The Group Managing Director and Chief Executive of the United Bank for Africa Plc, Kennedy Uzoka, was on Sunday night presented with The Zik Prize for Professional Leadership by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha.
Uzoka was emerged winner alongside the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer at the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof Umar Danbatta.
At the ceremony organised by Public Policy Research and Analysis Centre (PPRAC) and chaired by Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka in Lagos, Uzoka, while applauding efforts of the organisers, recalled his great respect he had for the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe.
He expressed pride at receiving “an award that was first conferred on the late premier 25 years ago. I dedicate this award to the staff of the UBA Group in all our 23 countries of operations. They really are the best”.
Uzoka’s nomination was announced by members of the PPRAC Advisory board, including Prof. Pat Utomi, and Executive secretary, Emeka Obasi, who said Uzoka was selected due to his outstanding contributions to the development and growth of the banking and financial services industry, and also for an unblemished record of service as a banker of international repute, according to a statement.
Apart from Uzoka and Danbatta, other winners in various categories of public service, good governance, business, and professional leadership include Senate President Ahmed Lawan; Borno State governor, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum; his Delta and Oyo States counterparts- State Senator Ifeanyi Okowa; and Seyi Makinde respectively; SGF, Boss Mustapha; Dr. Stella Okoli amongst others.
On his part, the organisers said Lawan’s consideration was in recognition of his “long-standing dynamic service to the Nigerian state” and his “undying commitment to the entrenchment of democratic ideals in the Nigerian polity.”
Accepting the award delivered by Dr Muhammad-Aji, Lawan expressed his pleasure and delight to have been recognized for the prestigious award, which he dedicated to his distinguished colleagues in the Senate who had risen above partisan differences to form a bond that is committed to the progress and development of Nigeria, according to a statement by Ola Awoniyi, his Special Adviser (Media).
“I consider the award as a further call to duty, not just from a personal point of view but on behalf of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the National Assembly in general,” Lawan said.
Previous recipients of the prize include President Jerry Rawlings(1995), President Julius Nyerere (1997), Dr Nelson Mandela (2000), President Yonweri Muzeveni (2003), President John Kuffor (2008), Alhaji Yayale Ahmed(2010), President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf(2011), Aare Afe Babalola (2013), Yakubu Dogara (2015), Alhaji Ahmed Joda (2016), Chief Audu Ogbeh (2017), and Professor Ayo Ibidapo-Obe (2018).
Some other notable leaders and recipients of the prize in the past included Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim; former President of Namibia, Sam Nujoma; former President of South Africa, and ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor of Ghana.
Also on the roll call are: Senate President David Mark; former Defence Minister, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed; founder, First City Merchant Bank, Otunba Subomi Balogun; former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; former Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Ahmed Joda and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele.
Photo caption: Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Group Managing Director/CEO, Kennedy Uzoka; member of Board of Trustees, Public Policy Research and Analysis Centre (PPRAC), organiser of Zik Prize, Marc Wabara, during the conferment of Zik Prize for Professional Leadership on Uzoka in Lagos on Sunday.