The Managing Director/CEO of Sterling Bank Plc, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, has praised The Sun for showing good example of how awards should be conferred in the country, while thanking the newspaper for finding him worthy to receive Banker of the Year award for 2019.
Likewise, President of the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBA, Alhaji Ahmadu Musa Kida, has described The Sun awards as the benchmark for excellence, describing his choice as Sports Personality of the Year award winner for 2019 as a privilege.
Suleiman and Kida spoke separately in Lagos when the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, The Sun Publishing Limited, Mr Onuoha Ukeh, led a team to present letters of notification and awards to them.
Suleiman said The Sun had set itself apart from the group of people who bandy awards with monetary gain in mind.
He said this exemplary quality has shown that there are still people who do things right in the country.
The bank MD pledged that he and his team would continue to live by the standards that earned him the award.
“First and foremost, I congratulate you for the innovative approach you have taken to ensure that your annual award is not only completed as scheduled, but in line with the procedures that were laid down for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Let me congratulate you for your perseverance,” Suleiman said.
In the same vein, Kida noted that the modalities which The Sun adopted over the years in arriving on the choice of awardees was commendable.
He said: “Personally, I am elated and truly humbled by this unsolicited award because I didn’t know anything about it until now. I think this is one way Nigeria as a nation should adopt in identifying people that have excelled in different areas of the economy with tangible backup.
“I sincerely appreciate and accept this award on behalf of all basketball stakeholders, all the players, the coaches, board of the Nigerian Basketball Federation, the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and President Muhammadu Buhari for all their support we have enjoyed without whom all our achievements won’t have been possible.”
Kida said the task of administering NBBF was daunting, “but The Sun Award is inspiring for me and the board. We would do what needs to be done to ensure that as our team heads to Japan, we can represent Nigeria well.”
Earlier, The Sun MD reeled out the qualities and performance that won Suleiman and Kida the awards.
He described them as men who are making selfless contributions for the growth of their organisations and Nigeria in general.
On Suleiman, Ukeh said: “Your selection for this award was based on merit because of your achievements in office in the area leadership, human capital development, economic policies etc. You have carved a niche for yourself in the fiercely competitive financial services landscape, with your innovative responses and solutions to complex problems facing both the industry and customers.
“As MD/CEO of Sterling Bank, you have re-engineered the financial outfit, focusing on excellence. Under your leadership, Sterling Bank’s interest income grew two per cent yearly and five per cent quarterly, driven by the improvement in interest earned on loans and advances. Also, interest expenses have showed a steep decline, down 12 per cent, while customer deposits rose 18 per cent due to rising confidence in the ability of the management you lead to add value to stakeholders.”
On Kida, he said Since his emergence as president of the Nigerian Basketball Federation in 2017, “basketball has braced the odds to become relevant, in a country, where football is the dominant sports.”
Reelng out Kida’s achievements, he said: “In your first few months as president of the NBBF, Nigeria’s men’s national team finished second to host Tunisia, at the 2017 Afrobasket. In the same year, you led the Nigeria’s women team to win the Afrobasket Women title in Mali. The team did not loose a single game on its way to the final. The team picked a ticket to Nigeria’s first Women World Cup.
“In 2018, the women team played in the FIBA World Cup in Tenerife, Spain, where it finished 8th to set an African record of emerging the first African team to reach a quarterfinal place. Under your leadership at NBBF, Nigeria hosted, for the first time in 23 years, the FIBA World Cup African qualifiers. Given the organisation that was put in place for that championship, FIBA granted Nigeria a second window, a rare opportunity given only to Angola after Nigeria.
“Owing to your reforms, the FIBA General Assembly in Beijing not only adjudged the Nigeria Basketball Federation as the Most Improved in Women Basketball development but also presented an award to it. Also, Nigeria’s ranking in FIBA has been at number 1 in Africa in the last two years and got to an all time high of 23 in the world after the FIBA Basketball World Cup in China 2019.”
Apart from Suleiman and Kida, other winners of The Sun Awards are: Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State and Governor Bello Mohammed of Zamfara State (Man of the Year); Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State (Governor of the Year); Governor Samuel Ortom (Courage in Leadership); and Governor Kayode Fayemi (Political Icon of the Year).
Others are wife of Anambra State governor, Dr. Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano (Most Supportive First Lady); Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, DG, National Council of Arts and Culture and Hadiza Bala-Usman, MD, Nigerian Ports Authority (Public Service); Mallison Ukatu, CEO, Nipso Porcelain and Nkechi Obi, chairman, Techno Oil (Industrialist of the Year); Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, chairman, United Nigeria Airlines & Dome Entertainment and Asiwaju AK Onawofokan, chairman, Coleman Wire & Cables (Entrepreneur of the Year) and Chief Fabian Nwaorah, chairman of EFAB Properties Limited.
Also the following are winners: Iconic actresses, Patience Ozokwor and Sola Sobowale (Nollywood Personality of the Year); Chief Anyansi Agwu, chairman, Enyimba Football Club (Sports Personality of the Year); Bro Felix Obuah, chairman of Krisdera Hotels & Resort & founder, Go Round Football Club and Barr Chief Jackson Agbai Abbah, chairman, Dover Hotels (Hospitality Person of the Year); star musician, Burna Boy (Creative Person) and Ekene iwuoha (Nigerian Hero).
For Lifetime Achievement award, the following are winners: Mallam Mamman Daura, Prince Arthur Eze and Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi.