Blueprint unveils recipients of 2021 awards


As Nigeria faces its developmental challenges and prepares to hold general elections billed to take place in 2023, it can be said that tough times really lie ahead.

But in Nigeria, as is the case in every other country, inspiring people, activists and organisations can be counted on, and their promises are relied upon to build a better future.

Courageous and determined, these people and groups are pushing ahead against all odds and draw-back forces and standing up for those living in poverty, fighting for better living conditions and empowering others.

One of such groups is Blueprint Newspapers Limited, publishers of the Blueprint newspaper, which, again, decides to honour some prominent persons in the society with the prestigious awards of Democracy Icons of the Year and other equally rewarding awards.

This year’s award winners come from around the country and are spread across the following categories: democracy icons of the year, persons of the year, politicians of the year, governors of the year, global brand ambassadors of the year, public officers of the year, sports icon of the year, security icons of the year, lifetime achievement award, legislator of the year, female politician of the year, entrepreneur of the year, telecoms brand personality of the year, philanthropist of the year, sports administrator of the year, sports person of the year, realtor of the year, hospitality icon of the year, young person of the year, posthumous and outstanding public and private institutions awards.

Atiku Abubakar

The first on this list is His Excellency Atiku Abubakar (GCON), Wazirin Adamawa. Atiku Abubakar was born November 25, 1946. He is a politician and businessman who served as the vice president of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007 during the presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo.

He ran as governor of Adamawa State in 1990, 1997 and later in 1998, and won his election before becoming Olusegun Obasanjo’s running mate during the 1999 presidential election and got re-elected in 2003.

Since his entry into politics in 1989, Atiku Abubakar has unsuccessfully contested five times for the Office of President of Nigeria in 1993, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019. In 1993, he contested the Social Democratic Party presidential primaries losing to Moshood Abiola.

In 2014, he joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the 2015 presidential elections and contested the presidential primaries but lost to the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari. In 2017, he returned to the Peoples Democratic Party and became the party’s presidential candidate during the 2019 presidential election, again losing to President Buhari.

In May 2022, he was chosen as the PPD’s candidate for the 2023 presidential election.

Bola Tinubu

The other person in this category is His Excellency, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu (Jagaban of Borgu) and the presidential candidate of the APC during the 2023 general election.

Asiwaju Tinubu was born March 29, 1952. He is an accountant and politician as well as the national leader of the APC since the party’s formation in 2013. He previously served as the governor of Lagos state from 1999 to 2007 and Senator for Lagos West during the botched  Third Republic.

Tinubu’s two terms as governor were marked by attempts at modernising the city of Lagos and his feuds with the PDP-controlled federal government. After leaving office in 2007, Tinubu retained his status as one of Nigeria’s most influential politicians as his allies often filled high offices throughout the South-west and he played a key role in the formation of the APC.

In June 2022, he was chosen as the APC’s candidate for the 2023 presidential election, having polled 1,271 votes to clinch the party’s ticket, defeating 13 other aspirants in the race.

Malam Nasir El-Rufa is a Nigerian politician who is also the Governor of Kaduna state. Born February 16, 1960, Malam El-Rufai won the party’s primaries and emerged as the APC governorship candidate for Kaduna state.
He won the gubernatorial election April 11, 2015 and was formally declared governor-elect Sunday, 12 April 2015. He was re-elected in 2019.

Yahaya Adoza Bello is a Nigerian businessman and politician who has been the governor of Kogi state since 2016.
Also, an APC member, Bello remains the youngest governor under the current dispensation. Born in Okene, Kogi state, Bello studied accounting and business administration at the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria before entering the workforce in the mid-2000s.

Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Mutawallen Sokoto, was born into the religious and aristocratic family of Wazirin Tambuwal on the 10th of January, 1966.
He started early education, like all Muslim children, at a very early age. He was then enrolled in Tambuwal Primary School in 1972.

Ms Mohammed
Ms Amina J. Mohammed is the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group.

Prior to her appointment, Ms Mohammed served as Minister of Environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria where she gave direction to the country’s efforts at engendering the right policies around climate-related issues as well as its efforts to protect the natural environment.

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a global finance expert, an economist and international development professional with over 30-year experience working in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala was formerly Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Since its creation in 2000, Gavi has immunised 760 million children globally and saved thirteen million lives.
She was twice Nigerian Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of Economy under two different administrations. She is currently the Director-General of WTO.

Often described as “Africa’s Optimist-in-Chief”, African Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina (1960) is widely lauded for his visionary leadership and passion for Africa’s transformation.

Formerly the Nigeria’s Agriculture Minister, Dr Adesina was first elected President of the African Development Bank Group on May 28, 2015. He was unanimously re-elected for a second five-year term on 27 August 2020.

Born in Gulak, Madagali local government area of Adamawa state in 1967, Rt. Hon Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri began his education at the Central Primary School Gulak and later attended the Government Day Secondary School also in Gulak.

Thereafter, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maiduguri and holds a post-graduate Diploma in Policy and Strategic Studies also from the same university.
Fintiri, as he is fondly called, is an outstanding student and athlete throughout his boyhood and adolescent years.

Dr Fayemi was Minister of Mines and Steel Development (2015–2018) under the Buhari-led APC administration. He had the mandate of the president to reposition the Nigeria’s mining sector to contribute optimally to the administration’s priority agendas of diversifying the country’s revenue base and creating jobs and economic opportunities for Nigerians.

He is currently serving as the governor of Ekiti state for the second time.
AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, born February 5, 1960, is the governor of Kwara state. Before joining active politics, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq was a successful businessman and philanthropist with a special focus on the poorest of the poor and persons living with disabilities.  

General Lucky Irabor, the current Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), was born October 5, 1965. He is from Ika South of Delta state and a member of regular course 34 of the Nigerian Defence Academy.
The top military officer was the immediate Chief of Training and Operations, Defence Headquarters, a position he took over from the erstwhile Commander, Major General AA Tarfa.


Tukur Yusuf Buratai retired as a Lieutenant-General after serving a fulfilling and meritorious tenure as the Chief of Army Staff of Nigeria, following his appointment by President Buhari in July 2015.
He was commissioned in 1983 and has had multiple command, administrative, and instructional appointments.

A thoroughbred soldier, Buratai showed leadership by example during his stint as the COAS, as he inspired confidence in the troops during the insurgency war. And for doing a good job, he was rewarded with another job by President Buhari who appointed him as the Nigerian Ambassador to Benin Republic.  

Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar was born April 8, 1960 at Azare in Bauchi State, Nigeria. He joined the Nigerian Air Force as a member of the Cadet Military Training Course (CMTC 5) November 1979 and was commissioned pilot officer May 15, 1982. He progressed steadily through the ranks and was promoted to the rank of Air Marshal August 13, 2015.
As the NAF Chief, Abubakar was very visible in the aerial onslaught against the insurgents.
He was the 20th Chief of Air Staff who served from 2015 to 26th of January 2021 and currently the face of Nigeria in the Chad Republic where he is currently serving the country as its Ambassador.

Abubakar D. Aliyu, currently the minister in charge of power, is an accomplished engineer, fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and a member of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN).

Engr. Aliyu is a public servant par excellence with a long unblemished record of service. He was deputy governor of Yobe state for an uninterrupted and rancour-free period of 10 years loaded with achievements.


Brigadier-General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd), OFR, is a thoroughbred soldier known for meritorious service and a distinguished career in the Nigeria Army.
Renowned as an administrator par excellence, he was also a military administrator of Lagos state and diplomat, author of seminal books and an accomplished entrepreneur.  

Born on the 29th day of May 1966, Chief Sunday Akin Dare (Agbaakin of Ogbomosoland) is a veteran journalist and currently the Minister of Youth and Sports Development. He was formerly the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko is a ranking Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He has been in government and political circles for over five decades.
Wamakko was born March 1, 1953 in Wamakko, Sokoto state. He spent five years (from 1968 to 1972) at the Sokoto Teachers’ College.

Born in 1956, Ali Modu Sheriff is the first Borno State’s governor to serve two consecutive terms. He held two elected offices as a member of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), and later joined the APC becoming a founding member of the party.
In 2014, Sheriff switched affiliation to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and acted as the National Working Committee chair from 16 February 2016 until the National Convention which elected a former governor, Ahmed Makarfi in his place.

Other awardees are Senator Jibrin Barau (Legislator of the Year), Alhaji Nasiru Danu (Entrepreneur of the Year), Imaan Suleiman Ibrahim (Female Politician of the Year), Emeka Oparah (Telecoms Brand Personality of the Year), Stephen Maduwa (Philanthropist of the Year), Engr. Musa Nimrod (Sports Administrator of the Year), Alhaji Grema Aliyu (Foremost Civil Servant), Alhaji Bukar Hassan (Realtor of the Year), Ashafa Yusuf Ismaila (Hospital Icon of the Tear), Bashiru Saidu Mohammed (Young Person of the Year), Blessing Oborududu (Sports Person of the Year), Sam Nda Isiah (Posthumous Award), Malam Wada Maida (Posthumous Award), Ismaila Isa Funtua (Posthumous Award), Zenith Bank (Bank of the Year), Galaxy Backbone (Government Agency of the Year), Kaduna Electric (DISCO of the Year), Rice Farmers Association of thevYear (Association of the Year), Labana Rice (Product of the Year), Farmtrac Nigeria Limited (Indigenous Contractor of the Year), Azman Air (Airline of the Year).

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