L-R: Governor of Osun state. Gov. Ademola Adeleke; CEO Fidelity Bank Plc, Mrs Nneka Onyeali- Ikpe; Chairman/CEO. National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA) Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd); Group Chief Executive Officer of INSIGHT REDEFINI. Dr. Ken Onyeali-Ikpe; Chairman of the Occasion ,Director General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) Otunba Olusegun Runsewe , during the 2022 Champion Annual Awards at Eko hotel in Lagos. Photo by Chinyere Ikeanyi.
…Story of Lagos not complete without mentioning Marwa, says Sanwo-Olu
…I want to leave a legacy like Marwa in Osun- Adeleke
…I dedicate award to Fidelity Bank staff, my family for their support.”- Onyeali- Ikpe
It was great excitement in Lagos at the weekend as Champion Newspapers honoured some reputable Nigerians and institutions, across all strata of society who have contributed immensely to the social, economic, and technological development of the nation in 2022.
The event which took place at the Convention Centre of the Eko Hotels and Suites on Victoria Island, Lagos had Retired Brigadier-General Mohamed Buba Marwa, Chairman/Chief Executive, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, and former military administrator of Lagos State clinching the Champion Newspaper’s Man of the Year Award for the second time.
The elated NDLEA boss expressed his commitment and service to the nation and thanked all the stakeholders who are helping to eradicate the scourge of drug abuse in the nation dedicating the recognition to the Agency’s officers, men and women.
Marwa expressed confidence in the continued ability of the State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu in achieving his Greater Lagos agenda, noting that “the success of Governor Sanwo-Olu was better epitomized with the resounding victory at the poll.”
He, therefore, pointed out that Sanwo-Olu’s victory was a result of his sterling performance, saying the second most challenging seat in the country after the president’s, is piloting the affairs of Lagos.
He noted, “Those of us who have served admire how you are carrying the torch.”
He thanked all the development partners such as the United Nations, European Union, and similar other organizations, who according to him, have been providing intelligence for NDLEA to succeed regarding the war on the trafficking of hard drugs.
He said, “They don’t give cash but they provide training and we share intelligence and expressed appreciation to all his team who have been supportive, adding that they have been in the trenches risking their lives for us to have safety.”
While calling on the general public for more support in the fight against drug abuse, Marwa stressed, “It is a collective fight. Everyone should stand up and be ready to fight the drug scourge.”
Top on the list of the 34 distinguished recipients were Retired Brigadier-General Mohamed Buba Marwa, who received Man of the Year Award; United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc (Bank of The Year); Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, the MD/CEO, Fidelity Bank Plc (Banker of the Year); Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Afenifere Leader, Life Achievement Award; Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State (Governor of the Year); Ademola Adeleke of Osun State (Governor of the Year, Good Governance); Abdullahi Audu Sule of Nasarawa State (Good Corporate Governance & Integrity in Leadership Award); Prince Dapo Abiodun (Executive Governor of Ogun State) – Investment Friendly Governor of the Year; Dr. Samuel Ortom, Governor of Benue State (Courage in Leadership Award); Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State (Governor of the Year on Security); and the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume (Pillar of Democracy Award).
Others include MD/CEO of Nigerian Ports Authority Mohammed Bello Koko( Maritime Icon of the Year), Prof. Garba Dambatta, EVC, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)( Regulator of the Year), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, DG & CEO, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA)-Public Servant of the Year, Mr. A.K. Mirchandani, Chairman, Sona Group of Industries (Outstanding Industrialist of the Year), Hon Ambassador, Prince Samuel Adesegun Egunjobi, Founder/President, Rebuild Afrika Foundation (Philanthropist of the Year), Chief Ikechukwu Abraham Otti(Mighty Mighty Mighty) -Herat of Gold Award, Engr. Dr. Freeborn Okhiria, MD Nigeria Railway Corporation (Most Impactful Leadership Award ) and others
In his remarks Sanwo-Olu eulogized Marwa, saying the story of Lagos is not complete without mentioning of how he was able to change the face of Lagos. He was the one who pioneered Operation Sweep, the foremost security outfit at the time.
“Let me say Lagos and Borno often share things in common because during the Alhaji Lateef Jakande, the then Governor of Borno too, they were all best of friends. I’m not surprised that Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) was the 11th Governor of Lagos State.
“Tonight is about the Champion Awards. I was coming from another event and I said to myself, l need to reserve the best for my last. I’m happy because I still meet the full hall. I’m truly honoured to have been called on to receive this award.
“And of course, there is a household name that we all know today. When we enter that Keke that is called, Marwa. This is the Marwa that everybody talks about in Lagos. This is a testament that when you do well, posterity will judge you. And even in his national assignment today, he has changed the face of NDLEA. We thank Almighty Allah for you and He will continue to guide you.
“For the Champion Awards, I receive it with every sense of honesty, knowing fully well, it is not about me; it’s about the people of Lagos; it’s about the people that we chose to serve; it’s about the people that have given us the opportunity to be the one to represent them at this point in time.
“So I want to thank Almighty God for sparing our lives and more importantly, I want to thank all Lagosians for making this possible for all the support they have given us. And to say to you that as long as God spares our lives, we will do everything to ensure that Greater Lagos is achieved. I want to thank every one of us and don’t give up because the Lagos rising is our agenda.”
Also responding, Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke commended the sterling performance of former military administrator of Lagos State, Brig-Gen. Marwa (Retd) saying he hopes to leave a legacy in Osun as that of Marwa.
According to Adeleke “When you were the Governor of Lagos State, you did very well. I’m proud of you. That is what I planned in Osun State,” he told Marwa.
He maintained that the Champion Award is a challenge for him to perform more as the new Governor of Osun State.”I appreciate you on the award. It is going to ginger me more. I dedicate the award to Osun people.”
Receiving her award in the company of her family, friends, and colleagues, an elated Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe said, “I am grateful for this recognition and I dedicate this award to the board, management, and staff of Fidelity Bank PLC as well as my family for their support.”
Former Cross River State Governor, Donald Duke who was awarded the Most Outstanding South-South Personality of the Year, 2022 expressed joy over the award, saying it was coming 16 years after he left office.
He noted, “I want to thank those who served with me and I thank Champion Newspapers Group, they must have dug it up. There is nothing we can do for God but to serve humanity.”
In his opening remark, the Chairman of the occasion, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe who is the Director General, the National Council for Arts and Culture said when hard work and integrity are not rewarded, mediocrity would be promoted.
He added, “The awardees have no doubt gone through a rigorous process of screening, careful and meticulous scrutiny to have been adjudged fit, proper in all ramifications. They are therefore worthy and deserving of these prestigious awards.”
While commending Champion Award Committee, Runsewe added, “This award is particularly apt and timely at this time in our socio-political evolution that our nation is in dire need of people of integrity and candour, honest and hardworking men that can return our dear nation to the path of rectitude and inspire the birth of a new Nigeria where morality shall be the guiding principle of the decision-making process at sectors and levels.
“I have always been an advocate of the fact that when hard work and integrity are not rewarded, mediocrity and fraud are promoted. When we honour men who have made significant marks in the developmental strides of our nation, we project them as role models and encourage others to emulate them. It is on the strength of this conviction that I find it very heartwarming for finding in the Champion Newspapers a formidable ally in the effort to make Nigeria great again.”
Earlier in her welcome address, the Group Managing Director of Champion/Editor-in-Chief, Champion Newspapers, Dr. Nwadiuto Iheakanwa said, “There is no gainsaying that the reward for hard work is more work hence our humble appeal that more efforts be made to ensure that the nation realizes its full potentials in all spheres of endeavour knowing fully well that the country is among the most endowed nations of human capital.”
She added, “One of the areas I want to challenge the post-President Muhammadu Buhari administration is in the ease of doing business. It is my considered opinion that if the incoming administration can get it right in institutionalizing administrative structures which will eliminate the bottlenecks, the country will be able to expand her productive capacity in a manner that will encourage greater foreign earnings beyond oil.”