By Emeka Okoroanyanwu
Foremost industrialist and President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Chief Nike Akande, has praised the professionalism with which The Sun Publishing Limited handles its popular and prestigious annual The Sun Awards.
Akande, a two-time Minister of Industries, who is one of the winners in The Sun Lifetime Achievements Award 2016, told a team led by Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Eric Osagie, that one of the salient points of The Sun Awards was the surprise element.
“This award came to me as a pleasant surprise. I was on my way to work when I started receiving phone calls telling me that I was on the front page of the Daily Sun for an award. I told them that nobody approached me for an award. I then decided to buy the newspaper to see,” she said.
Expressing gratitude to the Board of Editors of The Sun for considering her worthy to receive the award, Akande admonished The Sun to continue maintaining the excellence the awards are known for.
“I was so happy throughout that day, because it shows that all we have been doing are being appreciated. You are doing a good job at The Sun. Continue in the line of excellence, which your newspaper and awards are known for,” Akande said.
The LCCI president said she had always followed The Sun Awards, noting that the quality of those so far recognised shows the high worth of the awards.
On her feeling about the ward, she stated: “You don’t know how happy you have made me and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry. I will be present, by the grace of God. I will come with my family. My husband knows about this award. He knows about The Sun.
“When I told one of my uncles that The Sun was honouring me, he said you people are so professional that you don’t ask for anything to give awards. He told me that The Sun, looking at what people have done, decides who to give awards and just announce it. I am so grateful. All I can say is, thank you.”
On what the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) does, Akande said: “We do a lot of advocacy and promotion of businesses to help our members. Since I became president, we have been doing much to help our members in their businesses. These are not the best of times for people. There is recession. People are finding it difficult with their businesses. So, anything that will promote businesses, we always do. This is why a lot of people are joining the chamber everyday,” she said.
Akande advised that the country must diversify its economy into areas, such as agriculture, solid minerals and others, noting that many industries were collapsing.
She said members of the LCCI were hard hit over scarcity of foreign exchange, as they need it to import raw materials. “There is no foreign exchange to give. You don’t give what you don’t have. This is a problem for our members. Our members also complained about the proposed telecommunications tax. Already, there are many taxes and adding more will make things more difficult,” she said.
Akande expressed optimism that the country will overcome recession in no time. “Before the end of next year, we will be out of it. What we need do is to create an environment of confidence. It is not as bad as what we are thinking. We need to work on the confidence of the investors,” she said.
Earlier, Osagie told Akande that her choice as winner of The Sun Lifetime Achievement Award was a collective decision, as the Board of Editors took note of her accomplishments over the years.
“The Lifetime Achievements Award is one of the most prestigious of our awards. Those who win it must have been over 70 years of age. They must have achieved so much and impacted on our environment and our country. So, it becomes very significant to remember them. We do not believe we should honour people when they are dead. We honour them here because we believe that they have tried to change our country and the way we do,” he said.
The Sun MD noted that Akande was picked because of her numerous achievements, like being the first female Minister of Industries, who served twice, being a foremost industrialist, being a member of the Federal Government delegate on Vision 2010 and 2020, among others.
“The truth is that your work and what you stand for actually nominated you and by the time your name cropped up, there was unanimous agreement. What we ask you is to come personally for the award.”
On The Sun delegation to present the letter to Akande were Executive Director, Special Duties, Mr. Bolaji Tunji, Editor, Daily Sun, Mr. Onuoha Ukeh; General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Services, Mrs. Neta Nwosu and Editor, Special Projects, Mr. Emeka Okoroanyanwu.