By Azuka Ogujiuba
This was an evening when bankers did not really look like bankers. The UBA CEO award is, perhaps, the only one of its kind in the banking industry that can match up to any celebrity show. This is a night when staff of pan-African financial services group, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc dumped all their airs of being bankers and get immersed in the excitement of one evening in 365 days.
The Expo Hall of Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos, started coming alive as staff, customers and friends of Africa’s global bank walked onto a well laid red carpet, ushering them into what turned out to be an unforgettable and exciting evening.
Tagged “Grammy” of the UBA financial calendar, the UBA CEO awards is an evening of fun, entertainment and celebration. It is a special evening with the sole purpose of celebrating the bank’s staff that have performed exceptionally well in the outgoing financial year.
It is a tradition that the bank has maintained since 2008 and this was the eighth edition since its inception. As usual, it lived up to its reputation as a night of glamour and glitz as bankers let down their conservative mien and turned out in a “party” mode to celebrate their colleagues who stood out in the 2015 financial year.
The theme of the night was ‘The Evolution of UBA’ and was aimed at celebrating UBA’s rich history as one of the biggest and dominant banks through the ages from its inception in 1949.
Beyond the red carpet, the expo halls of the Eko Hotel and suite was turned into an exciting mix of lights and music. The stage was set and the evening did not fail to deliver non-stop entertainment from beginning to the early hours of Sunday.
It was like being on Broad Way, as top Nollywood stars, including, Segun Arinze, Norbert Young, Ireti Doyle, and Gideon Okeke, highlighted the men and women, who have made UBA what it is today, through a choreographed display of music and dance.
On stage, they traced the history of UBA, starting with its heritage building on 57 Marina, the UBA Group’s contributions across Africa and its footprint in 19 African countries; Nigeria, Ghana, Benin Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Chad, Cameroon, Kenya, Gabon, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, Liberia, Sierra-Leone, Mozambique, Senegal, Congo DR and Congo Brazzaville as well as in the key global financial centres of New York, London and Paris. They also presented how the network is helping create wealth and financial inclusion across the continent.
The multicultural diversity of the UBA group was on full display as board members and the managing directors of the UBA subsidiaries in all its 18 countries of operations outside Nigeria also attended the event.
Also present were distinguished Nigerians, including the Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Abubakar Bagudu, the Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, company CEOs, including Bismarck Rewane (Financial Derivatives), Foluso Phillips (Phillips Consulting), Dele Momodu (Ovation), Austin Okere (Computer WareHouse Group), Ijeoma Nwogwugwu and Ruth Osime (Thisday’s Editors), Nnamdi Okonkwo (MD, Fidelity Bank), among others.
Others, were the board and management of the UBA Group, including UBA Chairman, Tony O. Elumelu and wife, Awele; GMD/CEO, Phillips Oduoza and wife, Jumai; GMD Designate, Kennedy Uzoka and wife, Lotanna. In line with its geographic spread, board members of UBA subsidiaries across Africa were present.
There were 16 different categories of awards given out to staff, business offices, country subsidiaries and strategic business units. Specific areas covered by the awards include; Business Office with the most “Contribution,” individual and business office with the highest deposit growth in Nigeria and Africa; most improved country or regional bank in profit before tax; as well as deal of the year. Other areas covered by the awards include; business office and subsidiary with the best digital banking adoption rate, customer service, country with the best compliance rating and best head office support unit.
But the highlight of the awards was the “GMD’s Special Award” for a staff that performed exceptionally in his or her assigned duties in 2015. This is an award won by the best of the best in the UBA Group and the staff must have displayed a positive attitude to work and colleagues, maturity in handling the bank’s internal and external customers, commitment, knowledge of the bank’s operations and offerings, integrity, which is a core value of the bank and a high level of productivity.
The night also experienced high level performance from Nigeria’s top music stars. Staff took to the dance floor as they experienced back to back electrifying performances from the Alert Master, Korede Bello, Koko Master, Dbanj, the gorgeous Yemi Alade, and a sensational Dr. Sid.
Also on stage to crack the ribs of the audience with jokes was “Basket Mouth.” This was a night of pure fun as staff danced and laughed for a greater part of the night without consideration for the stress that usually comes with their job.
Speaking during the awards ceremony, Phillips Oduoza, Group Managing Director and CEO of UBA Plc described the UBA CEO awards as the most exciting event in UBA operational calendar.
“This is the night we honour members of our staff who have come to represent everything we stand for as an organisation.
The staff, departments and business units that receive awards this night are hardworking, articulate and always willing to go the extra mile to achieve the targets we set for ourselves at the beginning of every financial year as a bank,” Oduoza said.
This year’s UBA CEO Awards was organised by a team comprised of Pamela Shodipo, Charles Aigbe, Bola Atta, Chux Onwusah, Nonso Nduanya, Christiana Okenla and supported by Dujour Events, Q21 Events, Flower Plus and K Square Security.