Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum

The Public Policy Research and Analysis Centre (PPRAC) has announced recipients for the 2019 Zik Prize in Leadership Awards. Making the announcement on Thursday in Lagos at a virtual conference, a member of PPRAC advisory board, Prof. Pat Utomi, said the board had an exhaustive appraisal of nominees before settling for the winners.

Mr Kennedy Uzoka, GMD/CEO, of UBA Plc, Mrs Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, First Bank Plc., Ahmed Lawan, Senate President, and three state governors are among the awardees. Uzoka was listed in the business leadership category alongside the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta.

The organisers said Uzoka is being awarded for his outstanding achievements as a revolutionary banker in the Nigerian financial services sector.

“He has consistently led the bank (UBA Plc) to set a year-on-year track record of profitability, wealth creation and innovative financial products across its operations in the African continent despite global economic challenges.

“Kennedy Uzoka continues to lead his team in chalking newer and higher credits by the day. Not even the current challenge of COVID-19 has been a dampener as the bank under his watch continues to scale new frontiers and post assuring results.”

Also in the professional leadership category is NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman/CEO Umar Danbatta, who is being recognised for driving Nigeria’s industrial revolution and knowledge economy through telecommunications.

“Today, telecommunications contribution to GDP has grown by 70% from 2015 to 2020, whilst broadband penetration has leapt from 8% to 42% in the same period. His leadership has enhanced transparency and innovation in the sector, such that recently NCC was acknowledged by International Telecoms Union (ITU) as one of Africa’s foremost Telecoms regulator”, Utomi stated.

In the good governance category, three state governors, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, Engr. Oluseyi Makinde of Oyo and Prof. Babagana Zulu of Borno, is being recognised for towering above their peers to deliver democracy dividends to their people. According to the PPRAC, Zulum has brought his wealth of experience to bear in addressing the issues of governance in Borno State.

“Under his watch, the nation is seeing governance as it should be with not a few already asking why indeed he should not be a candidate for higher office. His giant strides and Human face to governance are indeed quite visible to all. In spite of the difficult terrain of the state at the moment, it is indeed a marvel that so much is being done”.

In the same vein, Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, is recognised for standing out as an accomplished administrator and for bringing tranquillity and development to the turbo-charged Niger-Delta state.

“Since becoming governor, it has been his lot to ensure the delivery of democracy dividends to the people even while navigating the political contours of a turbo-charged state. To his credit, the jury says he has done well. And today, he is the recipient of our good governance award”.

Also on the list is Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, who is being honoured for offering freshness to the office of a state governor and epitomising how politics of love and accommodation should be played in a developing country like Nigeria.

“Engr. Oluseyi Makinde is an enigma in himself. He brings to the political enterprise an earthiness that cannot be discountenanced. And it is one that his people love even as he continues to drive programmes and projects in the state.

“Notably also, he is slowly growing into a rallying centre for the alternative political tendency in his region and it is very clear that the nation would yet hear more from this indisputable achiever going forward.”

In the political leadership category, Senate President Ahmed Lawan is being recognised for ensuring cohesion, peace and cooperation between the national assembly and the executive.

“As Senate President at such a critical time as this, he continues to assist in ensuring that the polity is not over-heated in regards to executive-legislature relations and that the nation is able to maintain a somewhat even keel that would help it continue to grow and thrive even beyond this season.”

Also honoured is the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, for his deft handling of the policy implementation of the current administration and astute leadership of the COVID-19 Taskforce. For this feat, he is awarded the Zik Prize in Public Service.

On the list of the awardees is also Mrs. Stella Okoli, who bagged the Zik prize in leadership award for her immense contributions to Nigeria’s health and pharmaceutical sectors.

“A pharmacist and industrialist of note, Dr. Mrs Stella Okoli, is the founder and Group Managing Director of Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries Limited an organisation she has most diligently built into a household brand in the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector in Nigeria and beyond.

“In more than four decades of dogged industry and pursuit, the Kano-born scion of the famous Nnewi business community has transformed what was a little retail pharmacy store into a gargantuan medical manufacturing edifice”.

Last but not the least on the list, is Mrs Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria. She is being recognised for her commitment to entrepreneurial development and mentorship.

“In a land that still has a lot of gender main-streaming matters to resolve for the womenfolk, Chief Mrs Ibukun Awosika stands as a resplendent testimony to accomplished female entrepreneurship.

“She comes across as an entrepreneur and leader who is solid, assured and motivational whether in the gilded halls of banking and corporate expression or in her traditional business habitats. As Chair of First Bank of Nigeria, she has worked with other leaders in the century-old organisation to ensure that the banking brand remains cutting edge player and indeed one that is too big, and too endowed to fail.

“A multiple award-winning entrepreneurs and first Nigerian recipient of the prestigious International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge Award, her commitment to entrepreneurial development and mentorship is simply legendary”, Utomi said.

The formal presentation ceremony of The Year 2019 Zik Prize awards will be held on Sunday,  6 December 2020. The Zik leadership award was instituted in 1995 in honour of Nigeria’s first president, the late Nnamdi Azikwe.

Past recipients of the prize include notable leaders like; President J.J. Rawlings, President Nwalimu Julius Nyerere, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, President Sam Nujoma, Dr. Nelson Mandela, President Yonweri Muzeveni, President John Agyekum Kuffor, Senator David Mark, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, Otunba Subomi Balogun, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Alhaji Ahmed Joda and Mr Godwin Emefiele.