Akwa Ibom State Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo and his Edo counterpart, Philip Shaibu, have described their recognition by The Sun Publishing Limited as an elixir to continue to work for good governance in the country and render selfless service.
Speaking separately when they received a delegation from The Sun, led by the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Onuoha Ukeh, who came to present letters announcing them as winners of The Sun Lifetime Achievement Award 2020 and Sports Personality Award 2020 in Uyo and Benin, the duo said they were humbled by the honour.
Ekpo said the recognition had reinforced his belief in Nigeria, as he dedicated it to the state governor, Emmanuel Udom, whom he said gave him an opportunity to contribute in the building of a viable Akwa Ibom state.
“I didn’t believe that in my lifetime, I will have the singular privilege of being considered for a lifetime achievement award because I’ve always tried to do the best I can for my country,” Ekpo stated.
The deputy governor, a seasoned journalist, emphasised that the award would spur him to continue to give his best in the service of the state, the journalism profession as well as the cause of humanity.
He stressed, “if there was any doubt, this award confirms my total belief in Nigeria.”
Describing himself as an avid reader of The Sun, Ekpo said he was thrilled that the award came from one of the best newspapers in the country that has remained vocal and apolitical.
“I am glad that this award is coming from my professional group. I thank you for finding me fit for this award,” he said.
For Shaibu, Edo State Deputy Governor, the honour is well cherished.
“I am deeply honoured and happy. I will say I am privileged to be among those you have nominated for 2020 award.”
Shaibu acknowledged that “The Sun is one major newspaper in Nigeria that you cannot take your eyes off each time you go to the newspaper stand. “You have made a name for yourself in terms of reportage; you have also made a name for yourself, in terms of combining news, entertainment, sports, business etc.,” the deputy governor said.
Continuing, he said: “I am honoured because I always like to be given award when it is merited and this award is coming when I was not expecting any.
“I love awards that are not solicited for. This one is one of them and that is why I am deeply honoured.
“For me, this is not just an award; this is another effort at spurring me to do what I am being awarded to do better. I will ever cherish it.”
Shaibu praised Governor Godwin Obaseki, his boss, for providing the atmosphere for him and everybody in the state to excel.
He said: “This award would have be possible if not got the freedom and opportunity Governor Obaseki has given me. That is why some of my colleagues, deputy governors, are jealous of me. There is no memo that I have written on what I think we should do in sports that he has not approved.”
Earlier, The Sun MD commended both Ekpo and Shaibu for being shining examples of how leaders can uses their offices for the good of Nigerians.
He explained that their awards were based on merit.
Ukeh described Mr. Ekpo as a worthy “role model for youths of contemporary generation,” who “started as a journalist and rose through the ranks to the pinnacle of journalism, went into public service, where you distinguished yourself, showing dynamism, industry and serving without blemish.”
For Shaibu, the MD explained: “We recognise the role you played last year, to get Edo State ready to host the National Sports Festival even at a time the world was ravaged by COVID-19 pandemic. As the head of the committee that prepared Edo State to host the sports fiesta, you worked tirelessly to ensure that all sports arena and facilities were ready for the competition.
“Apart from this, you wrote your name in the history books as the country’s first major political office holder to win a football gold medal at the National Sports Festival, after personally leading Team Edo to a 3-2 win over Team Lagos in the final of the men’s football event at the festival.”
The Sun Awards ceremony will be held at the Expo Convention Centre, Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos on Saturday, October 16, 2021.
Apart from Ekpo and Shaibu, others who will receive awards are: Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Mallam Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (Man of the Year); Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State and Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State (Governor of the Year); and Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State (Political Icon).
Other awardees include Chief Mrs. Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, First Lady of Ondo State (Most Supportive First Lady); Allen Onyema, chairman, Air Peace and Dr. Adedeji Adeleke (Exceptional Philanthropist); Brig-Gen Mohammed Buba Marwa (retd), chairman, National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA); Brig-Gen Shuaibu Ibrahim, Director General of the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) and Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Chinedum Orji (Public Service); Engr. Nnamdi Ezeigbo, chairman, SLOT Systems Limited and Dr. ABC Orjiako, chairman, SEPLAT Petroleum Company Ltd (Entrepreneur of the Year); Alhaji Mustapha Ado, chairman, Ammasco International Ltd and Chief Ebuka Onunkwo, chairman, Seahorse Lubricant Industries Limited (Industrialist of the Year).
Also to be honoured are Kanayo O. Kanayo, star actor and producer (Nollywood Icon); Chief Olabode George, Prof. George Obiozor, President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide and Amb. Babagana Kingibe (Lifetime Achievement); Chief Frank Okafor, chairman of Marco Polo Group Limited and Prince Chris Igwe, chairman, Mainland Oil Limited (Investor of the Year).