
Again In 2001, Sanusi In His Usual Manner Criticised The Then Kano State Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s Handling Of Kano State’s Affairs. The Government Responded Through Its Finance Commissioner Then, Dr. Hafiz Abubakar.
But In Sanusi’s Response, He Tongue-Lashed Both The Governor And The Commissioner, Describing The State’s Economy Under Kwankwaso As One Of “Ajinomoto” Or “Kafi Zabo” Economics.
In The End, The Kano State Government Protested To The United Bank For Africa (Uba). Sanusi Was Asked To Apologise Or Risk Losing His Job.. He Did Not Apologise. Instead He Resigned And Joined First Bank Plc.
Again When He Was To Be Appointed The Central Bank Governor (Cbn), By The Late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua, Sanusi, At The Screening Session Criticised Yar’adua’s Seven-Point Agenda, Advising The President To Reduce It To Three.
As Cbn Governor, He Did Not Stop Speaking Truth To Power. He Raised The Alarm Over The Mismanagement Of The Country’s Finances Under President Goodluck Jonathan, An Action That Earned Him Sack From The Government.
As Emir, Sanusi Has Not Budged An Inch. He Remained True To His Conscience. He Had Also Taken On The Incumbent Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Advising Him To Set His Priorities Right In Administering The State. The Government Moved Against Him And Almost Got Him Booted Out Of His Throne, Before Reason Was Allowed To Prevail Over Sentiment.
Sanusi, A 1981 Graduate Of Economics From The Ahmadu Bello University (Abu), Zaria, Was Born 56 Years Ago, Into The Fulani Torobe Of Sullubawa Clan, In Kano State. His Father, Muhammad Lamido Sanusi, Was A Career Diplomat And Technocrat, Who Served As The Nigerian Ambassador To Belgium, China And Canada. He Also Served As The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry Of Foreign Affairs. Sanusi Is The Grandson Of The 11Th Emir Of Kano, Sir Muhammadu Sanusi.
Outstanding Performance in Agric
Advocate of food for all ( Engr Dave Umahi )
While offering himself to the service of Ebonyi people, Engineer Dave Umahi said: “I see an Ebonyi that will be the food basket of Nigeria. I’ll pursue an integrated policy of economic development and transformation anchored on agro-industrialization.”
Few years after, he has delivered on his promise. Indeed, some people refer to him as “David of our generation” because he has changed the narrative of the state.
His policies are well thought-out and exhaustively researched, resulting in economic revival within a short period. Today, Ebonyi State has transformed into a rich agricultural zone with rice as the main produce.
The Umahi administration has revolutionized rice farming. So, when you talk about local rice in Nigeria, Ebonyi Rice comes to mind because of the taste and quality. And this has reinforced local self-reliance.
Over the years, Engineer Dave, as he is popularly called, has demonstrated uncommon leadership qualities. Perhaps, he was born to lead. Growing up, he provided leadership to his peers. A workaholic, he throws everything in him into any project he sets his mind on.
Umahi was not a product of comfort. For someone with his humble background, education provided the only route to success and he made the most of it.
Born to the family of Elder and Deaconess Joseph Umahi Nweze in Umunaga Uburu in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, he attended Umunaga Primary School in Uburu from 1971-1977 where he passed with distinction. He commenced his secondary education at Ishiagu High School in 1978 but transferred to the Government Secondary School, Afikpo in 1979. He passed his WASC Examinations in Division 1 grade with excellent Alpha performances in Statistics, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Additional Mathematics. He emerged library prefect on account of his extraordinary academic brilliance.
He obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from Anambra State University of Science and Technology in 1987. He was elected into the students’ parliament as a senator representing Engineering Faculty. As always, he distinguished himself.
Between 1988 and 1989, he did his National Youth Corps Service (NYSC) programme in Benin City, Edo State and was honoured with the state award for his outstanding performance. Over the years, he demonstrated his managerial and technical competence as he handled major projects.
A successful contractor and businessman, he had interests in various areas. From 2007, he has held various political positions such as acting state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), state chairman of the PDP, Chairman, Governing Board of the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, Delta State, deputy governor and governor.
He is a member of many professional bodies and a philanthropist extraordinaire.
It is no surprise that The Sun voted this performer winner of Outstanding Performance Award in Agriculture.
The Rice Man of Kebbi ( Alhaji Atiku Bagudu )
Prior to the coming of the present administration , issues about economic diversification from a mono product had formed the bulk of discussions in seminars, workshops, summits, etc. But Sen. Atiku Bagudu, the Governor of Kebbi State, took it a notch higher and moved the talks to the farmlands, thus making Kebbi today Nigeria’s rice production hub.
Kebbi is now the cynosure of all eyes in Nigeria and even beyond. Kebbi is now a demonstration of how a well thought out agricultural economy can propel Nigeria’s growth and indeed the growth of serious nations.
Economists have always argued that investments in agriculture are the fastest ways to create jobs and harness the potentials of millions of youths who constantly run the streets in search of non-existent white collar jobs. Being an economist himself Bagudu has brought this message home.
Bagudu also understands the place of peace in the achievement of any proposed economic model or policy. This accounts for reason he has worked so tirelessly since 2015 to insulate Kebbi State from being a flashpoint of both religious and political upheavals. He has done this through strategic engagements of the diverse groups and interests in the state.
Evidence of this is seen in the high yield of Kebbi rice which has attracted huge investments from different investors including Olam farms which recently commissioned the largest rice mill in the country in Kebbi. The rice mill, which was commissioned by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo is the practical demonstration of the value-chain that Atiku Bagudu is creating out of rice alone. This is the reason many Nigerians in different parts of the country including Lagos now enjoy the tasteful Lake Rice which is the outcome of a business partnership model between Lagos and Kebbi states . In December 2016 the first batch of Lake Rice hit Lagos State and it was a relief for thousands of families who had become weary of the very expensive imported option. That experience was repeated during the Muslim festival of Eid-el-Kabir in Lagos and other states .
Indigenes of Kebbi State, nay all Nigerians will always be grateful to Sen. Bagudu. That the Federal Government recently stepped out to boast that the country was inching towards achieving self sufficiency in rice production is courtesy of Kebbi State .
Local farmers, who hitherto, bemoaned low patronage and lack of government support, are becoming millionaires by the minute. All thanks to the magic wand of the Rice Man, Governor Bagudu.
While other governors are still battling to settle backlog of workers’ salaries, Governor Bagudu, through his wide network and relationship with the Federal Government, has secured the nod of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which flagged off the Anchor Borrowers programme on dry season rice and wheat farming. This initiative was launched in 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari in Kebbi State.
The scheme, Godwin Emefiele the CBN governor said, was aimed at creating economic linkages between over 600,000 smallholder farmers and reputable large-scale processors with a view to increasing agricultural output and significantly improving capacity utilisation of integrated mills.
Today, other states are queuing up to learn from the astute agriculture maestro of Kebbi State, how to run a 21st century agro-based economy. For Governor Bagudu, this is just a scratch. The revolution is just starting. If you are still in doubt, maybe a visit to Kebbi State will erase it. It is in appreciation of his sterling performance in agricultural development and rice revolution that ballot of The Sun fell on him for Outstanding Performance Award in Agriculture.
First Lady with the masterstroke
Most supportive First Lady ( Hajia Aisha Buhari )
Very little was known about Aisha Buhari until the latter part of the last presidential campaign. While some of those averse to President Muhammadu Buhari’s quest for the highest political office had a field day portraying him as one that has no regards for the womenfolk, others claimed he had kept his wife in purdah, an Islamic practice that espoused the seclusion of women from the public.
Aisha Buhari’s sudden appearance with her husband and other party chieftains at the All Progressives Congress (APC) rally on 13 January, 2015 at the M.K.O Abiola Stadium in Abeokuta, Ogun State stunned Nigerians and changed the opposition’s narrative.
To the amazement of his traducers, President Buhari is not just married to anybody, but a woman who is a combination of brain and beauty.
Handling the constant verbal attacks on her husband with robust engagements and a polished demeanor, she successfully mobilized women for her husband. Her likeable mien further helped to swing voters in her husband’s favour.
In Nigeria’s political space, First Ladies traditionally execute social programmes aimed at enhancing the livelihood of the people, especially women and the poor. Her Excellency, Aisha Buhari through her non-governmental organisation, Future Assured Initiative, has been doing this and much more. But beyond this, she has taken the first ladyship to another level.
In defence of the electorate, a position she took to ensure her husband’s government fulfils its electoral promises unimpeded, she on one occasion granted the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) an interview in which she accused a cabal within the Presidency of having hijacked the government to the detriment of those who worked assiduously to make Buhari president.
In defiance of the norm, which dictates that first ladies aligned with the aspirations of their husbands no matter what, she boldly noted she would not campaign for her husband’s reelection if the status quo remained.
Her candid statement was prompted by the loud cries from Nigerians who were complaining that they were yet to see the ‘change’ APC promised. As a loving wife and mother, she felt that Nigerians should know the true position of things. That her husband has been quarantined from the reality of the country’s situation by a group of persons, whom she believed, wanted to give him a bad name. So, she to had stand up and fight back. A fight which most Nigerians took over from her, making those affected to either sit up or be shipped out.
In a similar circumstance, she called for the probe of the State House Clinic for lacking basic facilities despite huge budgetary allocation to it.
A quintessential First Lady, her concern for the welfare of the ordinary Nigerian is amazing. No wonder, in acknowledgement of her charities, she is fondly called ‘Mother of the Nation’.
Aisha Buhari (Nee Ribadu) hails from Adamawa State, North-east Nigeria. Her grandfather, Alhaji Muhammadu Ribadu was Nigeria’s first minister of defence and her father a civil engineer. Her mother is a descendant of the Ankali family, who were renowned farmers and textile giants. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) and a Master’s in International Affairs and Strategic Studies from the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna. Prior to acquiring her higher degrees, Buhari had earlier pursued a career in Beauty and Fashion.
Her NGO, Future Assured Initiative has also extended help to wives of soldiers killed by Boko Haram as well as to Internally Displaced Persons.
Quintessential banker : Creating wealth amidst stormy banking terrain
Banker of the Year ( Mr. Peter Amangbo )
By AMECHI OGBONNA
Group Managing Director and Chief Executive of Zenith Bank Plc., Mr. Peter Amangbo, is one of the nation’s most inspiring banking professionals that have largely turned the current economic challenges into a gold mine of opportunities for shareholders and the entire business community.
Despite taking oven the headship of Nigeria’s largest commercial bank in 2014, and at a time Africa’s largest economy was cascading into a severe recession, Amangbo’s ability to easily stabilize in the big shoes left for him by the founding fathers of the institution has set him apart as a go-getter, and one that can be trusted to handle very complex responsibilities at critical times in the economy.
As expected, this young debonair banker has never disappointed corporate Nigeria and as well as those who had appointed him to steer the ship of one of Africa’s largest financial institutions, demonstrating in the process that career success is often not a function of how old one is, but of the character, capacity and strength of his mind.
Amangbo’s outstanding career path as a banker can be said to be well horned, considering that despite holding a B. Eng. Degree (Electrical and Electronics Engineering) from University of Benin and an MBA from the University of Warwick, Coventry, in the United Kingdom, he is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA).
Prior to joining the banking industry, Amangbo worked as a consultant with PriceWaterhousecoopers, where he supervised various assignments in financial services, manufacturing and general commerce, accounting and management institutions that have done so much with the Nigerian economy.
It was therefore not surprising that these responsibilities, have prepared him adequately for his new role as the GMD/CEO in addition to the cognate experience and expertise he had gained in the last 25 years driving products, processes and customer service improvements as well as talent for building partnerships with key business decision-makers.
With over two decades of experience within the banking industry, cutting across Corporate Finance and Investment Banking; Business Development; Credit and Marketing; Financial Control and Strategic Planning as well as Operations, even those who doubted his abilities to fit into the big shoes left by his predecessors have since been convinced that his choice for the plum job was not an error after all.
This is because beyond improving on the numbers that he met on ground in 2014, the Zenith Bank boss has never failed in the last three years to deliver superior shareholder value, while also building a robust asset base and enlarging the bank’s network of branches within and outside the country.
Amangbo’s dexterity and performance on the job, in the few years following his assumption of duty as the helmsman at Zenith International Bank Plc have continued to earn him numerous recognitions from both Nigerians and overseas.
Having been convinced from the outset, of the stellar qualities he is made of, the board of the bank had promptly appointed him to the Zenith Bank board and its subsidiary companies in 2005 whilst he simultaneously served as a pioneer non-executive director of Zenith Bank UK.
This enigmatic banker of no mean repute has also demonstrated the rare ability to motivate, mentor and lead talented senior professionals and to direct cross-functional teams.
It is also worthy of note that even before emerging as the CEO of Zenith Bank, the 2017 The Sun Banker of the Year’s name featured very prominently on the list of a team that drove the strategic planning and successful execution for the re-positioning of Zenith International Bank as one of the best financial institutions in Nigeria and the entire African continent, which is a clear testimony that beyond his sparkling professional resume, Amangbo’s exemplary leadership qualities have continued to put him in the spotlight in wherever he finds himself.
He has equally deployed those unique skills to significantly improve the bank’s contributions and growth in the over 20 years of his involvement in the affairs of the organisation.
For instance, under his leadership, Zenith Bank’s unaudited nine months result for the period ended September 30, 2017, almost outperformed its 12 months record for the audited full year of 2016 at N152.55 billion as against N156.74 billion with profit after tax for the period at N129.235 billion in nine months compared to N129.65 billion in 12 months of 2016.
This excellent profit position came out from a gross earnings of N531 billion in nine months compared to N507 billion in the 12 months of audited results for 2016.
On the balance sheet side, Amangbo has also demonstrated an unrivaled ability to add more to the value of Zenith Bank assets, taking it beyond the N5 trillion mark within the few years he has served as its GMD even as he has continued to expand its domestic and international network, and creating jobs and enriching its shareholders in the process.
He has attended the Advanced Management Programme at INSEAD, France, and Wharton Graduate School of Business, USA.
During the accounting period under review Zenith Bank’s total assets grew to N5.131 trillion compared to N4.73 trillion in 12 months ended December 31, 2016.
The company’s share premium account also grew to N255.04 billion, with total shareholders fund now at N767.69 billion in 2017 as against N704.46 billion in the 12 months ended December 31, 2016.
Today, Zenith Bank has one of the least records of non-performing loans at just 4.2 per cent as against 3 per cent in the whole of 2016 even as its earnings per share attributable to equity holders stood at 411k.
Chicason, another word for success in business
Business Person of the Year ( Alexander Chika Okafor )
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”
When Edson Arantes do Nascimento, a.k.a Pelé, widely regarded as the greatest football player of all time made the above quote, he seemed to have Chief (Dr.) Alexander Chika Okafor, executive chairman and founder of Chicason Group of Companies in mind. That is true because in the turbulent and highly competitive world of business, Chief Okafor is a success story.
But his fortune definitely did not come easy.
In 1981 at an early age when he set out to float a private enterprise to help him achieve his dream of touching the lives of the less privileged, not many gave him a chance in the murky waters of the business world but he came, saw and conquered.
Today the Chicason Group is not only like an octopus with many tentacles but it has become an inspiration to young and aspiring entrepreneurs. It has become one of Africa’s fastest growing conglomerates with more than 13 companies and affiliated businesses.
Born in Umudim, in Nnewi Local Government of Anambra State, Okafor who started from a humble background, has transformed into being one of the foremost industrialists in Nigeria. The hallmark of his success is hard work and partnership with various stakeholders with the aim of not only industrialising Nigeria but creating jobs for the citizens, while also putting smiles on the faces of the less privileged.
The group under him has built a reputation of integrity, industry, and commitment to Nigeria’s industrial revolution.
Okafor’s investment portfolio in the Oil and Gas sector is prominent in the A-Z Product Limited incorporated in 1994 but now trading in two operational arms, including A-Z (Manufacturing) and A-Z(Trading).
The business mogul is also into mining and the group’s activities are run under Resource Improvement and Manufacturing Company Limited, (RIMCO), made up of two divisions: the Manufacturing Division, which produces vegetable oils, animal feeds and bleaching earth, and the Mining Division. There is also the Chicason-Mannyon Specialist Hospitals Ltd, which is a leading integrated healthcare delivery service provider in Nigeria.
On account of his relentless pursuit of excellence, Okafor has been honoured by the Federal Government with the award of the Officer of the Order of Niger (OON) among other recognitions by several professional bodies. It is for being a success story and providing livelihood to thousands of Nigerians that Okafor was voted Business Personality of the Year 2017.
Public service Award of the year
Patriotic public officer waging war against poverty ( Mr. Godwin Emefiele )
By AMECHI OGBONNA
mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is a central banker whose policies and action are largely driven by altruistic and nationalistic passion to further strengthen the Federal Government’s economic diversification agenda. His love for country and humanity has taken implementing policies and programmes that are clearly targeted at eradicating poverty especially at the base Nigeria’s economic pyramid where majority of the economically active population are concentrated.
This perhaps has been the driving force behind his desire to build an economy that works and can provide jobs for its citizens leveraging on its abundant resources and impressive financial buffers to restore its pride in the comity of nations.
It was indeed to Emefiele’s credit that most of the Federal Government’s economic intervention programmes are working to restore the economy to self sufficiency in the production of some staple crops such as rice, that has taken a huge chunk of Nigeria’s wealth over the years.
Today for instance, the narratives of the country’s over dependence on imported rice is fast changing as total import of rice from Thailand has dropped sharply from over 640,000metric tonnes per annum to about 21,000 metric tonnes this year as the country heads to rice self sufficiency.
Emefiele’s pet project, The Anchor Borrowers Scheme now drawing a critical mass of small holder farmers across over 16 states of the federation is gradually launching the country into an economy that is self sufficient in rice thereby saving the country huge amount in foreign exchange.
Beside the rice programme, Emefiele has helped thousands of SMEs in various sectors of the economy to rediscover themselves through his intervention programmes.
Before joining Zenith at its inception in the early 1990s, Emefiele had prepared himself adequately for the role that fate entrusted to him later in life, having armed himself with degrees in Banking and Finance from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, with which he also lectured in Finance and Insurance in two Nigerian universities. He is also an alumnus of Stanford University, Harvard and Wharton Graduate School of Business where he took courses in Negotiation, Service Excellence, Critical Thinking, Leading Change, and Strategy.
A silent achiever who would prefer that his records speak for him, Emefiele who spent over 26 years in commercial banking, came into his central banker role at a time the industry and the Nigerian economy were in dire need of strategic thinkers who would remedy the pains inflicted on them by the shocks in the global economy.
Even though he was not among those lobbying to be made governor of the apex bank, his achievements in Zenith Bank easily made him the best man for the job.
Before his appointment as Group Managing Director at Zenith Bank, Emefiele was its Executive Director in charge of Corporate Banking, Treasury, Financial Control and Strategic Planning. His outstanding performance in those strategic divisions nudged him higher to become Deputy Managing Director in 2001.
He continued in that position on August 1, 2010, when the lot fell on him to steer the ship of one of Nigeria’s largest and most profitable banks with over 7,000 staff, about US$3.2 billion in shareholders’ funds, and with subsidiaries in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia, South Africa, China, and the United Kingdom, as its managing director.
It is on record that under Emefiele’s leadership, Zenith Bank strengthened its position as a leading financial institution in Africa, winning recognitions and endorsements at home and overseas for its giant strides in key performance areas like corporate governance, service delivery and deployment of cutting-edge ICT.
Since being appointed Governor of the CBN in June 2014, Mr. Emefiele has vigorously pursued his vision of financial system stability and development financing in view of his strong belief that central banks in developing countries cannot afford to sit idly by and concentrate only on price and monetary stability, in the face of the enormous developmental challenges.
From the time he took over as the boss of Nigeria’s apex bank, Godwin has tackled the effects of the significant drop in commodity prices, the end of the US Fed’s Quantitative Easing and the unwinding of unconventional monetary policies by the United States Federal Reserve and other major Central Banks around the world.
He also supported the Federal Government’s battle against the outbreak of the Ebola Crisis in West Africa, as well as numerous other unforeseen challenges.
He is currently leading Monetary Policy efforts to deal with the spillovers from the sharp drop in commodity prices in the Nigerian economy and the effect of the recent vote by the United Kingdom to exit the European Union.
In recent times, Governor Emefiele has also backed up his pledge to assist with job creation with the establishment of the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, a scheme that has been largely responsible for the significant rice production output across the country. This programme is also anchored on Governor Emefiele’s belief that the welfare of ordinary Nigerians must be a key anchor of Monetary Policies and Central Banking.
In recognition of his contributions to banking and the Nigerian economy, Mr. Emefiele has received several awards from renowned institutions and organisations within and outside the country including, The 2017 Forbes Best of Africa Innovative Banking Award; Vanguard Personality of the Year Award, 2017; Zik Award for Professional Leadership, 2017; and the Institute for Service Excellence and Good Governance (ISEGG) Award for service excellence and good governance, 2016, among others.
Governor Emefiele is married with children.
Quintessential Public Servant ( MR. NSIMA UDO EKERE )
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and winner of The Sun Public Service Award 2017, Mr. Nsima Udo Ekere, is a quintessential public servant considering his pedigree in the private/public sectors. Since his assumption of office last year, Ekere has taken far-reaching decisions that are beneficial to the administration of the Commission.
He has made meaningful impact in the development of the Niger Delta region with his vision of returning the commission to its core mandate of executing “more of regional and bigger projects that will ultimately impact on the socioeconomic life and development of the entire region.” Nsima came to the commission with varied experiences in both private and public sectors. Apart from having worked as an estate valuer and estate development consultant, Ekere has run an indigenous anti-corrosion, environmental, fabrication/maintenance engineering company as well as being the chairman of AKIIPOC, the investments and industrial promotions’ arm of the Akwa Ibom State Government.
He was also the Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State in Chief Godswill Akpabio’s administration. Besides, Ekere has served as the chairman of Ibom Power, the independent power generating company of Akwa Ibom State Government as well as being chairman of Akwa Ibom State Emergency Management Agency.
Born on May 29, 1965, Ekere, a native of Ikot Oboroenyin, Edemaya Clan of Ikot Abasi Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, attended Regina Coeli College, Essene, Ikot Abasi and later Mary Knoll College, Ogoja, Cross River State. He was briefly at The Polytechnic, Calabar; 1981-1982. He graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, with a B.Sc Honours Degree in Estate Management in 1986.
Ekere was the principal partner of Ekere and Associates, a firm of estate valuers and real estate development consultants with offices in Port Harcourt and other cities. He is a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (FNIVS), and Registered Member, Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVRBN) and a Senior Certified Valuer, International Real Estate Institute (IREI), Minnesota, USA and Associate Member, Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation (IRRV), London.
Investor with passion for human capacity development
Investor of the year ( Dr. Emeka Okwuosa )
Dr Emeka Okwuosa, The Sun Investor of the Year 2017 Award winner and Chairman/Chief Executive of Oilserv Group is not your typical Nigerian attention grabber whose face would always hug the pages of newspapers. He is rather a self-effacing, humble and modest person; shy, not flamboyant, nor exuberant. Dr Okwuosa is a core professional who has made an indelible mark in the oil and gas sector, which he bestrides like the proverbial Colossus.
A seasoned engineer, entrepreneur and visionary leader, Okwuosa has been a key player in the oil and gas sector for more than 30 years, moulding a passion for human capacity development in high technology areas of the industry.
Before setting up Oilserv in 1992, which he nurtured to become a billion dollar company that employs about 500 engineering and technical professionals, he had worked in various capacities for global oil servicing giant, Schlumberger in positions that spanned Field Engineer to Technical Manager in the following parts of the World; Europe (Pau, France, Scotland), North Africa (Libya), West Africa (Mauritania, Senegal, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana), Gulf of Guinea/Central Africa (Nigeria, Benin Republic, Cameroun, Gabon, Congo and Angola) and Indonesia in Asia.
Today, Oilserv has become a household name both in Nigeria and other African countries including Kenya, Sierra Leone, Benin Republic, Togo, Tanzania and Uganda. The company has enjoyed a steady and sustained rise to prominence as one of Nigeria’s leading oil and gas service sector companies focusing its efforts on pipeline and facility services to both multinational companies and local oil and gas firms. The company’s ability to meet deadlines and offer a wide range of services has ensured that demand has been matched with the firm’s high growth ambitions.
The company worked almost exclusively for Shell in its early years, handling a lot of major projects for the oil giant. By 2000, it had executed a 12-inch line for Shell, from Elelenwo West to Agbada 1, one of the first projects of its kind built by a Nigerian contractor. It has the capability to weld and lay oil and gas pipelines ranging from 2-inch diameters to 56-inch across all manner of terrains.
The firm recently constructed a 128km gas transmission pipeline, the longest so far, for oil conglomerate, Oando Plc in the South-south region of the country in addition to a 13km-long 8-inch high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipeline for the Lagos State Government. From horizontal directional drilling (HDD) to the creation of an extensive welding and fabrication plant, Oilserv has positioned itself as an experienced operator with wide-ranging capabilities in all oil related engineering fields. It also built the biggest manifold station in Nigeria, a 36-inch TNP manifold and gas delivery lines in the swamp for Global Energy, a 26km pipeline to evacuate the products of the firm’s gas stripping system.
Okwuosa had explained this feat as an example of the expertise on offer in his company and of what can be achieved by working alongside local partners to increase output and improve the sector as a whole. “It is a success story for us, as well as for Oando,” he said. “I want the oil and gas industry to be so well-developed, thanks to the work done by ourselves and others that Nigerians are seen to be capable of setting up their own companies, building capacity, developing people and systems that deliver full support for the oil and gas industry. This will, in turn, be able to build up businesses around this profile that will improve and increase the business outlook in the oil and gas industry for Nigerians.”
A 1982 graduate of Electronic and Electrical Engineering of the University of Ife, Ile-Ife, in Osun State, his experience traverses maintenance and operations in the oil and gas industry, teaching, wireline logging and interpretation, seismic acquisition, processing and interpretation, pipeline engineering, procurement and construction (EPCIC), project management, drilling and drilling services.
Okwuosa has also been a driving force in the campaign to involve indigenous companies in the oil and gas sector. His efforts along with those of his colleagues in the industry yielded fruit with the enactment of the Nigerian Content Act three years ago.
Apart from Oilserv, which has wide ranging activities in the Niger Delta and across Nigeria, Dr Okwuosa also founded and owns FRAZIMEX Limited, an integrated Oil and Gas engineering, drilling, exploration and production and asset ownership company and subsidiaries such as FRAZIMEX Energy Services Ltd; the first indigenous company to own and operate swamp drilling rigs in Nigeria. The company, which had a three-year partnership with Transocean Inc (the largest drilling company in the world), ended up acquiring two swamp drilling rigs from Transocean, viz.: Searex-VI and Searex-XII. There is also FRAZIMEX Engineering Ltd., which is an engineering design company that works closely with Oilserv Ltd in EPC activities. FRAZIMEX Engineering has developed several Nigerian engineers in design of pipelines and facilities and at present executes several jobs in the field. FRAZIMEX Sierra Leone Limited owns and operates Block SL3, offshore in Sierra Leone. There are also Crown Energy Resources Limited and Excel Farms Limited, owner of a large integrated farm.
Okwuosa’s entrepreneurial ability is not limited to the oil and gas industry, he has equally set up a firm to do large scale quarrying business at Akamkpa in Cross River State. And in answer to Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano’s call for wealthy individuals from the state to invest at home, Okwuosa signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government to establish a $150m farm to cultivate and process cassava and tomato, which would employ some 2,000 persons directly and indirectly. His philanthropic zest is also not in question as he has constructed N350 million roads in his hometown, Oraifite and awarded scholarships to indigent but bright students as well as providing potable water to hundreds of people in his community. He is also building an N800 million health facility in Oraifite to assist the poor. He has for over nine years now been sending medical missions to his hometown.
Okwuosa belongs to many international professional bodies such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Society of Professional Well Log Analysts (SPWLA), Pipeline Professionals Association of Nigeria (PPAN), Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE).
He has won several awards including Award of Excellence by the Physics Department of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in 2006., USA Africa International Oil & Gas Leadership Award, Best of Africa 2013, Keyman Award of Excellence by Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, ECCIMA, in February 2014 and the 2017 National Productivity Order of Merit Award (NPOM) from His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari among many others.
Dr Okwuosa is married and has three children. A Knight of St. Christopher of the Anglican Communion, he hails from Oraifite in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Manufacturer of the year
The zeal to make the difference ( OBI EZEUDE )
The story of the manufacturing foray of Obi Ezeude, President/CEO of Beloxxi Industries is as unique as his personal story of being a firm and unflinching believer in the economic powers of Nigeria.
His leaning towards Nigeria is his aim to leave it better than he met it and also create opportunities for younger ones to contribute to the growth of Nigeria’s economy.
Young Obi Mark left the USA after obtaining a degree in Banking and Finance back to Nigeria in his 20s when most in his generation in Nigeria even borrowed to travel to US.
Ezeude started out importing biscuits and said: “my reason to start with biscuits is because I hadn’t much money and needed a business my little capital could afford.”
But in 2003, the government banned biscuits import, a development, he said, looked to him like an opportunity to fast-track an old longing to be a manufacturer.
His efforts to get into manufacturing with the Malaysian trading partners didn’t cut ice. He set to work on his own in a disused factory block in Ikeja, with a single production line that rolled out the Beloxxi Cream Crackers, the consumers’ delight in quality that hasn’t changed till date.
Few years later, his big dream nudged him again to expand because, “we faced the challenge of meeting market expectation in product volume, and had to do something about it.”
He later set up a bigger factory at Agbara that started with three production lines, which expanded to six today.
That new plant was commissioned in September 2010 by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Today, the effort has spawned an average of 2,500 jobs, with distributorship chain of more than this number in Nigeria and some six West African countries.
In August last year, for the first time, Ezeude’s Beloxxi, the most technologically advanced biscuits plants owned by an indigenous investor, divested minority shareholding to the KFW-DEG, a share value of about $100m. The German Investment Bank with the 8Miles of London bought the shares that enabled Beloxxi to commence its latest expansion to 10 production lines, the installation of one that has started already and an allied packaging factory in Oregun soon to start operation. When the President of the bank, Mr. Bruno Wenn, visited Beloxxi Industries first time in October 2017, he was so delighted that he gave hope of more business with Beloxxi.
This international move by Beloxxi was well reported by the Financial Times of London and the world’s largest newspaper, People’s Daily of China.
Beloxxi Cream Crackers is served aboard most out bound international airlines such as Lufthansa, KLM, British Airways, Emirates, Etihad, Ethiopian, Kenyan, South African Airways.”
The CEO said the move for expansion would enable the company to increase the capacity of output from 40,000 to 100,000 metric tonnes of cream crackers per annum while the staff strength would grow to 6,000.
Paragon of bravery even in death
Hero of the Year ( Sergeant Chukwudi Iboko )
Even in death, Mr. Chukwudi Iboko, the police sergeant who lost his life in the Owerri, Imo State, bank robbery early in the year comes through as a standout personality and a hero of our time.
Here was a man the Nigerian community and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), which he served meritoriously might not forget easily, his part in stemming the unfortunate impact of the celebrated bank robbery that claimed lives. He showed that he was a man of uncommon bravery by crowning his glowing exploits with his death.
Iboko, who served at the Imo State police command, Owerri, was on guard duty at the Zenith Bank Plc branch in Owerri in February, 2017 when the robbers struck. He was cut down brazenly alongside his colleague, Sergeant Sunday Agbo, when he determinedly confronted the thieves.
He rose stoutly to place his life on the line not counting the cost to him and his family. His solo effort had led to the taking out of one of the robbers and the abortion of their nefarious plans. But unfortunately, the robbers got the better of Iboko with their vicious response with a volley of shots that sadly demobilised him. He landed in hospital where he died the next day, leaving behind a widow and seven kids.
Vivid details of his sheer heroism, exemplary dedication to duty and clear sense of bravery were captured in a CCTV account of the incident.
By his rare feat – confronting desperate, daredevil robbers – nearly with his bare hands – Police Sergeant Iboko leaves us with the telling conclusion that he was a paragon of heroism and indeed, a significant part of the Nigeria Police. He, therefore, fittingly and unreservedly deserved The Sun Nigerian Hero Award 2017.
From studio rat to super stardom
Creative Personality of the Year ( Wizkid )
HE is a superstar in every ramification. But for Wizkid, stardom came so early. It came as far back as 2010 when he debuted on the music scene with Superstar featuring hit single, Holla At Your Boy.
Born Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun in 1990, like most contemporary musicians, Wizkid began his musical odyssey in the church choir. Collaborating with some choir members under the moniker,Glorious Five, he dropped an album at age 11. Sadly, the album couldn’t go far. But this did not dampen the enthusiasm of the young boy who was later to be known as Lil’ Prinz.
Growing up in Surulere, a suburb of Lagos, had exposed Wizkid to a variety of musical influences. He was a regular at Point Beat Studios owned by the late music producer, OJB Jezreel and where older artistes like Tuface Idibia, Naeto C, Sound Sultan and Jazzman Olofin used to hang out and record their songs.
But then it was rapper M.I who had spotted and given Wizkid a chance of a lifetime to render some vocals on his debut album, Fast Money Fast Cars. The move later paid off, as more musicians asked Wizkid to collaborate with them. It was around this time that R&B singer, Banky W, invited Wizkid to join his new label, Empire Mates Entertainment (EME). As if that was what the 19-year-old musician had been waiting for, he latched onto the opportunity and made the best use of it.
Debuting as EME artiste in 2010 with Superstar album, Wizkid followed it with a 2014 sophomore entitled, Ayo, which parades hit singles such as Jaiye Jaiye featuring Femi Kuti, Ojuelegba, For You featuring Akon, Show You the Money, On Top Your Matter, One Question, Joy, and Bombay among others before parting ways with the label.
After calling it quits with EME, Wizkid floated his own label, Starboy Entertainment. The world soon became his stage. The musician assumed global stardom following his collaboration with American superstar, Drake on the chartbuster, One Dance, which reached number one in 15 countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.
He later inked a multi-album deal with RCA Records, an arm of Sony Music International, releasing Sounds From The Other Side, which parades hits such as Come Closer featuring Drake, African Bad Gyal featuring Chris Brown, Gbese featuring Trey Songz, and Sweet Love among others.
To cap it all, on September 29, 2017, Wizkid, with a compliment of a full band, performed at an epoch making, sold-out concert held at the legendary Royal Albert Hall, London, a venue that boasts of more than 5,000 capacity.
For his outstanding achievements as an entertainer and for extending the frontiers of Nigerian music internationally, Wizkid is the winner of The Sun Creative Personality of the Year Award 2017.
Nollywood Personality of the year
A comedian’s triumph in Nollywood ( Ayo Makun (AY) )
By Tosin Ajirire
He is a man of many parts. He is an actor, comedian, broadcaster, producer, director and Master of Ceremonies (MC). He is unarguably one of the most successful stand-up comics in Nigeria.
The oldest male child from a family of seven, Ayo Richard Makun popularly known as AY, hails from Ifon, Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State but was born and bred in Delta State and so prefers to be called ‘Warri boy’.
In 2003, after spending nine years, AY graduated from Delta State University, Abraka. Not long after, he became known in the entertainment circle when he worked as a personal assistant and event manager to veteran comedian, Ali Baba. The comic, however, became famous through mimicking Rev. Chris Okotie, Senior Pastor, Household of God Church in most of his hilarious jokes. He earned more fame as host of the comedy show, A.Y Live and as producer, A.Y comedy skitson television.
Comedians like Seyi Law, Elenu, Emeka Smith and MC Shakara will not forget AY in a hurry. They all came to the limelight through AY’s ‘Open Mic Challenge’, a talent hunt show held at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos and later at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos every third Sunday of the month.
Determined to exhibit his other creative talents, AY soon transited from standup comedy to filmmaking when in 2014 he debuted with 30 Days in Atlanta, a hilarious movie that earned him accolades in Nollywood. In 2016, he followed it up with A Trip to Jamaica, a flick that features popular comedienne, Funke Akindele aka Jenifa in a lead role. In 2017, he released 10 Days in Sun City featuring Richard Mofe-Damijo (RMD), Adesua Etomi and Tuface Idibia, among others.
Surprisingly, against the backdrop of his pedigree as a comedian, all AY’s films are blockbusters,drawing huge crowd to the box office and raking in millions of naira in the process.
For his versatility, comedic ingenuity and ability to multi-task in the highly competitive Nigerian entertainment industry, AY has emerged winner of The Sun Nollywood Personality of the Year Award 2017.
Sports Personality of the Year
Taking Nigerian football to the next level ( Amaju Pinnick )
the new face of African football! This is what Amaju Pinnick could pass for, given the role he has played in the last couple of eventful months to revolutionize the game on the continent.
African football was like under bondage for close to three decades under Cameroonian octogenarian, Issa Hayatou who was in power for 29 years. The former Confederation of African Football (CAF) president, Hayatou came into office in 1988 and had no doubt become the Mugabe of African football before Pinnick led the “coup” that ousted him from power in Addis Ababa early this year.
A breath of fresh air, that is what African football now has under new Madagascan CAF President Ahmad Ahmad. But the history of how Ahmed emerged cannot be written without mention being made of the role played by the youthful NFF boss, Amaju Pinnick.
Pinnick is today himself a member of the CAF executive committee having been elected into that position during the Addis Ababa election that took place on March 16, 2017.
Election into the CAF Executive Committee, preceded by appointment into the influential Organizing Committee for FIFA Competitions and followed by appointments into the CAF Emergency Committee and as President of AFCON, have amounted to a meteoric rise that has made the NFF boss the highest –placed Nigerian football official in history.
Back home, Pinnick has succeeded in turning around the fortunes of Nigerian football. Under his leadership, the Eagles this year became the first African team to land in Russia. Many soccer pundits had written off the Eagles when Nigeria was drawn into the so-called “group of death” in the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Coming out of a group that had African champions, Cameroon, the continent’s highest ranked team, Algeria and stubborn Zambia was going to be an uphill task.
Pinnick who after the draw made it clear there was no way Nigeria won’t get to Russia set out to work. The first step he took was the hiring of Gernot Rohr, a move that paid off. His decision to take Super Eagles matches to Uyo was another move that equally paid off. Today, the Eagles did not just land in Russia, but did so in grand style.
One other thing going for Pinnick is the numerous sponsorship deals he has attracted to NFF. The era when coaches under the NFF stable were not paid is gone, thanks to the deal signed with Aiteo. Just before the recent Nigeria, Cameroon World Cup qualifier in Uyo, two corporate bodies, TGI and Payporte signed a new deal with NFF, becoming the official Food Sponsor and Online Store Partners of Super Eagles. Other corporate brands like Guinness, Tom Tom, are all NFF partners.
Pinnick has without mincing words made it clear that his desire is to run a football house that is financially independent.
Talking about laurels, the NFF under Pinnick has not done badly. In three years, Pinnick’s Board has won six major trophies, including the FIFA U17 World Cup, two Women AFCON titles and the Africa U23 and Africa U20 men titles, plus Olympic men’s football bronze.
Under Pinnick, there has also been capacity building programs for referees, coaches and administrators, extensive support for FIFA and CAF–sanctioned coaching license and referee courses.
Little wonder the cap fits Pinnick again as The Sun Sports Personality of Year, an award he won for the first time just two years back.
The German Miracle Worker ( Gernot Rohr )
Will this Rohr roar with Eagles? This was one of the screaming headlines that appeared in Nigerian newspapers when the nation’s soccer governing body, NFF named Franco-German tactician Gernot Rohr new Super Eagles manager on August 8, 2016 at a simple ceremony that took place at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
The NFF had to look in the direction of a foreign manager when the Super Eagles was no longer flying after the success story of the late Stephen Okechukwu Keshi who led the team to win the Nations Cup in South Africa 2013.
After the Brazil 2014 World Cup, the Eagles failed to qualify for the Nations Cup in Equitorial Guinea/ Gabon in 2015 where Nigeria would have appeared as defending champions. As if that was not embarrassing enough, the team failed again to qualify for the 2017 edition of the “African World Cup” in Equitorial Guinea.
The African soccer showpiece which many thought was Nigeria’s birthright to qualify for, became one, which took place back to back with the Eagles not anywhere near the tournament venues.
The NFF in a bold move to stop the slide and more importantly ensure there is “no story” over Russia 2018 World Cup qualification took the gamble of going for a foreign manager.
As Pinnick Amaju the NFF president put it when he gave the Eagles job to Rohr…”Nigerians will stone me if we fail to be in Russia for the World Cup and to avoid that I had to go for a ‘world class’ coach who I’m sure will deliver.”
Has Rohr delivered? This is a question that has a capital YES as answer. The 64-year-old coach has since justified the confidence reposed in him by his employers who engaged him without even knowing where his pay would come from.
Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung had made it clear to the NFF that the Federal Government had no money to pay a foreign coach. As far as Dalung was concerned, Amaju and his men in NFF were on their own.
Today, courtesy of Rohr’s five star showing and the doggedness of NFF the technical adviser’s salary is now being bankrolled by Aiteo.
One thing that went for Rohr before his coming to Nigeria was the fact that he was already familiar with the African soccer terrain having coached in Niger, Burkina Faso and Gabon.
Rohr, a defender in his heyday as a player, at the club level coached Ligue 1 side, Bordeaux, top Tunisian club Etoile du Sahel and Nantes.
In fact, Rohr, it is recalled, led Bordeaux to the 1996 UEFA Cup final where they lost to Bayern Munich.
Rohr right from the very first day he took over as Eagles manager, boasted that he was in Nigeria to succeed.
“I have a German heart – the heart of a winner. I have confidence that with the right atmosphere and the right support, the Super Eagles has the capacity not only to qualify for the FIFA World Cup, but get to the latter stages of the competition,” he said…
Rohr who started his reign as Super Eagles manager with a 1-0 victory over Tanzania at the Uyo Nest of Champions in a dead rubber Nations Cup qualifier on September 3, 2016, has matched words with action and the cap fits him alongside his boss, Pinnick, as joint, The Sun Sports Personality of the Year 2017.
Humanitarian service award
Heart of steel ( Joe Okei-Odumakin )
The saying that looks can be deceptive certainly rings true for Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin. She looks fragile but she is actually a pillar of steel. Professor Wole Soyinka described her as “a tireless fighter whose frail bearing belies an inner strength and resilient purpose, a veteran of affirmative marches, of crude arrests and detentions, baton charges and tear gas who has lent luster to the struggle for justice and human dignity, who remains an inspiration of men and women, old and young.”
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 into trouble. In fact, she has been detained 17 times in various places, including Alagbon.
Even her father paid for her ‘sins’. While he was serving as a top civil servant under a military government, his daughter was leading a protest against the junta. So, they ransacked his house and arrested him.
You can never find Odumakin in skirt. This is why: “I also remember the time I swore in my life never to put on a skirt. It was during one of our rallies that we had which was against Abacha in 1994. I was in Ilorin. I was in skirt and blouse and I was the one leading the protest. While addressing the rally, soldiers came around and I was seriously beaten. My skirt was torn and I was thrown inside the gutter.
“But fortunately, I saw a scarf which I tied around my waist because my skirt had been torn and I had virtually nothing on. I was seriously beaten and, in the course of that, I sustained serious injuries. I was kicked underneath several times. That was how they took me to the cell and I was like that for three days. That was the last time I vowed never to put on skirt.”
She met her husband, Comrade Yinka Odumakin, a fellow activist in prison. One thing led to another and they ended as husband and wife.
She was born on July 4, 1966 in Zaria, Kaduna State. For her first degree, she read English Education at the University of Ilorin and obtained a Master’s in Guidance and Counseling from the same school.
Can you believe this? She likes cooking. She wanted to be a nun but her father said no.
Handy to PWDS ( Osita 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.
Sen. Osita 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. This is a trait he developed from his humble beginnings where he lived and felt the pains of deprivations.
For Izunaso, not expecting anything in return is a habit which he has developed. And as the saying goes, old habits die hard.
With over 1,000 scholarships, 20,000 units of wheel chairs, 1,000 motorized wheelchairs, computers/laptops, 5,000 units of grinding machines, 12,000 units of clutches, 10,000 sewing machines, 8,000 mobile phones, 200 units of braille machines, 3,000 generators, Keke tricycles and 200 established business centres, among others, to the Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs), Kpakpando Foundation has shown that it is committed to the wellbeing of PWDs. And it is, therefore, not surprising that it clinched the The Sun Humanitarian Service Award 2017.
Izunaso, albeit popular in the political circle ostensibly on account of the top offices he has held and has continued to hold within the political forte, is more at home with the poor and PWDs than in the glitz of political arena.
He is always quick to remind anybody that cares to listen that the those living with disabilities are in a society where their welfare is rarely put into appropriate consideration by the government and the rich. Guided by this mindset the foundation has unpretentiously made efforts to touch up the lives of PWDs through scholarships and provision of vocational trainings.
Across different sections of the country, the Foundation has intervened in picking hospital bills of some PWDs who are facing life threatening ailments. Apart from that, many poor Nigerians have had their education and vocational trainings funded by the foundation.
Determined to touch more lives, the foundation has begun the building of a world class specialist educational facility, wholly dedicated to Persons Living with Disabilities. When completed, the school is projected to train at least 20,000 PWDs.
With a reputation of “being a brother’s keeper” the foundation has responded to countless requests for assistance from all over the country and beyond.
Certainly, Izunaso has, through the works of Kpakpando, touched lives and made his name a sing song in thousands of homes in Nigeria.
Lifetime achievement award
Inspirational trailblazer ( Prof. Grace Alele-Williams )
Mrs. Grace Awani Alele-Williams, winner of The Sun Lifetime Achievement Award 2017, is an outstanding academic whose inspirational life story has encouraged millions of Nigerian women to excel and aspire to the commanding heights of their professions. At a time in Nigerian history when post-graduate university education was not very common for women, she became the first Nigerian woman to earn a doctorate degree when she obtained her Ph.d in Mathematics Education at the University of Chicago, in the United States, in 1963.
On returning to Nigeria, she became a post-doctoral research fellow at the Department/Institute of Education, University of Ibadan (1963-1965), before moving to the University of Lagos, where she lectured for 20 years (1965-1985), and was appointed Nigeria’s first female professor of Mathematics Education in 1974.
In 1985, she became the first woman to head a Nigerian university with her appointment as the Vice Chancellor of University of Benin. She held that position for six years (1985-1991) and she proved herself to be an outstanding administrator.
Prof. Alele-Williams contributed so much to the development of education in Nigeria. Beyond her university career, she served as the chairman of the Curriculum Review Committee, former Bendel State, (1973-79). She was also chairman, Lagos State Curriculum Review Committee and Lagos State Examinations Board ((1973-1979). She was a member of the governing council of UNESCO Institute of Education and was also a consultant to UNESCO and the Institute of International Education Planning. She was a vice-president of the World Organisation for Early Childhood Education and a member of Nigeria’s Vision 2020 committee. She published the book, Modern Mathematics Handbook for Teachers.
Mrs. Alele-Williams has received several honours for her outstanding contributions to national development. She received the National Honours, Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) and Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR).
Born in Warri, Delta State, on December 16, 1932, Alele-Williams had her education at the Government School, Warri; Queen’s College, Lagos; University College, Ibadan (now University of Ibadan); University of Vermont and University of Chicago, USA.
Prof. Grace Alele-Williams, an exemplary academic, administrator and trailblazer is, indeed, a worthy winner of The Sun Lifetime Achievement Award.
One For Whom Education, Poverty is no Barrier to Success ( Prince Samuel Adedoyin )
YINKA OLUDAYISI FABOWALE
The story of Prince (Dr.) Samuel Adedoyin (OFR) is the stuff great sagas are made of. Born poor and unlettered, the legendary octogenarian businessman strove to educate himself and built a multi billion naira business empire employing thousands and catering for national and international demands.
Although he did not go beyond Standard IV, the man popularly known as the ‘Doyen of Industry’, ranks as a professor in business management, judging by his attainment and success in commerce. He is a combination of wisdom, ingenuity, innovation, commercial wizardry and knowledge of which many graduates in his employ are trained on how to sustainably run modern businesses.
Born in Lagos, the native of Agbamu in Kwara State, a people renowned for their love for and accomplishments in commerce, began his exploits with petty trading, but has now expanded into manufacturing, real estate, banking, hospitality and energy, among others. The Doyin Group of Companies is a wholly indigenous conglomerate comprising 15 subsidiaries.
An apostle of industrialisation, Prince Adedoyin is a shrewd businessman, whose specialty is in manufacturing of consumer goods and products such as toothpaste, seasonings, noodles and detergents.
Adedoyin credits God with the foresight and vision that has guided his life and business decisions. The man, who, while young shared a shop to retail his wares, also emphasized the role of punctuality, discipline and hard work in his success. According to him, while the bona fide owner of the shop came to work at 10am, he reported at 8am, a regimen he maintained when he rented his own shop and which he has continued to do till today.
Although the journey was very rough at the beginning, today his efforts have been crowned with the huge success of the many brands under the Doyin Group of Industries. Many of the group’s products including its noodles, the manufacturing of which started not too long ago and a Chinese balm that it has been producing since 1980, are in hotter demand in neighbouring countries such as Niger, Gabon and Togo than even Nigeria.
The distinguished indigenous entrepreneur recently added a luxury hotel called Beni Apartments, a 60-suite facility in Victoria Island, Lagos to an array of hospitality facilities and property as well as others in major Nigerian cities including Abuja and Lagos.
A quiet philanthropist, albeit per excellence, Prince Adedoyin has, besides benefiting many Nigerians through education and employment, also built churches, hospitals and roads for several communities, especially in his home state of Kwara.
Prince Adedoyin, who made a futile stoaway bid to work for Lennards Shoes in Ghana some 70 years ago, has proved that poverty or education are no barrier to success for a determined mind. He is a worthy winner of The Sun Lifetime Achievement Award.
Impressive Man of Character ( Malam iSmaila Isa Funtua )
Some people are achievers. Others are superachievers. Malam Ismaila Isa Funtua belongs to the latter class. In business, politics and the media, he has proved his mettle. Besides being the youngest minister in the Second Republic headed by Shehu Shagari, he is easily one of the last of the surviving journalism patriarch in Nigeria; a very distinguished patriot and statesman.
In the harrowing days of the late Gen. Abacha regime, a dark era when the media nay freedom of the press was under unprecedented siege, a most trying time when many media owners trembled and engaged in self-censorship, when many of them recoiled to their shell in fear, their tail between the legs, he refused to be cowed. As the Managing Director of the New Africa Holdings and using the defunct Democrat newspapers, he gave Nigerians, especially pro-democracy agitators a voice. Not a few of his friends and admirers thought his action foolish. Indeed, it was akin to daring the lion in its den. But fearlessly, he embarked on the “unpopular” march. To say it was a rough ride is to put it mildly.
For refusing to kowtow in the face of tyranny, he became one of the targets of the regime, as he was reportedly number 13 on the Abacha hit-list.
Born in Funtua, Katsina State, he was a pioneer student of the Federal Training Centre, Kaduna. He trained as an administrative officer at the Institute of Administration, Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria and also as an administrator at the Manchester University in the UK. He was the Monitor General of the Course 9 of the prestigious National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, Kuru.
He began his working career at the Katsina Native Authority where he worked for seven years as Administrative Officer. He later served in various ministries in the defunct Northern Region before his secondment by the Northern Region government as the Personnel Manager of the United Nigerian Textile Company, Kaduna. From there he became a successful entrepreneur.
Malam Ismaila was elected vice president to MKO Abiola now late as president of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN, where he declined to succeed MKO as president while being incarcerated by General Sani Abacha. He later became the president of the NPAN.
Eventhough old, a man of impeccable character, Funtua he is still rendering impressive service to fatherland and humanity.