The First Award was instituted by Ali Baba to reward Nigerians who are pioneers in the critical sectors of the economy. All the recipients were decorated with the award at the maiden edition held at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, and attended by numerous personalities including Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mr. Femi Otedola, Managing Director First Bank, Mr. Stephen Olabisi Onasanya and Managing Director of UBA, Mr. Phillip Oduoza.
The First Lady of Lagos State, Dame Abimbola Fashola presented Dr. Adenuga, who was represented by Globacom’s Head of Operations, Mr. Bisi Koleoso, with the plaque.
The organisers of the awards said Adenuga was indeed the first in his class for his ingenuity, perseverance and creativity in founding and sustaining Nigeria’s first indigenous GSM company.
Adenuga had in August 2003 floated a telecommunications company, Globacom, after his company won a bouquet of licenses as the Second National Operator, which empowered it to set up a GSM company among numerous other telecommunication services. Globacom has since become one of the most admired brands in Africa, having established its pedigree as the leader in innovations in the continent.
The company also single-handedly funded the world’s first privately owned intercontinental submarine cable, Glo 1 which connects Nigeria directly to Europe and the rest of the world. Globacom has equally been described as Nigeria’s biggest corporate export with operations in Nigeria, Ghana and Benin Republic in addition to the submarine cable which traversed 16 countries including Portugal and the United Kingdom.
Other recipients included Mr. Akintola Williams who was the first African to qualify as a chartered accountant; Aloma Marian Mukhtar, the first Nigerian female judge to be sworn in to the bench of the Supreme Court and former Chief Justice of the Federation; Chioma Ajunwa-Opara, Nigeria’s first athlete to win a gold medal at the Olympics; Leo-Stan Nnamdi Ekeh who pioneered Nigeria’s first internationally certified computer brand, Zinox and Yewande Cole, the first and only female flight engineer in Nigeria.
The awards panel said ‘the firsts are landmark achievements and it is in recognition of this that Ali Baba instituted The First Awards’.