By DAPO OLAWUNI
Nigerian Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has been honored as the Public Sector Icon of the year 2019 by Vanguard newspaper for his doggedness in service and for transforming the rail sector in Nigeria.
Amaechi, a two-time Governor of Rivers State, who is serving his second term as Minister of Transportation, took the 2020 Public Sector Icon of the Year, in recognition of his giant strides in the maritime and rail sector.
The Nigerian railway sector under Amaechi has witnessed a significant turnaround whereby standard gauge rail lines now run across major States in Nigeria including Abuja, Kaduna, Ibadan, Ogun State among others. The rail reforms has also linked the nation’s seaports for prompt evacuation of goods across States and to hinterlands..
Under his watch as Minister of Transportation, piracy on Nigerian waterways has been on a decline, as the Minister through his determination to make things work, recently accomplished the launching of a high-powered $195million security contract to end maritime crimes in Nigeria and the gulf of Guinea.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) recently acknowledged that piracy has reduced on Nigerian waterways through the efforts of the Minister.
The Rivers chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, has congratulated Amaechi on the award by Vanguard newspaper.
The party in a statement issued in Port Harcourt by its Spokesman, Chief Ogbonna Nwuke said the award was proof of the hard work and commitment that the Minister has brought to bear on his assignment.
“We are not surprised by the award of honour. It doesn’t matter on which side of the political divide they find themselves; many Nigerians agree that Amaechi is distinguishing himself as a true patriot.
“We are glad that Amaechi has replicated those giant strides for which he was known as the Governor of Rivers State in course of his assignment as the Minister of Transportation.
“Rivers sons and daughters are proud of this workaholic who is our leader. We are happy that he is silently transforming the rail sector and rendering quality services that will take Nigeria to the next level.
Other winners at the Vanguard Award ceremony which held at Eko Hotels in Lagos State are; Business mogul and philanthropist, Otedola who emerged Vanguard’s Personality of the Year 2019, while Sanwo-Olu and Zulum are joint Personalities of the Year 2020.
The 2019 Vanguard Governor of the Year Award went to Dr Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Malam Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna) and Dr Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia).
For their outstanding work in private sector or public service are Founder/ Executive Chairman of BUA Cement Plc, Alhaji Abdul Samad Rabiu (2020 Businessman of the Year), while Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon. Rotimi Amaechi (2019 Public Sector Icon of the Year).
Other recipients include Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Lee Engineering and Construction Company Limited, Dr Leemon Ikpea (2019 Businessman of the year); President/CEO, Belemaoil Production Limited, Mr. Jack-Rich Tein, Jnr (Entrepreneur of the Year); Princess Rosemary Osula-Atu (Woman Entrepreneur of the Year); and Managing/CEO, Sujimoto Construction, Mr. Sijibomi Ogundele (Young Entrepreneur of the Year).
The 18 Lifetime Achievement Awardees are elder statesman and First Republic Minister, Chief Mbazulike Amechi; Afenifere Leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; advertising guru, Mr Biodun Shobanjo; international jurist, Justice Bola Ajibola; Juju music maestro, Chief Ebenezer Obey-Fabiyi; boardroom guru and technocrat, Alhaji Shehu Malami; and former Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar.
On this pedestal are legal icon, Chief Folake Solanke; former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah; erudite broadcaster, academic, and diplomat, Dr Christopher Kolade; chartered biologist, academic and thinker, Professor Anya O. Anya; accountancy czar and diplomat, Chief Arthur Mbanefo; renowned journalist and former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba; philanthropist and elder statesman, Dr. Bode Olajumoke; elder statesman and politician, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai; administrator and philanthropist, Alhaji Mamman Daura; academic, Professor Adenike Grange; and educationist, Chief Winifred Awosika.