…Hon our well deserved – Minister, NNPC chief, others
By Gabriel Akinwale
Edo State-born business magnate, and philanthropist, Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbor, last Friday, added another colorful feather to his cap when the global media icon, Forbes America conferred on him, “Forbes Best Of Africa 2020, Outstanding Leader in Africa 2020 Award.
Although the ceremony was held virtually, the presentation of the certificate took place at the prestigious Wells Hotel, Asokoro, Abuja and witnessed by friends and well-wishers.
Speaking during the event which was organized in conjunction with the Foreign Investment Network (FIN), the Chairman of FIN, H.E. Mrs. Olayinka Fayomi, said Okunbo is an illustrious son of Edo, who has done not only his state proud but also Nigeria in general.
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She said the honour was bestowed on Capt. Hosa for connecting Africa with the world.
“Am here to present the certificate from Forbes America. I always like to distinguish Forbes America from Forbes Africa, we are so pleased on behalf of Forbes to present to you Capt. Dr. Idehosa Wells Okunbo JP.
“Indeed you are more than deserving of this award and am sure all of you who have watched the event today can the testify from numerous testimonies from various persons across the globe that our decision to honour him is worth it.
“We are proud to associate with you. I am really happy about the success that you have made. You are am an illustrious son of Edo State. You have made not only your state proud but you have actually made Nigeria proud.
“Am so happy that Mr. President himself acknowledges this award. I am pleased, congratulations,” she said.
Okunbo dedicates award
Responding, Capt. Okunbo said he is humbled by the award.
His words: “I am indeed very delighted to have this award from this very revered institution.
“As I said earlier, I only accept awards that truly award. I dedicated this award to the less privileged in our society, to the needy, and the jobless youths. It is my pleasure, privilege, and am humbled ”
NNPC, others laud recipient
Also applauding Capt. Okunbo for the award, a former Executive Director in Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Engr Rabiu Sulaiman, said the award is well deserved.
According to him, he had associated with Capt. Okunbo for over 15 years during which he worked closely with him as a supervisor of one of his contracts when he was a director in NNPC in charge of engineering and technical services. The award he said, is a recognition of his continuous efforts and struggle to help in stabilizing the restlessness in the Niger Delta.
He noted that Capt. Okunbo has actively participated in contracts that are designed and meant for capable hands within the communities of the oil-producing states and he has done very well in executing such contracts. He added that as a philanthropist, he has been involved in enriching and empowering the youths and the less privileged in his local society as a businessman.
“I think it is also another honour to him for such a highly reputable organization to identify him and accord him this award. For me, it’s an encouragement to continue to do more and the sky will be the limit. I want to say that the award is well deserved.”
Also commenting, Chief Dr. Leemon Ikpea, Group Chairman/CEO Lee Engineering Group and Allied Companies Ltd, said as a friend and admirer of Capt. Okunbo, he is happy and proud of the award bestowed on him by Forbes.
According to him, Capt. Okunbo is someone who has worked very hard, tirelessly, and selflessly over the years to build a reputation and business empire.
He added that Okunbo does not just work but work for people.
“The world is taking note of what he is doing concerning serving humanity. So I am not surprised at all, I have known captain almost 30years and am so proud of him,” he said.
Earlier, speaking in a philanthropy round-table discussion with the theme “Harnessing the Financial Resources and Social Capital of Philanthropy to Making a Lasting Impact,” Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, advocated that corporate organisations should reach out and ensure that what is being given out is what the recipient needs.
While appreciating the essence of philanthropy, he noted that: “More than $502 billion has been donated to sub-saharan Africa in the form of philanthropy. The recent one in the form of CACOVID during this pandemic underscores the importance.”
He congratulated the recipients of the award as well as the host for organising the event.
In the same vein, a member of the UK Parliament, Baroness Osamor Martha, called for a future built on equality. She wondered why there was so much uneven wealth distribution and called out to leaders, opinion molders and philanthropists to clamour for change which must include reparations.
“Covid-19 and #BlackLivesMatter is a reminder that the planet we share needs equality and unity. It cannot be business as usual”, she stated.
In her special remarks, Former Minister for Trade and Industry in Nigeria, Mrs. Onikepo Akande, said the recipients deserved the awards and charged them to do more. She also congratulated the host for putting the event together.
“The Financial Investment Network (FIN) has been in the vanguard of developing Nigeria’s economy through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI),” She urged.
The list of Forbes Africa awardees 2020 includes the Managing Director, First Bank, Kazeem Adeduntan, Chairman, Innovate Pay 1, Dr. Ahmadu Mahmood, and Badria Al Mulla.
Speakers on the panel include the Executive Director of DIHC, H.E Zulfiquar Ghadiyali, and the Principal Founder of Going Global Ventures, Mike Minevich
Awards were presented by the President, Forbes Custom Media, Mark Furlong.
Managing Partner of FIN, Nick Kochan anchored the event.