Valentine Ozigbo receives Hallmark Award
L-R: Anyim Pius Anyim, Valentine Ozigbo, Ojiugo Ozigbo and Dr. Alex Otti during the 2020 Business Hallmark People of the Year Awards 2020

OBINNA EZUGWU

Leading aspirant for Anambra governorship, Mr. Valentine Chineto Ozigbo, was for the most part, the centre of attention at the 2020 Business Hallmark People of the Year Awards held on Sunday at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Ozigbo, the immediate past President and Group CEO of Transcorp Plc, who was named as a recipient of the Outstanding Achievement in Transformational Leadership Award, said the recognition will spur him on to achieve greater goals.

Accepting the award presented to him by the chairman of the occasion, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim and Dr Alex Otti, a former bank CEO, Ozigbo said he was elated to be given such honour as he was aware of the reputation of Business Hallmark and the scrutiny that award recipients usually go through.

He also paid tribute to his wife, Ojiugo, and his family who have been massive pillars of support, while also acknowledging former colleagues, business mentors, and his allies who have been a part of his eventful journey through life.

Ozigbo who is a leading governorship aspirant in the 2021 Anambra governorship polls, said he decided to join politics to help uplift the people of the state.

“I am stepping out into an arena which many regard as ‘the murky waters’ and many people close to me are perplexed why I would leave a plush job for politics. My answer is that I am pulled by the belief that Nigeria is a great country and we need to close the leadership gap to actualise our dreams urgently,” he said.

“I believe I have the leadership content needed to bring a positive transformation to my people, and that is why I am running for the office of Governor in 2021. This award encourages me and tells me I am on the right path. So I am grateful.”

Anyim congratulated the business leader, describing him as a treasure to Anambra and Nigeria, even as he prayed that God grants him the chance to serve humanity through the instrumentality of public office.

The former Senate President said Ozigbo is a friend and “the kind of man that is needed to fill the leadership void in the country”.

The Award is part of part Business Hallmark’s concept of honouring outstanding individuals and corporate organisations that have affected the Nigerian economy and polity in productive ways.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Anyim described the awardees as achievers who have “shone like bright stars” spreading light on the nation.

The former SGF used the opportunity to call for the restructuring of Nigeria, warning that the need had become urgent as the country dances on the brink.

“The reality is that we may have now found ourselves at a point in history where we we must decide who we are and were we are collectively intending to go from here,” he said.

“From my interactions with different groups from different parts of the country, what comes comes out most times is that there is an urgent need for us to evolve a sociopolitical system where everybody feels that they are effectively represented.

“I must must say that the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, banditry, kidnapping and the recent citizens protests and the contraction of the economy over the last two quarters means that the long forecasted intense competition for the dwindling resources has started. This battle for the control of scarce resources will lead to intense social conflicts that can only be averted if we make the right decisions now.”

Other winners of awards on the night included Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike who took the Man of the Year accolade; Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami who won Public Servant of the Year Award; Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, Fidelity Bank CEO who took Banker of the year award and Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, former director of public communications at the CBN who took professional excellence in corporate communications accolade.

Others are Dr Ottah Agbo, chairman House of Reps Committee in Narcotic Drugs who took Lawmaker of the Year Award; All Progressive Congress (APC) chieftains, Prince BB Apugo and Senator John James Akpanudoedehe both of whom won the Outstanding Achievement in Political Awards; Barrister Mrs. Uju Ifejika, CEO of Brittania-U Nigeria Limited who emerged Entrepreneur of the Year and Konga, the country leading e-commerce start-up which won Company of the Year award.