By NBF News

Amidst pomp and pageantry, the Silverbird Man of the Year Award 2010 was on Saturday, March 12, 2011 presented to Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The event, which held at the Banquet Hall of Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, was graced by chief executives of banks, politicians, businessmen, musicians and Nollywood stars. They include Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mrs. Oluranti Olutola, who represented Governor Babatunde Fashola, Mr. Jim Ovia, former Managing Director, Zenith Bank, Mr. Goddy Emezeole, Managing Director, Zenith Bank, Mrs. Adetola, Managing Director, Chattered Bank, and Chief Sunny Kuku, Managing Director, Eko Hospital.

Others are Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, Minister of External Affiars, who was chairman of the occasion, Mr. Ken Caleb Olumense, Celine Loader, Herbert Wigwe, Pat Obazele, and Nigerians from all walks of life. Music was provided by 2Face Idibia and Sound Sultan.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Ajumogobia, extolled the unique qualities of Mallam Sanusi, which according to him, are 'sincerity, resilience, creativity and vision'.

He said Mallam Sanusi has shown courage beyond the call to duty by adhering to his personal philosophy of speaking the truth to power, adding that the award is a celebration of those values that make the nation to attain greater heights.

'When Mallam Sanusi was appointed the CBN Governor, some people said he was brought to fulfill northern agenda but it is of significance to note that Sanusi had never met late President Yar'Adua as at the time he was appointed. Sanusi is one of the most detribalised Nigerians despite his royal background. He has refused to be intimidated or deterred which has shown that the Nigerian landscape can be changed for the better,' Ajumogobia said.

Vouching for the credibility of the award, the Minister said thus: 'The prestige of an award is often based on the credibility of the awarding organization, the uniqueness of this particular award is the participation of the general public in determining the winners.'

In his acceptance speech, Sanusi contended that those at the helm of affairs in various endeavours and at whatever level owed it as a duty to mobilise the enormous resources and deploy them judiciously for rapid transformation of the country. He noted that Nigeria has recorded remarkable growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the years but such growth is vulnerable as no concerted efforts were put into realising the growth.

'Nothing stops the country from attaining double digit growth year-on-year with the resources at our disposal provided that critical infrastructure like electricity and roads are developed,' he said.

While speaking on political leadership, Sanusi opined that the issue of where political office holders come from or his or her religious inclination is immaterial, but what her or she has to offer in terms of programmes for solving our problems and his capacity to deliver on them should be our concern.

On the recent call for the devaluation of the naira by the IMF, Sanusi vehemently disagreed with the logics of the Brettonwood Institution, noting that Nigeria has no capacity for export, and, therefore, questioned the rationale for prescribing currency devaluation for an economy that is import dependent.

He, however, promised not to let down those who have voted him as the Silverbird Man of the Year.

Earlier, in his welcome address, the chairman of Silverbird Group, Mr. Ben Murray Bruce had said the award is unique because it is given by the people of Nigeria through text messages, electronic mails and interviews, which have allowed the public to choose heroes that will not let them down.

He urged Sanusi to fight for access to capital for the development of entrepreneurships and talents by those in the entertainment industry. 'Sanusi, this is your time, your time is now,' Ben Bruce siad.

The Silverbird Man of the Year Award was initiated in 2006 to celebrate outstanding and extraordinary Nigerians. Former awardees include Prof. Dora Akunyili (2006), Mallam Nasir El - Rufai (2007), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu (2008), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole (2009) and Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr. (2010).