•Tasks awardees on mentoring younger generation
•Obaseki, Abiodun, Oyetola, Nwachukwu, others shine, Wande Coal thrills.
By Clifford Ndujihe, Dapo Akinrefon, Olasunkanmi Akoni, Olayinka Ajayi & Juliet Umeh
THE Vanguard Newspaper’s Personality of the year awards lived up to its billing, yesterday, as eminent Nigerians and trailblazers from all over the country converged on Eko Hotel, Lagos, for the 2021 awards, which marked the 10th edition.
It was an evening of honour, glamour entertainment and fun as the awardees shone brilliantly and Wande Coal held the audience spell bound.
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, who came with his wife, Betty; Deputy, Philip Shauibu lit up the stage on the night while receiving his governor of the year award.
Chaired by former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, a host of eminent personalities at the event commended Vanguard for helping to build a better society through the awards.
Specifically, Attah said in his opening remarks that the awards have been of immense benefit to the society given the calibre and accomplishments of the recipients over the years.
He said: “It is indeed a mark of distinction and well deserving. I congratulate Vanguard for sustaining the awards for 10 years.
“Every year Vanguard searches out those deserving individuals in various works of life and give them well deserved awards.
“This year, Vanguard is awarding individuals like Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina. I once met Dr. Adesina asking him the possibility of growing wheat in Maiduguri which I thought was not possible. He sat me down and explained the possibility to me. He said it was a matter of variety. It was in his office I first experienced what is called cassava bread.
“We also have people like General Ike Nwachukwu, who played critical roles at the 2014 National Conference. There are many more awardees. But particularly I am happy to note that there’s category for the younger generation. It is our own Bill Gates that are on the way.. To those who received awards, I want you to realise that you are mentors to the younger generation coming behind you.
“These awards are of immense benefit to the society.
I congratulate Vanguard for meeting up with their responsibility. I pray the next 10 years would be for greater heights.”
A decade of celebration without blemish – Adefaye
Welcoming eminent Nigerians and guests to the colourful event, earlier, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye, GM/Editor-in-Chief, Vanguard Media Ltd., said the front line national newspaper is celebrating a decade of recognition without blemish.
He said: “It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the 1Oth edition of Vanguard Personality of the Year Award; an idea, which started in 2012 as Vanguard’s way of appreciating excellence in our society, afterall, our brand essence is towards a better life for the people.
“Ten years ago, we started this award ceremony with just a handful of people and limited resources but from inception till date, it is evident that the Vanguard Personality of the Year Award has covered a long and evolutionary journey. We had started with big dreams, hope and immense enthusiasm.
“Today we are celebrating a decade of recognition without blemish. Not much has changed, except the fact that we have made our dreams come true and have set new ones
“The very first inaugural edition which held in 2013 was tagged ‘Stamp of excellence’. In 2014 we celebrated The Game Changers, while in 2015 we honoured the Towers of Distinction’. In 2016, we witnessed ‘The Torchbearers’ where we celebrated twelve specially distinguished Nigerians who were remarkable achievers across various fields and had proven themselves through leadership. In 2017, we celebrated The Frontliners, 14 men chosen by Vanguard’s Board of Editors to showcase the Nigerian spirit of resilience in the bygone year.
“In 2018, we celebrated 14 distinguished individuals, who had shone through the year in deed and in character, And finally in 2019/2020 (The year of the covid-19 Pandemic) we celebrated 32 individuals whom, through their humanitarian and philanthropic initiatives, became heroes and a source of inspiration to so many.
“This year’s special edition themed; “A Decade of Excellence” is still in line with our desire to celebrate and award Nigeria’s finest individuals for their societal impact, excellence and outstanding achievements across different sectors and industries
“As we celebrate this milestone and proceed into this new decade filled with electoral promises of new beginnings, let’s take a pledge that we are not going to restrict ourselves to only this but set and achieve new benchmarks in the coming years believe strongly that together we can make it happen. All we need to do is to believe in ourselves Support each other and direct our talent and energies in the right direction,
“On this note, I wish to thank you all for taking this journey with us as we look forward to yet another decade of greater exploits.”
Those honoured yesterday were Simbi Wabote (Regulator of the Year), Diana Chen (Foreign Investor of the Year); Dr (Mrs.) Seinye O. B. Lulu-Briggs (Woman Entrepreneur of the Year), Taiwo Afolabi, Founder/CEO, SIFAX Group (Businessman of the Year), Kola Adesina, GMD, Sahara Group (Private Sector Icon), Babangida Zango (Industrialist of the Year), Hanu Fedjiro Agbodje (Young Entrepreneur of the Year), Kuda Bank (Fintech Company of the Year).
Five governors, who honoured as governors of the year for their huge impacts in their respective states were Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State and Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State.
Lifetime achievement awards were given to erudite lawyer, Afe Babalola, SAN; former Foreign Affairs Minister, Major-General Ike Nwachukwu, retd; former Chairman of the National Electoral Commission, NEC, Prof Humphrey Nwosu; Archbishop Margaret Idahosa, ace photo-journalist, Sunmi Smart-Cole; Alhaji Aminu Dantata, jurist, Justice Fati Abubakar and veteran actor, Olu Jacobs.
The award means a lot to me — Industrialist of the Year Awardee
Speaking on his award, Babangida Zango said: “I feel so happy that out of the lots of other qualified industrialists in the country I was chosen as the best. I feel so highly elated and honoured.
“This definitely will spur me to do more. I give thanks to God Almighty and my workers for making this a reality and Vanguard family for finding me worthy of this award.”
Dr Bode Olajumoke, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State and his wif le, Kafayat Oyetola, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, Noimot Salako-Oyedele, Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Deputy Governor of Gombe State, Dr Manassah Daniel
Deputy Governor of Edo State, Mr Philip Shuiabu, Former Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, Former Commissioner for Information, Ondo State, Mr Kayode Akinmade, Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Waheed Odusile, Osun State Commissioner for Information, Mrs Funke Ebgemode, Manassah Daniel Jatau deputy Governor of Gombe State represented the Governor, Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya.