The board and management of LEADERSHIP Newspaper Group Limited have confirmed the Abuja Transcorp Hilton Hotel as venue for its Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony, scheduled to hold on October 6, 2016.
The trio of President Muhammadu Buhari, former President Goodluck Jonathan and immediate past chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, have confirmed their attendance at the ceremony where they will be decorated as LEADERSHIP Persons of the Year 2015.
In a press statement yesterday, signed by the Group Managing Director, Dr Cletus Akwaya, the board stated that the venue for the event was chosen in view of the high-powered guests who would be attending it
The board assured that all logistics have been put in place to accord the event, which is barely two weeks away, deserving honour and prestige. The Presidency had earlier this month, confirmed that President Buhari will personally attend the event.
Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, who made the confirmation to LEADERSHIP, said the president will grace the occasion.
Adesina said that: “Mr President has confirmed his attendance of the annual LEADERSHIP awards. He has agreed to honour the event and that l can confirm to you.”
Similarly, LEADERSHIP also confirmed that former president, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, will be attending the annual awards.
His spokesman, Mr Ikechukwu Eze, said that his boss and former Nigerian leader will be part of the October event at which he will also be a star award recipient.
“The former president would be part of the event. He welcomes it, more so for such an important media event from a respected national newspaper like the LEADERSHIP Group which will be honouring him for his unique statesmanlike role and achievements especially in promoting peace and true democracy in Nigeria.
“Although His Excellency has been quite very busy since he left office, he nevertheless welcomes the development and l want to confirm to you that he would be part of the awards event,” Eze said.
The former INEC chairman had also confirmed that he would attend the event.
The trio of Buhari, Jonathan and Jega were nominated as LEADERSHIP Persons of the Year 2015.
Their selection followed a critical review of their various contributions to the growth and development of democracy in Nigeria and the peaceful and seamless manner in which the three eminent Nigerians handled the 2015 democratic transition without derailing the country’s democracy to the admiration and commendation of the global democratic community.
The LEADERSHIP Awards, which is an annual event, would be honouring President Muhammadu Buhari “for making history by being the first opposition candidate to defeat a sitting president after three attempts.” In the case of former President Goodluck Jonathan, he would be recognised by the newspaper “for achieving the improbable and for conceding defeat in an election in which he was a contestant – a first for Nigeria.”
The former INEC boss is to be honoured “for his courage, doggedness and fairness even in the face of threats to his life in the conduct of the 2015 elections,” to global acclaim.
Explaining the criteria employed by the newspaper’s Board of Editors in arriving at the choice of the trio LEADERSHIP said: “It always seems improbable until it is done. We may now take for granted the watershed of the 2015 presidential election but who could have thought it would come to pass? It was far from being so before it was done. When Nigeria held her presidential poll on March 28, 2015 – the fifth since civilian rule was restored in 1999 – it had all the elements of a do-or-die affair.
“Providence and three key personalities – Jonathan, Jega and Buhari, turned the tide. They jointly midwifed and protected the people’s mandate and the nation’s democracy from the pernicious machinations of contending interests. In choosing the LEADERSHIP Person of the Year, the Board of Editors could not separate the three central characters who defined 2015. We celebrate these icons of democracy for their role in the nation’s proper initiation to true democracy.”
However, apart from President Buhari, Jonathan and Jega, other eminent Nigerians and corporate organisations whose significant contributions in the various fields of endeavour and sectors of the nation that were recognised in the LEADERSHIP Annual Awards, are Gombe state governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo, Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, former Managing Director/CEO of Bank of Industry (BOI), Mr Rasheed Adejare Olaoluwa and chairman of Honeywell Group, Oba Otudeko.
Others are: Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, the Corp Marshal/CEO of Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Managing Director of Intelsat Nigeria Limited, Mr Simone Volpi, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dangote Cement, Heritage Bank, Access Bank, SystemSpecs, Zenith Bank, Chibok Girls, the Golden Eaglets and entertainer, Korede Bello.