The Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, and business mogul , Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, have expressed delight over their selection for The Sun Public Service Award and Entrepreneur of the Year Award respectively for 2019.
Runsewe extolled the landmark achievements of The Sun in the field of journalism, describing the newspaper as a bridge builder in the country.
Runsewe and Okonkwo made the commendation in Abuja when the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, The Sun Publishing Limited, Mr. Onuoha Ukeh, led a team to present to them notification letters for the awards.
Runsewe, Okonkwo and 26 other award winners will be showcased at The Sun Awards Lockdown Edition celebration coming up before the end of the year.
Vowing to continue to work for the good of Nigeria, Obiora said all hands must be on deck to address the unemployment challenge in Nigeria.
He insisted that doing such will help in not only transforming the economy of the country but also stop youth restiveness .
The businessman, who is the Chairman of United Nigeria Airline, said he will never be tired of investing in country .
He commended The Sun for always showing exceptional courage and professionalism in the treatment of stories, while expressing happiness on the award: “I cherish this award because I know it reflects the truth.”
Okonkwo said The Sun Award was one of the greatest entertainment events in the country, while also saying that he was excited when the news of his nomination reached him.
According to him, “From the bottom of my heart, I thank The Sun Newspaper for this great honour. I had watched this award presentation for so many years in the past on live television. I have seen it as one of the greatest entertainment events in Nigeria.
“So, at that point when the news of nomination came to me, I was so delighted that that thing I had admired from distance, I would have the privilege and the honour to be part of the big stage.”
Okonkwo further said he accepted the award with all his heart, even as he assured The Sun and his friends and well-wishers that he was encouraged and motivated.
“I am inspired and fired up to do all that I can, so that, year in, year out, there will be bigger and better stories to tell, by the special grace of God,” he said.
On his part, Runsewe, while praising The Sun for sticking to professionalism, building and sustaining a good reputation, emphasised that the newspaper has continued to bridge the gap between the downtrodden and the elite as well as linking every sector of the country.
He said whenever integrity and credibility in the media industry were discussed, The Sun was on the lips of discussants, and he was very excited over his recognition. He said he was particularly happy over the nomination because he thought people were not aware of his little contributions in the areas of culture and tourism.
According to Runsewe, “The Sun has made a statement. The Sun has become the bridge-builder between every sector of this country because, two years ago, I was around VI (Victoria Island, Lagos), where you were having The Sun Awards. I almost thought that the President of the country was having an inauguration. The place was jam-packed; everybody wanted to be in. I said, what is going on? And they said it was The Sun Awards. I said, The Sun Award? Okay, very good. I moved on. I didn’t know that, today, I would be having the connection to that same glory and that destiny of hope.
“Others may not understand what has happened. Others may just take it for granted. For the editorial team of a respected newspaper to visit an organisation speaks volumes. And this is the best way to move our country forward. It is not to celebrate people when they are gone. It is to do it during their lifetime.”
Earlier, The Sun’s MD congratulated Runsewe on all he has been doing in the area of arts, culture and tourism. Ukeh told Runsewe that his selection was based on merit because of his achievements in public office in the last three decades.
He said: “Today, no other name resonates louder in the arts, culture and tourism spheres than Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, as one of the dominant personalities in that space.
“Your dynamism, innovation and productivity wherever you are given the opportunity to work stand you out. As such, you have been a dynamo of change and a modern public servant with an unassailable track record.”
Ukeh recalled the service by Runsewe as an executive director in the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in 2000 and as the director-general of the NTDC in August 2006.
“No doubt, your tenure at the NTDC remains a milestone in the annals of the development of Nigerian tourism potential and the feat still reverberates,” he said.
Disclosing the rationale behind Okonkwo’s nomination, Ukeh said the businessman has done much in the socio-economic development of Nigeria over the years in the area of aviation development, human capital management, entertainment and leisure development, job creation, philanthropy and social investment.
He said Okonkwo’s investment in the aviation industry at a trying time in the economy like now, with the United Nigeria Airlines, which would start operations next month, showed that he had a big heart and believed that the country had the potential for economic growth.