From Jude Chinedu, Enugu
Honour goes to whom it is due. So, the youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide recently identified and honoured some Igbo leaders for their remarkable services to Ndigbo and indeed, humanity.
Enugu Governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, outgoing President General of Ohanaeze; Chief Nnia Nwodo and Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu emerged recipients of the Ohanaeze Heroes’ award.
According to the youths, Ugwuanyi won the award because he was “the best performing governor and most peaceful in the southeast and indeed, Igboland”.
The youths also said that the governor was the most youth-friendly and recalled how he had, without prompting; provided them with bags of rice during the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leader of Ohanaeze youths, Arthur Obiora, also described President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nwodo, as a true leader, who has through his position, expertly projected the course of Ndigbo into national consciousness.
He added that Nwodo had stood firmly for the Igbo even at the risk of his life and the family.
Daily Sun learnt that the colourful event which held at the iconic Nike Lake Resort, Enugu and tagged “Nzuko Oha Ndi Ntorobia Igbo 2020”, was primarily organized to honour notable Igbo leaders who possessed defined and effective leadership qualities which could be tapped into in the region’s quest to secure the highest political position in the country in 2023.
The carnival-like event took off with traditional dances, music and assorted local delicacies to the excitement of guests. It climaxed with the conferment of award of “The foremost Igbo political leader in contemporary Nigeria”, on Onu amidst cheers by the jubilant crowd.
Justifying the award, their President, Obiora, described Onu as a golden fish of Nigerian politics and a role model for Igbo youths.
He pointed out that Onu was one Igbo leader who has, through his various political positions, shown humility, integrity and intelligence, adding that the former Abia governor possesses the capacity to address the numerous challenges facing Ndigbo and Nigeria as a nation: “Onu has remained a role model to many Nigerians. He is a personality that the Igbo nation and Nigeria have continued to be proud of. He has exhibited exemplary conduct and dignity in his political and public life. He is a true Igbo son. He has continued to build bridges of understanding and oneness among other tribes and nations within the country.
“He is a man of dignity; a man of integrity. We searched and looked at his track record and his antecedents in politics. All we can say is that this man deserves this honour. We want to tell the Igbo nation that we have someone who can move this country forward with ideas.
“Ideas are the only thing that will move this nation forward and that is why we have fished out this man to lead the political train. As far as we the youths are concerned, we have spoken. It is the first time we are bestowing this honour on anybody.”
Responding after the conferment, the highly elated Minister said he was particularly excited by the fact that Igbo youths were united in their pursuit of the good of Ndigbo in Nigeria: “I am happy by the decision taken by the youths and all the executives. I am happy for the unity I am seeing here because I believe very strongly that once we are united, there is no challenge, obstacle or difficulty that we cannot overcome.
“I also thank the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Worldwide for giving me the 2020 heroes’ award as the foremost Igbo political leader in contemporary Nigeria. I thank you for so many things but most importantly because it is coming from you speaking with one voice. It makes me exceptionally proud to be Igbo and a Nigerian. By this award, you have placed me in your hall of fame.”
In a keynote speech he delivered at the event, Onu tasked youths to embrace science, technology and innovation since the richest people in the world, made their money through technological innovations and programmes: “Our desire as a nation to diversify our economy, build our infrastructure, improve our schools and hospitals, strengthen our currency, feed our people, generate enough jobs, defeat poverty and secure our nation, can only be achieved through effective utilization of science and technology.”
It was indeed moment of glory for the minister as he was the next day awarded an honorary doctorate degree by Gregory University, Uturu, Abia State.
In his acceptance speech, Onu commended the University for offering entrepreneurial studies to its students.
He noted that the university had come up with programmes aimed at improving the entrepreneurial capacity and capability of the youths.
He, then, challenged youths to take the bull by the horn and explore opportunities made available to them by President Muhammadu Buhari to develop themselves.
Onu thanked the institution for the honour done him, pledging that it would ginger him more in service of mankind.