By Peter Egwuatu
Fidelity Bank Plc hasÂ been named the Most Socially Responsible Company (MSRC) in Nigeria for the promotion of ArtsÂ at the 3rd Social Enterprising Reports and Awards (2009) organized by Tru-contact and the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).
Fidelity Bank overcame the challenge from other strong nominees in the category like MTN Nigeria, Dangote Group and Bank PHB to clinch the award which it had beaten GT Bank and Skye Bank to win in 2008.
The award night held at the MUSON center was however not an all Fidelity night as telecom giants, MTN Nigeria shone like a star, raking in over four different awards out of eight nominations. It was also a night that saw other contenders like GT Bank, Promasidor, Lulu Briggs Foundation, Unilever and a host of other socially conscious Nigerian companies reaping the benefits of their social investment.
Fidelity seems once again to be on a familiar turf, toeing the same trajectory that saw it winning the SERA Award and finishing as the runner up at the Commonwealth Business Council before being named the Most Socially Responsible Bank in Africa in 2008 by the Banker magazine at the annual meeting of the IMF/World Bank in Washington DC, last year.
The recognition of the bankâ€™s support for the Arts is considered well-deserved by industry watchers. Over the last two years, the bank has been sponsoring the international creative writing workshop hosted by multiple award-winning writer, Chimamamda Adichie. Beneficiaries of this noble effort have won international scholarships, writers fellowships overseas while some have gone on to publish critically acclaimed books in the country.
Last yearâ€™s edition of the workshop was hugely successful and had three internationally known; writers: Marie-Elena John, the Antiguan-born author of Unburnable, the American, Dave Eggers and the Kenyan Binyinvanga Wainana as co-teachers with Adichie
Fidelity had also, in conjunction with the Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA) launched a competition amongst students of fine and applied arts in Nigerian universities and polytechnics for the design of the Fidelity Helping Hands logo. This, according to sources within the bank, was to engender a competitive spirit among arts student and to begin to expose them to the world outside the campus.
Reacting to the award at the weekend, Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Mr. Reginald Ihejiahi, said that the â€œaward is an encouragement for the bank to continue to support this vital area of our being which does not command the attention of corporate sponsors as much as other enterprisesâ€
He also urged the staff of the bank to see the continued recognition being given to the bank as a challenge not only to continue the good work but indeed to do more.