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The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), a not-for-profit institution committed to the economic transformation of Africa by enhancing the competitiveness and growth of the African private sector, has announced that it will offer annual prizes in perpetuity to top-performing graduating students at several universities across Nigeria.
The annual prizes will be for top undergraduate and graduate (where relevant) students at the various universities in Economics, Business Administration, and Medicine. An annual professional prize will also be provided through the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria to encourage excellence in the banking profession.
The beneficiary institutions are Ambrose Alli University, Edo State; Delta State University; University of Jos, Plateau State; University of Lagos; University of Benin, Edo State; Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto State; University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State; University of Maiduguri, Borno State; University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State; and Benue State University.
The annual prizes will recognise and honour top-performing students at these select Nigerian universities who are completing degrees related to the academic and career paths of Mr. Tony O. Elumelu, MFR, Founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation, and his wife, Dr. Awele V. Elumelu, CEO of Avon Medical Services Ltd. and fellow Trustee of The Tony Elumelu Foundation.
Mr. Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings, an African proprietary investment firm, is also Chairman of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) and Tenoil Petroleum & Energy Services. Previously, he was Group CEO of United Bank for Africa (UBA), a position he held for over 13 years after a successful merger of UBA and Standard Trust Bank (STB), a distressed financial institution which a 34-year-old Elumelu and a group of investors acquired and turned around in 1997.
“These prizes reflect the appreciation that my wife and I have for our own university education in Nigeria and our confidence in the quality of the education provided by these great institutions,” said Mr. Elumelu. “By supporting promising students, I believe that we are fulfilling one of the mandates of The Tony Elumelu Foundation, which is to promote and celebrate excellence in business leadership and entrepreneurship across Africa.”
The schools were drawn from the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria based on the particular influences the schools themselves, or the geographies of the institutions, contributed to Mr. and Dr. (Mrs.) Elumelu’s development and careers.
The University of Jos is located in the birthplace of Mr. Elumelu; Ambrose Alli University and the University of Lagos are the institutions where he received his Bachelor of Science and Master’s degrees in Economics. His wife, Dr. Elumelu, graduated from the University of Benin with an MBBS in Medicine.
Delta State University is located in Mr. Elumelu’s state of origin, while he completed his one-year mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme in Sokoto state, where Usman Danfodio University is located.
The University of Port Harcourt is situated in the city where Mr. Elumelu was first recognised for excellence in his banking career, and it is also the hometown of Chief Ferdinand Alabraba who was chairman of both STB and UBA. The University of Maiduguri is located in the hometown of retired Brig. Abba Kyari, who was the pioneering chairman of Standard Trust Bank (STB).
Finally, the University of Nigeria and Benue State University both awarded Mr. Elumelu honourary doctorates in business administration (DBA).
Three outstanding University of Jos students received prizes during the school’s convocation ceremony on May 12, 2012. The selection of the University of Jos as the institution at which to kick off the prize was particularly poignant as Mr. Elumelu and Dr. Wiebe K. Boer, the CEO of The Tony Elumelu Foundation, were both born in Jos. The students are 22-year-old Obianuju Ifeoma Okpara, an Economics undergraduate student who finished top of her class; Joel Nanbal Zuhumben, 31, best postgraduate student in Economics; and Francis Ifeanyi Ayomogh, top undergraduate medical student.
“Receiving the Elumelu Legacy Prize has energised me to work harder,” said Mr. Zuhumben. “This award has given me the capital base I need, and I am sure that it will yield good returns in time. I am grateful to The Tony Elumelu Foundation.”
As part of the prize programme, TEF has also established a new annual professional prize to be awarded to the best student in the ‘Practice of Banking’ subject in the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria professional examinations. This prize demonstrates Mr. Elumelu's support for his profession, especially in encouraging and equipping upcoming bankers to be the drivers of Nigeria's economy. The prize also complements efforts by the Institute to professionalise banking.
This year’s prize went to Mrs. Bolawa Funlola Adenuga, a banker who had the highest score in her first and only sitting of the examination, during the Institute’s awards ceremony which held on July 7 in Lagos.
Uju Ogubunka, the Registrar/Chief Executive of CIBN said, “It is great to have this prize endowed in perpetuity, and we are extremely grateful to The Tony Elumelu Foundation for honouring and rewarding hardworking professionals in this manner.”
Subsequent to receiving the prizes, each student will be invited to join a lifelong network of beneficiaries of The Tony Elumelu Foundation as they successfully enter the workforce and progress to becoming prominent leaders and entrepreneurs.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation is an Africa-based and African-funded not-for-profit institution dedicated to the promotion and celebration of excellence in business leadership and entrepreneurship across Africa. As a 21st century catalytic philanthropy, the Foundation is committed to the economic transformation of Africa by enhancing the competitiveness and growth of the African private sector. Founded in 2010 by Tony O. Elumelu, MFR, the Foundation identifies and addresses systemic challenges that inhibit African entrepreneurs. For more information on The Tony Elumelu Foundation, click here, follow us on Twitter @TE_Foundation or like The Tony Elumelu Foundation Facebook page.