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National Champions, World Class Brands
[January 05, 2007]

National Champions, World Class Brands

(This Day (Nigeria) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) The 12th THISDAY Awards for Excellence and Good Governance is meant to showcase Nigeria's creativity, acknowledge the brilliant minds and institutions who are delivering positive change and shaping the future of people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The theme for the 2007 awards is "Strengthening Democracy, Growing the Human Capital". It would honour CEOs, businesses, brands, products and services as well as public officers that excel and demonstrate uncommon initiative, drive and market leadership in the Nigerian economy during the year 2006.

In arriving at the choices for all categories of nominees, areas of Nigeria's business life that have impacted most on the nation and economy more in year 2006 were shortlisted and they are: Bank of the Year, Banker of the Year and the Most Improved Bank; Company of the Year, Product of the Year and Brand of the Year; Transaction of the Year; Stock Offer of the Year; CEO of the Year, Governor of the Year, Minister of the Year, Senator of the Year and Representative of the Year. We have also added some other categories including Oil Company of the Year; Oil Marketing Company of the Year; Insurance Company of the Year and; Best Oil Company in Community Development.

The arguments that informed each choice were sound, logical and devoid of emotion. For those all those that made the list, their efforts should be commended while those that did not should be encouraged to do more. The winners would be announced at a colourful ceremony which will be held in February 2007.

Lifetime Achievement Award Winners:

Christopher Abebe

Abdulsalami Abubakar

Peter Akinola

Kofi Annan

Philip Asiodu

Aminu Dantata

Cyprian Ekwensi

Alex Ekwueme

Wahab Iyanda Folawiyo

Christopher Kolade

Moses Majekodumi

Alade Odunewu

Chris Oladipo Ogunbanjo

Adekunle Ojora

Gamaliel Onosode

Olusola Saraki

Shehu Shagari

Umaru Shinkafi

Ernest Shonekan

Bamanga Tukur

Mr. Kofi Annan: Until December 31, 2006, Kofi Annan was the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations and the first to be elected from the ranks of the UN staff who began his first term on January 1, 1997. On June 29, 2001, acting on a recommendation by the Security Council, UN General Assembly appointed him, by acclamation to a second term of office, beginning on January 1, 2002 and ending on 31 December 2006. He received the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 2001. The 57-year old Annan was born in Kumasi, Ghana, on April 8, 1938.

As Secretary-General of the UN, Annan was able to revitalise the organisation through a comprehensive programme of reform which strengthened the Organisation's traditional work in the areas of development and the maintenance of international peace and security. He also restored public confidence in the Organisation by reaching out to new partners and, in his words, by "bringing the United Nations closer to the people". He joined the UN system in 1962 as an administrative and budget officer with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva. Since then, he had served in several other capacities within the UN system. In also conferring the Nobel Peace Prize on the world body, the Committee in charge proclaimed that. Under Annan, "the only negotiable road to global peace and cooperation goes by way of the United Nations".

Dr. Alex Ekwueme: Dr Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme was Nigeria's former Vice President between 1979 and 1983. He was nominated as the vice presidential candidate of the National Party of Nigeria on a ticket with Alhaji Shehu Shagari. They won the election, and were re-elected in 1983. He earned three University of Washington degrees (a bachelor's degree in sociology and bachelor's and master's degrees in urban planning) in addition to a degree in history, philosophy and constitutional law from the University of London. After graduating from the UW in 1957, he built an impressive career in architecture and urban planning, ultimately opening and running the first locally owned architectural firm in Nigeria.

He ran for the presidential nomination of the People's Democratic Party in 1998 and 2003 but lost out to his chief rival, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Ekwueme led a group of 34 eminent Nigerians to forward a petition to late Gen. Sani Abacha, the late Nigerian dictator, advising him not to succeed himself. It was without precedent, and at a time Nigeria had been terrorised into silence, and many of its eminent citizens were either jailed, in exile or killed. That group later formed the ruling PDP.

Chief Moses Majekodumi: An industrialist of repute, Dr. Moses Majekodumi became prominent when the first state of emergency in Nigeria was declared in 1962 and he emerged the first Administrator of the defunct Western Nigeria. A medical doctor of repute, he retained his post as Federal Minister of Health during the six-month period of the state of emergency. He has since then remained active in both the economic and political development of Nigeria.

Dr Olusola Saraki: The father of Kwara politics, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki, Turakin Ilorin, is an illustrious son of Nigeria, eminent philanthropist, respected surgeon, selfless person, distinguished Nigerian politician and a very magnanimous and humane person. Born May 17, 1933 at Ilorin, Kwara State capital, Saraki is a highly experienced Medical Doctor having practiced for many years. He served as Medical Officer, General Hospital, Lagos and later Medical Officer, Creek Hospital, Lagos. From the world of Medicine and Surgery, he ventured into the difficult world of politics in 1959. In 1977, he was elected as a member of the Constituent Assembly that produced the 1979 constitution. With the advent of democratic civil rule in 1979, he was overwhelmingly elected a Senator of the Federal Republic where he enjoyed tremendous good will and was elected Senate Leader. He was a strong force in the direction of the Senate, his contributions to the quality of debate in the Senate then were widely acknowledged. Within four years of service at the Senate, he had established himself as a towering figure of consequential influence. A very simple, humble and unassuming politician. Saraki struck the hearts of the people with his hospitality and kindness. In 1983 Saraki was re-elected into the Senate. This time his political empire had expanded. He did not only emerge victorious but ensured victory for others under the National Party of Nigeria (NPN).

Saraki is a completely selfless and detribalised Nigerian whose entire life is dedicated to the service of humanity. He loves education, with a passion and as a demonstration of this he built and funded several Schools. Saraki did not stop there. He awarded Scholarships not only to indigenes of Kwara and Kogi States but extended it to the children of the poor wherever they come from.

Alhaji Shehu Shagari: Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari was the President of Nigeria's Second Republic (1979-1983), after the handover of power by General Olusegun Obasanjo's military government. He got the ticket of his National Party of Nigeria for a second term but only stayed on for three months before a military coup d'etat sacked him from office on December 31, 1983. Shagari, a northerner of Fulani extraction was born on May 25,1925 and holds the title of Turakin Sakkwato in the Sokoto Caliphate. He was a schoolteacher for a brief period before entering politics in 1954, when he was elected into the Federal House of Representatives. Though he presided over an administration that was seen to be rife with corruption, Shagari retained his dignity as he was not found wanting by all the panels that investigated the graft of the era. He remained an embodiment of what selfless service means to contemporary politicians.

General Abdulsalami Abubakar: Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd.), was born on June 13, 1942 in Minna, Niger State. In 1975, he enlisted, first into the Airforce, but quickly switched to the Nigerian Army. Between 1981-1982, he served as a Nigerian contingent to the United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon. In 1984, he was promoted to colonel and later appointed General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division, Enugu, and became a member of the Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC).

In 1993, he was moved to Kaduna, as General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the strategic One Mechanized Division. On November 17, 1993, he was appointed Chief of Defense Staff, the position he held until his appointment as Head of State after the demise of Gen. Sani Abacha. Abubakar is one of the few generals in the Nigerian army who rose to the top without holding political office. He held only command and military positions, and has, in general, stayed out of the political limelight. He re-established the democratic tradition in Nigeria with democratic elections in 1999. He is one of the few military leaders in the world to get a crown without a coup. When he was chosen by his military colleagues to step into the shoes of General Sani Abacha who died mysteriously, he was not exactly a happy man. He thought of turning down the offer but he knew he could not forgive himself nor the nation forgive him. It was a call to national duty at a time of national distress.

Abubakar's profile is still rising like a meteor. He had the honour of being named Chairman of the Commonwealth Eminent Observers Mission to the Parliamentary Election in Zimbabwe. Leading a 44-person disparate group from 25 countries, Abubakar carried out the assignment with distinction, fairness and a sense of history which earned him showers of praise from the observers.

Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi: Administrator and politician, Zamfara State born intelligence expert, Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi, was a former head of the defunct Nigeria Security Organisation (NSO) before the organisation's nomenclature was changed to the present State Security Service (SSS) by the regime of General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd.) Following his retirement from public service, Shinkafi devoted his energy to the development of the country's political environment when he joined other leading politicians to nurture and raise political parties to contest elections into offices in past transitions superintended by military leaders. He was a former presidential aspirant in the Babangida's transition and in 1999 flew the flag of the defunct All Peoples' Party (APP) and the Alliance for Democracy (AD) with Chief Olu Falae following an alliance between the APP and the AD in 1998.

Archbishop Peter Akinola: As head of the fastest growing part of the Anglican communion, he is becoming an increasingly important figure. His growing influence is largely due to his conservative stance on gay marriage, a position that appeals to his African congregation as well as some American faithfuls. A father of six, he describes himself as "an ordinary pastor in the church of God" but chosen by God to protect the scriptures.

Never the one to shy away from controversy, Bishop Akinola's strong views and public criticism of government policies quickly made him popular among Nigerian Christians and led to his election as head of the powerful Christian Association of Nigeria, an umbrella organisation for all Nigerian Christian groups. Born in Abeaokuta in south-western Nigeria in 1944, Akinola is popular for his unique understanding of African cultures which he always related with parallels from the Bible's Old Testament. Loved and respected by his Anglican congregation and other Christian bodies in the country, Akinola is a staunch supporter of Nigeria's anti-graft agency which has been criticised for its alleged "selective" fight against corruption. Called a bigot by some in the Anglican Church, his attitudes nonetheless represent a deep-rooted conservative tradition in African Christianity that is flourishing and growing.

Dr. Cyprian Ekwensi: The story of Nigerian literature will never be completed without the mention of Cyprian Odiatu Duaka Ekwensi. Born at Minna, Niger state on September 26, 1921, he was educated at Achimota College in the then Gold Coast, now Ghana, and at the Chelsea School of Pharmacy of London University. Ekwensi lectured Pharmacy at Yaba Higher College, what is now known as Yaba College of Technology, Lagos and was employed as a pharmacist by the Nigerian Medical Corporation. A novelist, short story writer and chronicler of traditional tales, Ekwensi left Pharmacy to join the Nigerian Broadcasting Service in 1957 and rose to become the Director of Information Services, where he had a long and successful career as a writer of popular fiction.

One of the first winners of the Chevening Scholarship organised by the British Council, Ekwensi's first full-length novel, People of the City in 1954, established him as the first West African author of a major novel in English and marked an important milestone in writing. Ekwensi began his writing career as a pamphleteer, and this perhaps explains the episodic nature of his novels. His works, The Drummer Boy and The Passport of Mallam Ilia were exercises in blending traditional themes with undisguised romanticism. He also wrote Jagua Nana in 1961 and Burning Grass (1962). He received the Dag Hammarskjold International Award for Literary Merit in 1968.

Chief Ernest Shonekan: Shonekan was born in Lagos in 1936. A British trained Nigerian lawyer who would later become an administrator and industrialist. He was the former chief executive officer of the United African Company (UAC) before he was appointed Head of the Interim National Government's (ING) on August 26, 1993. He was however ousted by late General Sani Abacha under the guise of "resignation" after he (Shonekan) had spent about three months in office. The former Head of State has since limited his public service to stateman's activities by avoiding partisan politics. A noble and religious man, Shonekan has also made himself available for several selfless national services that include working for the amicable resolution of executive/legislative feuds in the past.

Dr. Christopher Abebe: Abebe served as the first indigenous chairman of the United African Company (UAC) who handed over to Chief Ernest Shonekan. A thoroughbred company manager and frontline industrialist who had earlier worked in Lever Brothers and Nigerian Breweries.

Alhaji (Dr) Bamanga Tukur: Alhaji Bamangar Tukur is the Group Chairman of BHI Holdings Limited (Daddo Group of Companies). Born in Jada, Adamawa State, he studied Transportation and Economics at the London School of Economics. In 1965 he received a masters Degree in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh. In 1959, he served as Executive Officer for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Gongola State and later Manager of the Lagos Ports Complex, where he served as a General Manager and Chief Executive of the Nigerian Ports Authority from 1975 to 1982. In 1983, he was elected Civilian Governor of the defunct Gongola State (now Adamawa State). In 1994 and 1995, he was a member of the Federal Executive Council and the Minister of Industries of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He has held numerous national appointments in Nigeria. He is the Executive President of the African Business RoundTable.

Alhaji Wahab Iyanda Folawiyo: Chief Wahab Iyanda Folawiyo (OFR, CON), the Baba Adini of Nigeria started out in Lagos as a cement and commodity importer in the late 1950s after his education at famous Ilesa Grammar School. Today, he presides over a conglomerate of eight companies, including Nigeria's first shipping company. He has invested in other areas like farming, properties, telecommunication, oil, construction, fisheries, maritime, banking and even in the Lagos independent power poject. He plays active role in Nigeria's current political developments by critisising, discussing and offering services where necessary. He is equally religious and has presented various scholarly papers at different fora that border on Muslim religion. He has had many engagements in the education sector and is the Chancellor of Crescent University.

Chief Philip Asiodu: Chief Philip Asiodu was one of the 'super permanent secretaries' of the '70s. At the time he was retired in 1975, Asiodu could not really call himself an entrepreneur nor the industrialist that is ascribed to him today. His wealth then consisted in the shares he was able to acquire as a civil servant through a holding company - Medife Limited, established with interest in many bluechips companies across the nation. His foray into business, however, began when he established the Summit Furniture Company Limited in Asaba, Delta State, with headquarters in Lagos. Founded 22 years ago, Summit Furniture was conceived to be an exporter of furniture and wood to Europe. Thus, beside his pension, Asiodu earned respectable living from his investments in other companies through Medife and the Furniture company. In recognition of his excellent managerial ability and expertise in Corporate Governance, Asiodu has been invited to chair several boards of national and multi-national bodies. He has been Chairman of Ecobank Plc, Krupp Steel Engineering Co. Limited, International Contractors Limited, among others. When political activities were flagged-off in 1998 by the General Abdulsalami Abubakar's regime, Asiodu contested for the presidential ticket under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party but lost to President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Alhaji Alade Odunewu: The doyen of Nigerian journalism, Alade Odunewu (Allah-de) is one of the veterans of the journalism profession in Nigeria. He was one of the pioneers of Daily Times of Nigeria. A prolific writer who does not care whose ox was gored throughout the period he maintained a column in Daily Times under the pen name Allah de, he rose from lowly ranks in the Daily Times of Nigeria before climbing to the top of the newspaper group before retiring. Even in retirement, Odunewu never forgot the profession that made him so prominent. He has continued to chair several committees concerning media welfare. He is the Chiarman of the Nigeria Press Council and has been a strong advocate for fairness accuracy and balance in news reporting.

Chief Chris Oladipo Ogunbanjo: One of the sons of Alhaji Alhassan Dantata, Alhaji Aminu Dantata, took after his father as a businessman at an early age. He came into business during the era of the famous groundnut pyramids. He slipped into his father's shoes in 1955 and made a huge success in the business terrain. He is today the patriach of the famous Dantata family. Even while he maintains a reticent reserve, there is no doubt that he has a good grasp of issues in business. He was able to read between the lines soon enough that the oil industry was going to be the moving force behind the Nigerian economy when he ventured into the downstream sector of the nation's oil business. He is the chairman of Express Petroleum and Gas Company Limited. He is currently into haulage, construction, among other businesses. He is also a director or chairman in some of the blue chips company across the country among them is Northern Nigerian Flour Mills Plc.

Mr. Gamaliel O. Onosode: Born May 22, 1933 in Sapele, Delta State, Onosode has chaired several private and public sector businesses and initiatives. He was Chairman and Chief Executive of NAL Bank Plc (1973-79), Dunlop Nigeria Plc (since 1984), Cadbury Nigeria Plc (1977-93), Presidential Commission on Parastatals (1981), Nigeria LNG Working Committee and Nigeria LNG Limited (1985-90) and the Niger Delta Environmental Survey (since 1995). He was Presidential Adviser on Budget Affairs and Director of Budget (1983). He is a Fellow of the Economic Development Institute of the World Bank, the Nigerian Institute of Management, of which he was President (1979-82). He is also a Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, having been elected to membership of its Board of Fellows in 1998. In addition, he is the immediate past and inaugural President of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers, immediate past Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the University of Uyo and immediate past and inaugural President and Chairman of Council of the Association of Pension Funds of Nigeria. He is also chairman of Celtel Nigeria.

Dr. Christopher Kolade: Dr. Christopher Kolade is currently Nigeria's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. A veteran broadcaster who was once the Director-General of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation. He was Chief Executive and Chairman of Cadbury Nigeria Plc at some point. Kolade was a colonial era Education Officer and more recently a Lecturer in Corporate Governance and Human Resources Management at the Lagos Business School, Nigeria. He has served in many national and international bodies. He received the medal of the Order of St. Augustine from the Archbishop of Canterbury (1981), and is also a Lay Canon of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in the Diocese of Guildford. Kolade has promoted community peace, building projects as diplomat and as volunteer he is an advocate of achiving peace through track II diplomacy. He has promoted business integrity in Nigeria through his chairmanship of organisations like Integrity Organisation Limited and The Convention on Business Integrity Limited.

Chief Adekunle Ojora: A journalist and businessman of note, Chief Adekunle Ojora was news editor of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation. Later he was appointed public relations officer for the office of the Premier, Western Nigeria (1959-61), public relations manager, United African Company (UAC) of Nigeria Limited (1962), director of UAC (1963-67) and chairman of Nigerian Shipping Lines. Then followed stints as chairman of Agip Nigeria (1970), director of Lagos Investments Limited, chairman of Nigerlink Industries Limited and membership of Lagos Chamber of Commerce, Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce, Nigerian Institute of international Affairs and the historical Society of Nigeria. He was awarded the national honor of Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic in 1982 and was given the Freedom of the City of London in 1990. He also has the honor: Commander, Order of the Republic of Italy, accorded jointly with his wife Evelyn Ojuolape.

Bank of The Year:

First Bank

GTBank Plc

Intercontinental Bank


Zenith Bank Plc

Most Improved Bank :

Bank PHB Plc

Diamond Bank Plc

Equitorial Trust Bank

FirstInland Bank Plc

Oceanic Bank Plc

Banker of The Year :

Jacobs Moyo Ajekigbe

Erastus Akingbola

Cecilia Ibru

Atedo Peterside

Jim Ovia

Best Bank in Mergers, Acquisition & Consolidation:

Access Bank

Diamond Bank

First City Monument Bank

Intercontinental Bank

Spring Bank

Stock Offer of the Year:

Dangote Sugar Refinery IPO

Intercontinental Bank PO

May & Baker PO

Union Bank PO

Zenith Bank PO

Transaction of the Year:

- BPE/NPA Port Concessioning

- BPE/Notore Acquisition of NAFCON

- BPE/Transcorp Acquisition of NITEL

- Celtel Takeover of Vmobile

- NNPC/$350m Nigerian Content

Support Fund

Product of The Year:


Cowbell Milk

Dangote Spaghetti

Indomie Noodles

Peak Milk

Brand of The Year:



GTBank Brand

Star Lager Beer

Zenith Bank Brand

Car of The Year:

BMW 530

Honda Accord I-VTEC

Kia Sportage

Mercedes Benz S500

Peugeot 407

Toyota Camry

Hotel of The Year:

- Eko Hotel & Suites

- Lagos Sheraton & Towers

- Protea Hotel Oakwood

Park, Lekki, Lagos

- Sofitel Moorhouse, Lagos

- Transcorp Hilton, Abuja

Airline of The Year:

Aero Contractors Airlines

Arik Airlines

Bellview Airlines

Virgin Nigeria Airlines

Corp. Socially Responsible Company of The Year:

Friesland Foods WAMCO Nigeria

MTN Nigeria

Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas ltd

Shell Nigeria

Zenith Bank Plc

Company of The Year:

Dangote Group

Emzor Pharmaceuticals

Globacom Ltd

MTN Nigeria

Zinox Technologies Ltd

Young Manager of the Year:

- Ibrahim Dikko/


- Nicholas Okoye/


- Yemi Osindero/

Virgin Nigeria

- Akeem Oyewale/

IBTC Assets

- Wale Tinubu/Oando

Regulator of the Year:





Sports Personality of The Year:

Amos Adamu

Nwankwo Kanu

Obafemi Martins

Olumide Oyedeji

Perpetual Nkwocha

CEO of The Year:

Erastus Akingbola

Aliko Dangote

Tony Elumelu

Michiel Herkemij

Jim Ovia

Oil & Gas Company of The Year:






Oil Marketing Company of The Year:




Total Nigeria


Best Oil Company in Community Development:




Sea Petroleum & Gas


Insurance Company of the Year:

- Custodian & Allied

- GT Assurance

- Leadway

- Sovereign Trust

- WAPIC Insurance

ICT Company of the Year:

Galaxy Backbone Corp

Globacom Limited



Zinox Technologies

Entrepreneur of the Year:

-Tayo Amusan/The Palms Shopping Centre

-Wale Babalakin/New Lagos Airport

-Aliko Dangote/Obajana Cement

-Leo Stan Ekeh/Zinox for Elections

-Samad Isiyaku-Rabiu/ Kano, Lagos Flour Mills

-Femi Otedola/New Diesel Stations

Governor of The Year:

Adamu Aliero

Donald Duke

James Ibori

Rashidi Ladoja

Adamu Muazu

Chimaroke Nnamani

Bukola Saraki

Minister of The Year:

Mallam Adamu Bello

Mallam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai

Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili

Prof. Turner Isoun

Prof. Eyitayo Lambo

Mr. Frank Nweke, Jnr

Mrs. Nenadi Usman

Senator of the Year:

Tokunbo Afikuyomi

Sule Yari Gandi (Posthumous)

Idris Kuta

Ken Nnamani

Gbemi Saraki-Fowora

Udoma Udo Udoma

Representative of the Year:

Sola Adeyeye

Francis Amadiegwu

Wunmi Bewaji

Femi Gbajabiamila

Farouk Lawan

Abdul Ningi

Government Agency of the Year:

- Bureau of Public Enterprises


- Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

- Economic and Financial

Crimes Commission (EFCC)

- Federal Inland Revenue

Service (FIRS)

- The National Agency for Food

and Drug Administration and

Control (NAFDAC)

- Nigerian Television Authority


Governmental Personality of The Year:

- Mr. Muhammad Kabir


- Prof. Dora Nkem Akunyili/


- Dr. Irene Chigbue/ BPE

- Engr. Ernest Ndukwe/ NCC

- Ifueko Omoigui/ FIRS

- Prof. Charles Soludo/ CBN

Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media. (

Copyright 2007 Accra Mail. Distributed by Allafrica Global Media.

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