BY EMEKA EJERE

Thunderous ovation greeted the presentation of Banker of the Year award to the Chief Executive Officer, Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, at the 2020 edition of the prestigious Business Hallmark Newspaper Awards on Sunday, at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Business Hallmark Newspaper is one of Nigeria’s leading Business and financial providers, with a weekly publication and daily on-line reports that have become authoritative reference points in financial, business socio-political news, features and analyses.

Its concept of People of the Year is to honour outstanding individuals and corporate organisations who have affected the Nigerian economy in productive ways in their various fields.

According to the newspaper, the choice of Okonkwo is in recognition of the consistent performance of the management team of Fidelity Bank in setting a track record of sustained growth, profitability and wealth creation across its operations.

“Our Editorial Board was particularly impressed by the sterling performance of the bank in the retail market segment and on its digital platforms”, the newspaper had stated in a letter to Okonkwo a couple of weeks earlier.

“The unprecedented growth achieved in these sectors since the inception of your management term, showcases a leadership that has both been strategic and creative.

In a citation at the event, Business Hallmark observed that under Okonkwo’s watch, Fidelity Bank has “grown from being one of several players in the Nigerian banking space to one that has presently registered in the consciousness of many as one of the most dynamic and fast-growing businesses of its type in the land.”

Reacting to Okonkwo award, eminent economist and former bank CEO, Dr. Alex Otti, noted that the Fidelity Bank chief is a thorough bred professional who has been in the banking industry for over three decades.

Describing Okonkwo as a result-oriented, talented and unassuming leader who leads from the front, the Abia State governorship candidate stated that the outgoing CEO is very deserving of the award, having transformed Fidelity Bank tremendously and can hold his head high as he takes his leave when the ovation is loudest.

Otti said, “Nnamdi Okonkwo is a thorough bred professional who has been in the banking industry for over three decades. He is a result-oriented and talented leader.

“He is an unassuming leader who leads from the front. He has transformed the bank tremendously and can hold his head high as he bows out when the ovation is loudest. I believe he is very deserving of this award and a lot more.”

Also honoured at the event were: Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike (Man of the Year), the just retired director, Corporate Communication, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Isaac Okorafor (Professional Excellence in Corporate Communication), Mr. Valentine Ozigbo (Outstanding Achievement in Transformational Leadership), BB Apugo and Senator Akpanudoedehe (Outstanding Political Leadership Award), Dr Francis Agbo (Lawmaker of the Year), e-commerce startup, Konga; among others.

The elaborate event which was chaired by Nigeria’s former Senate President and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, was graced by people from all walks of life, including politicians, captains of industries and bankers.