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•••”We Must Remain United To Build Nigeria”, Says Bode George

It was a celebration of Excel­lence on Saturday evening as top dignitaries from dif­ferent sectors in Nigeria bagged the Independent News­papers Awards 2023 in recogni­tion of their contributions in various fields.

The 13th edition of the annu­al award ceremony, which took place at Eko Hotels and Suites in Lagos, was organised by INL, Publishers of Daily Inde­pendent, Saturday Independent, and Sunday Independent.

Among the awardees were the Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, who bagged the Man of the Year Award; Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State as the Tech Innovative Governor of the Year; Barr. Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State, who received the award for Governor of the Year (Community Empower­ment); while the Governor of Taraba State, Dr. Agbu Kefas, bagged the award for Governor of the Year (Education & Youth Empowerment).

Other governors who re­ceived the INL prestigious award were Governor of Enu­gu State, Peter Ndubuisi Mbah, who clinched the Governor of the Year (Urban Development) award; Governor of Gombe State, Gov. Inuwa Yaya, who won the Governor of the Year Award (Health); Governor Biodun Oye­banji of Ekiti State for Governor of the Year (Community Devel­opment) award, and Akwa Ibom State governor, Pastor Umo Eno, who was recognized with the Governor of the Year (Fiscal Discipline) award.

Other top personalities hon­oured at the much-talked-about awards included Dr. Tajudeen Abass, Speaker of the House of Representatives, who bagged the Legislator of the Year (National) Award, as well as Chief Olabode Ibiyinka George and Chief Em­manuel Iwuanyanwu, who were both honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Security Company of the Year award was received by one of the most talked-about com­panies in recent times, Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limit­ed, for its competence in pipeline surveillance, and Seplat Petro­leum Development Company (Indigenous Oil Company of the Year), among others.

The Bridge Builder and Royal Father of the Day was His Majes­ty, Ogiame Atunwase III, the Olu of Warri, while the memorable occasion was chaired by former governor of Ogun State, Aremo Olusegun Osoba.

Earlier in his address, the Managing Director/Chief Exec­utive Officer, Independent News­papers, Steve Omanufeme, said that for the year 2023, the compa­ny was able to identify and rec­ognize those who had performed excellently in their various areas of endeavour.

The award was titled, ‘Cele­brating Excellence’.

“The awardees were selected strictly based on their achieve­ments while in office in 2023 without compromising the newspaper’s integrity as the most credible newspaper in Ni­geria, with millions of followers to its credit,” Omanufeme said.

Chairman of the occasion, Olusegun Osoba, said: “Tonight is not a night of speeches but a night to honor awardees across all areas, including political, re­ligion, and culture.”

He commended INL, includ­ing members of the award com­mittee, for their abilities to select these high-class recipients who were honored.

“I am happy that one of our respected kings is also being honored,” he said.

He commended the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwaswe 111, who was represented by the Awee Warri Kingdom, for hon­oring the occasion.

Bode George appealed to Ni­gerians to remain united and build the country, stressing that this was not time for politics.

Bode George, known for his commitment to youth develop­ment and the unity of Nigeria, expressed the strong belief that no part of Nigeria should be treated as second class.

He was vocal during the 2023 general elections where he main­tained that power must shift to the South.

At some fora he also stated that the South deserved to have a shot at the presidency.

George said that it would be abnormal for the North to continue in power after former President Muhammadu Buhari had spent eight years in office.

He said: “This honour re­mains indelible. We must re­main one to build our nation. This is not time for politics.

“I thank the Independent Newspapers for this honour done me and my family.”

The Atona Oodua of Yoru­baland was at the Independent Awards with his lovely wife, Dr. (Mrs) Roli Bode George, and members of the main opposi­tion party, the PDP, including former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Kofoworola Buc­knor-Akerele, Mr and Mrs. Remi Makanjuola, former chairman, Lagos State Security Trust Fund, Mr. Gbadebo Dallas and a host of others.


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