BusinessDay

Flutterwave’s Agboola, Ovia, Elumelu among private-sector national honours recipients

Over two dozen private sector leaders, along with past and present government officials, traditional leaders, military officials and foreigners, were awarded national honours on Tuesday in a ceremony in Abuja.

The private sector list includes notable figures including Kola Adeshina, Sahara Energy boss; Tony Elumelu, chairman of UBA Group; Jim Ovia, founder of Zenith Bank; Abdul Samad Rabiu, chairman of BUA Group; and Flutterwave’s founder and CEO Olugbenga Agboola.

Flutterwave, valued at over $3 billion, emerged a unicorn after a bright start, winning a $250 million Series D funding in February, thus becoming Africa’s most valuable startup.

Agboola, who received the national honour of Order of the Niger (OON), is a serial entrepreneur who seeks to change the payment landscape in Africa. He has over 15 years’ experience building scalable financial technology firms.

Since its inception, Flutterwave has processed over 200 million transactions worth over $16 billion and served over 900,000 businesses worldwide.

In a speech at the event, President Muhammadu Buhari said those honoured were for their remarkable achievement in their field of expertise, where the person’s activities in that field have made significant contributions to the attainment of national goals and objectives.

“Equally, those in the private sector have also creditably discharged themselves in business, entertainment, hospitality, transportation and other forms of human endeavours to transform Nigeria,” he said.

The 2022 National Honours roll included 447 citizens and foreigners labelled as “Nigerians and Friends of Nigeria,” who received various honours ranging from the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger and Federal Republic Medals.

The National Honours Awards was established by the National Honours Act of No 6 in 1964. It took retroactive effect from October 1, 1963.

Read also: How Flutterwave’s new switching and processing licence works

The Act empowers the President by warrant, the Nigerian Order of Dignity to honour deserving citizens who have contributed to the development and progress of the country in any field of endeavour.

Buhari singled out artistes Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu (Burna Boy), who won the Grammy Awards in 2020; Tijjani Muhammad-Bande; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Amina J. Mohammed; and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who are doing the country proud on the international scene for praise.

He also commended Abdullahi Abubakar, a cleric who hid over 262 Christians in his mosque from attacks in Yelwa Gindi Akwati village, in Plateau State; and Josephine Agu, an airport cleaner who returned $12,200 found in a toilet at Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.

The GCON category include: Okonjo-Iweala, director-general of World Trade Organization; Ahmad Lawan, Senate President; Olukayode Ariwoola, current Chief Justice of Nigeria; Tanko Mohammed, former Chief Justice of Nigeria; Amina Mohammed, deputy secretary-general of the United Nations, and Mohammed-Bande, former President of the United Nations General Assembly.

National honours were also awarded to 13 persons posthumously, including Abba Kyari, former Chief of Staff to the President, and Ibrahim Attahiru, former Chief of Army Staff.