By Azuka Ogujiuba
Once again, the pan-African financial services group, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, proved to be a leader in the banking industry as it held its UBA CEO Awards Night, an evening, where bankers dumped their usual mien and emerged in their finery. It was a night when staff let go of all the airs of being bankers and got immersed in the excitement of one special evening. The awards night is, perhaps, the only one of its kind in the banking industry that can match up to any international celebrity show.
Eko Hotel and Suites came alive on the evening of April 8, 2017, 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. The event which has been jokingly tagged the “Grammy” of the UBA financial calendar, is an evening of fun, entertainment and celebration. It is a special evening with the sole purpose of celebrating the bank’s staff that had performed exceptionally in the outgoing financial year. It is a tradition that the bank has maintained since 2008 and this was the ninth edition since its inception.
It lived up to its reputation as a night of glamour and glitz as bankers turned out in a “party” mode to celebrate their colleagues who stood out in the 2016 financial year. The theme of the night: ‘The Journey,’ 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 hall of Eko Hotel and Suites emerged 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 ace compere, Ebere Young and Kate Henshaw, led the guests through a night of fun and laughter and of course, lots to eat and drink. 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 19 countries of operations outside Nigeria also attended the event.
Also present were distinguished Nigerians, including the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, the Governor of Adamawa State, Bindo Jibralla, Former Governor of Cross-River State and his wife, Mr. and Mrs Donald Duke. Others were the board and management of the UBA Group, including UBA Chairman, Tony O. Elumelu and wife, Awele; GMD/CEO, Kennedy Uzoka and wife, Lotanna and other key directors of the bank. In line with its geographic spread, board members of UBA subsidiaries across Africa were present.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of an award for excellence to Mr. Mohammed Ibrahim Ogbanago, a security man with the Oba Akran branch of the bank for returning $10,000 belonging to a customer who forgot the money in the branch last July.
Apparently inspired by the story of the man who earns less than N2m annual salary being honest enough to return the lost amount, both governors present as well as the deputy Senate President showered Mohammed with $5,000, $10,000 and N5m respectively, bringing the total to about N11m.
Ekweremadu also announced at the event that apart from the N5m that will be given to him by the Nigerian senate, the integrity of the young man will also be announced at plenary. Some other staff who received awards at the ceremony, included the CEO of UBA Ghana, Abiola Buwah and the Managing Director of UBA Zambia.
The night also experienced high level performances from Africa’s top musical stars.
Staff took to the dance floor as they experienced back to back electrifying performances from King Sunny Ade, Psquare, Flavour, Awilo, Dr Syd, Adekunle Gold, KC Presh, Kaffy among others who thrilled the staff and guests for hours unending.
Also on stage to crack the ribs of the audience with jokes was Akpororo.
This was a night of intense fun as staff danced and laughed for a greater part of the night without any consideration for the stress that usually comes with their job.