The impressive rise to international prominence and reckoning by `Zenith Bank Plc has always been a source of admiration and pride to every Ika indigene at home and in the Diaspora. This is a bank, which started operation a little after a decade ago and has done tremendously and creditably well not only for itself but for its shareholders, and for the Nigeria economy.


This write-up is premised on the fact that the man at the pilot seat of the emerging global financial institution that has achieved ground-breaking records is from Ika nation.


Mr. Jim Ovia, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank has with his, consistent and amazing performance elevated the bank and by extension the banking industry to an enviable height.


The past few years has seen the bank clinching several coveted awards. The most recent was the naming of the bank as the ‘African Bank of The Year’, by the African Investor Magazine in recognition of the innovative strategies applied in transacting its business.


It should be noted also that Zenith Bank has, this year, posted an extraordinary performance on the Nigeria Stock Exchange, making its shares one of the most sought after blue chip by investors in the stock market. The feat also earned it the ‘Quoted Company of The Year’.


Before now, in the year 2005, the bank was named ‘The Most Respected Bank in Nigeria’ after a survey conducted by Price WaterHouse Coopers. That year also, according to report, Zenith Bank won ‘The Bank of The Year’ award from the Banker Magazine, a publication of the highly reputed and respected Financial Times of London.


Also in January this year, the bank was adjudged the most customer-focused bank in Nigeria through a comprehensive and detailed survey carried out by foremost consulting firm, KPMG. The survey was directed at corporate customers of banks in the country, which came out with the result, that Zenith bank was the most accepted in terms of corporate relationship and services. The different companies covered were unanimous that they were pleasantly satisfied with its services to its customers.


All the above stated awards and other awards and recognitions are testimony to the astuteness and dexterity of the management and staff headed by Mr. Jim Ovia.


This recent award has undoubtedly placed the bank in the enviable position of the best bank in Africa, after beating five other banks that were carefully and painstakingly chosen in the array of banks in the continent; such banks include the well known and highly rated Standard Bank Group of South Africa.

                             With these awards and good positive manner the bank is being run, it is not in doubt that the bank in the next few years will rank very highly in the world.


In the words of the CEO, Mr. Jim Ovia, while receiving the award on behalf of the bank’s management and staff “It is a great honour for every Zenith Bank staff wherever they may be either in Zenith Bank, London, U.K; Zenith Bank, Accra, Ghana; Zenith Bank, Johannesburg, South Africa or the grandfather of them all, Zenith Bank Nigeria”. He equally stated that the award was an endorsement of Zenith brand and an inspiration to continue to provide excellent financial services to their growing communities of customers.


I will want to add that Mr. Ovia has become a reference point for success and great achievement and a source of pride to every Ika indigene wherever they may be. We cannot overlook the fact that this illustrious son of Ika nation has done well in proving that the people of Ika nation are endowed with the capacity to succeed. It equally shows that our people are highly industrious and capable of getting to the ‘Zenith’ of their chosen careers and professions.


I want our people, particularly the youths to emulate the likes of Mr. Jim Ovia, who through sheer determination and hard work has made Zenith Bank one of the best in the global financial circles. The major focus of the youths should be in identifying and modeling their lives along Ika sons and daughters who have brought glory, fame, recognition and good name to our great Ika nation.


Mr. Ovia has equally made sure that Zenith bank responds to its corporate responsibility through the construction of roads, assisting schools with infrastructures and individuals with scholarship and  employment. It is really a commendable gesture.


I want to therefore say that all Ika indigenes should strive to make Ika ethnic nationality a shining beacon amongst other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria in whatever area they) find themselves


There has been an unprecedented emergence of genuine and reliable role models from Ika land in recent times, who through dint of hard work have carved niches for themselves, thereby bringing Ika nation to reckonable prominence.


These are the people to truly emulate and whose footsteps should be concretely followed by Ika youths for the sustainable socio-economic development of our land. We congratulate our hero, we congratulate our son, we congratulate Mr. JIM OVIA.

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