On behalf of the Advisory board of the Public Policy Research and Analysis Centre (PPRAC), it is my pleasure to formally announce recipients of the combined Year 2021/2022 Zik Prize in Leadership Awards.
Since its institution in 1995 by PPRAC in honour of the first President of Nigeria and Commander of the Armed Forces, the late Rt. Honourable Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, it has always recognized and encouraged outstanding leadership on the African Continent and in the Diaspora.
Held every year, it was put on hold last year as a mark of respect following the passage of two members of the Advisory Board; Prince Emeka Obasi erstwhile Executive Secretary and Prof George Obiozor in March and December, 2022.
The reason, this edition is a combination of winners across year 2021 and 2022.
We also acknowledge fellow Board members who over these 27 years have shown uncommon zeal and commitment to building and encouraging true leadership across the face of the continent; and of course, to members of the fourth estate of the realm for your unflinching and peerless support.
A cursory look across our continent shows that the issue of leadership remains a critical challenge in our body polity. We fully understand this and thus remain committed to this noble venture of encouraging and nurturing the most beneficial leadership that can be found on the continent as an embodiment of the leadership values of the Great Zik of Africa in whose honour this award was instituted.
After our usual rigorous review process, the advisory board now announce winners of the combined Year 2021/22 Zik Prize winners in accordance with their corresponding Award categories:
Year 2021/22 Zik Prize in Political Leadership – H.E Hakainde Hichilema, President, Republic of Zambia.
In a continent well known for its leadership challenges, President Hakainde Hichilema has distinguished himself as a great shining light, not only to his South African nation, Zambia, but the black race.
An example in sheer doggedness and perseverance, the 61-year-old Zambian farmer, businessman and now politician, contested five previous Presidential elections between 2006 and 2016, before emerging victorious at the 6th time of asking in 2021.
Despite inheriting an economy dangerously spiraling out of control and prevailing global challenges, H.E Hichilema has in two years remarkably halted the slide and ushered Zambia’s economy back to the path of growth, restored long-term debt sustainability and reinvigorated Zambia’s economy, making it one of the fastest growing economies in the continent.
Zambia is ranked the 8th most competitive country in Africa on the Global Competitiveness Index and whilst in its recently released report, Forbes Magazine ranked Zambia the 7th best country with the ease of doing business among 54 African countries.
Hichilema’s leadership construct and political sagacity has marked him out as an outstanding political leader.
Year 2021/2022 Zik Prize in Professional Leadership – Professor Benedict Okey Oramah, President AFREXIM Bank
Professor Benedict Okey Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) since 2015 is currently serving a second 5 year term.
He has remarkably piloted Africa’s premier multilateral financial institution to deliver on its mandate of boosting economic expansion in Africa by financing and promoting intra-and extra-African trade. and accelerating industrialization.
A key promoter of AfCFTA as Africa’s pathway to industralisation, he championed the introduction of a Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) that was adopted by the African Union (AU) as the payment and settlement platform to underpin the implementation of the AfCFTA. He has also led the onboarding of 500 of the continent’s 600 regulated commercial banks into its Afreximbank Trade Finance Facility (AFTRAF) placing it in the vortex of the most extensive bank messaging network on the continent.
The bank is also working with the AU and the AfCFTA Secretariat to develop an Adjustment Facility to support countries in effectively participating in the AfCFTA.
Similarly, the scale of the bank’s intervention in support of African countries at times of global crisis is unprecedented.
It introduced in year 2020 the Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA) with disbursed funds at more than US$7 billion and in year 2022, the Ukraine Crisis Adjustment Trade Financing Programme for Africa (UKAFPA), a US$ 4 billion programme of credit facilities to manage the impacts of the Ukraine crisis on African economies and businesses.
Prof Oramah is a global public speaker, prolific writer and subject matter expert on African Trade and finance.
He has authored Chapters in several books and written over 40 professional/scholarly articles on African economic, trade and trade finance issues.
Year 2021/2022 Zik Prize in Good Governance – H.E Godwin Obaseki, Executive Governor of Edo State.
A financial and administrative guru, H.E Mr Godwin Obaseki has brought his wealth of experience in the private sector to bear in addressing the issues of governance in Edo State. In the space of 7 years, his make Edo Greater Again agenda has accomplished tremendous success in public administration, repositioning the civil service and the transformation of the state’s failing education sector.
By implementing wide scale transformation projects, particularly the deployment of cutting edge technology in training and equipping Edo teachers with modern skills to deliver sound and qualitative teaching,
The EdoBest project success has inspired Lagos to create the EkoExcel scheme.
Similarly, he is recognised for his Health reforms, industralisation schemes and digitisation of the state through the construction of over 2, 000km of fibre optic connections to link every Local Government Area. Edo state is the most economic friendly state as Certificates-of-Occupancy are processed under 30 days for both individuals and businesses, a feat not yet replicated elsewhere
H.E Godwin Obaseki has come out as one of the most accomplished governors in the federation today.
Year 2021/22 Zik Prize in Entrepreneurial Leadership – Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, MON, CON, Chairman, SIFAX Group
An entrepreneur of note, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, MON, CON, is the Chairman of SIFAX Group, a leading business behemoth with diversified interests in maritime, tourism and hospitality, energy, aviation, oil and gas, haulage and logistics.
While many businessmen are hesitant to invest in the nation’s murky and unpredictable business waters, Afolabi’s indomitable and diehard nature to frontally confront all obstacles has helped him to succeed in ventures where others before him had failed.
From being a trailblazer, his brainchild, SIFAX Group has in just over three decades become a household brand in the country, especially in the maritime, hospitality, haulage and logistics industries. Notably, his massive investments in Nigeria’s terminal operations, especially its off-dock solutions, have positively affected the industry and catalyzed economic growth.
Dr Afolabi’s consistency in developing innovative business models and nurturing same to global acclaim has made him a leader in entrepreneurial endeavour.
Year 2021/2022 Zik Prize in Humanitarian Leadership – H.E Hajiya Aisha Atiku Baguda.
Her Excellency, Hajia Aisha Atiku Abubakar, fmr 1st lady of Kebbi state, is a consummate humanist and philanthropist who has over the last fourteen years been a ‘hope giver’’ to thousands of otherwise hopeless citizens of the country.
She has since 2009 set up the Mass Literacy for Less Privileged and Almajiri Initiative (MALLPAI), an NGO that has quietly gone about its business of enhancing the quality of life of Nigerians by supporting and empowering initiatives that improve access to health, education and agricultural opportunities.
Mallpai has invested extensively in the return of out of school children to school and girl child education.
It continues to empower indigent women and vulnerable groups in the country from its offices in six states (Kebbi, Kaduna, Kano, Edo, Delta and Lagos) and FCT where it is headquartered.
Hajia Atiku Bagudu remains at the forefront of the economic empowerment of women and children as a platform for sustainable socioeconomic development of the country.
Some Previous Winners:
Past recipients of the Zik Prize include notable leaders like; President J.J. Rawlings, President Nwalimu Julius Nyerere, Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, President Sam Nujoma, Dr. Nelson Mandela, President Yoweri Muzeveni, President John Agyekum Kufuor, Dr Pius Okigbo, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, Otunba Subomi Balogun, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Alhaji Ahmed Joda and Dr Akinwumi Adesina.
The formal presentation ceremony of the Zik Prize Awards, usually a celebratory event, will hold on Sunday 19th November, 2023 at the Eko Convention Centre, Lagos.
Professor Pat Utomi
Head, Selection Committee