DAAR Communications PLC, owners of Africa Independent Television (AIT),RayPower FM and Faaji FM on Saturday honoured President Muhammadu Buhari as the 2018 “African President of the Year” at the 3rd DAAR Awards held on Saturday in Abuja.
In an online poll conducted on Twitter by the company, at the end of the voting Buhari scored 18% of the total 2971 votes cast, behind the winner, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda who scored 44% and runner up, President Nana Akufo-Udo with 19% of the votes. President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya finished in fourth position with 16%.
Defending the decision to present the award to Buhari instead of Kagame, after the company received knocks from Nigerians on social media who frowned at the choice of Buhari despite losing the polls, the management of DAAR Communications in a statement issued on Monday said the company as “first and foremost a Nigerian Company with a vision and mission of promoting Nigeria as a nation, Nigerians as a people and Made in Nigeria as a brand in encouraging the patronage of Nigerian businesses, products and services in the global market place. This begins with recognising our own at home and is explained in the DAAR awards guidelines”.
The statement further said, ” Our utmost consideration and position on the issue remains that irrespective of social positions and issues surrounding opinions around our president, DAAR awards is apolitical and is guided by its underlaying principles for the promotion of Nigerians and Nigerian organisations.
We will not promote a foreign leader in a category in which our own president is participating. It will not happen in the USA,in the UK,in South Africa nor in Ghana.
“The award of the African President of the Year is an Honorary Award and we have also extended honorary awards to other presidents in this category”.
The statement however does not satisfactorily explain the reason for the nominations of three other African leaders in a category which they claimed was an honorary one reserved only for Nigerian leaders.
It seems that Buhari was expected to win this category as past Nigerian presidents had done and the outcome was unexpected.