Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has described The Sun Awards as an unbiased recognition in Nigeria.
Ngige and 26 others will receive The Sun Awards on May 7, 2022 in Lagos.
The minister said, while receiving the management of The Sun Publishing Ltd, led by the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, Onuoha Ukeh, that his recognition with the Public Service Icon award shows that the silent reforms of his Ministry are becoming ingrained in the hearts of Nigerians.
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Stating that The Sun has remained neutral and professional in its reportage, Ngige said for the newspaper to capture his days as a civil servant, which is part of the things that earned him the Public Service Icon award, showed that The Sun is thorough in its selection process.
He recalled his days in the Federal Ministry of Health, saying that many Nigerians do not know that he was a civil servant before becoming an elected governor.
On his Public Service Icon award, Ngige said: “This award is well received and appreciated. I am parti-cularly happy that you referred to my time in the civil service. Not many people are aware that I was once a civil servant. I served and retired in 1998, before I went into active politics.”
Earlier, Mr. Ukeh explained what informed the choice of Ngige for the award.
He said: “We note that in public service, you have been a beacon of hope and a leading light. Prior to your appointment as Minister of Labour and Employment, you had, at various times, served as a medical doctor in the Ministry, a senator representing Anambra Central senatorial district (2011-2015) and Anambra State governor (2003-2006).
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“Celebrated as a medical doctor with the longest years of post-registration and public service experience in Nigeria, you have been involved in Nigeria’s public service for over 50 years, having joined the civil service and retired in 1998 as a deputy director in the Federal Ministry of Health.
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“As governor, you transformed Awka to a befitting capital city. You dualised Nnamdi Azikiwe Road and installed streetlights. The Agu Awka power station was given a boost with 60KVA sub-injector station to complement the Nibo power station under your government. You created the Ngozika Housing Estate and introduced reforms in the civil service. You engineered reforms at the Anambra State civil service
“As senator, you became one of the most visible federal lawmaker of the 7th Senate, supporting, most of the time motions and bills in favour of the Nigerian masses. A notable instance was when an anti-labour bill was smuggled into the Senate by the executive, as a Private Member Bill, and was almost scaling through to the third and final reading, but you challenged it and inspired other senators to add their voices.
“Your tenure as the Minister of Labour and Employment has followed in your trailblazing tradition. To mention a few, you were instrumental to the approval of the N30, 000 Minimum Wage enjoyed by Nigerian workers.
“You have always stepped in to handle employment and labour issues to the benefit of Nigerians, ensuring that even during COVID-19 when most Nigerian workers operated from home for many months, they received their full salaries. You have also worked hard to ensure Nigeria’s recognition and respect at the global scene through your labour diplomacy.
The other award winners are, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State and Chairman, BUA Group, Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu (Man of the Year), Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State and Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State (Governor of the Year), Dr. Ahmad Lawan, Senate President (Political Icon), Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State (Courage in Leadership) and Mrs. Nkechi Ikpeazu, First Lady of Abia State (Most Supportive First Lady).
Others are Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, MD, First Bank Nigeria Limited and Emmanuel Mbaka, MD, Platinum Mortgage Bank (Banker of the Year), Senator Uche Ekwunife and Dr. Toyin Saraki (Humanitarian Service Icon); Dr. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour & Employment and Hon Chibuike Amaechi, Minister of Transportation (Public Service Icon) and star actress, Destiny Etiko (Nollywood Personality).
In the business categories, the following are winners: Ebuka Okafor, Chairman, Vixa Pharmaceutical and Emmanuel Iheagwazi, Chairman, Climax Lubricants Industries (Industrialist of the Year), Dr. Charles Mba, Chairman, CDV Properties and Development Limited and Okey Nzenwa, Chairman, Pan-Marine Investment Limited (Investor of the Year) as well as Alhaji Auwalu Rano, Chairman, AA Rano and Benson Madubuko, Chairman, De Chico Group (Entrepreneur of the Year)
Other winners are High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Chief Bisi Akande and Col Sani Bello (retd) (Lifetime Achievement), Daniel Igali, Bayelsa State Commissioner for Sports (Sports Personality) and Augustine Okoro, chairman, Corinthian Hotel & Suites (Hospitality Personality).