The Guardian’s Toke Alex-Ibru named Man of the Year
The Executive Director of Guardian Newspapers Limited, Toke Alex-Ibru, was on Tuesday announced the 2017 Man of the Year at the EbonyLife TV Sisterhood Awards organised by EbonyLife Television in partnership with Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ).
Alex-Ibru emerged winner from a final list of three nominees, including Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote and Pastor Sam Adeyemi of the Daystar Christian Centre.
Alex-Ibru was recognised for his work with Guardian Woman, an eight-page weekly insert in The Guardian on Saturday.
At a time when the Nigerian media dedicated little space to talking about women-specific issues, Mr. Alex-Ibru introduced Guardian Woman to not only give voice to Nigerian women, but to also celebrate their achievements and shed light on issues specific to them.
Started on The Guardian website in the last quarter of 2015 with Tonye Bakare as its pioneer editor, Guardian Woman rapidly grew from just a two-page section of The Guardian on Saturday to become the mainstay of the weekend publication within six months of its introduction into print in January 2016.
Today, Guardian Woman has become a go-to media platform for many women-focused organisations and individuals, in and outside Nigeria.
A citation read by Dr Richard Ajayi for the nominees of Man of the Year before announcing him as winner described the executive director of Guardian Newspapers as having played a major role in pushing forward issues concerning women in Africa
“The Man of the Year award recognises the achievement of a man, who has dedicated his activities in the past year to supporting the achievements of women in our community,” Ajayi said.
“This award honors his participation in and support of our successes, drives, passions, commitments, time, duty, obligations, needs, and desires. Without him, our work may have been possible—but it would not have been any easier.
“His contributions have helped lift ours up and have acted like a spotlight on an otherwise darkened stage, illuminating women in various sectors, fields, and industries—bringing them hope when they were without, encouragement when they were down, opportunities when doors seemed closed, and support when all appeared lost.”
Hundreds of women converged at Eko Hotel and Suites this week for the annual WIMBIZ conference, to be empowered and inspired by outstanding speakers and role models. The climax of the two-day event was the EbonyLife TV Sisterhood Awards, which recognised women who made significant contribution to their respective fields.
The Sisterhood Awards was launched in 2014, as part of the 50th birthday celebrations of Mo Abudu, founder and CEO of EbonyLife TV.
“I am hopeful that these awards will continue for many years, so that we can continue to encourage women who are working hard, achieving their dreams and uplifting the most vulnerable in our society,” Abudu said.
One of the highlights of the evening was the special tribute to Joke Silva, the veteran actress of stage and screen with more than 30 years in the entertainment industry. There were also performances by popular vocalist 9ice and Bisola of the Big Brother Nigeria fame.
The awardees received plaques from some of last year’s winners and women who have been celebrated for their achievements, such as outgoing chairperson of WIMBIZ Executive Council, Aishah Ahmad, celebrity designer Folake Coker of Tiffany Amber, pop sensation Yemi Alade, media personality Stephanie Coker-Aderinokun, film director Kemi Adetiba and founder of LEAP Africa, Ndidi Nwuneli.