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LEADERSHIP AWARD 2018

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LEADERSHIP Persons Of The Year 2018

For taking good works to a whole new level beyond the call of duty, philanthropic Aliko Dangote and greathearted Imam Abdullahi Abubakar are LEADERSHIP PERSONS OF THE YEAR 2018.

Philanthropic Aliko Dangote

The activities of outstanding individuals, corporate bodies, government agencies and groups that are setting standards of performance in the public space have not often escaped the lens of LEADERSHIP over the years. Since it started the awards, almost a decade ago, LEADERSHIP has become a reference point in terms of quality of its assessment and choices. As in previous years, the 2018 awards have been designed to bring into focus those who made a difference especially in positive ways.

A lot of thinking preceded our choices. So did phone calls, letters, researches, debates, criticisms –and travels. The board of editors and select senior management staff held a series of meetings over the nominations. In some cases, they arrived at the final choices by voting. Overall, we feel satisfied as we present these LEADERSHIP award winners for 2018.

The Aliko Dangote Foundation is essentially a vehicle put in place by the business mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, to drive his corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. The foundation focuses on improving the living conditions of Nigerians through support for projects that tackle hunger and water supply problems, strengthen the quality and scope of health and education, and promote economic empowerment at the community level. Little wonder he is adjudged the sixth in the world when it comes to giving to humanity!

For Dangote, it is not just an attempt to look nice in the eyes of the corporate world. It would be simplistic to just dismiss his gesture as that of one giving back to the society where his wealth is generated. It goes far beyond that: a genuine feeling evoked by the humanity in him; his inability to look away from the hardship people around him go through in their daily existence. It is a response to the humanitarian needs that had to be met. And his intervention cuts across the broad spectrum of societal challenges from education to health and life generally.

He and American philanthropist Bill Gates are known to be friends. The attraction is not that of two successful entrepreneurs. It is more of a meeting of minds propelled by the desire to be humane, regardless of the demands of business transactions that expect a maximisation of profits.
Before he set up the foundation, his philanthropic disposition could be said to be piecemeal – spontaneous reaction to humanitarian situations as they occur. ADF was a conscious effort to institutionalise a behaviour pattern so he could streamline his activities in certain directions and monitor resources as they are channelled to a defined cause.

In March 2014, Aliko Dangote endowed the foundation with N200 billion ($1.25 billion), making it one of the largest charities in Africa. The move was to enable it carry out its mission as it significantly scales up its work.

The Dangote Group has also established the Dangote Academy to train young technicians and craftsmen that are expected to boost the manpower needs of the nation’s industries. He donated N153 million to boost Nigeria’s fight against Ebola virus disease in 2014, and another $3 million to the African Union (AU) to help combat the scourge.

This year alone, the foundation has spent in excess of N8 billion on a variety of philanthropic causes. Some of the foundation’s projects are aimed at taking care of future generations. For instance, the Dangote Business School in Kano built and delivered by the foundation at a whopping cost of N1.2 billion is certainly not targeted at today’s needs. The state-of-the-art Business School at Bayero University, Kano, is one of its kind in the whole northern region, with one or two counterparts elsewhere in the country.

The Business School is the first of its kind that the NUC accredited in northern Nigeria and the third in the country, after Lagos Business School and University of Ibadan School of Business. Also in the city of Kano, ADF implements a daily feeding programme for the indigent and the vulnerable. The programme costs the Foundation N100 million monthly.

The Nawair-ud-deen Society of Nigeria, an Islamic movement in the south-west, and its educational facility in Idi-Oro, Mushin, Lagos, attracted the attention of ADF and it went on to build and deliver a N120 million secondary school to it. The school is also a pointer to the fact that Dangote is nurturing minds for tomorrow.

Philanthropy calls for integrity on the part of the giver. In this part of the world, it is common for wealthy people to make promises they do not intend to keep but just to attract public applause. Dangote is not in that class. He keeps promises, as demonstrated by a N300 million complex the foundation built and delivered at the University Of Ibadan School of Business. It was in fulfilment of a pledge of support at the convocation ceremony of the university in 2016 when he was conferred with an honorary doctorate degree. For the international business man, a promise is a debt.

A similar gesture was extended to the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Kaduna State. ADF, at his behest, had undertaken the construction of 10 units of students’ hostels within the Samaru campus of the foremost Nigerian university at a cost of N1billion. The project has been completed and delivered as promised.

Dangote the businessman has multi-billion- naira investments in Niger State that have created thousands of job opportunities. Some businessmen in his category could have said “I have done enough for these people.” But for him, enough is hardly enough — he went further to extend micro-credits to the less privileged in the state.

In continuation of the disbursement of its Micro-grants Programme across the country, ADF flagged off the official disbursement of N250 million to 25,000 indigent and vulnerable women in Niger State: 1,000 women were selected from each of the 25 LGAs in the state. A similar facility was extended to Nasarawa State where ADF launched the official disbursement of N130 million to 13,000 indigent and vulnerable women in the state: 1,000 women were selected from each of the 13 LGAs in the state.

In response to the dire humanitarian situation in the north-east as a result of the activities of terrorists, Dangote had earlier pledged the sum of N2 billion through the foundation to support the reconstruction efforts of the Borno State government. To redeem that pledge, ADF delivered building materials worth N1 billion to construct 200 housing units at Dangote Village in Dalori, Maiduguri, for internally displaced persons (mostly widows and orphans). Each house is a self-contained able to house a family of at least five, and the state government also made provisions for each family to be given economic empowerment tools to sustain their livelihood.

The state government equally built a fully functional school and a clinic to cater for the residents of the estate. In addition to the houses, the foundation supported each of the women with a cash grant of N100, 000, a mobile phone, a bank account and an ATM card. ADF equally undertook to defray the operational costs of the school in the estate for the next five years. Similarly, it built and delivered two units of Primary Healthcare centres in Gujba and Gulani LGAs following the destruction of the existing ones by Boko Haram terrorists.

Like an elder visiting a younger one, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) was ADF’s guest recently. ADF gladly hosted its senior player in the field of public giving when it was on a four-day working visit to Nigeria and the Republic of Chad to engage further with the leadership of both countries on the partnership with the two foundations toward strengthening of routine immunization and primary healthcare delivery. In that direction also, ADF and BMGF co-hosted the CEOs of major Nigerian companies at a “CEO Forum on Food Fortification in Nigeria” to strengthen the call for food fortification in the country.

For most Nigerians who are keen to observe activities around the Nigeria Police, it is easy to note that their mobility has improved significantly. This was made possible by ADF which donated 150 units of fully equipped operational vehicles to police. The cost of the vehicles runs into billions of naira. ADF equally supports the Global Business Coalition for Education, GBC-Education, an international initiative based in the United Kingdom, with an annual grant of USD $60,000. That offshore push was extended to Kigali, Rwanda, where the ADF supports Sustainable Development Goals- Centre for Africa (SDG-CA) with an annual grant of USD $500,000.

Back home, the foundation supports James Hope College in Agbor, Delta State, with an annual grant of N20 million to enable it provide scholarships to indigent students. In a deliberate move to assure himself that his Islamic roots were firm and steady, Dangote, through the ADF, supports the 36 state governments and the FCTA with food supplies during the annual Ramadan month to complement their efforts in providing food for the indigent and vulnerable during the fasting period. The programme costs the foundation N700 million annually.

As we pointed out earlier, it will be exceedingly simplistic to dismiss all these public-spiritedness as corporate social responsibility. Those who do CSR calculate in percentages. Dangote does not – he just gives and gives and gives.

For some years now, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has appeared on the Forbes List as the richest man in Africa because his wealth is believed to be in the region of $15 to 20 billion. But for him it is not just about the bottom line; it is more about humanity and his role in safeguarding it. He believes strongly that between life and death are legacies and the footprints one leaves in the sands of time. That is what drives him.

                                           Greathearted Imam Abdullahi Abubakar

During one of the numerous crises and attendant killings that characterized Plateau State, marauding herdsmen raided villages while on a killing spree. During one of those moments of bestiality on June 24, 2018, some suspected killer herdsmen invaded some communities of Barkin Ladi local government area of Plateau State, and killed over 200 people. While the villagers ran for dear life, their search for safety took them to the warm embrace of the mosque of Imam Abdullahi Abubakar.

Around 3:30 pm, shortly before the commencement of the Asr prayers, some 300 distraught people, all Christians who barely managed to escape the savagery and mayhem unleashed on their communities by the killers, found themselves in Yelwa Gindin Akwati village. They ran, in multitude, towards the mosque.

Seeing that they were in distress, Imam Abubakar gladly offered them help — he accommodated them inside the mosque and took some to his small house, before their assailants stormed the village.

When the attackers came in their large numbers and, in their usual manner, shot sporadically in the air, Imam Abubakar, at the risk of being killed, vehemently defended his guests. He withstood all provocations and made sure no harm came the way of the 300 people who sought refuge in his mosque.

. He watched over the over 300 people sheltered in both the mosque and his residence for four days until security operatives arrived at the village to take them to the IDP camps.

During that reign of insanity, as the killers relished in the killing spree and continued to unleash mayhem on hapless citizens, Abubakar did what stood him out as someone who values the sanctity of human life. The octogenarian cleric said: “I hid the women in my personal house and, after that, I took the men into the mosque and hid them there.” Even when the assailants caught up with him and forcefully demanded that he release those who were Christians, Imam Abubakar stood his ground. He persuaded them and, eventually, the assailants left without hurting anybody.

Religious intolerance and the attendant killings are some of the factors continually pulling the nation apart. Hundreds of lives have been lost to this unfortunate scenario that has continued to force some Nigerians into living a life of scepticism and suspicion with people of other faiths. It is therefore heartening to see that this aged cleric went out of his way to save people who professed another religion.

A native of Misau LGA of Bauchi State, Imam Abubakar left his native Misau community when he was 25 years old and the journey of life took him to Yelwa Gindin Akwati village of Gashish district in Barkin Ladi LGA of Plateau State where he eventually emerged Imam after the demise of his father.
Born to a father who engaged in farming and mining activities, Imam Abubakar found a second home on the Plateau where he has continued to live his life. One of Abubakar’s wives is of the Berom ethnic stock.

For his bold and courageous effort to save the lives of over 300 Christians, Abubakar deserves nothing less than commendation from all lovers of peaceful coexistence and religious tolerance. Indeed, those who work for peace do not belong to one group or another; they are not just Muslims or Christians, rich or poor, educated or illiterate; they are individuals who devote their lives to the common good of the majority.

At 83, Imam Abubakar took risks for peace, put his life on the line to protect people from other communities and faith. He taught us the hard but important lesson of protecting human beings irrespective of their tribe, religion and political differences and ultimately contribute to moving the society forward.

The inference that can be easily drawn from his action is that Imam Abdullahi Abubakar promptly put himself in the victims’ shoes and so it didn’t take long for him to see the need to shield them from the looming danger. Happily, 300 lives were saved.

The Imam has taught Nigerians the lesson of religious tolerance — that very important virtue which, unfortunately, seems to be missing in the lives of most peop

 LEADERSHIP Governors Of The Year 2018

Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi Of Enugu State

Enugu State governor Laurence Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, known fondly by his nickname “Gburugburu”, assumed office in the “Coal City State” with an assurance that he would work hard to entrench peace and good governance in spite of the country’s daunting economic challenges. But he has even moved beyond his state. He has in his own unique way promoted unity with every other state governor in the country. For keeping to his words, for engendering industrial harmony, innovative and creative internal revenue generation processes, massive infrastructural development as well as enhancing security in the state, Hon. Laurence Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is LEADERSHIP Governor of the Year 2018.

Although Governor Ugwuanyi is yet to complete his first tenure, his developmental strides even with the meagre resources at his disposal, his penchant for political inclusiveness as well as his propensity to ensure that the people lived their lives peaceably in a secured environment have endeared him to the people of the state and beyond. So far, Ugwuanyi has lived up to his promise of deploying government resources and services to create fair and equal opportunity for everyone willing to make a living and create wealth, educate their children, and enjoy life in a peaceful and secured environment.

Ugwuanyi’s passion for improving the wellbeing of the less privileged in the society – the long-neglected citizens suffering in the rural communities – is second to none. Before he assumed office in 2015, most roads in Enugu North senatorial zone, especially those in Nsukka, a university town and the second-largest town in the state, were, to be charitable, at advanced stages of dilapidation. Roads in the capital city Enugu and in the other senatorial zones also needed attention.

To make good his promise, the governor swiftly constituted a committee on Enugu State Urban Renewal to review and identify locations that would witness infrastructural development as a matter of priority. Emene, Abakpa-Nike, 9th Mile Corner and Nsukka were consequently identified for immediate development.

In keeping with the pledge in his inaugural address, the governor, within three months, simultaneously flagged off construction and reconstruction of over eight massive road projects at 9th Mile Corner, Nsukka, Abakpa-Nike and Emene, among others. Besides, the governor has, in line with his administration’s rural development agenda, completed over 35 grassroots development projects across the 17 local government areas of Enugu State. Within the three years of his administration, he has spent billions of naira on road construction and rehabilitation in different parts of the state covering over 300 kilometres.

In furtherance of his promise to create more urban centres, he has embarked on massive development of urban and rural roads across the state, with a view to enhancing rural access and boosting economic activities in every corner of the state. Some of the roads so far constructed by Ugwuanyi’s administration include the Nike Lake road, the Abakpa-Nike road, the Opi–Nsukka dual carriage road, the Amaeke-Ngwo—Nsude–9th Mile bypass, the Amankwo—Amaeke–Amah Brewery Junction–9th Mile bypass, the Ohom Orba Junction–Imilike Ani– Ezimo Uno– Ezimo Agu–Imilike–Ogbodu Aba—Obollo-Etiti—Amalla–Obollo Afor ring road, the Enugu Road Junction—Umuezebi–Nru Junction–University Gate road, the Post Office Roundabout–Odenigbo Roundabout–Ogurugu Road–Ikenga road, and the Obechara Road Junction—Umuakashi–Mechanic Village–Ikenga Hotels Junction road, and the construction of Agbani—Afor–Amurri road in Nkanu West LGA.

Governor Ugwuanyi did not leave the state-of-the-art Enugu State Diagnostic Centre behind as he made sure that the facility, which is the first of its kind in the south-east, established to create hospital chains that will make Enugu a safe haven for high-quality and affordable healthcare delivery in the country, received massive attention.

In the area of security, Ugwuanyi has scored a high mark. Many believe that the peaceful atmosphere existing in the state is partly due to the positive way he relates with security operatives. Little wonder the chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Alhaji Musiliu Smith, recently stated that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State deserves credit for running the state in a progressive, people-oriented and security-conscious manner.

Ugwuanyi is also rated as one of the most worker-friendly governors in the country, a development that made workers give him an award as the most labour-friendly governor. In addition to prompt payment of workers’ salary, the governor has continued to pay workers in the state their 13th month salary. Also, pensioners have continued to receive what is due to them.

The workers led by NLC chairman Comrade Virginus Nwobodo and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Comrade Igbokwe Chukwuma Igbokwe, had noted during the 2017 Workers’ Day celebration in Enugu that the award was also in appreciation of the governor’s sustained harmonious industrial relationship with the state’s workforce.

Through a prudent and transparent management of the Paris Club refund, especially the use of 100 per cent of the local governments’ share of the fund, Ugwuanyi was able to offset the arrears of LG workers’ salaries and some pension arrears owed in the 17 councils of the state. The governor, in his desire to enhance the quality of education in the state, embarked on massive promotion of teachers and recruitment of over 1, 300 primary school teachers as well as the elongation of the terminal grade of qualified primary school teachers to Level 16.

The governor also absorbed 54 per cent of total cost of 100 housing units at Elim Estate allocated to workers within the junior and intermediate grades, as a way of enhancing industrial harmony ; implemented the 2006 approved scheme of service for local government employees in the state through the release of senior staff promotions with qualified workers progressing to Grade Level 16 in all the departments; and a successful conduct of biometric exercise in the state to ensure that ghost employees never rear their ugly heads in the state.

In the area of internally generated revenue (IGR), he worked hard to increase the state’s IGR to N22 billion in 2017 alone, the highest by any administration in the state in a single year since 1999.
As part of his efforts to empower the masses, especially traders, Governor Ugwuanyi recently launched and repackaged the Enugu State Traders Empowerment Scheme to assist genuine traders in the state who won the monthly open raffle draw, with the sum of N50, 000 each to grow their various businesses. To ensure that the people of Enugu state enjoy potable water supply, Ugwuanyi has embarked on rehabilitation of the facilities at Ajali and Oji River Water Treatment schemes.
For a state like Enugu which is essentially a civil service state, these are landmarks worth celebrating.

Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello Of Kogi State

Governor Yahaya Bello’s tenure was born in controversy and even worse. At the time he mounted the saddle in Kogi State, the “Confluence State” was, literally speaking, a hotbed of insecurity and virtually in tatters. “Operation Total Freedom” that he introduced drastically brought the situation to normalcy: indigenes are traveling home again without fear of being kidnapped or molested. For his achievements in the area of security, in agriculture, in youth empowerment and civil service reform, Alhaji Yahaya Bello is the LEADERSHIP Governor of Year 2018.

After successfully wresting Kogi from the fangs of those who thought the state should remain in bondage while they fed fat, the governor began the process of garnering resources to tackle insecurity head-on. With his good working relationship with the government at the centre, Bello was able to mobilise and provide the needed support to the police and the army in terms of logistics and equipment, and within a very short period of time, the governor turned the heat on the criminals who no longer find the state conducive to continue their nefarious activities. It took a joint security operation comprising the military, the police and other paramilitary agencies established by the governor to change the narrative in the state.

The Bello administration purchased more than 200 security vehicles for security operations across the state. Over 500 motorcycles were provided for security agents to enhance access to the hinterlands where most of the heinous crimes were committed. In a bid to maintain Kogi’s status as one of the most secured states in Nigeria, Governor Bello recruited over 3, 000 men and women as vigilante guards to complement the efforts of other security agencies in the state. The guards who were recruited and trained by the Kogi State Vigilante Service undertook various trainings on security issues at different centres across the three senatorial districts of the state.

Buoyed by an unprecedented courage in the battle against crime in Nigeria, Governor Bello further took the fight to the criminals’ hideouts. On the eastern flank of the state, houses identified as belonging to kidnap kingpins were pulled down in broad daylight. By that singular act, the frightening statistics of an average of 25 kidnap cases per month as at when the governor took office crashed dramatically in 2018. Also, the state introduced a whistleblowing policy which exposed the criminals. The domestication of the Criminal Justice Code was instrumental in ensuring the security of life and property in the state.

Because it is bounded by Benue State, Kogi had its fair share of the spill-over of the farmers/herdsmen clashes in Benue. But the state government under Governor Bello created a dialogue and cooperation platform for free flow of communication between the government and the herdsmen on one hand, and the communities and herdsmen on the other hand. With this relationship, both farmers and herdsmen now live peacefully together in Kogi State.

One of the bleeding points in the state government coffers was the unbearable monthly wage bill. Before the governor took office, there was an entrenched system of “ghost workers syndrome”. Jolted by the reality that his administration would not be able achieve its agenda for the state if the monster of ghost workers was not tamed, Governor Bello embarked on a staff verification exercise. The revelation from that exercise was mind-blowing. One of the positive results, however, is that the Kogi civil service now boasts a clean payroll. The state government is getting value for money since it is no longer paying faceless workers in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kaduna and other parts of the country.

With Ajaokuta Steel Company yet to be fully operational, agriculture has been a veritable means of employment for youths in the state. Dissatisfied with the little attention his predecessors paid to agriculture, Governor Bello also hit the ground running by setting machinery in motion for the revitalisation of the agricultural sector. Within three years of diligent implementation of policies and programmes, the Bello administration has been able to turn Kogi to an agriculture-driven economy.
This year, the state government procured 375 Fergus tractors with complete implements — three quantities each for mini harvesters, planters, broom sprayers, rice reapers and other similar equipment to enhance agricultural activities and boost production. Procurement and assemblage of 1, 500 tillers were distributed to small-scale farmers in 2017.

Aware of the attention the state government is paying to agriculture, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture nominated Kogi State as the pioneer state for the National Egg Production Scheme; 135 youths were empowered with N4.2 million each to support their poultry farms. Also, Kogi under Bello is a leading cashew producer in the country. The state is also undoubtedly one of the top cassava producers in Nigeria.

Having created conducive environment for the private sector to thrive, the Cassava City in Osara, Kogi State, got a boost from investors Contec Global, Geron Oil & Gas, and Jil Farms. This year, the firms committed $25 million to cassava farms. While the investment start-up on a turnkey basis is $25 million, the plant has the capacity to employ over 2, 500 people on a full-time basis. Left with no choice, the Central Bank of Nigeria Anchor Borrowers Programme keyed into the booming agribusiness in the state, with the verification and empowerment of over 240 cassava farmers. Also, the state government this year completed the rice mill it built at Omi Dam and most of the Green Houses built to support farmers.

In the health sector, the Confluence Advanced Medical Diagnostic and Imaging Centre (CAMDIC) is at completion stage. The health facility, which promises to be the best in Nigeria, is billed to be commissioned in January. Besides, the Healthcare-plus Programme (HPP) has been hailed as one of the best healthcare policies in the country. The programme has made it possible for pregnant women to have access to medical services across the state at no cost.

On poverty alleviation and youth empowerment, Governor Bello also keyed into the successes of the federal government’s TraderMoni initiative by launching an empowerment programme called “Bello Market Women” (BMW). The programme, also tagged B-MONI, has given a helping hand to market women by adding value to their micro trades. Through the state Ministry of Finance, it serves as a pilot scheme to ease financial burden, reduce dependency and alleviate the poverty level within the women and youth circles in the state. The B-MONI gives interest-free loans with a consistent return of capital within a three-month interval, to qualify beneficiaries for the next tranche of the fund.

Dave Umahi Of Ebonyi State

Engineer David Nweze Umahi is making remarkable strides in the development agenda of a state known for its rich salt deposits. In his less than four years as the chief executive of the state, he has turned the once rural Ebonyi communities into beehives of activities especially in the areas of agriculture and infrastructure. For his indelible footprints in the administration of Ebonyi State, Governor Dave Umahi is LEADERSHIP Governor of the Year 2018.

Governor Dave Umahi has, within three years in office, transformed the state into one of the fastest-growing states in the country. This is even more poignant when it is considered that Umahi came on board as the nation was tottering on the brink of economic recession. Invariably, it was no surprise that, within that period, revenue from the federal allocation accruing to the state nosedived from N6–9 billion before 2015 to N2.3bn–N3.5bn.

This was barely enough to pay the wage bill, including pensions and gratuities. Not given to excuses, the engineer-turned-politician has been able to husband the available meagre resources judiciously to be able to record the kind of impact his people, friends and even his adversaries are celebrating and which, deservedly, attracted the attention of this newspaper.

The achievements so far made by the Umahi administration have continued to earn for him accolades from far and near. President Muhammadu Buhari, during his state visit to Ebonyi to commission some of these projects, lauded the achievements of the state governor.

For anyone who knew Ebonyi State and in particular its capital Abakaliki, the transformation under Umahi can only be described as breath-taking. He adopted the policy of inclusive politics, which has made it possible for him to carry everyone along and has ensured the state experiences integrated development. This strategy has yielded tremendous gains. As the education sector is receiving attention, so is the health sector as well as all other sectors in different zones of the state.

He had, on assumption of office, assured that the new roads his administration would embark on would be dependable and durable. When he introduced the concrete pavement road construction in the state, relying on his experience as an engineer, many did not understand where he was coming from. But, today, many states go to Ebonyi to copy and seek professional advice on how to go about the construction of the concrete rigid pavement roads with a 50-year lifespan.

So far, the state government has built three 700-metre twin flyover bridges at Akanu Ibiam Roundabout, Offia Nwali Junction as well as the International Market bypass and a pedestrian bridge at Ebonyi State University permanent site gate. All the bridges are strategically located along the African Trans-Sahara Highway.

Apart from the bridges which have given the state capital a different outlook, the Umahi administration has also constructed numerous roads in the state. Some of the roads and bridges constructed within this time include: Onueke—Ezzama—Oshiri–Onicha road, 35km; Obiozara–Onicha road, 8.3km; Uburu–Presbyterian Church road,12km; Umuchima road, 7.5km; Okposi road, 23km, Akaeze–Ivo road,15km; a section of Abakaliki–Afikpo federal highway, 14.5km; Abakaliki internal roads, 150km, with one major bridge; 7 bridges along Nkalagu–Ehamufu road,15km; Abaomege—Ukawu—Ugwulangwu–Okposi federal road, 25km; and Abaomege Ukawu bridge.
In the education sector, the state government, on assumption of office, paid all its counterpart funds to the Universal Basic Education Board and has accessed all the funds accruing to it, which it channelled to critical areas in the education sector.

The state also procured and distributed 20,000 pieces of two-seater classroom furniture. At least 190 schools have been renovated while model primary and junior secondary schools have been constructed. Information communication technology infrastructure has been constructed and e-learning programmes will soon come on stream in junior and senior secondary schools in the state.
It is on record that the laudable achievements of Gov Umahi culminated in Ebonyi State attaining the 10th position in WAEC/NECO results in 2016 and 2017, and retaining the position in 2018 – an unprecedented achievement in the over two-decade history of the state. Also, the Ebonyi State College of Education, Ikwo, has been affiliated to Ebonyi State University through the National Universities Commission; with this, the college is now a degree-awarding institution.

In the area of agriculture, Ebonyi State is reaping bountifully from the federal government’s ban on the importation of rice, as it has made farming a profitable venture in the state. He latched on to the rice revolution spearheaded by the Central Bank of Nigeria through the Anchor Borrowers Scheme. Ebonyi Rice has become a household name in every family, and the state governor has received presidential encomium and won prestigious awards from many reputable institutions across the country.
The Umahi administration introduced a unique agriculture programme targeted at making farming attractive to young people in particular. This has weaned many youths away from unemployment and crime.
In the health sector, the state government under Governor Umahi constructed and equipped the much-celebrated Virology Centre and Chest Clinic located at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki. The state government has also embarked on the renovation and equipping of 13 general hospitals in the state.
Governor Umahi has appropriated the sum of N2.036 billion for the financial empowerment of 10,526 Ebonyi people, especially widows. Six persons received N1 million each; 6,520 beneficiaries got N200, 000 each while 4,000 widows received N100, 000 each. The beneficiaries cut across unemployed graduates and non-graduates — youths, men, women, widows, and indigent Ebonyi citizens in Lagos.
The sum of N263.2 million was used to acquire 400 tricycles which were distributed free to deserving Ebonyi people at home and outside. The state government, in partnership with the Bank of Industry, has made an N8 billion loan facility available to civil servants and Ebonyi intending entrepreneurs at single-digit interest rate for the establishment of agro-based industries in Ebonyi State.

The most striking quality of His Excellency Engr. David Nweze Umahi, right from the cradle to his current midlife status, is that he neither takes the easy path nor casually marches to whichever destination the path may lead; instead, he beats his own path and leaves a historical trail, regardless of the walls or obstacles that are erected before him or around him.

Governor Umahi attended Umunaga Primary School, Uburu, from 1971 to 1977 where he excelled with a Distinction in the First School Leaving Certificate Examination. Upon completion of his primary education, he proceeded to Ishiagu High School from 1978 to 1979. He completed his secondary education at the prestigious Government College, Afikpo, which he attended from 1979 to 1982, and sustained his academic brilliance by gaining Division One in the West African School Certificate Examination, accumulating ‘As’ in science subjects.

Umahi gained a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Anambra State University of Science and Technology in 1987.

Engr. Umahi’s foray into public/political arena started in 2007 when he became the acting state Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (Ebonyi State). In 2009, he was made the substantive Chairman of the party. He transformed the Ebonyi State PDP from an organisation troubled by high-profile political and administrative disputes, defections and rancour into a highly effective political machine.

Darius Ishaku Of Taraba State

Darius Dickson Ishaku inherited Taraba State when it was weighed down by inadequate infrastructure, poor finances, a moribund bureaucracy, ethno-religious crises, and deep-seated rancour within the political class and the civil service. But in less than four years of the Ishaku administration, the state has, through prudent resource management, implementation of people-oriented economic and social policies and programmes, become a model for all to emulate. For this feat, Architect Darius Dickson Ishaku is LEADERSHIP Governor of the Year 2018.

Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku, an astute administrator and public finance management expert, after winning a keenly contested governorship election on April 11, 2015, and he was sworn in as the third executive governor of Taraba State on May 29, 2015, settled down to face the numerous challenges that confronted the state. From economy to politics, security to education, health to infrastructure, among others, Governor Ishaku has written his name in gold, breaking new frontiers and enhancing the welfare of the people.

This soft-speaking and calculated administrator has cut his teeth in the provision of portable water for most residents of the state. Of note is the construction of over 100 boreholes in rural communities in the state, the empowerment of women and youths, and provision of agricultural inputs for farmers.

Outside the N3.6 billion African Development Bank (AfDB) project, Governor Ishaku initiated a N6.8 billion water project to boost water supply in Taraba. Ishaku also contributed N11 million counterpart funds from 2013 till date and the total cost of counterpart fund contributed for the ongoing AfDB water project in the state is N500 million.

The Jalingo waterworks has been upgraded to provide potable water for the city’s inhabitants who once shared shallow water wells and other unhygienic sources of water with animals.

To ease movement of people and goods between rural areas and urban areas, Governor Ishaku re-awarded contracts for the construction of Kona—Lau—Baissa—Karim–Lamido road, initiated the construction of Mararraba—Baissa–Abong federal road, awarded contracts for the construction of Takum–Chanchanji federal road and the abandoned Magami road. Other completed road projects are the Jalingo—Kona—Lau road, Jolly Nyame Way, GRA Jalingo, Mayo Dasa bridge, Magami road, Takum township roads, and Takum–Kastina Ala road. He extended the same measures to the housing sector, bringing reprieve to public servants and the people at large.

The provision of quality health services also received commendable attention from the governor, the highpoint being the signing of N1.3 billion memorandum of understanding (MoU) with leading drug producer Roche Pharmaceutical Limited. The MoU, which has a five-year span, is designed to provide high-quality drugs and provide free treatment for hepatitis patients in the state: over 50, 000 Tarabans are targeted to benefit from free screening for hepatitis B and C.

The project also covers the upgrading of dilapidated health service centres and commissioning of the hitherto abandoned Wukari General Hospital, which was reconstructed by his administration.
As part of the partnership, Roche Diagnostics has provided advanced testing equipment to improve the quality of diagnosis. Healthcare workers have undergone extensive training to facilitate proper testing, diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis. The administration also embarked on the renovation of the Bambur General Hospital.

Coming into office at a time the state, like others in the north-east geopolitical zone, was confronted with serious security challenges, this rescue captain has had to scratch water from the rock to fight the menace through assisting security agencies to check the activities of criminals. Governor Ishaku also purchased security patrol vehicles for the police and other security agencies.

With the gesture, the governor has turned Taraba State to a peaceful and secured state. The people aver that the pockets of communal and farmers-herders clashes would have been worse if the governor were not upbeat in the area of security.

Governor Ishaku has also intervened in the electricity sector where he installed and commissioned electricity transformers in over 85 communities and stepped down electricity from the national grid to Kunini town in Lau local government area.

After two previous governments failed to complete it, the Jalingo Airport project got off on a sound footing when Governor Ishaku took over the reins of leadership. In a matter of months, he set the target for commissioning the project and made the airport a reality by not only completing it but also arranging for immediate air traffic operations, thus making all categories of users heave a sigh of relief.

On social security, Ishaku in his bid to curb unemployment rate visited the management of the Bank of Industry (BoI) to sign a memorandum of understanding for the disbursement of N700million facilities of which the incumbent administration contributed a half.

Tarabans are proud of lshaku’s achievements. Many describe him as a man of proven integrity who has made Taraba State, Nigeria and indeed entire Africa proud.

LEADERSHIP Politicians Of The Year 2018

For taking the art of politicking to its pristine level while keeping their eyes on the ball, for consistently remaining the “issue” and “point of reference” in the rough and tumble politics of Nigeria, Senators Ahmed Bola Tinubu and Bukola Saraki are LEADERSHIP Politicians of the year 2018.

 

Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s favourite sport is politics. He played a prominent role in the formation and eventual victory of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last general election. He was one of the men that battled the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan to a standstill. And to this day, he remains the issue in the ruling APC, and in the south-west. Somehow, he gets his way. For his political sagacity and sany that have firmly established him as the leading light in the political firmament of Nigeria, and for his staying power, Bola Ahmed Tinubu is LEADERSHIP Politician of the Year 2018.

Nigeria was on the verge of collapse under the leadership of the former ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before Tinubu midwifed the APC that created space for the emergence of President Buhari as its presidential candidate. Despite PDP’s machinery and power of incumbency, the party suffered a colossal defeat in the southwest and in the north due mainly to Tinubu’s political influence.

Tinubu joined active politics in the early 1990s after a successful career in the oil sector. He joined the Social Democratic Party (SDP), where he clinched the party’s primary ticket to contest the Lagos West senatorial district election, which he won against the candidate of the National Republican Convention (NRC) in 1991.

After the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election, and the protests that followed, he was forced to leave the shores of the country due to frequent assassination attempts on his life. He went on exile and thereafter joined the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) together with other critics of the Abacha regime. It was there that other pro-NADECO members and Tinubu came up with Radio Kudirat, which later became a thorn in the flesh of the Abacha military junta.

He became the third democratically elected governor of Lagos State on the platform of Alliance for Democracy (AD), following the return of democracy in 1999. He served two terms during which he helped to increase the internally generated revenue (IGR) of the state to billions of naira monthly.

When he assumed office in May 1999, Bola Ahmed Tinubu promised 10,000 housing units for the poor. During the eight-year period, he made large investments in education in the state. He also initiated new roads required to meet the needs of the fast-growing population of the state.

He was the only governor returned on the AD platform in the southwest in 2003. The other five states were “captured” by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo-led PDP. At the time he was leaving office in 2007, he had ensured a return of some of the states to the progressives’ fold.

As governor, he was also involved in a struggle with the federal government over whether Lagos State had the right to create new local council development areas (LCDAs) to meet the needs of its large population. The controversy led to the federal government seizing funds meant for local councils in the state. The tussle ended with a Supreme Court pronouncement in favour of Lagos State.

In April 2007, when he was rounding off his second term, the federal government arraigned him before the Code of Conduct Tribunal for trial over alleged illegal operation of 16 separate foreign accounts. In January 2009, he was cleared by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of charges of conspiracy, money laundering, abuse of office and official corruption in relation to the sale of V-mobile network shares in 2004.

Following the victory of the PDP in the April 2007 elections, Tinubu was active in negotiations to bring together the fragmented opposition parties into a mega party capable of challenging the PDP in 2011. In July 2009, he called for implementation of electoral reforms spelled out in the Justice Uwais Report to ensure that the 2011 elections would be free and fair.

Not deterred by the failure of the mega party to fly and form government in 2011, Tinubu continued to rally like minds across the country, which brought together five political parties and groups to form the APC in 2013. APC won the presidential election of 2015.

Soon afterwards, Tinubu could not enjoy the spoils of the victory. The table was turned against him and things began to fall apart for him. He didn’t have an input in the ministerial list, and his loyalists were not allowed to gain control of leadership of the National Assembly. Being a team player, he however remained within the party and did not rock the boat.

Today, the former Lagos State governor has returned to reckoning within the party. It is a fact that he is today the politician closest to President Buhari. Tinubu’s exploit in enthroning APC-led governments across the six southwest states is quite commendable. There is no doubt he will work hard to replicate this feat in other geopolitical zones and return the party to power in the forthcoming poll.

Senator Bukola Saraki

Senator Saraki’s effective and active command of affairs in the Red Chamber of the National Assembly portrays him as a leader of immense capacity and capability. For steering the 8th Senate through turbulent waters, changing the political dynamics within his sphere of influence, against all odds, and remaining Unremovable in spite og being the underdog, for his political nimbleness and doggedness, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki is LEADERSHIP Politician of the Year 2018.

As president of the Nigerian Senate, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki is no doubt a goldfish that is both visible and notable. He went into the office with an unassailable pedigree that is the envy of many. Following his emergence as the No. 3 citizen in June 2015, his influence has grown larger: he is no longer just the strongman of Kwara politics since the demise of his father Dr Abubakar Olusola Saraki, some years ago; his influence seems to have transcended his Kwara home state and presently looms large in the entire north-central zone.

But Saraki didn’t attain this political height without having his share of political baptism of fire. The manner of his emergence, which upended party calculations, opened a floodgate of attacks devised to shoot down his irrepressible spirit and rising profile. He was arraigned before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) by his own party, on September 22, 2015, over alleged false declaration of assets. Undaunted by the inanity of his trials, he fought gallantly to prove his innocence.

He was discharged and acquitted by the CCT, but the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) appealed the verdict of the CCT. The Court of Appeal exonerated the Senate President on some of the charges and asked the CCT to retry Saraki on other counts. Saraki painstakingly approached the Supreme Court where he was discharged and acquitted of all the charges in July 2018, almost three years after his trial started.

Saraki’s patience during the period of trial was legendary. Even more remarkable was the solidarity he enjoyed from his fellow senators who were convinced that he was a victim of political witch-hunt. When eventually he won, his legal victory was both outstanding and noteworthy.

While congratulating him on his victory at the apex court, President Muhammadu Buhari commended the Senate president for his patience, courage and comportment while the trial lasted. The president said Saraki’s pursuit of his case from the lowest to the apex court should be a precedent for others to emulate, recalling how he went through the same judicial process three times after he lost presidential elections in the past.

No doubt, Saraki’s triumph should serve as a tonic for lovers of justice and good governance in the country who share the view that solutions of leadership are inside leaders. This view stands in line with the fact that natural leaders don’t just do things; they change things. Reading the life of Saraki, one cannot but agree that, indeed, wisdom is better earned in the den of setbacks than in the cosiness of victories.

As Senate president, Saraki has not disappointed his admirers in the country’s political landscape. Rather than retreat behind closed doors, the scion of the famed Oloye Saraki dynasty in Ilorin has consistently shown leadership at the forefront: assessing situations, evaluating options, and encouraging colleagues in the two legislative arms of government to work together for a stable, fair and just society.

Although leadership traits could be developed, certain individuals were born natural leaders. Saraki falls in the latter category. Balancing on his self-assurance and privileged position as Nigeria’s No. 3, he did not gloss over problems in the hope that they would just go away. He relied on his can-do verve to trudge on.

In June 2017, Saraki revealed that the 8th Senate under his leadership had passed the most bills in its 13 months of existence. This hints on development leadership – leadership that expands the capacity of fellow lawmakers to excel in their respective positions within the Red Chamber, and ultimately achieve results. It speaks simply of Saraki as a servant and transformational leader. This is in spite of the distractions that seemed to have become standard stuff — one that natural-born leaders are fortunate to be well equipped to duck.

It is obvious the journey has not been easy for Saraki, but he has so far shown many good qualities of an effective leader in times of adversity, which explains the way and manner he has been able to keep the federal legislature intact.

LEADERSHIP Government Agency of the Year 2018

The New JAMB Under Prof Is-haq Oloyede

Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) had been a cesspool of corruption for a long time but nobody knew. Then suddenly a different kind of man got posted there as registrar. All of a sudden, within one year the same JAMB that had been remitting something in the range of N3m to the federal government annually, remitted over N5b that year. Yes this story is true. That even enabled JAMB to reduce its fees for the teeming Nigerian students who are the main clients of the government agency. For those inimitable acts, the new JAMB under Prof Is-haq Olarewaju Oloyede is LEADERSHIP GOVERNMENT AGENCY OF THE YEAR 2018.

Since Professor Is-haq Olarewaju Oloyede took over the management of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) as the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer, he has breathed a noticeable fresh air into the organisation that hitherto was barely managing to pay its bills turning it into a revenue yielding agency of government.

The Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin has turned the organisation around in so short a time.

JAMB became a revenue yielding agency by default. It exceeded its brief to the extent of becoming an income generating, profit-making organ of government. Before Oloyede, JAMB was, to all intents, a social platform used by candidates to attain the tertiary stage of formal education.

Past managements of the agency hid behind the public perception of the agency as a mere examination body to fleece the government. It was during that period that all manner of allegations were rife including the bizarre. Snakes were alleged to be swallowing money. But the snakes in question were human beings who took undue advantage of a faulty system to help themselves to what belongs to the government and people.

Before the tenure of the new registrar, JAMB was proud to remit to the federal government a paltry N3 million annually. After all, it was not a revenue generating agency even with the millions of candidates who pay to write their examination every year.

But when Prof Oloyede assumed duty, he was able to kill all the snakes that were embedded in the system and within one year, he was able to post N5. 2 billion into the Federal Government’s coffers. Many were aghast at this development but the Islamic scholar was not done yet as the JAMB he heads still has another N2.8 billion to remit to the central purse.

Why this was seen by many as unprecedented in all ramifications is because the new helmsman did not invent new revenue generation strategies nor did he go outside the existing structures to raise JAMB’s income bars. He merely brought probity, accountability and transparency into the operations of the agency. In the process, the new revenue attainment in one year is calculated to be 40 times more than the entire 39-year returns of JAMB.

The former Vice Chancellor introduced a number of innovations into the operations of the agency such as the expansion of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination monitoring teams. Even more importantly, he deployed hi-tech methodology in checking examination malpractices that made it possible for candidates to write their examinations online real time.

The deployment of high technology, without doubt entailed high expenditure which would have been an excuse for the agency to declare negative financial results. That was not the case with Oloyede who actually and in spite of the high expenditure, posted money that made the previous remittances of N3 million a huge joke.

As pointed earlier, JAMB had in 2017 and 2018 remitted N7.8 billion and N7.8 billion respectively to the Federal Government. The management of the Examination body in explaining the development made it clear that JAMB was not generating revenue. It went on to say that after executing its mandate and assignment, whatever that was left it returned to the federal government coffers. It appeared as if the agency is a revenue generating one because certain services it renders which hitherto cost billions of Naira under past JAMB managements now cost a lot less and the excess is remitted to government.

 

LEADERSHIP Public Servant of the Year 2018

Thomas Etuh

It may sound inappropriate to nominate a private-sector mogul as the Public Servant of the Year, but that’s precisely the point. For playing the pivotal and consequential role in President Muhammadu Buhari’s Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) which made it possible for Nigerian farmers to get fertilizers at a pocket-friendly price of N5, 500 per bag, less than half the open market price, without government subsidy, Thomas Etuh is LEADERSHIP Public Servant of the year 2018.

Thomas Etuh is the chairman and CEO of TAK Continental Limited, a holding company with investments in fertilizer manufacture and distribution, banking, power generation and real estate development. His TAK Fertilizer Company is the biggest player in the sub-sector in the country with fertilizer blending plants dotted all over the country.

Etuh played a pivotal and consequential role in the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) which stands as the president’s most impressive achievement in 2017. The PFI made it possible for Nigerian farmers to get fertilizers at N5, 500 per bag which was less than half the open market.

His advice to the president on how to achieve this –through well thought-out financial engineering, bringing in the Sovereign Wealth Fund into the mix, and exchanging Nigeria’s gas with Morocco’s phosphate — was all that was required to change the entire fertilizer story in Nigeria. And this was achieved without any subsidy from the government. Today the PFI is one of the defining achievements of President Buhari.

Etuh, as the president of the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association, spearheaded the rejuvenation of more than a dozen moribund fertilizer-blending plants and brought them under the PFI in 2007, creating thousands of jobs directly and indirectly for Nigerians. In the PFI scheme, all fertilizers are produced in Nigeria. Etuh is also the immediate past chairman of Unity Bank and remains one of its largest shareholders.

 

LEADERSHIP Brand of the Year 2018

        Airtel

Some of Airtel’s key CSR initiatives are the Adopt-a-School programme, Employee Volunteer Scheme, Airtel Five Days of Love Christmas programme and other interventions on health and the environment. For these and its innovating products and services, Airtel is LEADERSHIP’s Brand of the Year.

In 2018, Airtel Nigeria kept Nigerians glued to their television screens with its TV commercial “Meet The In-laws” and its sequel, “Meet The In-laws -The Naming”. Both TV adverts took the shine off several commercials that graced the TV screens across the country, resonating with its captivating messages of “Data For Life” and “Data Is Life”.

The TV commercials brought to the fore mother-in-law rivalries which were settled by access to Airtel data. Airtel Nigeria used these adverts to once again bring to the front burner the campaign by the United Nations Broadband Commission: Broadband Internet should be seen as a fundamental human right for all.

With a cast of popular Nollywood actors such as Idowu Philips (aka Iya Rainbow), Ngozi Nwosu, Dele Odule, Abdulateef Adedimeji, the two TV commercials showcased Nigeria’s rich culture, colourful settings, family, music, party life as well as the grudges and camaraderie that exist. It demonstrates the power of mobile internet as a veritable part of life — connecting everyone no matter the age, class, tribe or gender.

The campaign by Airtel Nigeria is an incremental build that further expresses “Data Is Life” in a more culturally relevant way, using insight true to a typical Nigerian family. It emphasizes that, like love, mobile internet connects the world, brings people together, inspires new stories and helps to forge harmonious bonds.

To ensure that no Nigerian is left out of the quality of experience on its network all through 2018, Airtel Nigeria launched commercial 4G LTE service across several cities nationwide. Airtel Nigeria is the first telco to complete LTE (Long Term Evolution) trial in Lagos and also the first to introduce High Definition (HD) voice service.

This stands as a testimony to Airtel’s great efforts in terms of massive investment and desire to empower Nigerians with innovative and relevant telecommunications services and solutions. This is how Airtel is covering Nigeria and providing reliable and robust 4G LTE and 3.75G network coverage to all parts of Nigeria.

Airtel has taken its 4G network to over 60 major cities and towns in Nigeria across different states, making it the network with the widest and largest 4G coverage in the country.

Airtel’s 4G comes with tons of benefits and the possibilities are endless: it will accelerate economic and commercial activities; it will boost personal and professional productivity; it will help in creating more entrepreneurs; it will offer the youth a big leverage to express their creativity and talent; it will improve the overall quality of life and connect more people to their dreams.

Airtel Nigeria provides wireless telecommunication services. The company offers personal and business plans, including prepaid and post-paid services, broadband, and short message service and fax services. The company also provides 2G, 3G, and 4G services for internet access, so one could watch live TV, download music, make video calls, and send and receive emails using enabled devices.
It offers its services through retail stores and dealers. The company was formerly known as Zain Nigeria Ltd.; it changed its name to Bharti Airtel Nigeria Limited in July 2010. The company was founded in 2000 and is based in Lagos, Nigeria.

Since Airtel launched the “Touching Lives” initiative, it has achieved remarkable successes, having restored the hope of despaired individuals and families, saved many from the throes of death and empowered many underprivileged Nigerians.

One of the major highlights in Season 3 of Airtel Touching Lives was the story of Olusegun Aina’s family: he lost three children and was rendered homeless by a devastating fire incident. Through the Touching Lives platform, Airtel built and donated a multi-million naira, ultra-modern 2-bedroom apartment for the family and also paid for all outstanding medical bills incurred by the surviving family members.

For the fourth season running, Airtel Nigeria has continued with its popular TV corporate social responsibility (CSR) project, Airtel Touching Lives — an inspiring initiative that seeks to offer practical relief, succour, hope, opportunities and credible platforms to liberate and empower the underprivileged, disadvantaged and hard-to-reach persons in the society.

The activities of Airtel Touching Lives are recorded and produced for national television with a view to promoting the spirit of giving, self-sacrifice, and love among Nigerians. Aside touching lives, Airtel Nigeria has continuously embarked on several philanthropic initiatives aimed at impacting lives positively.

 

LEADERSHIP Telecom Company of the Year 2018

                                  9mobile

In the fourth quarter of 2018, 9mobile (formerly Etisalat Nigeria), Nigeria’s fourth largest mobile network, successfully came out of a storm which had entangled it for nearly two years. The mobile operator found itself in a row with its creditors who had loaned it $1.2 billion to build and expand its network across the country.

Due to the recession between 2015 and 2017, the country’s most innovative telecom outfit could not pay the dollar-denominated loan tranches as scheduled following difficulty in procuring foreign exchange. The resulting crisis forced the network’s initial major shareholders — Etisalat International and Mubadala — to abandon their equity and leave Nigeria.

The quick intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) prevented the creditor banks from taking over the telecom outfit. The CBN in collaboration with the NCC had, in July 2017, appointed a board of directors chaired by Joseph Nnanna, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank, to oversee the affairs of the company.

The appointment was made pending the completion of regulatory due diligence of the bid documents submitted by Teleology Nigeria Limited and 16 others for its acquisition. The CBN interim board quickly rebranded the telecom network into 9mobile and ensured stability until new buyers were found.

Today, 9mobile is in the hands of new owners — Teleology Nigeria Limited — the winner of the transaction bid process conducted by Barclays Africa and supervised by CBN.  A new board has been constituted following the successful completion of the tenure of the former board appointed by the apex bank and in fulfilment of the consequential transfer of final ownership to the new investors.

Teleology plans to double the 9mobile network with new 3G/4G specific cell sites as well as several thousands of kilometres of fibre optic cable across the country.  It plans to drive a special programme of rural internet coverage, focusing on 4G with broadband access planned for all of Nigeria’s 774 local government areas.

9mobile’s new owner has also entered into an alliance with Safaricom, the largest network operator in East Africa. The plan is to optimize 9mobile network for high-speed and high-capacity data including imaging, video, games, music, IPTV and more.

Teleology envisages an increase of 50 per cent in direct employment in the new 9mobile.  There is also an active plan to introduce, within the first year, several million 4G-capable premium quality smartphones at affordable prices.

 

LEADERSHIP Company of the Year

Max Air Limited

Domestic airlines lament a lack of government’s support, high cost of insurance premium, inadequate infrastructure, among others. Max Air, although not new in the business, entered Nigeria’s aviation domestic routes about five months ago. Within a short period, it has set standards in terms of cutting-edge services in the country. For its effort to redefine flight experience, Max Air is LEADERSHIP Company of the Year.

Max Air Limited, a wholly Nigerian-owned airline, was incorporated in March 2003 and has been in airline business since 2006 when it began mainly hajj operations. Today, its success story is clear for all to see: it entered the nation’s domestic flight operations about five months ago with a bang, offering quality services for passengers.

The airline runs daily flights to Abuja, Yola, Lagos, Maiduguri and Port Harcourt with the hub in Kano. Max Air is owned by business mogul Alhaji Dahiru Barau Mangal.

When Max Air commenced scheduled domestic flights in July this year with its inaugural flight from Kano to Abuja, it promised that it will change the flight experience of air travellers in Nigeria by offering on-time departures and quality in-flight services. It started domestic operations with three 737-300 aircraft with Kano, Abuja and Lagos as destinations. Two months after, the airline added the Lagos—Abuja–Maiduguri routes; recently it added Abuja–Port Harcourt twice-daily flights, as well as Yola once-daily flight.

Air travellers who have experienced Max Air services attest to the fact that the airline has not only kept its promise of changing the flight experience of air passengers, but has also met all expectations of its customers and stakeholders. This explains why the airline has continued to expand its flight schedule as customers have continued to yearn for its cutting-edge services.

The airline claimed it has the biggest aircraft fleet in Nigeria, as it has eight Boeing 747 aircraft each with a capacity for 560 passengers. It also states that its unique selling points (USP) are its special in-flight service and customer care as well as its advantageous prices.

Many air passengers who have patronised the airline have described it as one that strives to satisfy its passengers at all times through better services. The feeling is that Max Air’s entrance into Nigeria’s domestic flight market is gradually redefining flight operations, thereby replicating the airline’s footprint in the hajj operation market.

Currently, the airline has competent hands including pilots, engineers, ground staff and ground handlers in order to make its domestic operations smooth and effective nationwide. No doubt, with skilled and dedicated members of staff, Max Air remains the airline to beat in the country. From the beginning, the airline had developed reputable, reliable and safety-conscious status with strong commitments to quality and affordable timely services.

The Airline’s delivery is based on a single- minded determination to become a force to be reckoned with among the best airlines in the world.

Stakeholders in the nation’s aviation industry have also commended Max Air for its articulate speedy check in process while not compromising safety and security, both of which are the watchwords in the modern aviation industry.

Max Air is strictly embedded in the company’s vision which is “to pursue and deliver world-class excellent services based on efficiency and integrity that would stand the airline out in the aviation industry.’’

Rebranded from Mangal Airlines in 2008, Max Air started as a Nigerian charter operator with its base in Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano. It had been operating as an international charter airline concentrating mainly on the annual Hajj and Umrah airlift. In the last 11 years of its operation in Nigeria, Max Air has airlifted over 500, 000 passengers, mainly pilgrims, to Saudi Arabia and back home in addition to charter airlift like the current airlift of Nigerian refugees from Libya.

A member of the AFDIN Group of Companies, Max Air has Dahiru Barau Mangal as its chairman and CEO. Mangal has been a longstanding and successful business mogul. He is also an entrepreneur and industrialist, a seasoned management expert of high repute.

 

LEADERSHIP Artiste of the Year 2018

MC Tagwaye

Mr Obinna, Simeon popularly known as MC Tagwaye, has written his name in gold and carved a niche for himself through hard work, focus, and vision.  He came to national limelight through his excellent mimicry of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Tucked in faraway Ingawa local government area of Katsina State, this Anambra State-born mega twin master of ceremonies (MC) would have, like many Nigerian youths, given up hope and ended his life as a local champion.

But he saw life beyond Ingawa Iga in Katsina State where he was raised, and where he had his primary and secondary education.

He proceeded to Federal College of Education (FCE), Katsina, and obtained his National Certificate in Education (NCE). MC Tagwaye ventured into teaching — he taught for seven years.

It As a teacher, young Tagwaye was voted thrice as the best teacher at the end of each session by his students who still call and seek counsel from him.

His love for young people pushed this humour merchant to create productive and innovative platforms for their empowerment, to the extent that he has dedicated many years of his life to teaching and conducting private lessons for his pupils.

In 2005, he stepped into the murky waters of enterprise development when he set up an outfit to sell phones and digital accessories to his immediate Ingawa community.

He ran this business for four years and expanded it to three senatorial districts in the state. In no time, he employed 15 people whom he gave opportunity to learn and build capacity for productive life in the areas under his coverage.

Known for his ability to create humour from nothing, MC Tagwaye was invited as master of ceremonies to anchor events, even as a teacher and businessman.

The opening of this talent gave him an edge as a teacher and businessman among his colleagues and competitors.

Before leaving Katsina, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, whom he loves mimicking, he was adjudged to have created the most humour-loaded jokes in the state.

His weekends were fully booked and, gradually, his family and friends had to compete for attention.

Following up on the general election in 2015, the voice of President Buhari was heard from another man in Katsina to the delight of many who tuned into a popular show on Vision FM in the state.

To the amazement of the CEO who was inundated by the creative comic relief performed by MC Tagwaye, the young Tagwaye was invited to Abuja where he featured in several editions of breakfast shows on Farin Wata TV and Vision FM.

That exposure brought MC Tagwaye to national limelight.

He was spotted by event managers and show promoters who found his talent amazing. One of such events was the annual “Ali Baba Show” in Lagos where he performed to the delight of the audience.

Today, the name MC Tagwaye is synonymous with presidential comic relief. He has travelled the length and breadth of the country promoting healthy entertainment.

He is now the CEO, Tagwaye Entertainment Limited, and founder of MC Tagwaye Charity Foundation. With this foundation, he has brought joy into the lives of over 100 young people whom he has equipped with skills and empowerment opportunities. He runs an initiative where widows are empowered with soft loans to start and sustain small businesses.

MC Tagwaye recently went into sharing his experiences with young Nigerians in tertiary institutions of learning through seminars where he intends to grow passion and promote the Nigerian project among students in our universities.

He is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Ambassador of Peace Award, Arewa Students’ Award, Nigerian Entertainment Award, and Northern Entertainment Award.

 

LEADERSHIP Product of the Year

Five Star Tomato Paste

Five Star Group has taken advantage of the federal government’s diversification agenda, and government has been within a very short time motivating Nigerians to embrace made-in-Nigeria products. For setting a standard in quality and gaining acceptance Five Star Tomato paste is LEADERSHIP Product of the Year 2018.

Five Star Tomato paste has continued to gain popularity in Nigeria since it was introduced into the market in 2017. Five Star Group owned by Emeka Okonkwo has lived up to expectations with this product. Consumers claim that it is one of the best in terms of quality and that it also meets international standards.

Although there are different tomato brands made in Nigeria, Five Star Tomato paste has been acknowledged as one of the best.  The product is registered with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

The company has employed hundreds of Nigerians working in their factory. The management of Five Star Group of companies has also urged Nigerians to continue patronising and supporting local manufacturers, while calling on regulatory agencies to continue tightening regulatory and registration processes for products imported into the country so that local industries can grow.

 

LEADERSHIP Outstanding Young Person of the Year 2018

Samson Itodo

For driving the advocacy and process that brought into reality the “Not too young to run” legislation that has led to the successful reduction of age limits for public office seekers, Samson Itodo is LEADERSHIP Outstanding Young Person of the Year 2018.

Samson Itodo, a native of Olamaboro local government area of Kogi State, was born in Bauchi State. He is the first of five children. Young Itodo began his leadership journey from a very young age as a class prefect in Our Lady’s Primary School, school prefect in Immaculate Conception Secondary School, Bauchi, class representative at the Faculty of Law, University of Jos, and chairman of the Students Representative Council at the Nigerian Law School, Abuja.

Young Itodo’s interests span constitution building, elections, legislative studies, youth and international development. With a Master’s degree in Law from the University of Jos, he stated that the foundation for his interest in civic activism and democracy promotion was laid during his under-graduate days.

Samson is a highly motivated, innovative and purpose -driven individual with the ability to creatively develop ideas into projects and drive social transformation. He has over 10 years’ experience and expertise in legal research and analysis, legislative advocacy, constitution building, elections, grant seeking, volunteerism and youth development. Just like his leadership traits, recognition for his work and contribution to democracy began quite early.

In 2012, he won a prize as the best student in Government; he was second overall best graduating student in Arts class in secondary school. In 2006, he received an award of excellence for human rights protection from the Rotaract Club of Jos. Recently, he was appointed as one of 100 most influential young Africans by the Africa Youth Awards. He was also named one of the 10 most powerful names in advocacy in Nigeria.

In 2018, he was appointed by the Gates Foundation as a goalkeeper and honoured by the National Democratic Institute (NDI), Washington DC, as a rising political leader in Africa. He is also a recipient of the prestigious True Nigerian Award. Samson heads the leading community of change makers and pro-democracy activists, YIAGA Africa, a civic organization focused on building sustainable democracies in Africa anchored on the principles of inclusion, justice, rule of law and constitutionalism. He led the formation of the Youth Alliance on Constitution & Electoral Reform (YACORE), the first ever youth coalition on constitution and electoral reform in Nigeria.

Itodo is a champion for quality youth representation in national parliaments across Africa. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Young Parliamentarians Forum in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Ghana. He currently leads efforts to establish the forum across West Africa.

He also leads the Watching the Vote, a citizens observation initiative designed to promote electoral integrity using data and technology. YIAGA Africa’s Watching the Vote is Nigeria’s largest citizen movement on electoral integrity. He has led election observation missions to Ghana, United States of America, South Africa, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The young activist is a founding member of the African Movement for Democracy (AMD), a network of activists and youth leaders dedicated to deepening democracy in Africa.

Itodo is constantly called upon to provide analysis on burning issues on democratic principles. He has appeared on local and international media stations such as AIT, Channels, NTA, BBC, Nigeria Info, Wazobia FM and RFI. He is also a co-founder of Amplified Online Radio, a pan-African youth talk and music radio station.

He is an avid reader and writer and has published several articles and papers in local and international journals.

He is a fellow of the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance at the University of Cape Town, International Visitors Leadership Programme of the US Department of State, and the Swedish Visitors Leadership Programme.

As a researcher, he has consulted for local and international organisations like United States Institute for Peace (USIP), Westminster Foundation for Democracy, International IDEA, International Republican Institute and United Nations Development Programme.

 

LEADERSHIP e-Commerce Company of the Year 2018

                               Jumia

For being the most trusted and recognizable online retailer in Nigeria, assisting and providing a platform for Nigeria’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to sell their products and services, Jumia Nigeria is LEADERSHIP  e-Commerce Company of the Year 2018.

Jumia is the largest online shopping mall in Nigeria where over 700,000 weekly visitors buy everything from fashion to electronic products. With over 50,000 different products in stock across over 30 categories, Jumia has been offering customers the widest assortments at the most affordable prices.

In 2018, Jumia Nigeria emerged the prime online shopping mall in the country. In February it embarked on a month-long shopping festival. It shook the foundations of e-commerce by embarking on a five-week-long Black Friday sales in November, gripping millions of Nigerian online shoppers with excitement as they shopped on the platform which sold favourite products at up to 80 per cent discount.

Jumia became a trend setter, got Nigerians talking about Black Friday with search traffic at its peak unlike at any other time in the history of its campaigns. Over 30,000 vendors are participating in this year’s Jumia Black Friday campaign, compared to over 10,000 last year.

This development has been attributed to the exciting deals, flash sales and treasure hunts available on both its website and app throughout the Black Friday campaign. Jumia Nigeria pumped in millions of dollars into online advertisements to promote the campaign.

The online retailer is divided into six divisions  — Jumia Food, Jumia Travel, Jumia Flights, Jumia House, Jumia Deals  and Jumia Party — all integrated in one website or app where one can order or book for household items, foods, flights, hotels, rent or buy property, package and organise  party affairs and assorted drinks.

From themed shopping events such as Singles Day and Black Friday, to deep discounts and special promotions such as Deal of the Day, Jumia Nigeria customers have come to expect the best product discoveries at the lowest prices in the country. The company is driven by a relentless commitment to customer satisfaction. Its online store and mobile app ensure one-stop shopping, anytime and everywhere, for busy Nigerians with growing buying power.

It has invested heavily in developing a world-class ecosystem of suppliers, customers and logistics. To date, Jumia’s infrastructure consists of 100,000sqft warehouse, 150-vehicle delivery fleet, 15 delivery hubs and pickup stations nationwide, 100 customer service agents and a staff strength of over 1, 000 employees and sales agents. The company is growing daily to satisfy Nigeria’s fast emerging consumer base.

Operating within the largest economy and most populous country in Africa, Jumia Nigeria was started with the vision of offering Nigeria’s substantial consumer demography a shopping experience that is convenient, consistent, safe, and second to none.  The company has striven to promote economic development and empower young entrepreneurs to gain direct access to potential customers across Nigeria’s 36 states.

 

LEADERSHIP Bank of the Year 2018

         Fidelity Bank

Nigerian banks hardly fund agricultural projects because they are not attractive. For daring to take agriculture funding seriously, a sector that engages the largest number of Nigerians, Fidelity Bank Plc is LEADERSHIP Bank of the Year 2018.

There is no denying that Fidelity Bank Plc has established itself as a force to be reckoned with in Nigeria’s banking industry. It has shown commitment to growing the nation’s economy by supporting lending to the agriculture sector, which many banks in the country have continually shied away from.

Despite the many incentives given by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to commercial banks to lend to the agricultural sector, many have continued to hold back. Only a few brave banks like Fidelity have remained committed to the sector, providing much-needed funding for farmers and agro-businesses.

Of significance is the fact that Fidelity Bank has been a major player in agriculture before everybody else started talking about funding the sector. The bank believes strongly that the agricultural sector is a major one that could truly diversify the country’s economy, thereby becoming a major foreign exchange earner for the country. Managing director and chief executive officer of the bank Nnamdi Okonkwo said Fidelity Bank has a huge portfolio of agricultural projects it has supported over the years. He said one of the best rice mills in the country today, based in Kano, was funded by the bank.

Beneficiaries of the bank’s funding have commended Fidelity Bank’s support. For instance, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar who started his Umza rice mill in Kano State, said Fidelity Bank had come to his rescue when he needed a N500 million facility to kick-start his mill. Another beneficiary of the bank’s commitment to funding agriculture in Nigeria is Attajiri Rice Mill. Fidelity disbursed a N1 billion agricultural loan to the rice mill and to other large-scale farmers in Sokoto State recently. This has impacted positively on the business of the rice farmers. Some said the funding has helped them grow their business from just production to processing of rice.

The bank has also distinguished itself as one that supports small businesses. Recently, the bank received a $50 million facility from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to further increase its credit line to small and medium-scale businesses in the country. Fidelity Bank has over the years committed both its financial and human resources to its customers.

It has consistently organised trainings for its small and medium enterprises (SMEs) customers who desire to expand the scope of their products and services beyond the shores of Nigeria through its Export Management Programme it has consistently held for up to six years.

Its dedication to capacity development for SMEs made it partner with the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and the Lagos Business School earlier this year to design and execute a programme that will deliver impactful, world-class export management education to equip Nigerian MSMEs with the knowledge and business know-how required to compete effectively in international markets.

Graduates of the programme will be equipped with the requisite knowledge and competencies to run a successful export business. They will also get acquainted with buyers of specific exportable items and have easy access to funding from the bank and build the relevant competencies required to become competitive in the global export market.

Fidelity Bank’s support for SMEs does not, however, end with capacity building: the bank’s loan book shows its commitment to financing the industry for the ultimate goal of growing the country’s economy. Presently, SMEs account for 30 per cent of Fidelity Bank’s loan portfolio which stands at N830.37 billion as at September 30, 2018. The bank is one of the few banks whose loan book grew as its loans and advances to customers rose by 10.2 per cent year on year, and 8.01 per cent year to date.

Its commitment to funding SMEs has led to its selection for the seven-year $50 million facility of the AfDB. According to AfDB, the credit which will accommodate close to 100 SMEs in manufacturing, health and education is fully dedicated to financing micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), with a minimum of 30 per cent going to women-owned enterprises.

The loan will enhance Fidelity Bank’s liquidity and help meet the demand for medium-term funding to players in the target sectors, contributing to improved quality of lives, jobs, wealth creation and tax-revenue generation.

Senior director, Nigeria Country Office, AfDB, Ebrima Faal, explained that Fidelity Bank got the facility based on its strong niche presence in the SME and mid-sized corporate space: ”It is also in recognition of the bank’s credit management and strong track record with the Africa Development Bank. The Nigerian lender has previously received $18 million and $75 million lines of credit from the development finance institution in 2001 and 2013 respectively.”

Fidelity Bank, this year alone, has been involved in land-breaking deals that have contributed to the rising of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country. Some of its landmark projects this year include the financing of Periwinkle Estates Limited’s multi-billion naira, twin high-rise towers located in Lekki.

It was also in the middle of Air Peace’s acquisition of 10 new 737 MAX 8 aircraft, making history as the first airline in West Africa to add the aircraft to its fleet.  Fidelity Bank partly funded the construction of BUA’s Cement Factory in Sokoto  valued at $350 million and financed the building of a new 23, 000cbm vessel valued at $100 million for the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) market in Nigeria by Temile & Sons in partnership with Hyundai Heavy industries.

Fidelity Bank commenced business as a commercial bank in 1999 and has maintained its place amongst the top 10 banks in the country.

LEADERSHIP Sportspersons of the Year 2018

                   Super Falcons

For retaining their position as the top female national side in Africa and qualifying for the women’s World Cup in France in 2019, the Super Falcons are worthy winners of LEADERSHIP Sportspersons of the Year 2018 award.

Nigeria’s Super Falcons again proved their supremacy in African football by winning the Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) for the ninth time.

The team defeated South Africa’s Banyana Banyana 4-3 on penalties at the 11th AWCON in Ghana, on December 1, 2018, after a keenly contested 120-minute football that ended in a goalless draw. The Super Falcons, which had qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women Cup by reaching the AWCON final, retained the trophy for the third consecutive time.

The Nigerian girls won the first six editions (1998, 2000, 20002, 2004, 2006 and 2008) of the competition. In 2010, they were, however, toppled in the semi-finals in their seventh attempt by hosts Equatorial Guinea who went on to defeat South Africa in the final.

The Super Falcons travelled for 2018 AWCON in Ghana with sceptics questioning their readiness to defend their crown following poor preparations for the continental showpiece and the baffling negligence of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). But after a 1-0 loss to South Africa in the Group B opening match, the Nigerian girls picked themselves up and trashed Zambia and Equatorial Guinea 5-1 and 6-0 respectively in their last two group matches before overcoming Cameroon 4-2 on penalties in the semi-finals, after a tough duel, to reach the championship final they eventually won against South Africa.

 

LEADERSHIP CEO of the Year 2018

     Chief Innocent Chukwuma

For his unquestioning innovative spirit, his business acumen that makes ideas take a life of their own, and his firm belief in the Nigerian project, Chief Innocent Chukwuma is LEADERSHIP Chief Executive Officer of the Year 2018.

Chief (Dr) Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma (OFR), popularly known as Innoson, is the group chairman and chief executive officer of Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing (IVM) Co. Ltd, the first indigenous vehicle manufacturing plant in Nigeria.  Born in 1961 in Umudim, Nnewi, Chukwuma started trading in spare parts under the name Innoson Nigeria Ltd in 1981. 

His business has expanded into four manufacturing companies, namely: Innoson Nigeria Ltd, Nnewi, manufacturers of motorcycles, tricycles, spare parts and accessories; Innoson Tech. & Industries Co. Ltd, Enugu, manufacturers of household and industrial plastics, health & safety accessories, storage containers, fixtures & fittings, electrical components & accessories; Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM), Nnewi, manufacturers of capacity city bus, mini & midi buses, pick-up trucks and garbage-collecting vehicles; and General Tyres & Tubes Co. Ltd, Enugu, manufacturers of  tyres and tubes.

The vehicles in the IVM fleet range from cars to trucks, SUVs and compactors.  Presently, the company has made in-roads into some African countries such as Ghana, Sierra Leone, Chad, Niger and Togo. His group of manufacturing companies employs more than 7,400 Nigerians.

  For his outstanding contributions to the development of Nigeria, he has been given several awards locally, nationally and internationally.

He was made the honorary life vice president of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) on November 23, 2013; Ambassador for Peace by St. Andrews Anglican Church, Trans Ekulu, Enugu, April, 2012; and Entrepreneur of the Year by Wesley University of Science and Technology, Akure, Ondo State, March 2012.  He was also given the Most Outstanding Indigenous Entrepreneur in the Manufacturing Sector by Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA) in January 2012. He is National Council Member, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria.   

He was conferred with the national honour of Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR) in November 2011 by President Goodluck Jonathan; awarded a doctorate degree in Business Administration (DBA) by Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Enugu, in November 2011, amongst several other awards.    

In 2017, at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Afaka, Kaduna, Chukwuma was awarded a Doctor of Science honorary degree.  The business guru was then honoured alongside two other distinguished Nigerians — Prof Grace Alele-Williams and Maj-Gen Paul Tarfa (rtd) who received honorary doctorate degrees. 

Also last year, Chukwuma signed an unprecedented memorandum of understanding with the Nigerian Armed Forces as a result of which one of Innoson Group’s subsidiaries now produces replacement parts for Alpha jets in the fleet of the Air Force. 

It, therefore, did not come as a surprise when Maj-Gen. M.T. Ibrahim informed the guests at NDA, Kaduna, during his decoration that in deciding to bestow the doctoral honour on Chukwuma, the NDA council had taken special note of Innoson’s satisfactory performance regarding the production of the replacement parts for Air Force jets.

Chukwuma earned local and global recognition with the production of passenger cars and commercial vehicles (midi, mini and mass transit buses, light trucks and refuse collectors) in Nnewi. But the foretaste of today’s feats was given very early when, from an apprentice trader in 1981, he grew his spare parts business to the level where it was viable to advance to the importation of new motorcycles in an unprecedented manner – by dismantling them and packing the components in long containers and reassembling them at his Nnewi base, thereby reducing costs considerably. 

This way, he started some kind of modern-day industrial revolution in local motorcycle production by crashing the prices of new motorcycles, and consequently driving imported second-hand (tokunbo) competition out of the market. The ultimate result was a viable Innoson Nigeria Ltd motorcycle plant which rubbed shoulders with pioneers like Leventis and Boulos Enterprises. It was the success recorded by the motorcycle business that paved the way for the auto manufacturing plant. 

In November 2016, the auto magnate broke new grounds in fulfilment of its vision to keep producing vehicles that satisfy the various needs of the country’s diverse market without compromising quality and affordability.  This time, the Nnewi-based automaker designed and built IVM G12 series, a special purpose range of off-road light trucks for the use of the military and related organisations, which was officially handed over to the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri, Borno State, to enhance their operations against insurgency. 

He presented the IVM G12 series to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen T.Y. Buratai, at the tactical headquarters of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maimalari Barracks in the Borno State capital.  The IVM G12 series is a highly mobile and tactical pick-up van with double reinforced shock absorbers with strength and ability to cope with military functions, especially in the north-eastern part of the country.    

Beyond that, under the current administration, Innoson Vehicles signed a memorandum of understanding with the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and collaborated with the headquarters of the Nigerian Army for the design, modification, manufacturing and supply of military vehicles.

Earlier this year, Innoson Vehicles unveiled the first automated production line section. This section is rated to have the capacity to weld the whole body of a vehicle in four minutes as against six hours when it’s done manually. 

According to the company, this new line will greatly increase their capacity as a company from 10,000 to 60,000 annual production units. It is also expected to provide more jobs for the teeming Nigerian population.   

The 2019 edition of IVM Granite is in line with the latest generation of international brand of high-end pickup trucks. It is a wonder on wheels and has four suspension systems to withstand any terrain.  It is rugged and purpose-built for African roads. IVM Granite 2019 is equipped with luxurious and comfortable interior and has a 6-manual transmission plus indirect wire manipulation which is a technology shift system adopted for flexible shaft to control the gearshift mechanism. 

This latest vehicle from the stable of Innoson is also benchmarked with NVH (Noise Vibration and Harshness) world standard, assuring good performance. And the engine is turbo-charged to enhance performance. 

Dr. Chukwuma loves playing tennis as a form of relaxation. He is married to Mrs Ebele Chukwuma and they are blessed with children.

 

LEADERSHIP Banker of the Year 2018

Kabiru Mohammed Adamu

For resurrecting a virtally dead bank with an admixture of private sector and social services strategies, Kabiru Adamu, the hardworking and nimble CEO of the government owned Bank of Agriculture  is LEADERSHIP Banker of the Year 2018.

When he was appointed as BoA’s managing director and chief executive officer by President Muhammadu Buhari, many feared and expressed worries that he was handed a poisoned chalice. But he has since allayed such fears and put the pessimists out of work, as he deployed his impressive credentials to restructure the bank to achieve the mandate set for it.

What has stood Mohammed out is his ability to manage the government-owned bank — 40 per cent of its shares is held by the CBN and 60 per cent controlled by the Federal Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI); it is supervised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, which has no stake in the bank.

One of Mohammed’s greatest achievements is his ability to manage these interests and still deliver on the core mandate of the bank. One of the strategies he has adopted to reposition the bank is by thinking outside the box and massive deployment of IT in partnership with sister agencies to bring its services to the grass roots.

Among BoA’s core mandates are the provision of credit to support all activities in the agricultural value chain; provision of non-agricultural micro-credit to the poor segment of the society such as rural artisans and petty traders; capacity development for the promotion of co-operatives and agricultural information systems; provision of technical support and extension services; and boosting opportunities for self-employment in the rural areas to stem rural-urban drift.

When he assumed office, Mohammed promised that the new management would evolve new skills and strategies to deliver optimal services to Nigerian farmers. He had said: “The government of President Muhammadu Buhari, as you are aware, is focusing on agriculture, and the simple reason is to diversify the economy. Therefore, our team is coming in to continue with the good work the outgoing management has put in place. I assure you that my team and I are eager, ready and committed to repositioning the bank.”

To end the era of loan default, Mohammed introduced a collateral registry in partnership with the CBN where any farmer who takes loan on any of BoA’s programmes is registered. Mohammed said: “If he or she refuses to repay the loan, his or her name would have been captured as somebody that has defaulted, so he or she cannot enjoy any loan facility from any bank in Nigeria.’’

With this and other policies, BoA is ensuring that Nigeria’s agricultural potential, with over 34 million hectares of arable land of which only 40 per cent is cultivated, is changed. It is on record that with a population of over 180 million people, Nigeria is Africa’s largest market, and with 220 billion cubic meters of water, and abundant and reliable rainfall in over two-thirds of its states, Nigeria has some of the richest natural resources for agricultural production in the world. The country could, under proper management, become self-sufficient in food production and even feed other nations.

Under the Mohammed-led management, BoA has supported smallholder farmers financially, initially on the following crops: maize, rice, tomatoes, sorghum, cotton and soya beans; livestock, poultry, fisheries, dairy and other cash crops. It has also created widespread awareness in modern agriculture practices and agricultural finance. Similarly, the bank has achieved sustainable financial inclusion through its six zonal offices, about 140 outlets in rural communities nationwide. So far, it has disbursed over N73billion of the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) funds to over 520,000 farmers covering 320,000 hectares of farm lands.

From the records, total agricultural disbursement stands at N53billion with over 90 per cent to direct agricultural transactions and the remaining 10 per cent to non-agric. The bank has also created 1.6 million direct jobs leading to 3.1 million indirect jobs, and outsourced information technology (IT) services to private companies to efficiently serve the growing number of farmers in the agricultural ecosystem, thus improving efficiencies and creating jobs. It introduced settlement banking relationship which enables farmers and suppliers to have BoA unique automated teller machine (ATM) cards and cheques for their use. BoA also signed agent banking agreement with NIPOST on September 22, 2017, to pave the way for it to establish 774 agent locations in all the local government areas in the country within two years.

The bank has collaborated with the risk management institutions of the federal government to ensure a uniform risk framework to make it easier to access credit and credit-risk guarantee. It entered into partnership with Group Credit Agricole to strengthen the agricultural finance framework and improve agricultural production in the country.

Also, it negotiated with Turk Exim Bank of Turkey, BGK of Poland and ABC of Paris to attract funding for agricultural mechanisation, which is aimed at achieving sustainable commercial agriculture; facilitated African Development Bank (AfDB)-funded institutional strengthening and restructuring exercise towards achieving improved efficiency through partial privatisation and commercialisation of BoA as well as strengthening the Risk Management department of BoA towards improving risk asset quality and efficient recovery system.

The bank has trained stakeholders in various forms of agricultural finance practice, both locally and internationally, and improved IT infrastructure to enable it carry out land verification and analysis, farm mapping, farmers’ identification and farm production management and advisory.

It serves as main banker to CBN’s Accelerated Agricultural Disbursement Scheme (AADS) aimed at land preparation and development across states in Nigeria. It has pioneered the implementation of the CBN/Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), a collaboration that has improved rice production significantly across the country. BOA disbursed over 70 per cent of the funds under the programme. The bank is also the main banker to CBN’s collaboration with Maize Farmers Association of Nigeria (MAAN) to improve maize production.

 

LEADERSHIP Business Person of the Year 2018

Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina

For creating opportunities for others to earn a living, expanding the country’s business landscape through massive investment in the haulage business, aviation, oil and gas sectors through his Azman conglomerate, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina is LEADERSHIP Business Person of the Year 2018.

Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina is a Nigerian businessman who has given so much to the country and still has a lot to offer. He has navigated through the various critical sectors of the economy with the dexterity of an accomplished entrepreneur. At a time when his contemporaries opted for wealth accumulation, self-aggrandisement and the pursuit of parochial interests, he ventured into the country’s tough business terrain.  And decades after unwavering dedication, focus, perseverance and faith in himself and the country, he is, today, a household name and one of the biggest employers of labour in Nigeria.

Like other prominent Nigerians making waves in business, politics, education or other sectors, Alhaji Sarina has nurtured what started as an ordinary one-man business into a conglomerate.

The Kano-born business mogul has expanded the Sani Brothers Group, which started as a transport-focused company, into a business empire with Azman Air Services and Azman Oil and Gas as major subsidiaries.

No matter the turbulence in the country’s economy, Alhaji Sarina has by waving the banner of creativity, integrity, innovation, and passion, since 1975, kept these businesses afloat.

Using the Sani Bothers Group as one of the major transporters of Total Nigeria Plc in the northern part of Nigeria, he has for nearly five decades proved that Nigerians are not failures in business.

Azman, which is now the popular brand, has been into oil and gas operations for more than 35 years and has made serious inroads into the sector.

As at today, Azman owns more than 50 filling stations nationwide and about 200 trucks in its fleet to transport products to various parts of the country.

After breaking the ice in the transportation sector, Alhaji Sarina stepped into the highly capital-intensive aviation industry eight years ago with Azman Air Services Limited.  Like the other businesses before it, the airline is a success.

The Kano-based airline started operations with scheduled domestic passenger services from the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, in 2010.

Eight years after, Alhaji Sarina has deployed his business acumen to making Azman Air the envy of other airline operators in the country because of its safe and efficient service delivery to its numerous clients.

In its short lifespan, the airline has operated international routes, providing affordable and comfortable flights to different destinations.

The airline’s core competencies are offering world-class aviation services, good customer relations, effective online services, availability and safety.

In its determination to meet the highest global aviation safety standards, Azman Air has commenced an implementation training initiative as part of the preliminary process for the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA).

From its various hubs in the country, Azman Air currently operates return flights from Lagos to Kano, Abuja, Kaduna, Kebbi, Gombe, Yola, Maiduguri and Port Harcourt. The airline also operates Kano to Kebbi, and Lagos to Abuja flights.

The carrier is resolute in adhering to globally-recognised safety standards and is consistently reviewing its products and services to offer better solutions aimed at passengers’ comfort and safety as well as striving to build long-lasting relationships.

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