It was a great spectacle to behold as the Christmas and Yuletide season came to life at the 2022 Zenith Bank Christmas Light-Up Ceremony, which was held at the Ajose Adeogun Street Roundabout, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Saturday, November 19, 2022. The official lighting ceremony, which was performed by the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, supported by Executive Management, was witnessed by many of the bank’s staff and customers, with others joining virtually. With the theme “Let There Be Light”, this year marks the 16th edition of the Light-up Ceremony at the Ajose Adeogun Roundabout. The Light-Up event is an annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative by the bank to herald the yuletide season through the beautification of Ajose Adeogun Street – home to Zenith Bank’s Corporate Headquarters – which has come to be recognised as an iconic place, attracting people from all walks of life who visit with their families and friends to take pictures and make videos of the wonderful spectacle, especially at night and enjoy the ambience of the street and season.
Speaking during the ceremony, Onyeagwu expressed his delight in heralding the yuletide season of 2022 through the iconic Ajose Adeogun Street lighting up. In his words, “today is a unique day. It is unique in the sense that we are going to turn on the Christmas light and activate the spirit of Christmas, which we usually have annually. It is also unique in the sense that we are honoured and delighted to have in our midst the wife of our Founder and Chairman, Mrs. Kay Ovia”. He praised Quantum Markets, the company responsible for the annual decorations, for the outstanding, very creative and extremely beautiful work that they have done. According to him, “when you look at the Christmas set-up we have every year, it looks completely different, and there is no repetition of themes. And when we think we have seen it all, by the time a new one comes, it is something completely different and massively so. The one for this year, as I entered here, I was wondering if this is a theme park”.
Whilst urging everyone to imbibe the message and spirit of Christmas, which is about peace, love, forgiveness and above all, respect for humanity, Onyeagwu prayed for peace in every home, business and in the country and that this year’s celebration would be like no other that we have seen. Zenith Bank has clearly distinguished itself in the Nigerian financial services industry as an institution committed to building a more sustainable and inclusive economy and promoting responsible business practices in Nigeria through integrating sustainability principles in its business operations. The bank’s sustainability and CSR initiatives are hinged on the belief that today’s business performance is not all about the financial numbers – the bank believes that an institution’s social investments, contributions to inclusive economic growth and development as well as improvements in the condition of the physical environment, all constitute a balanced scorecard.
Through its CSR initiatives, Zenith Bank has embodied the overarching objective of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which provide a framework for addressing the major challenges confronting society. Its social investments are targeted at health, education, women and youth empowerment, sports development and public infrastructure enhancement. Overall, Zenith Bank’s total CSR investment in 2021 was NGN4.37 billion, representing 1.79% of its Profit After Tax (PAT) and 33.1% increase from 2020. The bank remains committed to furthering the economic, cultural and social development of host communities, particularly through community-based initiatives and philanthropy. As a good corporate citizen, it continues to deliver projects that have long-term social and economic benefits for the communities because it believes that its business is only as strong as the communities in which it operates.
To demonstrate its commitment to creating and expanding opportunities, the bank regularly makes donations towards setting up ultramodern ICT centres in several educational institutions and cities across the country. It also supports various developmental projects, and healthcare delivery causes in Nigeria and contributes to the development of sports in Nigeria through its sponsorship of the Zenith Women Basketball League and the Zenith Bank Delta State Principal’s and Headmaster’s Football Competitions, amongst others. In recognition of its contributions and social investments to its host communities and the society at large, the bank was recognised at the Sustainability, Enterprise, and Responsibility (SERAS) Awards 2021 as the “Most Responsible Organisation in Africa”.