Magnus Eze, Enugu
The popular saying that a prophet has no honour in his home town could not apply in Anambra state as town unions in the state rolled out the drums to honour a long list of illustrious sons and daughters of the state.
Those recognised during the 2019 edition of the annual service award of Anambra State Association of Town Unions (ASATU) in Awka, last Saturday, were adjudged to have distinguished themselves in their various professions, and also used their resources for the benefit of humanity.
Leading the pack was Chairman of Air Peace Airlines, Chief Allen Onyema, who was honoured at the ceremony as ASATU man of the year, 2019.
Others were former National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Senator Victor Umeh; senator representing Anambra Central, Uche Ekwunife; as well as Senator Stella Oduah (Anambra North). The three were presented with award of excellence in community service.
Nnewi-born business moguls, Chief Cletus Ibeto and Chief Innocent Chukwuma also received award of excellence in community service.
Others in that same category include Dr. Godwin Maduka, Chief Peter Nwosu, Chief Vincent Amaechi, Ogene Ugboma, Anthony Enukeme; Ernest Obiejesi, as well as a young legislator representing Anambra East and West Federal Constituency, Hon. Chinedu Obidigwe. Former Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili was honoured posthumously.
Senator Ifeanyi Ubah (Anambra South); Emmanuel Okala (former Rangers goalkeeper); Mary Onyegwali, Poly Emenike, and the late Ernest Okonkwo, were honoured with award as pillars of hope in sports development.
Those that bagged awards as pillars of hope in food security were: Ugochukwu Okpalaeke, Patrick Chidolue and Cosmas Maduka, a.k.a Choscharis.
Anambra’s Commissioner for Basic Education, Prof. Kate Omenugha, together with Fr. Paschal Okonkwo and Samuel Otubah were recipients of awards as pillars of hope in education.
Earlier in his opening address, national president of ASATU, Chief Alex Onukwue, said the association thought it wise to create ways of recognising and honouring illustrious sons and daughters, who have distinguished themselves in services to humanity.
According to him, the awards would not only be encouraging those that have done much to continue doing more, but would also encourage others to emulate them in building greater Anambra State.
Speaking after receiving his award, Senator Umeh commended the group for its efforts in encouraging hard work and selfless service.
“This ceremony is a step in the right direction. ASATU, through these awards, are encouraging most of us, who have sacrificed so much for humanity to do more. As a senator and former chairman of APGA, I’ve done so much to uplift the party and our dear Anambra State. This award is a challenge; I will not take for granted,” he said.
In their separate remarks after receiving their awards, Senator Ekwunife, Hon. Obidigwe and Dr. Cosmas Maduka, said the ASATU awards would spur them to do more to humanity.
Chairman of the occasion, Igwe Rowland Odegbo, (Aborgu II of Nteje) had in his opening remarks, said the awardees were selected after due consideration and verifications. The royal father praised them and encouraged others to emulate the virtues for which the awards recipients were honoured.
Highpoints of the ceremony include unveiling of “Biko Suba Igbo” emblem, another great effort in the promotion of Igbo language and culture; as well as reconciliation brokered between Senators Umeh and Ekwunife.