ANDY BRIGGS REPORT AWARDS 2011 HONORS LIST
NAME – AWARD
PROF BB FAKAE – INNOVATION IN EDUCATION
SEN. MAGNUS ABE – OUTSTANDING IMPACT IN SENATE
HON. LAWAN FAROUK – OUTSTANDING IMPACT IN HOUSE OF REPS
HON. OGBONNA NWUKE – AWARD OF MERIT IN MEDIA
JERRY NEEDAM – COURAGE IN JOURNALISM
MRS. PAULINE EHIMUAN – COURAGE IN MARITIME BUSINESS
MRS. OSI – COURAGE IN MEDIA BUSINESS
ANLCA ONNE CHAPTER EXECUTIVE COUNCIL- OUTSTANDING IMPACT IN MARITIME BUSINESS
NIGERIA LIQUIFIED NATURAL GAS (NLNG) – BEST COMMUNITY
ZENITH BANK – BEST BANK
ACCESS BANK – MOST IMPROVED BANK
ACCESS BANK – FASTEST GROWING BANK
EVERYDAY GROUP – OUTSTANDING IMPACT IN RETAIL BUSINESS
GENESIS GROUP – OUTSTANDING IMPACT IN LEISURE – CATERING BUSINESS
HOME OPTIONS – OUTSTANDING IMPACT IN HOME FURNISHING
AIT – BEST NEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION NETWORK
RHYTHM FM 93.7 – BEST NEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT RADIO NETWORK
There are three awards for courage in Andy Briggs Report Honors list for 2011. These awards honor people whose lifestyle have inspired others. Jerry Needam is a well known journalist and publisher of the Port Harcourt based National Network Newspapers. When the circumstances of the 2007 gubernatorial infighting in the Rivers PDP came to a sudden conclusion at the Supreme court, this old friend of the victorious governor Rotimi Amaechi found himself in the opposition and gradually, falling back on his skills, he became the most powerful voice of opposition to the Amaechi administration.
Many people do not agree with Jerry Needam’s views and even accuse him of being in battle because it furthers his own political interests but no one really disagrees in Port Harcourt that Needam’s fearless editorial broadsides against the Amaechi administration has helped to keep the administration on the alert, deepening press freedom in the state and extracting improved performance from those in power.
Mrs Ehimuan and Mrs Osi are both widows of Dr Joseph Ehimuan a.k.a Joe Eboje and Evan Osi respectively. Joe Eboje was the CEO of Joe Eboje International Agencies. He lost his life in the ill-fated Sosoliso air crash of 2005. Evan Osi was the founding publisher of the Port Harcourt newspaper Independent Monitor, a pioneer and still prominent Port Harcourt tabloid. After the demise of their husbands, both women mustered the courage and business savvy to take over the companies left by their husbands. In a male dominated environment, they took on the challenges of moving forward the two frontline companies and kept their husband’s flags flying among the best becoming in the process an inspiration to widows and others in various struggles. Mrs Osi has since relinquished the publisher’s position at Independent Monitor to her second son.
Prof. Barineme B. Fakae has blazed a trail of critical acclaim since his days as a fresh professor in the University of Nigeria Nsukka. The Peter Odili administration recognized his talents and recruited him to bail out the endangered Rivers State Polytechnic (RIVPOLY) in Bori, Khana LGA of Rivers State. By the time he left Rivpoly at the behest of Governor Rotimi Amaechi, the demons of cultism and infrastructural decay that had troubled the institution had vanished considerably. Those who had known Amaechi for quite a while were already used to seeing him take chances but he still managed to surprise a lot of people when he appointed Prof. BB Fakae as the new vice chancellor of Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RUST).
Fakae had only been a professor for just a few years and it seemed like a really big throw of the dice to appoint him as vice chancellor in a university where the academia had broken up into several camps and had been waging a war of attrition. The place had its fair share of university dons with twenty or more years in the professorial chair who would have every reason to see the new vice chancellor as an upstart. But Fakae has proved since 2007 that Rotimi Amaechi knew exactly what he was doing when he appointed him to be vice chancellor of RUST.
Under Fakae’s watch, RUST became the first e-university in the Niger Delta with a coveted ITC Center, running examinations online even its post Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) screening test and results released with unprecedented alacrity. The infrastructural upgrade is clear and present. Speaking to a group of journalists on the eve of the university’s recent convocation ceremony, the head of the university’s works department Mr. Chukwu summed it up thus: ‘For the past four years there has been total transformation in the university, our facilities have changed, our structures are in good shape, you go around the university, you will find them’. It has not been as easy as a walk in the park. Barineme Fakae has weathered a lot of opposition and remains undeterred in the path of innovation.
Though now a member of the House of Representatives Hon Ogbonna Nwuke remains a very important influence in the Port Harcourt media. His newspaper the Port Harcourt Telegraph continues to churn out opinions. Ogbonna Nwuke made his mark, cutting his teeth at Evan Osi’s Independent Monitor on his way to becoming a fearless editorial campaigner for justice who also understood that discretion was the better part of valor. He was admired by friends and respected by his opponents. As a frontline editor and publisher in the Niger Delta, as a genuine Port Harcourt old boy, as a scion of an illustrious family he was also one of the few that other journalists could count on to lend a helping hand at challenging moments. He remains a rallying force for the Port Harcourt media.
Senator Magnus Abe made his first political mark as the minority leader in the Rivers House of Assembly from 1999 to 2003. It was also his first working relationship with the speaker of the House of Assembly Rotimi Amaechi. Magnus Abe would later blossom in Dr. Peter Odili’s second term administration as the articulate and unflappable commissioner for Information. Even before he became the Secretary to the State Government under Governor Amaechi, his skill as an articulate speaker and his sharpness of mind were well known. As a senator, he has provided Rivers State and indeed the Niger Delta with those skills necessary to recapitulate the region’s yearnings in the hallowed chamber of the upper house. Some of this brilliance has been seen in his role as the chairman of the senate committee on the downstream oil sector investigating the management of the fuel subsidy.
What then can be said of Hon. Farouk Lawan; enfant terrible of the House of Representatives, cutting edge of the Integrity Group. Farouk Lawan’s reputation precedes him. His antecedents are self-evident and as national issues have done in the past, the fuel subsidy probe which he has chaired in the House of Representatives again brought to the fore his prodigious powers. Farouk Lawan’s impact on the national psyche can be gauged in the fact that he is the only one outside the Niger Delta region who appears in the Andy Briggs Report Honors List of 2011.
In September 2011, the Onne Chapter executive of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents ANLCA called a strike to protest measures adopted by the Onne Command of the Nigerian Customs Service; measures which ANLCA members felt was inimical to their legitimate business and against the rule of law. For more than a week, the strike paralyzed maritime activities at the Onne port and caused a loss of revenue to the Federal Government until the customs command finally gave in to the demands of the striking agents. The courage displayed by the ANLCA Onne Chapter Exco led by Ossy Prestige as chairman, Theodore Ejezie as vice-chairman and Obi Chima as strike committee chairman restored the professional dignity of customs agents at Onne port, deepened the democratic necessities in the business sector and validated the rule of law. Nigerians in all walks of life should never be discouraged from standing up for their rights.
The Best Community Relations Initiatives Award to NLNG Ltd is to laud its epoch-making relocation to Port Harcourt. The award is given by ABR editorial board every year to the company operating in the Niger Delta which comes closest to meeting the realistic aspirations and development goals of its host community at the local, state and regional levels. Far better than any MOU borne infrastructural project could ever do, the decision of the NLNG to tie its corporate destiny to the Niger Delta where it gets its product comes closest to capturing the justice and equity sought by the region. It is the corporate social responsibility initiative of 2011 which most validates the Niger Delta society’s yearning to play an equitable role in the commercial utilization of the natural resources under its soil. No other CSR initiative of 2011 comes anywhere near this massive overture.
Zenith Bank has remained for the second year running the best banking operation in the Niger Delta while Access Bank established its credentials as the fastest growing and most improved bank of 2011 for very significant reasons like the acquisition of the former Intercontinental bank. Everyday Group, the only supermarket chain in the region and The Genesis Group also get awards for the initiatives which have made them leading brands in the retail and leisure business sectors. After many years of investments in the Niger Delta, Home Options the home and office furnishing company on Aba Road, Port Harcourt recently opened its prestigious three-storey plaza signaling its leadership position in the business. Home Option’s award for outstanding impact is without gainsaying.
Two outstanding media organizations in the Niger Delta AIT and Rhythm FM are also to be honored for being the best television and radio network in entertainment and news. All awardees will be honored at Andy Briggs Report Award Ceremony billed for later this month on February 25th at the Silverbird Galleria, Port Harcourt.
IMAGES FROM ANDY BRIGGS REPORT AWARD CEREMONY