Former military Heads of State, Generals Yakubu Gowon and Ibrahim Babangida, as well as a former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, are among prominent Nigerians who will grace a high profile birthday dinner to be organised for Professor Anya Oko Anya.
Anya, who recently joined the octogenarian club, will be hosted to a dinner by a group of his young friends led by Mr. Udeme Ufot.
Ufot said in a statement thursday that the dinner would be held in celebration of an exceptional leader of virtue who has relentlessly served the country.
The event, which is scheduled to hold on April 8, 2017 at the Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos, is also expected to attract the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, present and past governors, National Assembly members, states houses of assembly members, diplomats, captains of industry, members of the Ndigbo community in Lagos, and Committee of Abiriba youths of Abia State, among other eminent guests.
The statement described Anya as an embodiment of a transcendental quality, adding that his career odyssey in the academic environment was enthralling having spent 37 years in the Ivory Tower; before he retired in 2002.
At the University of Nigeria, he carved a niche for himself as he left indelible landmarks in the citadel. Among other positions and appointments, he is famous for the School of Postgraduate Studies which he founded and became its first Director and Chief Executive. Prof Anya often dubbed as the Professor of Professors, occupied strategic positions in the affairs of Nigeria including being the First Director General of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group.
According to the statement, Anya’s antecedents lend credence to his belief that it takes strong personalities to nurture strong institutions.
“From academics to the corporate world where he is a redoubtable boardroom colossus, Professor Anya has demonstrated to be an irrepressible alchemist who’s Midas touch has transformed many fledgling outfits to blue chip organizations. Prominent in the roll call of organisations that are beneficiaries of his entrepreneurial acuity include Diamond Bank, where he was founding director for 15 years, Citizens Bank and Technology Distribution Ltd, the conglomerate that gave birth to Zinox Computers and Yudala, amongst others, where he has been Chairman for over ten years. He is also presently the Chairman of Nestoil, a leading player in the Energy sector,” Ufot explained.
The event would also feature the launch of a two volume book titled “Times, Thoughts and Ideas” which explores the interdisciplinary mind of Anya.
The book is said to dwell passionately on how history, socio-cultural, socio-political and socio-economic tendencies overlap as well as complement each other in its existence within the competing blocks in Nigeria.
It also presents a fresh perspective to what it means to be a Nigerian, within a country full of contradictions as such strongly calls for the reinvention of our society.
Gowon is expected to be the Chairman of the event whilst Professor Chidi Odinkalu, renowned lawyer and advocate will be the book reviewer.
In addition to the book launch, there will be a week long special art exhibition curated by Ugoma Adegoke. The fitting visual tribute to the Professor who is also an extraordinary art patron, collector and advocate for the arts and artists will showcase a selection of important works from his Collection.
Poised to give guests a very rare treat to enjoy works from some of Nigeria’s most influential modern artists, the works which are largely recognized as rare, vintage pieces will be juxtaposed with exciting contemporary works by today’s Nigerian artists whose styles and artistic ethos could be considered inspired by the works and affectation of those modern masters.
A Pre Event exhibition is scheduled to hold on Saturday April 8 at the dinner in the Intercontinental Hotel Victoria Island and another full exhibition would run for one week from Monday April 10-15, 2017 at the Lagos Metropolitan Club, Victoria Island, Lagos