His Eminence Alhaji Muhammed S’aad Abubakar, His Eminence John Cardinal Onaiyekan and Governor of Akwa-Ibom State Godswill Akpabio were among those honored today at the 2013 annual LEADERSHIP Conference and Awards Ceremony.

The ceremony which began at 10am ended at about 3pm. It was held at the International Conference Center Abuja and was broadcast live on the Africa Independent Television (AIT).

Several Emirs and traditional rulers as well as Bishops, priests and other religious leaders from across the country were on hand to support the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Alhaji Muhammed S’aad Abubakar, and the Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Abuja, His Grace John Cardinal Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, who both received the LEADERSHIP Persons of the Year 2012 star award.

Also in attendance were the Akwa Ibom State governor Godswill Akpabio who bagged the LEADERSHIP Governor of the Year 2012 award, and the national publicity secretary, Action Congress of Nigeria, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (LEADERSHIP Politician of the Year 2012).

Chairman of Daar Communications Plc, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi was also awarded LEADERSHIP Business Person of the Year 2012.

Other distinguished recipients of this year’s awards include the managing director/chief executive officer of the Bank of Industry, Mrs Evelyn Ndali Oputu (LEADERSHIP CEO of the Year 2012); director-general, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Mohammed Sani-Sidi (LEADERSHIP Public Officer of the Year 2012); the paralympians, LEADERSHIP Sportspersons of the Year 2012; Olusegun Adeniyi, LEADERSHIP Author of the Year 2012; Mary-Ann Juma, LEADERSHIP Young Person of the Year 2012; and Iyanya – the Kukere Master, LEADERSHIP Entertainer of the Year 2012.


Speaking on the theme of this year’s conference, “Rebuilding Nigeria”, the guest lecturer, Niger State governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu, noted with dismay the current security situation of Nigeria.

He posited that the Boko Haram sect was only hiding under the cover of religion, adding that they were not Muslims.

While acknowledging that there is a slight element of religious dimension to the sect’s activities, Aliyu maintained that the sect has no connection whatsoever to Islam.

He however called on religious leaders and state governors to rise to the challenge and help restore security in the nation.

Also commenting on the theme of the conference, Cardinal Onaiyekan stated clearly that the Boko Haram sect has a religious undertone. He added that it will be incorrect to conclude that the sect’s activities have no connection to religion.

He however made a case for amnesty, noting that there was need to do everything possible to end the spate of killing and destruction currently going on.

In a related development, Governor Godswill Akpabio condemned the notion that security is the responsibility of government. “I do not agree with people who say security is the responsibility of the federal government. I think it’s everybody’s collective responsibility”.

He also harped on the need for the media to acknowledge government’s achievements, rather than resorting to criticism always.

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