In continuation of its long standing tradition of honouring Nigerians and Africans who have distinguished themselves in their various fields of endeavour, the Public Policy Research and Analysis Centre (PPRAC), organisers of the Zik Prize Awards, will on Sunday May 26, honour the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu; seasoned industrialist, Mr. Femi Otedola; Akwa Ibom State governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel; Niger State governor, Dr. Abubakar Sanni-Bello; former president of Ghana, H.E. John Dramani Mahama, among others with the prestigious Zik Award for their outstanding contributions to the advancement of democracy, entrepreneurship and innovation on the continent.

Instituted in 1994, Zik Award is a yearly event organised in honour of the late political icon and ace journalist, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, and is aimed at nurturing leadership on the African Continent and in the Diaspora; promoting excellence and strong democratic values in line with Zik’s philosophy of a united and progressive Africa.

Other notable individuals to be honoured with awards on the night include Mr. Allen Onyema, CEO of Air Peace, Nigeria’s leading airline operator; billionaire philanthropist, Prince Arthur Eze; former National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Chief John Oyegun; elder statesman and former soldier, Pastor Shyngle Wigwe; Professor Oye Ibidapo-Obe; Her Excellency Chief (Mrs.) Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi and renowned banker, Mr. Philips Oduoza.

Prof. Pat Utomi, member of the PPRAC who announced the programme of events for the day in a briefing last week, said the award ceremony will hold at the Civil Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, at 6pm. Utomi said the awardees were chosen after “an exhaustive appraisal of nominees in the various Award categories,” noting that they were truly deserving of the accolades.

Dr. Kachikwu, the Honourable Minister of State, Petroleum Resources and Chairman of NNPC Board, will alongside Pastor Wigwe, receive the 2018 Zik Prize in Professional Leadership.

Dr. Kachikwu is a man of many firsts, who has consistently served with distinction. He is a two-time President of African Petroleum Producers Association(APPA) and the first person in history to hold concurrently the position of GMD NNPC, President of OPEC, President of Council of Ministers for Gas Exporting Country Forum(GECF) and President of Council of Ministers of APPA. Dr. Kachikwu is a visiting professor of law to several Universities including The Nigeria Law School and Harvard Law School, USA.

Mr. Femi Otedola, CON will receive the 2018 Zik Prize in Business, alongside Prince Eze. Otedola is the chairman of Forte Oil Plc. He has a number of businesses spanning Real Estate, Oil & Gas, Trading, Shipping, Finance and Energy. He started out 25 years ago with Centreforce Limited and has today successfully nurtured his businesses to global acclaim. He is reputed to have built the largest PMS storage facility in Africa as far back as 2007.

His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, a former parliamentarian, minister, Vice-President and President of Ghana, will be honoured with Zik Prize in Political Leadership. He is a farmer and writer. His political activism has seen him serve in various capacities across the broad spectrum of Ghanaian politics.

He made political history as the first president of Ghana to be born after Ghana’s declaration of independence in 1957. His statesmanship role in the 2016 elections as the 1st incumbent to hand over power to the opposition elicited great global acclaim and entrenched him in the annals of history as a great political leader.

His Excellency Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, elder statesman, former Federal civil servant and Executive Governor of Edo state in the third republic, will also receive Zik Prize in Political Leadership. Chief Oyegun emerged as the first National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014 and subsequently led them as a united entity to an unprecedented victory in the Presidential elections of 2015. His pro-democracy activism, conduct and actions has marked him out as an outstanding political leader.

Akwa Ibom governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, a banker turned public servant, will take the 2018 Zik Prize in Good Governance. Udom is renowned for his industralisation scheme, educational reforms and massive grassroots and infrastructural development projects across the state. His governance ethic has ensured a consistent delivery of the dividends of democracy to the people of the state.

Alhaji Sanni-Bello,the Executive Governor of Niger State will also bag the Zik Prize in Good Governance. He is a man on a mission with his “Restoration Agenda” that has seen massive investments in Agriculture, infrastructure and social services across the entire state. He has shown an uncommon commitment to the socio-economic upliftment of the people of the state and the results are evident.

Pastor Wigwe, an elder statesman is an Engineer, Broadcaster and soldier. He is one of a select class of Director-General’s of the Nigerian Television Authority(NTA) whose insightful leadership set a precedence that has remained indelible in the annals of the history of the institution and in the realm of public service.

Prince Arthur Eze is a mechanical and Chemical Engineer who has excelled in business. He is the founder of Atlas Oranto Petroleum, an indigenous Oil and Gas exploration company that in the space of less than three decades has emerged as a leading player in the African continent. He has successfully taken on the IOC’s to become the largest holder of oil exploration blocks in Africa. He has consistently operated innovative business models that has made him a leader in the industry.

Professor Oye Ibidapo Obe OFR, winner of Zik Prize in Professional Leadership along with Mr. Oduoza, is an educational administrator and a distinguished professor of systems engineering. He is a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Vice Chancellor of Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, Ebonyi State and the pioneer Pro-Chancellor Technical University, Ibadan. He was the pioneer Managing Director of Unilag Consult and Chairman of the national committee on Brain-Drain. A visiting professor at several international universities with over 150 research articles and paper publications to his name, Professor Ibidapo-Obe is a Fellow of the African Academy of Science (AAS) as well as that of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS).

Mr. Philips Oduoza (FCIB) is the chairman and founder of NOVA Merchant Bank Limited who was able to break even in the first year of operations. An internationally recognized and accomplished banker, who has led several industry transformational initiatives, he recently retired as GMD/CEO of UBA Group having successfully established it as a leading Pan African Financial Institution with global presence. He serves on the board of several institutions amongst who are Development Bank of Nigeria and Veritas University Abuja.

Chief (Mrs.) Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, winner of Zik Prize in Humanitarian Leadership is a feminist activist, Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur, Policy Advocate, Writer and wife of the Executive Governor of Ekiti State, H.E Kayode Fayemi. She co-founded the African Women Development Fund – the first Africa wide grant making foundation for women and chairs the program committee of the Global fund for Women, USA. She has remained at the fore front of the economic empowerment of women as a platform for sustainable socio-economic development of the African continent.

Mr. Allen Onyema, an entrepreneur per excellence, is the receiver of Zik Prize for Entrepreneurial Leadership. A lawyer, businessman and a conflict resolution expert, Onyema founded Air Peace and has nurtured it to become Nigeria’s number one airliner. A man of great vision, Onyema has continued to defied the odds and break new grounds in the airline industry.

Past recipients of the prize in Political Leadership include President; J.J. Rawlings (1995), President Nwalimu Julius Nyerere (1997), Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim (1998), President Sam Nujoma (1999), Dr. Nelson Mandela (2000).