HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. PLACID NJOKU: AN EXCEPTIONAL (FORMER) DEPUTY GOVERNOR OF IMO STATE TOOK A BOW OF HONOUR ON JANUARY 14TH 2024.
Prof. Placid Njoku, a distinguished academic and statesman, took a bow of honour on January 14th 2024, concluding his term as Deputy Governor of Imo State with a legacy of exceptional service and transformational leadership.
Prof. Placid Chike Njoku was born on the 10th February, 1947 in Umuri Amaimo, Ikeduru LGA in Imo State. He is a scholar with a stellar reputation in academia, administration and politics. Prof. Njoku received a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from University of Nigeria Nsukka (1974), Master’s in Poultry Science (1978) and Ph.D in (Major) Monogastric Animal Nutrition; (Minor) Physiology and Biochemistry (1980) from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, U.S.A, respectively.
Prof. Njoku’s journey into the realm of politics was an unexpected one but indeed, a definite act of God as his exceptional dedication quickly set him apart. As a seasoned academic, he rose to the climax of his career as Pioneer Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Agriculture (now Michael Okpara University of Agriculture) Umudike and became a well-respected figure in the academia community. Also as a quintessential professional, Professor Njoku was unanimously elected in 2007 in far away Ile-Ife as the Pioneer President of the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science, thus making one of the few Nigerians who have pioneered two chartered Federal institutions. His performance in both institutions is laden with outstanding logacies. So many were shockingly surprised when he accepted the nomination to serve as Deputy Governor of Imo State. However, his decision was rooted in a deep sense of duty and a desire to contribute to the betterment of Imo State.
From the outset, Prof. Njoku demonstrated an extraordinary level of dedication in his role. His collaborative spirit with the Governor, His Excellency, Sen. Hope Uzodimma, was instrumental in achieving numerous milestones for the state. Their partnership became a model for effective governance, showcasing the power of unity, synergy and shared vision in driving progress. His exceptional loyalty to the Executive Governor was without repugnancy. He projected his Principal’s image bringing his wealth of knowledge and passion for positive change to the forefront of Imo State’s governance. As he stepped down from his role as Deputy Governor on 14th January 2024, the people of Imo State celebrated his unwavering dedication to public service. He gracefully attended the swearing-in of his Principal for a second term in office as Governor of Imo State at which he cheered, and received many distinguished guests with his usual warmth. Throughout his tenure, Prof. Njoku proved to be an impeccable Deputy Governor, demonstrating a keen understanding of the intricacies of governance and a commitment to the well-being of Imo State citizens. His leadership was characterized by transparency, loyalty, accountability, integrity, sense of responsibility and wonderful humour.
One of Prof Njoku’s most notable achievements was his role in promoting the image of the 3R administration and also spearheading educational reforms in Imo State. As an academician himself, he recognized the transformative potential of education and worked tirelessly to improve the quality of schools, provided quality advise for the enhancement of curriculum standards, and provided better opportunities for students of Imo State using his wide range of both national and international networks in the educational sector. Working within his Principal Distingiushed Sen. Hope Uzodimma, Imo State witnessed a significant rise in educational standards and increased access to quality learning. Institutions with programmes with denied accreditation programmes had their programmes accredited. Moribund institutions were resuscitated to provide Imo children more opportunities to actualize themselves academically.
Beyond education, Prof Njoku played a pivotal role in various infrastructural developments through his wise counsel and unparalleled contributions at the State Executive Council. His unwavering support for the Governor’s agenda and his intelligent guidance as a seasoned scholar of international repute, saw the implementation of key projects that improved the lives and well-being of the citizens of Imo State. From road networks to healthcare facilities, the impact of their joint efforts was felt across the length and breadth of Imo State. As Chairman of the State Boundary Committee, he applied his wealth of experience in resolving age-old boundary/land disputes between Local Governments. He also provided the fundamental documentations which enabled the National Boundary Commission complete the field work for the delineation of the boundaries of Imo and Rivers States. He also worked with his Principal, His Excellency, Sen. Hope Uzodimma in articulating historical documentation and arguments that saw Imo State through the Supreme Court boundary case with Rivers State.
Additionally, Prof Njoku’s exceptional loyalty extended beyond policy and governance. His commitment to inclusivity and community engagement has endeared him to the People and the Government of Imo State. His effective representation of the Executive Governor at Town Hall meetings, outreach programs, the National Economic Council, the Nigerian Governors Forum, the Progressive Governors Forum, the Southern Governors Forum, the Southeast Governors Forum and his genuine connection with the grassroots have been the hallmarks of his approach, ensuring that the government remains connected to the pulse of the people. An ardent believer in God Almighty, Prof. Njoku heavily relies on God for vision, direction and sustenance as visibly seen in his excellent participation in religious activities for self and State.
As Prof Njoku takes a bow of honour after four years of selfless and dutiful service, the people of Imo State reflect on the legacy of exceptional loyalty and the values of hard work and servant leadership he leaves behind. His tenure has been a testament to the power of collaboration, dedication, and a shared vision for progress despite visible hardships faced during times of global health, economic and security challenges. The impact of his contributions will undoubtedly resonate for years to come, serving as an inspiration for future leaders and a reminder of the transformative potential of unwavering loyalty, dedication and a sense of duty to public service.
Chinedu Nsofor is the authorized biographer of His Excellency, Prof. Placid Chike Njoku and he writes from Owerri, Imo State.
The SUN names Dr. Olufemi Bakre as Banker of the Year 2023
The SUN names Dr. Olufemi Bakre as Banker of the Year 2023.
In acknowledgment of his outstanding leadership at Parallex Bank, The Sun Newspapers, organisers of The Sun Award, have conferred the title of Banker of the Year 2023 upon Dr. Olufemi Bakre, the Managing Director of Parallex Bank. In his opening remarks at the elaborate event at the Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos on Saturday, Mr. Onuoha Ukeh, the Managing Director of Sun Newspaper, said the Sun Awards annually aim to recognise and celebrate Nigerians who have demonstrated remarkable success in their respective fields, despite the challenging economic conditions in Nigeria.
According to Ukeh, the year 2023 was particularly noteworthy for Nigeria, marked by political events and the removal of petroleum subsidies. Despite the myriad challenges faced by individuals and businesses, some Nigerians exhibited resilience, utilising their skills to succeed in their endeavors. He added that the individual awardees have made a significant impact on their chosen careers and interests.
The Chairman of the occasion and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, said nation-building is a collective effort, and the choice of Sun Newspapers to celebrate and reward individuals who are making great strides in nation-building is commendable. Akume congratulated all awardees and urged them not to relent in giving their very best to the nation.
Among the notable Nigerians recognised for their milestone achievement in 2023 is Dr. Olufemi Bakre, who, according to The Sun, has utilised exceptional skills to position Parallex Bank as a leading technology-driven financial institution in the country. Within less than two years of its operation as a deposit money bank in Nigeria, Parallex Bank, under Dr. Bakre’s leadership, has demonstrated strong indicators of being a sustainable and profitable institution.
Dr. Bakre, a seasoned banker, commenced his flourishing career with MBC International Bank, later assuming the position of General Manager and eventually becoming the Group Head, Multilateral, Financial Institutions, and Global Custody at First Bank after MBC’s acquisition in 2006. He distinguished himself by initiating and delivering the First Bank of China Representative Office. He joined FCMB in 2011 and held various positions until he was appointed Executive Director of Corporate and Institutional Banking in the United Kingdom and Nigeria. He was appointed as the Managing Director of Parallex Bank in 2021, making him the pioneering Managing Director of the bank as a commercial bank.
According to Bakre, Parallex Bank’s substantial investment in digital technology has made it the preferred bank in the industry due to the efficiency, convenience, and reliability of its digital platforms. He emphasised that Parallex Bank has become highly attractive to customers due to its value-added services, such as zero account maintenance fees, free interbank transfers, free debit cards, and unique account numbers.
He said Parallex Bank is driven by a commitment to deliver premium value-adding services that meet the diverse needs of all customer segments, including individuals, corporations, and businesses, with a particular focus on SMEs and commercial entities.
Expressing humility in the face of the awards, Dr. Olufemi Bakre stated that it is fulfilling to see efforts, sacrifices, dedication, and passion being recognised externally, in addition to bearing fruit for the organization. Bakre considers the award a great honour and privilege, dedicating it to God, who has transformed his journey from grass to modest grace, and the passionate workforce of Parallex Bank.
Bakre said Parallex Bank’s vision to become the leading financial solutions provider, revolutionising the customer experience through innovation, coupled with the collective determination to redefine banking services and provide customers with unparalleled opportunities, was the driving force behind receiving the award. He added that the steadfast dedication of the Board, management, and the team to delivering limitless possibilities has also garnered the trust and acknowledgment of their valued customers. He expressed gratitude to the Board of Parallex Bank for their relentless support, and the management of The Sun Newspapers for deeming him worthy of the honour.
Other notable awardees of The Sun Awards 2023 include Tobi Bakre, who won the Nollywood Icon of the Year, the founder and president of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mr. Tony Elumelu, and Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, among others.
Alanquadri Investment Boss, Amodemaja Adeboye Preaches Hope & Positivity On His Birthday
Alanquadri Investment Boss, Amodemaja Adeboye Preaches Hope & Positivity On His Birthday.
Life is on the upward curve for Amodemaja Adeboye, the compassionate philanthropist and chief executive officer (CEO) of Alanquadri Investment Nigeria Limited, a prosperous privately-owned Nigerian company with interests in key sectors of the Nigerian economy. For Amodemaja, it has been a story of onward and upward. His business has continued to thrive despite the economic hardship troubling the soul of Nigeria. All is well on the home front, too.
The high-flying businessman had a reason to celebrate yesterday. Amodemaja turned another year older in style. What a privilege to welcome another year full of grace in the land of the living. Expectedly, Amodemaja’s in a good mood at the moment. It’s a special event because it comes once in a year.
But Amodemaja wasn’t in the mood for a lavish celebration to mark the milestone. Better known for his philanthropic heart, Amodemaja opted for a low-key celebration due to the current economic crisis in the country. Reflecting on the current economic realities in the country; Amodemaja decided to reach out to the less privileged in honour of his special day.
Disturbed by the increasing hardship in the land, Amodemaja apart from his philanthropic gestures has urged Nigerians not to lose hope due to the economic crisis in the country. In his birthday media chat, the successful businessman encouraged his compatriots to exercise a little more patience for the government of President Bola Tinubu to get the country out of the woods. Commending Nigerians for their resilience and patience, Amodemaja said there’s light at the end of the tunnel. He said hope is on the horizon. And that this hardship shall pass, too.
A distinguished member of Nigeria’s business community. Under his guidance, Alanquadri Investment Nigeria Limited has grown in leaps and bounds. Described as a brilliant businessman, Amodemaja’s success is rooted in his commitment to excellence and integrity. He has built a strong reputation for excellence.
His company, Alanquadri, under his leadership became synonymous with quality and credibility. Today, Alanquadri Investment is one of Nigeria’s leading private companies providing job opportunities for hundreds of Nigerians in the private sector.
Amodemaja’s Alanquadri has interests in livestock farming, plantation, agriculture and so much more. Beyond his business prowess, Amodemaja is famous for his philanthropy championing various empowerment initiatives aimed at lifting his people out of poverty.
OKEREAFOCHA IFEANYI DARLINGTON: A TRAILBLAZER IN NIGERIA’S FREIGHT AND LOGISTICS INDUSTRY BY CHINEDU NSOFOR
OKEREAFOCHA IFEANYI DARLINGTON: A TRAILBLAZER IN NIGERIA’S FREIGHT AND LOGISTICS INDUSTRY
BY CHINEDU NSOFOR
Born in Enugu to proud parents from the vibrant community of Ekwuoke Umuekwune in Ngor/Okpara local government area of Imo state, Okereafocha Ifeanyi Darlington’s journey embodies the spirit of resilience and determination deeply rooted in the Nigerian ethos.
Darlington’s educational journey commenced in his hometown in Imo state. However, his quest for broader horizons led him to the bustling city of Lagos, where opportunities abound for those willing to seize them. While some might have opted for opportunities abroad, Darlington’s heart remained steadfast in his commitment to contribute to the growth and development of his homeland.
Embarking on a career in construction initially, Darlington demonstrated a knack for success. Yet, his entrepreneurial spirit urged him to explore new avenues. It was then that he ventured into the dynamic world of freight and logistics, establishing SWISSDARL Freight & Logistics LTD.
The journey wasn’t without its challenges. Despite the evident potential in his venture, Darlington faced obstacles in securing financial support from traditional lending institutions. Undeterred by setbacks, he pressed forward, relying on his unwavering belief in Nigeria’s economy and his vision for SWISSDARL.
SWISSDARL’s rise to prominence was fueled by Darlington’s steadfast commitment and the unwavering support of clients who shared his vision. With the influx of investments from Indian companies, the company’s trajectory soared, cementing its position as a leader in the industry.
In a symbolic move reflecting his dedication to Nigeria’s progress, Darlington acquired No.28 Western Avenue, Ojuelegba Surulere, Lagos, where he erected SWISSDARL TOWER. This monumental edifice, unveiled on 17 June, 2023, serves as the company’s headquarters with over twenty braches nation wide standing as a testament to Darlington’s faith in the nation’s potential.
The unveiling of SWISSDARL TOWER was a momentous occasion, attended by dignitaries including Bishop Osaretin Ben-Naigbe and Chairman of BOZAC Group, Patrick Chibueze. Their admiration for Darlington’s achievements echoed the sentiments of many, who recognized the company’s invaluable contributions to the nation’s economy.
Darlington’s efforts were further lauded when he received the prestigious “ICON OF SOCIETAL DEVELOPMENT” award from the National Association of Northern Nigeria Students (NANNS) in 2023. This accolade underscored his significant role in driving economic growth and fostering national development.
Despite these accolades, Darlington remains grounded and focused on the future. His active involvement in the company’s operations, as evidenced by his social media posts, reflects his enduring commitment to its success.
As SWISSDARL continues to expand its reach, Darlington’s vision extends beyond mere business success. He envisions a future where the company’s growth translates into tangible benefits for Nigeria, including job creation and socio-economic development.
In Okereafocha Ifeanyi Darlington, Nigeria has found not just an entrepreneur, but a visionary leader dedicated to harnessing the nation’s potential for the greater good. As SWISSDARL paves the way for a brighter future, Darlington’s legacy as a pioneer in Nigeria’s freight and logistics industry is firmly secured.
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