By Chiemelie Ezeobi
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, First Choice Leasing Limited, Chief Michael Diji, has bagged the Integrity in Leasing Business, an award by the 2018 African Integrity Prize,Â aÂ brain child of the foremost regional African Child Foundation, held in Lagos, recently.
While receiving his award, Diji called on governments at all levels to pay attention to the leasing sector as a panacea for unemployment.
According to the organisers, Diji was awardedÂ alongside others for havingÂ done the most or the best work for fraternity between communities, maintaining integrity in field of endeavour and promotion of peace in a collaborative effort.
They were commended for serving as an exemplary role model to young people in Africa, taking an effective and vigorous leadership role in the community, making significant contributions in their specific fields of endeavor and displaying exceptional character.
By thisÂ honour, the laureate, Diji would be listed into the United Nations Volunteers for Peace in Africa (UNVPA) and rated under this category among African Union (AU) members.
While commending the organisers, Diji said it was a fulfilling experience for him and his company with the honour which cements his 10 years in leasing business.
He said, “Itâ€™s a fulfilling experience because at First Choice, we are customer-centered as we believe in satisfying our teeming customers and our efforts are paying off.
“We got incorporated in October 2010 and for our individual or corporate clients we offer car rental services, trainings, recruitment,Â all forms of financial consulting services, equipment leasing services, LPO Finance, Fleet Management, financial consultancy services and Delinquent Facility Management Services.”
The former banker, who has leveraged on his many years of experience, skill and expertise in the banking sector, said he brought it to bear in the leasing company.
He said, “Leasing is a profitable sector that can curb unemployment but the government is not paying adequate attention to the sector.
“I urge the government to start paying attention to the leasing industry. Already we have the laws put in place that guide all that we do.Â So, now, more than ever, we need the government to partner us.”
Meanwhile, other awardees includedÂ Cardinal Olubumi OkojieÂ who clinched the award forÂ Religious Tolerance;Â President Uhuru Kenyatta, Prize for African Development;Â Late Etienne TshisekediÂ forÂ Good Governance Advocacy; andÂ Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu for Integrity in Public Service.
Hon. Uche Nwosu, Imo State Chief of Staff, clinched the prizeÂ for Integrity in Leadership; Ambassador Solomon Okowa got the prizeÂ for Mentorship and Youth Development;Â Dr. Kennedy Okonkwo forÂ Integrity in Real Estate Business.
Clay NeffÂ clinched theÂ Business Leadership award; while PirottiÂ ProjectsÂ won that ofÂ Integrity in Business; andÂ Dr. Nabhit Kapur won the prizeÂ for Peace. Precision Technologies Consultants Limited, clinched that forÂ Integrity in Business.
Engr. (Dr.) Emmanuel Audu-OhwavboruaÂ clinched the prizeÂ for Integrity in Public Administration;Â Dr Ignatius C Kattey, JP – DeanÂ for Peace and Youth Mentoring;Â Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho forÂ Tourism andÂ Donald IkeÂ IgwegbuÂ for Youth Mentorship.
PhilominaCare Foundation clinched that ofÂ Integrity in Humanitarian Service,Â whileÂ President Adama Barrow of The Gambia clinched that forÂ Democracy Advocacy;Â Cytech World Communication, Entertainment Brand Company;Â Prof. BenyamÂ Â ManzurÂ forÂ Child Rights; andÂ Ifiok Effanga a.k.a Fiokee for Showmanship inÂ Instrumentalist.
Michael Ugochukwu Stephens,Â a.k.a Ruggedman, won the award forÂ Integrity in Art;Â Mr. Majek FashekÂ for Entertainment; andÂ Enuonye Chukwuemeka Justin forÂ Integrity in Business and Youth Mentoring.
ACF is a charity, working to break down the barriers preventing African children from leading happy and fulfilled lives since its establishment inÂ 2006 by Dee & Peter Tyrer.
The United Kingdom based charityÂ presently works in four African countries and theyÂ believe children are the future and should haveÂ adequate food and shelter, haveÂ the opportunity to learn and go to school, beÂ cared for and nurtured and liveÂ without fear, with the expectation of equality and justice, as well beÂ given a voice and have their opinions respected and concerns addressed.