From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, has expressed delight at his selection as winner of The Sun Political Icon award 2021, while vowing to continue defending and upholding the interest of Nigerians.
Lawan and 26 others will formally receive The Sun Awards on May 7, 2022, in Lagos.
Speaking when he received the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Publishing Ltd, Onuoha Uk-eh, who led a delegation of editors to present a letter nominating him for the award, Lawan thanked The Sun for recoganising him, while dedicating the honour to all senators for their support and cooperation.
He described The Sun Awards as credible owing to the diligence and dexterity involved in the selection.
Lawan noted that although he hardly accepts awards, he was delighted about the Political Icon award because of the credibility of The Sun.
He said: “Honestly, I avoid accepting awards. That is why I have a few awards in my office or in my house, not because I was not offered, but because I hardly accept. For me, each one I accept is worth over 100 awards. This is because I believe we should only be given awards for justified reasons.
“When I received your nomination letter, I reckoned that The Sun is critical to nation-building. So, I said definitely, there must have been very exhaustive deliberations before you arrived at that choice.”
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Lawan recalled that he was the darling of the media when he was a member of the House of Representatives and initially at the Senate because of his critical views, being in the opposition political party, but he did so with every sense of responsibility.
According to him, “each time, then, there was an issue, they would approach me for my reaction because I will say something that will criticise the administration or the president. Because I was in the opposition, I had a lot of information, especially when I served as the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee; between 2007 and 2015.
“But, within my limits, I was very conscious of what my nation demanded of me. Politics apart, there is always the need for every politician to know the limit you can take opposition to because you have to have a nation first. Don’t destroy a nation because you are in opposition.”
Earlier, The Sun MD said the selection of the Senate president for the Political Icon award was based on his “outstanding contribution towards deepening democracy in the country.”
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He explained that the Political Icon award is usually bestowed on someone, who has made a tremendous impact in the political development of the country.
Ukeh said: “You have the enviable record of being the longest serving member of the National Assembly in the country today, having joined the House of Representatives in 1999 and after two terms, moved over the Senate till date.
“Your active role in ensuring that democracy takes a firm root in Nigeria dates back to your days as a member of the House of Representatives. While in the opposition, you sustained a radical approach to law making by speaking truth to power.
“Since your election as Senate president, which makes you the chairman of the National Assembly, you have brought dynamism to the upper legislative chamber. Under your watch, the National Assembly has ensured that the country returned to the right budget cycle.
“On October 15, 2019, the Senate under your leadership passed the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill 2019. The passage of that Bill raised over $500 million used by the Executive arm of government in funding the 2020 budget. Today, over $1.9 billion has been realised from that initiative.
“Your maturity has translated into many achievement of the 9th National Assembly within a short period including the harmonious relationship with the executive arm of government.
The Sun Awards 2021 holds on May 7, 2022 at the Expo Convention Centre, Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
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), Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State (Courage in Leadership) and Mrs. Nkechi Ikpeazu, First Lady of Abia State (Most Supportive First Lady).
Others are Gbenga Shobo, MD, First Bank Nigeria 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, Corinthia Hotel & Suites (Hospitality Personality).