By Mike Ebonugwo and Charles Kumolu
It was an awards night that lived up to its envisaged billings, in fact exceeding all expectations. For all who graced the occasion from far and near, it was certainly a night to remember for the amazing spectacle that was on display: The glamour and glitz, the inspired and moving speeches that did not fail to excite and captivate the audience.
Welcome to theVanguard Personality of the Year Award 2017. Indeed, while the even lasted, the Eko Hotels and Suites venue resonated with sounds and music, and also sizzled with rib-cracking jokes by some of the best humour merchants in the land.
Though the event was billed to start by 6pm, but as early 4pm, gaily and fashionably dressed guests were already streaming in their numbers into the venue hall, bringing with them sparks of colour and grandeur.
Indeed, fashion was in full expression, with the men strutting around in sartorial elegance while the younger of the women cat-walked and swayed seductively in their skimpy and flamboyant wears as they made a bold statement that world of fashion is theirs to conquer. For the older women, maturity demanded that fashion is expressed with elegant poise.
The arrival of the awardees was not without its own fanfare. Some of them came accompanied by cultural troupes whose drumming, singing and dancing lent a festive air to the entire programme.
The carnival-like atmosphere thus created had set the stage for more excitement to come. The guests who more or less represented a roll-call of who is who in the media, in politics and governance, business and industry, entertainment, including Nollywood, music industry and the rapidly expanding world of comedy had more than enough to cheer and reflect.
As the arriving guests took their seats, they were entertained with a succession of popular musical tracks by a musical group that goes by the name of Laelu Gbenjo Band, putting them in an enthusiastic mood for the formal take off of the programme which was not long in coming.
It came with what the Master of Ceremonies, Frank Edoho, described as a fantastic rendition of the National Anthem.
The standup comedians were in their elements as they rendered jokes considered necessary and appropriate for an event that had on parade as award recipients some of the most celebrated and influential personalities in politics, governance and the corporate world. Their comical interludes also served to dilute moments of boredom occasioned by some long speeches which fortunately was not the case during the event.
Indeed, the audience had a lot more opportunities to savour captivating performances by different groups and basked in the entertainment they offered.
5 pm—Arrival of guests
7 pm— Recitation of National Anthem
7:15 on—Opening remarks by GM/Editor-in-Chief, Mr Gbenga Adefaye
7:33 pm— Chairman of the event, General Ike Nwachukwu (retd), gives his opening remarks
7:40 pm—Streaming of past Vanguard Personality of the Year Awards
7:50pm — Musical interlude
8:04 pm— Commencement of the conferment of Awards
8pm— Banker of the Year Award presented to Managing Director of Union Bank, Mr. Emeka Emuwa
8:08 pm—Businessman of the Year Award presented to Alhaji Muhammadu Indimi
8:15 pm— Lifetime Achievement Award presented to former Vice Chancellor, University of Benin, Prof. Grace Alele-Williams
8:31 pm— Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Chairman of Honeywell, Oba Otudeko
8:35 pm— Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe
8:42pm— Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Chief Sunday Adegeye, aka King Sunny Ade
8:45 pm— Personality of the Year Award presented to the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, represented by her daughter, Zara Buhari
8:51pm— Governor of the Year Award presented to Governor Okiezie Ikpeazu of Abia State.
9:02pm— Governor of the Year Award presented to Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State
9:05 pm— Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Chairman, Elizade Motors, Chief Michael Ade-Ojo
9:13pm — Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Alabo Graham-Douglas.
Zara Buhari – Daughter of the First Lady of Nigeria
Ayodele Fayose – Ekiti State Governor
Ibrahim Dankwambo – Gomber state governor
Okezie Ikpeazu – Abia state governor
Ishaku Darius – Taraba governor
Mr Seriake Dickson – Bayelsa state governor
Ebitu Ukiwe – former governor of Lagos State
Prince Uche Secondus – PDP National Chairman
Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan – Former Governor of Delta State
Senator Theodore Orji – Former Governor of Abia State
Victor Ochei – Delta State Speaker
Aare Gani Adams – Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland
Senator Magnus Abe
Professor Grace Alele – former Vice Chancellor, University of Benin
Chief Segun Osoba – former governor of Ogun State
Professor George Obiozor – former Director General, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs
Mike Ozekomhe, SAN.