THISDAY Celebrates Silver Jubilee in Grand Style

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  • Honours Buhari, Jonathan, Emefiele, Dangote, 20 Others
  • Jim Ovia chairs event

By Yemi Ajayi and Obinna Chima

President Muhammadu Buhari;  his predecessor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan; Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele; Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Ms. Amina Mohammed; President,  Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are among 24 personalities and corporate organisations to be honoured today as Nigeria’s newspapers of record, THISDAY, marks its 25th anniversary of robust journalism.

The recipients will be conferred with the newspaper’s awards for the decade at an impressive ceremony holding today at Eko Hotels Convention Centre, Victoria Island,  Lagos, which opens at 20:20 hours. It will be chaired by Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Jim Ovia.

Winners of the awards were picked both by the public and THISDAY editors from a pool of personalities and corporate organisations in a voting process that lasted one week.

There are 24 winners in all, two per each of the 12 categories. The board noted that whereas the editor’s choices were based on the strength of industry knowledge and professional advice, the readers’ votes were mostly based on their perception.

Below are the details about today’s honourees.  

Dangote Group

Dangote, a proudly Nigerian brand is the most diversified and largest conglomerate in West Africa and one of the largest in the continent. Dangote Cement, a member of the group is the most capitalised company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Dangote is expected to deliver its 650,000 barrels per day capacity crude oil refinery with the world’s tallest atmospheric tower next year. The activities of the group impacted on the economy in several ways in the last decade. It is the people’s choice for the company of the decade.

NLNG

The Nigeria LNG Limited is the most significant arrow-head of the federal government’s quest to eliminate gas flaring and derive value from the country’s 187 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves. Its recent Final Investment Decision on the Train 7 project, is expected to be a game-changer for the country as it would deliver a significant local content in construction, production of cables, welding, valves, scaffolding, furniture, painting and medical, is expected to generate about 12,000 jobs. The Train 7 project, which has been delayed for over 10 years, aims to increase the company’s production capacity from 22 metric tonnes per annum to about 30 MTPA, and will form part of the investment of over $10 billion, including the upstream scope of the LNG value chain, according to the company. It emerged the editors’ choice for company of the decade.

Globacom

Globacom, which is the second largest telecoms operator in the country by subscriber number, has made data connectivity a lot easier and cheaper, which earned it the name, The Grand Master of Data. With 27.90 per cent market share and with a subscriber base of over 50 million, Globacom has remained the second largest telecoms operator in the country. Globacom, which is the only indigenous telecoms company operating in Nigeria, launched its services in 2003 with per second billing system, which eventually cut down the high cost of telecoms services offering, at a time when other operators were offering services on per minute basis. Globacom is the people’s choice of brand of the decade.

GTBank

Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTBank) is one of the leading financial institutions. The GTBank is one of the leading brands in the country because of its consistent delivery of innovative financial solutions and exceptional customer experiences. This has enabled it to record year on year growth in clientele base and key financial indices since inception. The editors chose it as their brand of the decade.

Zenith Bank

Zenith Bank Plc has continued to blaze the trail in digital banking in Nigeria; scoring several firsts in the deployment of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to create innovative products that meet the needs of its teeming customers. The bank is verifiably a leader in the deployment of various channels of banking technology, and the Zenith brand has become synonymous with the deployment of state-of-the-art technologies in banking. The financial institution is driven by a culture of excellence and strict adherence to global best practices. Zenith was voted by the people as the bank of the decade.

Access Bank

Since its business combination deal with the defunct Diamond Bank, Access Bank has emerged as a leading financial power house in the country. The bank is now looking beyond Nigeria and seeks to expand its footprint in Africa with its latest acquisition of the Transnational Bank Limited of Kenya and announcement of plan to set up a subsidiary in Cameroun, in the coming days. Presently Access Bank boasts of being among the five largest banks in Nigeria in terms of assets size, deposits, loans and branch network. It got the editors’ nod as the bank of the decade.

Godwin Emefiele

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, made history last year when he was reappointed to serve for another term of five years. He has continued to work closely with the fiscal authorities to design policies to support economic growth. The CBN under Emefiele has continued to foster financial stability, the development of a robust payments system infrastructure that will increase access to finance for all Nigerians, thereby raising financial inclusion rate in the country. The people overwhelmingly voted for him as the banker of the decade.

Herbert WigweEditors’ Choice for Banker of the Decade

Herbert Wigwe oversaw one of the biggest business combination deals in Nigeria’s banking sector. Since then, the bank has emerged as a leading financial power house in the country and currently looking beyond Nigeria as it seeks to expand its footprint in Africa. Under his leadership the bank, has roared into the limelight, with the many brilliant strides and policies executed since he took over at the helm.

He is easily one of the best banking brains and business leaders on the continent – evident in his immense contribution to the African banking industry. The editors voted him the banker of the decade.

Segun Agbaje

Segun Agbaje is the people’s choice for chief executive officer of the decade. He is an accomplished and respected professional in the banking industry. Under his watch, GTBank has continued to grow in leaps and bounds. He was instrumental in refocusing the institution from its corporate banking stronghold to becoming a market leader in the retail space. Today, GTBank is one of the highest employers of labour in the country. The tech-savvy banker pioneered mobile banking through the bank’s *737# channel.

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari emerged the people’s choice for person of the decade largely because he won the presidential elections in 2015 and 2019 after three failed attempts. They also gave him their nod for his anti-corruption stance. Since his re-election in 2019, the president has assured Nigerians of his commitment to lift 100 million persons out of poverty. In addition, he has been working gradually to revive road and rail infrastructure in the country. He has also pledged to take the country to the ‘Next Level.’

Dr. Goodluck Jonathan

Former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, was overwhelmingly endorsed by the editors as the person of the decade for handing over to Buhari 2015 after he lost the presidential election. The editors also praised him for deepening democracy in the country. He was among those that shaped the last decade in Nigeria. After losing his reelection bid to Muhammadu Buhari, Jonathan made a vital phone call to concede defeat. That call signaled the country’s first peaceful democratic transition of power, ensuring that the tensions of the campaign didn’t spill over into post-election unrest.

Mike Adenuga

Michael Adenuga, Chairman, Globacom, shot into public conscience with his company’s groundbreaking introduction of per second billing, a billing system, which the two earlier major players in the industry then had termed not technically feasible at the inception of the GSM revolution in Nigeria. He is a key player in the oil sector and is also involved in banking. All these earned him the people’s votes as the entrepreneur of the decade.

Aliko Dangote

From a mere commodity trader some decades ago, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President, Dangote Group, has made a leap transition to being a wealth creator that earned him the rating as the richest African in the world. His conglomerate, with interests in cement, sugar, flour, pasta etc, is a key player in the FCMG sector of the economy. He is currently building a refinery in Lagos State, described as the largest single-train refinery in the world that will gulp about $15 billion. He is also a philanthropist. His credentials earned him THISDAY editors’ pick as entrepreneur of the decade

Amina Mohammed

Amina Mohammed, currently Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, made her impact in the social sector of Nigeria where she has been an advocate for improved environment, poverty reduction and other developmental issues. Her roles in seeking better welfare for the people recently earned the former Nigeria’s Minister of Environment the Global Citizen Prize World Leader Award 2019. She is the people’s choice for woman of the decade.

Chimamanda Adichie

Chimamanda Adichie is a Nigerian-born author whose works have helped to focus on Nigeria and its culture and stirred a global conversation around the place of women in a modern world. Her books, especially “Purple Hibiscus,” “Half of a Yellow Sun,” and “Americanah,” have won her many awards. She is also a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. Editors picked her as their choice for the woman of the decade.

Femi Otedola

Given his recent hefty donations to public cause and lifting up the needy, it is not surprising that that former Chairman of FORTE Oil Plc, Mr. Femi Otedola, is the people’s choice for philanthropist of the decade. His singular donation of N5 billion to assist children of terror-ravaged North-east remains unexampled. Some prominent Nigerians such as Sadiq Dabba, Victor Olaotan, both actors; and former Green Eagles captain, Christian Chukwu, were rescued from the jaws of death by his philanthropic intervention in their medical issues.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation

Founded in 2010 by former Managing Director, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr. Tony Elumelu, The Tony Elumelu Foundation, is African largest philanthropic organisation that supports entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. The foundation has empowered 7,520 entrepreneurs in 54 African countries by providing them training and seed capital to actualise their entrepreneurial dreams. This initiative has also taken a large number of young entrepreneurs off the streets and created thousands of direct and indirect jobs for African youths. The Tony Elumelu Foundation is the editors’ choice as philanthropist of the decade.

CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has kept the Nigerian economy on an even keel despite the challenges arising from global oil price volatility and other fundamental crisis. Under the watch of Godwin Emefiele as governor, the CBN has deftly managed the nation’s forex crisis and rescued the naira from going the way of its Zimbabwean national currency. It has sustained public confidence in the banking industry, which it regulates, through policies that liberalise access to funds by the real sector of the economy in a bid to spur growth and create jobs. Its many initiatives such as in agriculture and job creation, among others, have inspired public confidence to earn it the people’s choice as the institution of the decade.

EFCC

Since its establishment in 2003 by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) remains Nigeria’s foremost anti-graft agency. Its zeal to achieve its mission statement of ridding Nigeria of economic and financial crimes and coordinate the domestic effort of the global fight against money laundering and terrorists financing, has birthed a new public order, especially in spending public funds. This new conscience has now earned it the editors’ pick as the institution of the decade.

Babatunde Fashola

Former Lagos State governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (2007-2015), redefined governance in the state with his performance. From his swearing-in in 2007, he was raring to go and he maintained the tempo of service delivery eight years after. His success included reclaiming Oshodi, from criminal and human-induced chaos, rebuilding infrastructure, keeping the environment clean and keeping Lagos safe for the people. He is the people’s choice as governor of the decade.  

Peter Obi

Two-term Anambra State governor, Peter Obi, is well regarded in the annals of the state for his prudent management of public funds and redefining the essence of governance in the state. His focus was on provision of infrastructure, human capital development and guaranteeing the security of lives and property. He is THISDAY editors’ choice as governor of the decade.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who served two presidents, was an advocate of transparency in public finance and spearheaded many initiatives that saved the nations  billions of naira. During her stewardship, she facilitated negotiations with the Paris Club of Creditors that led to debt forgiveness of $30 billion; introduced the Excess Crude Account, Treasury Single Account (TSA) and IPPIS. She is the people’s nominee as minister of the decade.

Rotimi Amaechi

President Muhammadu Buhari’s retention of Rotimi Amaechi as his Minister of Transportation after his re-election is a testament to his drive and commitment to give Nigerians a better travelling experience. He is superintending over the administration’s efforts to revive the railway system in the country.  This has led to some projects such as the ongoing Lagos-Kano standard rail line and linking Nigeria’s eastern and northern corridors through the railway. Under his watch, the water transportation system is also receiving attention. Amaechi is THISDAY editor’s choice of minister of the decade.