• Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, The Sun Publishing Limited, Onuoha Ukeh, presenting letters of nomination as The Sun Investor of the Year Award 2023 to President/Group Managing Director, Property World Africa Network (PWAN), Jayne Onwumere (left, 1st photo) and Group Chairman, Diamond Leeds Limited, High Chief Kenneth Ifekudu (left, 2nd photo) as The Sun Businessman of the Year 2023



President/Group Managing Director, Property World Africa Network (PWAN), Dr. Jayne Onwumere and Group Chairman, Diamond Leeds Limited, High Chief Kenneth Ifekudu, have extolled The Sun Publishing Limited for instituting an annual awards programme, which is honourable and energising.

Onwumere and Ifekudu, who have done well in their respective fields of endeavour, will receive The Sun Investor of the Year 2023 and The Sun Businessman of the Year respectively along 32 others, who will equally be honoured with various awards on February 17, 2024 in Lagos.

The two awardees spoke separately in Lagos and Abuja, while receiving their letters of nomination from the Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of The Sun Publishing Limited, Mr Onuoha Ukeh.

In his remarks, Ifekudu said that The Sun had earned a pride of place in journalism owing to its balanced and credible reportage.

The businessman said he had rejected many awards but was accepting The Sun award because of the credibility associated with it.

He said: “The Sun award is honourable. For a long time, I stopped receiving awards because I have many. But The Sun award is credible and unique. That’s why I am accepting it.

“This award has energised me. To whom much is given, much is expected. I’ll keep the standards high and the flag flying.

“I thank you for painstakingly choosing recipients of the award.”

In her remarks, PWAN President commended The Sun for going through a rigorous process to select her as winner of The Sun Investor of the Year Award for 2023.

She said: “I’m pleasantly surprised that the award is being bestowed on me by The Sun. I’m very glad about it, just as I do say, to God be all the glory.

“I am particularly happy that the award is ‘investor of the year.’ I have made huge investment in people, not just about real estate as a focal point.

“This award will spur me to continue to do more. Over the years, I have invested and impacted people. We are still doing it; we are not giving up.”

She said that the PWAN Group had expanded its operations with an increase in the number of companies from 12 to 45 in the last six years, and from 30 independent marketers to about 300, 000 across the country.

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She explained that the growth strategy of PWAN Group is hinged on the Igbo apprenticeship scheme, which thrives on mentorship.

“We take people, mentor them, and the people we trained will, in turn, train and mentor some other people,” she said.

Speaking on the selection of Ifekudu and Onwumere, The Sun MD The Sun said the duo possess shimmering records of accomplishments that were spotted by The Sun Board of Editors during the selection process.

He said the two deserve the recognition due to their drive and uncommon managerial skills that have contributed to human capital development in Nigeria.

Ukeh described Onwumere as a star who has mentored many and groomed them to achieve outstanding successes.

He noted: “When the story of the evolution of the Nigerian property industry is told, your name would certainly merit a prominent mention.

“As the Managing Director of Property World Africa Network (PWAN) Group, you have contributed to the development of the housing sector by helping home seekers in Nigeria, Africa and beyond realise their lifelong dream with considerable ease.

“You have undertaken audacious projects and succeeded where many crashed. Your prowess as a real estate investor is not in doubt. You lead a team of Managing Directors and Executive Directors with over 1, 000 direct staff spread across 60 affiliate companies that make up the PWAN Group and thousands of independent real estate consultants. That is, by all standards, a remarkable achievement.

Ukeh also noted that in 2017, Onwumere single-handedly empowered 50 women to start up small business ventures or to improve existing ones with N50, 000 each through her “Empowerment for All Women Programme” with a promise to sustain and scale up the philanthropic gesture.

On Ifekudu, The Sun MD said: “With your wealth of experience, which spans project management and development, investments, real estate, consultancy and general contracts, you have not only created employment opportunities but has also contributed to the growth and development of various sectors of the nation’s economy through Diamond Leads Limited, an indigenous enterprise you founded and nurtured to become a reputable private sector organisation.

“We know that through Diamond Leeds Limited, you have exhibited exceptional business acumen by executing a number of outstanding architectural projects in the areas of construction, drilling, electrification, solar powered light, road projects and many others.”

Ukeh also noted Ifekudu’s philanthropic gestures, stating: “As a way of giving back to society, you have also raised the bar in philanthropy. For over one decade, you have been empowering young people and widows in many parts of the country. These are in addition to several scholarships and free healthcare services you have undertaken.

“Beyond that, you recently flagged off four massive infrastructural development projects in Ozubulu community in Anambra State. The projects are construction of Obialigbo lock-up shops, erosion control in most affected parts of the community, road construction in Eziora Ozubulu and lighting up of Ozubulu villages with all-in-one solar-powered street lights. These have brought succor to the communities that have been subjected to several infrastructural and ecological challenges.

“For a man who started as a banker, you have distinguished yourself in business to the admiration of many.”

Other people receiving The Sun Awards along Ogah are: Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President, Dangote Group; Mr. Tony Elumelu, Chairman, Heirs Holdings; and Chief Innocent Chukwuma, Chairman, Innoson Motor Vehicle Manufacturing Limited (Man of the Year); Governors Peter Mbah of Enugu State, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State and Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State (Governor of the Year); Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Prof. Awa Kalu, and Rev. Uma Ukpai (Lifetime Achievement Award); HRM Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ooni of Ife and HRM Ogiame Atuwatse III, Olu of Warri, (Most Impactful Royal Father).

Others are Amb. Olufolake Abdulrazaq, wife of the Kwara State governor and Founder, Ajike People Support Centre (First Lady of the Year); Mr. Peter Obi (Political Icon of the Year) and Chief Peter Oge Obih, Chairman, Sea Map Group of Companies (Businessman of the Year); High Chief Christopher Ndubuisi, Chairman, Pinnatech Engineering Nigeria Limited and Dr. Oludare Akande, Chairman, Bellagio Airlines Limited (Investor of the Year); Chief Celestine Ebubeogu, Chairman, Tiger Foods and Chief James Uzuh, Chairman, J_Jumac Industries Ltd (Industrialist of the Year); Chief Ikenna Okafor, Chairman, Keves Global Leasing Ltd; Lady Adaora Umeoji, DMD, Zenith Bank Plc and Archbishop Dr. Emeka Agwu, President, Voice of Evangelism International Houston, Texas, USA (Humanitarian Service Icon); and Chief Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo), Chairman, Tantita Security Services (Courage in Leadership Award).

Other award winners are, Mr. Robert Azibaola, Founder; Zeetin Engineering Limited; Engr. Gbenga Komolafe, CEO, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission and Mr. Charles Odii, DG, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) (Public Service Award); Moruf Oseni, MD/CEO, Wema Bank and Mr. Femi Bakre, Managing Director, Parallex Bank (Banker of the Year); Bukola Olopade, MD/CEO, Nilayo Sports Management Ltd. (Sport Personality of the Year); Lady Ngozi Ezeonu and Tobi Bakre (Nollywood Icon of the Year).