The Hallmarks of Labour Foundation on Sunday night conferred 11 accomplished Nigerians with its highly coveted annual Role Model Awards.
The recipients include Supreme Court Judge, Justice Clara Ogunbiyi, who bagged the Life-Time Achievement Award for exemplary/courageous service to the advancement of the legal system and President of African Development Bank (AfDB) Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, who received the Emeka Anyaoku Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his performance as Nigeria’s outstanding international icon.
Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu also received the Life-Time Achievement Award for excellence in leadership and good governance.
Six others received Role Model Awards for excellence in different spheres of endeavour.
They are Justice Banji Orilonise, Prof Anya O. Anya, Prof Oladele Kale, Prof Nimi Dimpka Briggs, Prof Idris Mohammed and the only female recipient, Mrs Ibukun Awosika who is the Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria.
Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) Registrar, Prof Is-Haq Oloyedesaid, won the Umaru Shehu Award, while Channels TV Chairman John Momoh took home the Christopher Kolade Award.
Adesina, who spoke on behalf of the awardees, said they were not heroes but servants in the cause of Nigeria’s progress.
He thanked the foundation and other Nigerians for being “excellent examples for us.
“You have cleared a path for where we are today. We stand on your very broad shoulders tonight and we stand on your very broad shoulders and we thank you very much.
“Heroes they may call us, but we are not, but servants we are. We have been entrusted with a sacred responsibility to serve by emptying ourselves.
“We have been provided a rare exceptional opportunity to serve our dear nation, the lion that has given us air in our lungs, thank you to the Hallmarks of Labour Foundation for this great honour.
“We have all been providentially placed in Nigeria for a time like this. We all have a part to play in our little ways and in our respective spheres of influence.
“We’ve been called on to make a difference to stand out as ambassadors of this great nation, for ours is a nation that cannot be hidden. Nigeria’s future is bright and it will continue to shine.”
A former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Mariam Aloma Mukthar chaired the occasion; Chief Anyaoku was Special Guest of Honour while Chairman HLF Board of Trustees, Prof (emeritus) Umaru Shehu was also present.
Activist lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, who delivered a lecture, praised the foundation for its painstaking efforts to identify worthy Nigerians for the awards.
Falana added: “For all the awardees, one thing you have exhibited in your careers is that at the end of the day this country is proud of you and any country will be proud of our awardees.
“For the foundation I’m going to advise that please try as much as possible henceforth if you’re honouring 10 people, ensure that five of them are women, not just one woman out of 10 people.”
He appealed to the Foundation to “go out there and identify even if it’s just one young man or woman who has also done the country proud so that for their generation can be made to appreciate the need for honouring integrity and achievement.”
Guests at the occasion included former External Affairs Minister Prince Bolaji Akinyemi, Former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, Dr Wale Babalakin SAN, Dr Yusuf Ali SAN, among other eminent Nigerians.
The HLF was established in 1996 to promote honesty, hard work and integrity through character emulation and role modelling.
Members of its Board of Trustees include Prof Shehu, Dr Kolade, Senator (Mrs) Oluremi Tinubu, Prof Grace Alele Williams, Prof Itse Sagay, Mrs Grace Giwa and Patricia Dede Otuedon-Arawore.
So far 59 Nigerians have been honoured with the awards since 1997. Sunday was the 23rd anniversary of the event.
As Reported By TheNation Newspaper Online – https://thenationonlineng.net/adesina-onu-awosika-eight-others-bag-role-model-awards/