By Chris Chimezie
The Vice-president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, State Governors including Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, (SAN), royal fathers among whom are the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi and Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, National Leader of All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu and the National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomole were among personalities present at the public presentation of the book titled”Africa Rise and Shine”,authored by a banker, Mr. Jim Ovia.
The convention Centre of Eko Hotel, venue of the event was filled to capacity by Captains of Industries, Financial Operators and Regulators, top brass of the Armed Forces and emerging enterpreneurs across the country.
They all gathered to honour the man popularly referred to as the “Godfather of Banking” by Forbes Africa who is the founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank.
The Special Guest of Honour who is the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), called for the re-branding of Africa to project the continent in positive light.
Professor Osinbajo noted that the fact that most African country leaders are democratically elected showed that the continent was progressing a great deal.
”Mr Ovia is an inspiring and courageous man that has contributed immensely to nation building through investment in education and technology”.
“I have no doubt that reading this book will further open the horizon of many young and aspiring Africans willing to become great in their chosen carriers”, he said.
The chairman of the occasion, Dr Christopher Kolade, commended the author for having the courage to tell the story of Africa against the negative perspective of seeing Africa as a dark continent.
Recommending the book to Africans, particularly Nigerians at all levels, Dr Kolade said the author expressed optimism and outstanding possibilities out of daunting challenges and difficulties.
“Jim Ovia beliefs if he can make it, then anyone else can as well make it”, he said.
The presence of the Doyen of Accounting Profession in Nigeria, Chief Akintola Williams who is in his One Hundred Years thrilled the audience as he congratulated Jim Ovia for writing the book which according him, will catalyse more Africans particularly Nigerians into making greater exploits for their fatherlands.
He wished that the author would write another book very soon to enable him share more of his wealth of experience with this generation.
Some distinguished personalities who were readers of the book at the occasion took turn to commend the author for changing the narratives about Africa which the outside world had labelled backward and unenterprising.
The President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote represented by her daughter, Halima before reading Chapter 6 of the book, described Jim Ovia as “the most gifted and innovative banker in Nigeria”.
In his opinion, Mr Tony Elumelu, described Jim Ovia as a great African and a pacesetter in Financial Management with unparalleled innovations.
While commending the author for choosing to tell the African story from the positive perspective which is a veritable strategy for promoting African Markets, Mr Elumelu praised Jim Ovia for the deployment of ICT into banking operations in Nigeria.
The former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Ibidapo Obe, acknowledged the philanthropic gestures of Jim Ovia which he brought bare on UNILAG when he donated to the institution it’s first cyber space at no cost.
To the Chairman of Channels Television, Mr John Momoh the author wrote an incisive and practical book which he urged everyone to read.
According to Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhede, the author is one of the world’s finest financial managers who believes that Public and Private Sectors can collaborate to make Nigerian economy greater.
He read chapter 27 which espoused the kindheartedness of the author.
To Nduka Obaigbena, Jim is a strategist “who comes from the minority of the minorities”.
He read from the portion which showcases the avanlache of Africa opportunities despite dearth of infrastructural facilities”.
In his thoughts, Asiwaju Bola AhmedTinubu described the Book “Africa Rise and Shine” as a remarkable and excellent piece from a hardworking and patriotic banker.
The Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, said Mr Jim Ovia being a thorough-bred professional in the banking industry has successfully created an imperishable niche in the global Financial Sector.
While wishing him more outstanding achievements in life, Governor Akeredolu recommended the book to all entrepreneurs desirous of growing their businesses geometrically.
Reacting Mr Jim Ovia said he wrote the book to capture a personal account of his life as well as how he established the Zenith Bank .
He explained that the narrative of Africa being a pathetic continent and regarded as a dark continent inspired the title of the book.
Mr Ovia enjoined young entrepreneurs and Nigerians to read the book and work towards building an Africa that will change the face of the world.