In recognition of his outstanding achievements and creative response to the challenges of administering one of the hot bed states in the South-South and commitment to the ethos of good governance, Rivers State Governor, Barrister Nyesom Wike, has been honoured with the 2020 Business Hallmark ‘Man of the Year’ Award.

The unveiling of winners of Business Hallmark People of the Year was made by Chief (Dr) Tola Adeniyi, Co-Chairman, Hallmark Public Policy Forum, during a virtual press conference in Lagos.

According to Chief Adeniyi, the 2020 BH People of the Year Awards is meant to honour people and organisations that have made meaningful impact in supporting the growth of critical institutions needed to foster the healthy evolution of the country.
“Today, as we have done over the last few years, in honour of people and organisations who have made meaningful impact in supporting the growth of critical institutions needed to foster the healthy evolution of the country, we announce winners of our annual “People of the Year Awards” for year 2020.

“The list was arrived at after the usual due diligence and exhaustive appraisals of nominees in the various award categories.

“No doubt it has been a trying year, but our awardees whether in their public or private capacities have shined like brilliant stars, especially at a time when our country, is struggling to find its purpose and achieve a semblance of unity in the midst of leadership challenges”.

Adeniyi said Wike, by sheer force of personality, charismatic political leadership and overarching commitment to justice, has become the poster card for democracy and good governance in our country. Hence his recognition as BH man of the year.

Aside the Rivers governor, notable winners of the 2020 edition of the awards include Edo Deputy Governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu – Grassroot Political Leadership Award; Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika and Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN – Public Servants of the Year Award; Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi – Outstanding Achievements Award (Public Service) and GMD/CEO, Fidelity Bank, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo – Banker of the Year.

Others are Chairman/CEO of Brittania-U Limited, Barrister (Mrs) Uju Ifejika, Entrepreneur of the Year; Prince B.B Apugo–Outstanding ĺPolitical Leadership Award) and the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID)–Outstanding Community Service award.
Comrade Philip Shaibu, who was recently re-elected Deputy Governor of Edo State, Chief Adeniyi stated, is recognised for his sterling qualities as an emerging political leader.

“His ability to connect with the ordinary people, his grassroots appeal and dogged commitment to the pursuit of principles, have made him one of our country’s young leaders worthy of emulation.

“By insisting on standing with his governor in the face of heavy odds and total commitment to his success, he has shown that loyalty, honour and commitment are still great virtues worthy of emulation!”.

Also, Hadi Sirika, a former pilot, senator, and incumbent Minster of Aviation, was selected for proving his mettle as a technocrat, especially in evolving and implementing policies which have contributed enormously towards repositioning the aviation industry.

“His ongoing implementation of the Aviation roadmap has seen most notably the delivery of the Enugu and Abuja airport projects as well as advancements in the Public-Private Partnerships in the management of the four international airports.

Joining Sirika in the Public Servants of the Year Award category, is the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), for his steadfastness which has seen to the emergence of the National Judicial Policy; a function of the justice sector reforms especially as it relates to criminal justice and the law reform initiatives like the NFIU bill.

According to Adeniyi, his recent success in a U.K court over the P&ID scandal is a case in point of a law officer committed to the Nigerian state.

Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, won the outstanding achievements – Public Service – award, owing largely to his leadership role with the Lagos State Ministry of Health in combating the Covid-19 pandemic in the state.

“The timely and speedy policy interventions saved the state and country from what would have otherwise been a harrowing experience from this biological crisis”.

Likewise, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Fedelity Bank, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, was elected banker of the year for consistently posting double digit growth figures year-on-year in profitability and wealth creation across the bank’s operations.

“The bank has similarly recorded unprecedented growth in its retail and digital platforms such that this Tier 2 bank is well on its way to becoming a Tier one bank.

“For all of these consistencies and for leading the Bank in its continued promotion of financial inclusion, entrepreneurship and investments in the MSME value chain, Nnamdi Okonkwo has been recognized as our Banker of the Year”.

The Chairman/CEO of Brittania-U Limited, an indigenous Oil Exploration and Production company in Nigeria, Barrister (Mrs.) Uju Ifejika, on the other hand, won the entrepreneur of the year 2020, for smashing glass ceilings and scoring a number of firsts in a gender denominated industry.

“She is the 1st female chair of an upstream E&P company in Nigeria that supports the development of local competencies and capacities”.

The Outstanding Political Leadership award also goes to Prince B.B Apugo in recognition of the important roles he has played in the growth of democracy and crusade for good governance in our country.

“His consistent and dogged pursuit of good governance, honour and integrity in government and insistence on politics as a means of serving the people rather than self-interest, often at great personal cost have continued to mark him out as a man of principle who is worthy of emulation”, Adeniyi noted.

Last but not the least on the awardee list is the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), a Nigerian private sector humanitarian initiative led by the CBN governor to rally resources to combat the coronavirus disease in Nigeria.

“In record time, the coalition raised funds to the tune of billions of naira that in partnership with the NCDC, WHO, Federal and State governments, have been deployed to critical intervention schemes in the fight against the pandemic.

“The CACOVID project has touched hearts and minds and has shown the humaneness of Corporate Nigeria”.

For this feat, CACOVID bagged the Outstanding Community Service Award.

The Business Hallmark People of the Year Award is an annual event organised by the medium to celebrate institutions and individuals who have affected national development in positive ways in the course of the year.

The formal presentation ceremony of the awards, which will take place in Lagos on the 22nd of November 2020, will also be used to honour His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, who was ourMan of the Year 2019, the organisers stated.