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Friday, 5 October 2018



Great achievements are accompanied by great results. Sometimes they are accompanied by rewards too. Prizes are given to top achievers in fields ranging from sports to politics, and from science to writing. Though they take different forms, all of these prizes are meant to highlight and celebrate those individuals or institutions that have ascended to the top of their game.

Award initiatives around the world have become of deep interest, basically because of what they represent. Awards given in recognition of sterling performance are known to make clear statements about specific achievements of outstanding people or organizations that stand out based on predetermined parameters. Our world may have become more innovative and glamorous, but the desire to continually recognize achievement and appreciate such honours under-score an integral part of being human.
Going back in time, awards or trophies for victories or achievements in ancient times often took the form of magnificent statues, columns and arches. Following a successful battle, Greek troops often constructed trophies from the arms and armour of captured opponents. Whatever their form, such ancient trophies were generally dedicated to gods. At the original Olympic Games in Greece, victors were crowned with twisted olive branches. Simple as it was then, this was symbolic and highly valued because such awards were only for winners as runners-up do not receive awards at all.
Currently, awards categories can be classified globally into the following areas: Business and Management, Entertainment and Arts, Fashion, Food, Games and Sports, Humanitarianism, international relations, and service; Hobby and special interest, Humanities, Military and patriotic honours, Science and Technology.

There are top 10 global awards categories worth noting and they include the following:

The Nobel Prize: This prestigious award is named for Alfred Nobel, who created dynamite. The first Nobel Prize was presented in 1901, and the number of fields in which it is presented has since increased to six. Prizes are awarded in chemistry, physics, literature, medicine, economics and peace. In addition to receiving a diploma and a gold medal, winners in each category also receive a monetary prize.

The Booker Prize: Now known as The Man Booker Prize for Fiction, this is Britain’s most prestigious literary award. It’s handed out every year to one author whose outstanding novel was published during the previous 12 months. Being shortlisted to receive a Man Booker Prize is considered an honour in its own right.

The Academy Awards: Perhaps the most well-known award in American cinema, the Oscars are handed out every year to actors, directors, producers and film professionals who worked on the previous year’s best films. The Academy Awards ceremony was inaugurated in 1929, and the event’s broadcast now draws more than a billion viewers worldwide.

The BAFTA Awards: These awards, handed out by the British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA), are the U.K. equivalent of the Emmys. The annual awards honour achievements in both film and television. Many popular actors have won both BAFTA Awards and Academy Awards.

The Palme d’Or: Among film festivals, Cannes is the giant. The Palme d’Or is its most prestigious prize, and it’s the most widely coveted on the festival circuit too. The award was created in 1955 and is given to the outstanding film’s director. Among the dozens of notable films that have received the award are Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now, Pulp Fiction and The Pianist.

The Pulitzer Prize: America’s premier prize in journalism, literature and musical composition, Pulitzer Prizes are awarded yearly in 21 categories. In addition to receiving a certificate and medal, winners also receive a $10,000 prize. These prizes have been awarded since 1917. In recent years, categories have been expanded to include online journalism.

L-R Ex Chairman of Pearl Awards Alhaji A. Abdullahi and President of Pearl Awards Mr. Tayo Orekoya

The Golden Globes: Honouring achievements in film, the Golden Globes are considered the party girl sister of the more reserved Academy Awards. Actors, directors and other film professionals gather to recognize each other. Dinner and drinks are standard at these awards.

The BRIT Awards: Launched in 1977, the BRIT Awards honour achievements in popular music. They’re similar to the Grammys, and many of the artists who win awards are top-sellers on both sides of the pond.

The Grammys: Awarded in a variety of classical, jazz, country and popular music categories, the Grammy Awards were launched in 1959. Stevie Wonder is among the most notable winners with a total of 22 Grammys as of 2015.

The MTV Video Music Awards: It might be hard to believe, but the MTV VMAs have been handed out since 1984. They honour the very best in music videos in a variety of categories. Madonna has won the most VMAs to date with a total of 69 nominations and 19 wins.

Coming back to our home front, Nigeria, the idea of conferring of Awards and honours here can be traced back to the National Honours Act No. 5 of 1964 passed into law during Nigeria’s first republic to honour Nigerians and her friends every year who have rendered service to the benefit of the nation.

The national honours in descending order are:
Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (GCFR), Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON), Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR), Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON), Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR), Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON), Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) and Member of the Order of the Niger (MON).

The GCFR and GCON are bestowed on former occupants of the office of the President of Nigeria and the Vice President of Nigeria including former military heads of state of Nigeria and chiefs of general staff. The GCON is also bestowed on the chief justice of Nigeria and the president of the Nigerian senate during their first year in office, while CON is customarily bestowed on justices of the supreme court of Nigeria.

Others such as the CFR, MON, OFR etc. are awarded to members of the public for great achievements, these include public servants, political leaders, traditional leaders, and distinguished persons in various fields of work.

Although this national Awards and Honours ceremony followed the British example in form and structure of the Order, other events ceremonies have been instituted to recognize and celebrate outstanding performance in other categories. The following awards ceremonies are landmark events that catch the attention of stakeholders in the respective industry:

Nigeria Prize for Literature is a Nigerian literary award given annually since 2004 to honour literary erudition by Nigerian authors. The award rotates among four genres; fiction, poetry, drama, and children’s literature, repeating the cycle every four years. The process and judging are administered by Nigerian Academy of Science with an advisory board made up of members from Nigeria Academy of Letters and Association of Nigerian Authors.
The Headies are awards established in 2006 by the Hip Hop Magazine of Nigeria to recognize outstanding achievement in the country's music industry. Hip Hop Magazine is a weekly Nigerian music magazine established in 1995.It has sponsored The Headies award since the award's inception in 2006. The magazine's publisher is Nigerian journalist and music promoter Ayo Animashaun.

The Nigeria Prize for Science is a Nigerian science award given annually since 2004 for excellence achieved in scientific breakthroughs. It is the country's highest scientific award. The award is sponsored by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas company. The prize describes itself as "bringing Nigerian scientists to public attention and celebrating excellence in scientific breakthroughs".

The Nigerian National Order of Merit Award (NNOM) is an academic award instituted in 1979 and conferred on distinguished academicians and intellectuals who have made outstanding contributions to the academic, growth and development of Nigeria. The award is often conferred on its recipient by the government following a nomination and approval of the Governing Board of the Award. It is the highest academic award in Nigeria.

The PEARL Awards Nigeria, an acronym of the “Performance, Earnings And Returns Leadership Awards”, was instituted in 1995, followed by an endorsement by the nation’s apex capital market regulatory authority, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) eight years later in 2003, to annually reward outstanding performance of companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and stakeholders that have contributed towards the development of the Nigerian capital market.
The Nigeria Entertainment Awards established in New York City in 2006 to serve the growing African population in North America. It recognizes the contributions of African entertainers to the entertainment industry. The event aims to promote the image and culture of Nigeria. This has increased the awareness of a new style of African entertainment that has helped promote Nigerian acts in the world.
The Nigeria Media Merit Award established in 1990, a foremost and most prestigious annual celebration of the best in the media industry in Nigeria.  The objective is to recognize, encourage and reward excellence in media practice in Nigeria while fostering the mutual symbolic relationship between the media industry and the larger society. Over the years, NMMA has evolved to become Nigeria’s most powerful and influential platform for an Annual re-union of Media Veterans and Practitioners with the crème de la crème of the society and other eminent stakeholders nationally and internally.
The City People Awards has come up with various Awards over the years that cut across different sectors and stakeholders of the Nigerian economy. These include City People Music Awards, City People Movie Awards, City People Entertainment Awards and City People Award for Excellence. The set objectives of these Awards are to stimulate high performance within the targeted sectors and ultimately add value to the national economy.
The Future Awards Africa: is a set of awards given to celebrate young people between the ages of 18 and 31, who have made outstanding achievement in the year under consideration. The award ceremony is a brainchild of the Future Project, a social enterprise communications firm. The awards are given to winners in ten categories and this was trimmed down from the initial 21 categories when the awards ceremony started in 2006.
Nigeria Pitch Awards: These awards are presented to Nigerian former and present sports people, administrators and journalist in recognition of their positive role and contribution to sports development in Nigeria. Initiated in 2013 by Matchmakers Consult International and endorsed by the Nigerian Football Federation. The awards were started with 16 categories and by 2016 6 more categories were subsequently added.
The Africa Movie Academy Awards: Been a subsidiary of the Africa Film Academy which was founded on the best film tradition and geared towards research, training and propagating filmmaking in Africa. AMAA was established in 2005 with the aim of providing a reward and recognition platform for filmmakers on the continent.

When Nigerian Breweries won at Pearl Awards
Nigeria Health Care Awards is an annual event instituted to celebrate and recognize distinguished personalities and organizations who have contributed immensely to the growth of the Nigerian Health sector. The awards ceremony is an initiative of Global Health Project and Resources in partnership with Anadach group. The awards started in 2014 and have become a high profile event in the healthcare industry gaining widespread acceptance from other stakeholders in the healthcare community.
Nigerian Broadcasters Merit Awards: These awards are presented annually to recognize excellence of professionals in the African/Nigerian broadcast industry who have distinguished themselves as role models, mentors, and propagators of social change in the society. The maiden edition was held in October 2010 and is an initiative of the Reality Entertainment, a showbiz/entertainment firm established in 2005.
Nigerian CFO AwardsNow in its 4th year, Nigeria CFO Awards is an annual event recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of both financial executives and organization for their leadership contributions to their companies’ growth. The annual awards, which is the first of its kind in Nigeria, recognizes success, growth and innovation the CFO and their team bring towards organizational development.
It is worth mentioning that quite a number of the awards ceremonies initiated and instituted in the country have either gone extinct or are being absorbed by other more vibrant initiatives. However, some have stood the test of time and are still weathering the storm in spite of various national socio-economic challenges. Benchmarking global standards for adopting criteria meant to nominate and select awards recipients, it is observed that the following are widely used:
Online or offline voting by fans or clients, selection by designated judges on a review of performances, nomination or selection of award recipients through technical committee, nomination from stakeholders or the general public to an awards committee, distinguished or landmark achievement in a specialized field of endeavour.

The history of awards ceremonies in Nigeria will certainly not be complete without giving a most deserved recognition of one of the most prestigious, credible and respected recognition initiatives in the country that has stood the test of time, for more than two decades now. 

The PEARL Awards Nigeria, is a recognition initiative that stands out having been rewarding excellence in the corporate world for well over the past two decades.

Following the Nigerian National Honours and the Nigerian National Order of Merit Award no other recognition event has flourished sustainably like the PEARL Awards and for this reason, we shall be paying attention to the activities of this landmark initiative recognizing and rewarding corporate excellence with finesse and credibility.

Going the memory lane, the Performance, Earnings And Returns Leadership (PEARL) Awards was instituted in 1995 to reward companies quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange for outstanding operational performance and excellence; thereby enhancing the vibrancy, growth and development of the capital market.

The maiden edition of the Awards Nite was held on May 27, 1995 at Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos where Nigerian Breweries Plc carted away the Overall Highest Award (PEARL of the Nigerian Stock Market) among other laurels won by this company at this edition.

Instructively, Dangote Cement Plc, remains the only quoted company to have won same most prestigious Award (PEARL of the Nigerian Stock Market) back to back in 2012 and 2013.

Since inception over two decades ago, the PEARL Awards has recognized and rewarded over eighty (80) companies in different categories of the Awards based on their sterling performance.

Awards Categories:  The PEARL Awards are in three categories. These are  the Main Competitive Awards Category which has Sectorial Leadership Awards, Market Excellence Awards and Overall Highest (The PEARL) Award. Then comes Special Recognition Awards Category which has Non-Listed Securities Award, Stockbroking Firm of the Year Award, Issuing House of the Year Award and Good Corporate Governance Award. Afterwards comes the Honorary Awards Category, and this has CEO of the Year Award, Capital Market Development Award, Capital market Correspondent Award of the Year and Media Award for Capital Market Development.

The Methodology of the Awards is simple. The winning companies in the main competitive category emerge through rigorous data analysis and evaluation. The Sectoral Leadership Awards rewards a company for out-performing other companies within the same sector, based on aggregate points garnered from all the ten indices utilized for ranking. 

The Market Excellence Awards is based on consideration of the entire market leadership in respect of each of the ranking indices. For each of the indices, points are awarded in order of performance to the top ten companies ranging from 10 points to 1 point. Companies with 10 points win each of the Awards.

The Overall Highest Award considers companies that have emerged as Sectoral Leaders of their sectors and have performed most outstandingly in the market excellence category. The Sectoral Leader with the highest points in the market excellence is therefore awarded the PEARL of the Nigerian Stock Market.

The uniqueness of the PEARL Awards is in the Awards process being based on verifiable facts and figures obtained from the companies’ financial reports, NSE daily listing, and NSE 52-week trading reports. The parameters utilized are credible and globally acceptable parameters for data evaluation. These parameters include Turnover Growth, Earnings Yield, Dividend Yield, Return on Equity, Profit Margin Ratio, Net Asset Ratio, Share Price Appreciation etc. It is worthy of note that PEARL Awards remains the only Awards in this part of the world that is based on objective criteria and empirical data.

One of the factors that stand the Awards out is the composition of the Awards Board of Governors over the years. Since inception, the Board has been peopled by time-tested and first class professionals as well as highly respected capital market experts with unquestionable integrity. The Board gives broad based policy guidelines on the activities of the Awards.

The integrity of the Awards has remained impeccable over the decades. The PEARL Awards does not charge any fee from companies nominated for the purpose of winning the Awards as part of efforts to maintain its impartiality and ensure objectivity in its assessment of quoted companies and other stakeholders’ institutions at its yearly Awards.

The Securities & Exchange Commission, the apex regulatory body in the capital market in appreciation of the shared value of corporate excellence promotion in Nigeria, which PEARL Awards exemplifies, endorsed the PEARL Awards Project in 2003. The Commission also supports the institutionalization of PEARL Awards Africa, a continental version of the Awards in Nigeria.

In terms of innovation, the PEARL Awards in its 23 years of existence has come up with various initiatives aimed at deepening and enhancing capital market development in Nigeria.  These include: the hosting of PEARL Awards Annual Public Lecture for Capital Market Development instituted in 2005 to provide a forum for seasoned experts and technocrats (national & international) from the public and private sectors to brainstorm annually on germane, contemporary and emergent issues in capital market development with the view to enhancing investors’ protection, strengthen shareholders’ confidence and ensuring market integrity and stability. 
And then also, the publication of the Nigerian Stock Market Annual (NSMA), a research compendium which covers contemporary issues in the Nigerian Capital Market, the Nigerian economy and the global economy. Published since 1995, the publication has helped to impact knowledge on numerous readers that cut across the private and public sectors of the nation’s economy.

The main objective of the publication is to strengthen the knowledge base of shareholders and investors alike on the salient issues concerning the capital market, the Nigerian economy and the global economy among others.

The comprehensive analysis of the PEARL Awards Report culminating to the emergence of winning companies is usually published in this annual publication, and publicly presented at each year’s Awards nite.

Another publication of the Awards Project is the book, “Winning Strategies of Nigeria’s Corporate Giants”, designed to positively project quoted companies in Nigeria who have demonstrated consistent outstanding performance, leadership, resilience and sustainable growth and by so doing have emerged consistent winners in their different categories of the PEARL Awards over the years.

A prominent feature in the book is the incisive interviews where CEOs of market leaders share their wealth of experiences and give insight into the various strategies that have kept their companies on the winning edge in terms of policies, people, products and services.

The PEARL Awards over the years has no doubt remained a reference point for investment decisions by shareholders and investors alike. The direct consequence of the Awards on the quoted companies is the upward trend in the share price of winning companies at the stock market which positively impact the investors’ values.

Similarly, the resolutions and recommendations from the annual PEARL Awards Public Lecture are forwarded to capital market regulatory authoritites for consideration and possible implementation. It is gratifying to note that both the Securities & Exchange Commission and the Nigerian Stock  Exchange have intensified efforts on investors’ sensitization, which the PEARL Awards hadhitherto canvassed for at different fora.

Generally, Awards ceremonies are a celebration of talent, success and achievement while carrying a connotation of reputation and expertise. Beyond that, they are employed by all sorts of sectors as showcased earlier to celebrate the success of an individual, a team, or an entire organization. From educational awards right through to the Grammies and Oscars, it is usually an endorsement of people’s abilities and rewarding those achievements. 

The PEARL Awards can aptly be described as the PEARL of Nigerian Awards in recognition of its invaluable positive contributions to the nation’s economy and sustained long years of rewarding corporate excellence thereby promoting value enhancement to shareholders’ wealth.

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