Double Honours for Olagunju

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Waheed Olagunuu receiving the Nigeria Arise Award

Waheed Olagunji, former executive director, Corporate Communications and Business Development, Bank of Industry, now in charge of the newly created Small and Medium Enterprises directorate, receives corporate ambassador award from BEN Television, London, at the 2014 Nigeria Arise Awards

By Maureen Chigbo  |  Sep. 22, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT  |

IT WAS a case of double honours for Waheed Olagunju, former executive director, Corporate Communications and Business Development, Bank of Industry, BOI. Olagunju, who was recently put in charge of the newly created Small and Medium Enterprises directorate, was also given an award as corporate ambassador at the 2014 Nigeria Arise Awards.

The Nigeria Arise Award was initiated by BEN Television of London to honour Nigerians at home and abroad who have excelled in their various fields of endeavours as well as friends of Nigeria and organisations that have made positive impact on Nigerians and also outstanding contributions to Nigeria’s development.

The ceremony, which was organised recently by BEN Television of London, honoured Olagunju primarily for his services to the corporate world, most especially his selfless and dedicated service to the Bank of Industry since its inception in 2001. According to BEN Television, Olagunju’s service has enabled the bank to make considerable impact on Nigeria’s industrial development.

The organisers specifically noted the central role that Olagunju played in the successful New World Nigeria International Campaign that was one of the business and cultural side events of the 2012 London Olympics, the high point of which was the High Level Business and Investment Summit on Nigeria that took place at the Dorchester.

According to the award citation, Olagunju, who joined the Bank’s precursor institution, the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank, NIDB, in 1990 as a senior manager, rose to the position of executive director, Business Development in 2012. He also acted as managing director and chief executive officer of the Bank of Industry, BOI, between April 11, and May 16, 2014, and was recently reassigned as the executive director, Small and Medium Enterprises under the Bank’s management team led by Rasheed Olaoluwa, BOI’s new managing director and chief executive to whom the organisers sent their warmest congratulations.

Waheed Olagunju making his acceptance speech at Nigeria Arise Award Ceremony
[L-R] Mr Waheed Olagunju delivering his acceptance speech after receiving his award of Corporate Ambassador from the former Governor of Abia State, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu (middle) and Charles Khiran, Master of Ceremony at the event

Prior to Olagunju’s appointment as a member of the Bank’s board of directors in 2012, he served as the company secretary of NIDB/BOI for 15 years (1997 – 2012) and concurrently as general manager, Strategic Planning and Corporate Communications between 2007 and 2012. In those capacities, he was one of the architects and strong drivers of BOI’s outstanding turnaround and transformation into one of Africa’s best Development Finance Institutions, DFI.

In the course of his involvement with the reconstruction of NIDB into BOI (2000-2001) and the consolidation of the mandates of the NIDB, the Nigerian Bank for Commerce and Industry, NBCI, and the National Economic Reconstruction Fund, NERFUND, into that of the Bank of Industry, Olagunju worked very closely with Messrs KPMG, the consultancy firm that was engaged to handle the exercise and the leadership of the then Federal Ministry of Industry. In the early years of BOI, Olagunju coordinated the diagnostic study of the bank that was undertaken between 2004 and 2005 by the Swedish consultants (Messrs Swedish Development Advisers) who were appointed by the African Development Bank that managed the grant from the Swedish government for the exercise.

Thanking the organisers of the Nigeria Arise Awards for the honour and recognition, Olagunju dedicated the award to his professional colleagues at the Bank of Industry. According to him, he was part of a formidable team that worked in concert to build one of Africa’s best development finance institutions despite daunting challenges. He expressed his gratitude to the bank’s successive managements and Board of Directors over the past 24 years for giving him the opportunity to realize his potentials.

Others who were also honoured at the centenary edition of the award which is the fourth since it started, are Governors Godswill Akpabio, Ibikunle Amosun and Ramalan Yero of Akwa Ibom, Ogun and Kaduna States, respectively. Other recipients included Tunde Bakare, a pastor and leader of the Save Nigeria Group and Nazir Ahmed, an educationist, who has produced more than 100 high grade Nigerian students from his schools in the United Kingdom.

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