France has honoured the Executive Vice Chairman of Globacom, Mrs Bella Disu with the prestigious national honour of “Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres”.
The Award, which is in recognition of Mrs Disu’s remarkable support for arts and culture, especially her coordination of the construction of the iconic Alliance Francaise | Mike Adenuga Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos, was presented to her at a formal ceremony held at the Centre and presided over by the French State Secretary for Education and Youth, Minister Gabriel Attal.
The French Minister, who is the youngest Minister in France, said he was delighted to present the honour to Mrs Bella Disu as the youngest recipient of the French national honour.
The Minister said the unique national honour is reserved for icons who have supported the sustenance and growth of French culture.
He described the Mike Adenuga Centre as magnificent and the most beautiful of all Alliance Francaise centres in the world. He also described the equipment, sound, lighting and technology at the Centre as first class, adding that the project is a cultural revolution.
Facing the Chairman of Mike Adenuga Group, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jr who witnessed the ceremony along with the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the French Ambassador to Nigeria & ECOWAS, Mr. Jérôme Pasquier and other eminent dignitaries, the French Minister said, “Who could have imagined that it was possible to build such a cultural centre in just a few months? From the very first minute, dear Chairman, you wished that your daughter would lead the project that would facilitate cultural collaborations between French speaking countries and Nigeria.
“The team worked relentlessly under the attentive but firm supervision of Bella to deliver the building in a record time. It is one of the most exceptional projects of our cultural network and one of the most outstanding examples of arts and culture sponsorships in Nigeria.
“We owe this exceptional project to you Chairman, who financed it, as much as to Bella who brought it to life,” he said.
In a remark on the award, Charles Courdent, Director, Alliance Francaise, Lagos, said the Centre was proud of Mrs Bella Disu’s uncommon hardwork that gave birth to the Alliance Francaise | Mike Adenuga Centre, adding that “the vision of Globacom Chairman, Dr. Mike Adenuga has been fully accomplished by his daughter in this project.”
In her acceptance speech, Mrs Disu expressed gratitude to President Emmanuel Macron of France for the honour. She also thanked her supportive husband, Mr. Jameel Disu, family, friends and all members of the Mike Adenuga Centre project team, particularly the Director who set an audacious vision for the Centre.
“I am thankful for the firm belief that it could be done. Just look at where we are now. The centre has become such a reference point, a cultural hub, promoting French language and culture, showcasing Nigerian talent. We did it and I am proud of the entire project team. I applaud your expertise and tireless commitment”, she said.
Narrating the hardwork and sleepless nights that birthed the project, Mrs Disu enthused, “Everyday I went to the site determined to fulfil the vision we had set with the Alliance Française team, I didn’t think anyone was watching. Yet, to be awarded the prestigious Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres, en Anglais, Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters, has shown me that when you are dedicated and passionate, even when you think no one is watching, today will be the tomorrow you always dreamt of. It’s been a journey to this honour, but I have not come this far alone. I’d like to thank those who have made it easier for me to stand firm and stand strong on this stage. This award is as much for you. I’d like to thank my father, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jr GCON CSG CDR LH. Thank you, daddy, for your support and for the platform you have given me. Your magnanimity and heart for society continually inspires me…”.
She described the award as a fulfilment of a dream she had in her sophomore year at the University, concluding that “today is the tomorrow”.
Mrs Disu charged all to always do their best on tasks irrespective of whether it was noticed or not, so that their actions will speak for them in rooms where they are not present.
“I assure you that someone is and one day, today will be the tomorrow you always dreamt of”, she said.
A business leader who currently serves as Executive Vice Chairman of Globacom, CEO of Cobblestone Properties and Estates, Director at Abumet PLC and non-executive director with Julius Berger, Mrs Disu is a multi-instrumentalist, humanist, patriot and philanthropist. She started playing the Piano at the age of 4 and Saxophone at the age of 18.
For years, she has been a distinctive benefactor of the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) to encourage a better environment for musical learning.
She holds a BA from the University of Massachusetts, Boston and an MSc from Northeastern University, Boston. Mrs Disu is a Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) and the Institute of Directors (IoD).
Mrs Bella Disu is happily married with children.