Guests included captains of industry and leaders in the private sector. Also in attendance were governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers state, who gave the keynote address and governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State.
In her opening address, managing director of ABN Group, Roberta Naidoo stated, "For us it is important to recognise business leaders across Africa which is why we decided to take these awards to the regions". She further added that, "Nigeria is the second biggest economy in Africa, and by many accounts, will overtake South Africa as the biggest economy in the not too distant future."
Various industries submitted nominees who were then shortlisted by the panel of judges made up of Atedo Peterside, chairman of ANAP Foundation; Bismarck Rewane, chief executive officer at Financial Derivatives Company and Frank Nweke Jnr, director general at Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).Winners
The winners of the night were:
- Young Business Leader of the Year - Elikem Nutifafa Kuenyehia (Oxford & Beaumont)
- Business Leader of the Year - Mitchell Elegbe (Interswitch Limited)
- Business Woman of the Year - Funke Okpeke (Main One Cable Company)
- Entrepreneur of the Year - Ernest Nnaemeka Azudialu-Obiejesi (Nestoil Plc)
- Lifetime Achievement Award - Tayo Aderinokun (GT Bank).
Frederic Van De Vyver, Head West Africa, CNBC Africa said in his vote of thanks, "We are very happy to celebrate leaders that have made a difference in the West African economies within their strategic sectors such as ICT, cashless economy, local content and so on".
AABLA West Africa was sponsored by Telkom, IDC, Airtel, First Bank of Nigeria, Porsche Centre, Moet and Chandon, Solms Astor Veri Berri, Classic FM, Wings Restaurant & Lagos Business School.
The East and Southern Africa AABLA regionals will be held in Nairobi, Kenya and Cape Town respectively. The winners of each region automatically become finalists in the AABLA grand finale scheduled to take place on the 25 August in Johannesburg, South Africa.
For more, go to www.aabla2012.com