From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
For their positive contributions, the people of Anambra State at the weekend celebrated and honoured some individuals who have distinguished themselves in the State and Nigeria, generally.
Those honoured were drawn from key sectors of the economy of the State and the country at large, especially, in the areas of industry, politics, education, tourism, banking sector, entertainment industry, Information Communication Technyology (ICT), religion and they were honoured with various awards for their excellent and outstanding contributions in skills development, capacity building amongst youths, communities in the State and society at large.
Among those honoured are the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the 2021 Anambra governorship election, Valentine Ozigbo, Chief Executive Officer of Chicason Group of companies , Chief Alexander Chika Okafor, deputy managing director of Zenith Bank Plc, Dr Mrs Adaora Umeoji-Nwokoye, who emerged the Anambra woman of the year 2021.
Other awardees include Mr Nonso Okpala of VFD Group Plc who was named Rising Star and Inspiring Leader of the year, Chief Alexander Ejesieme (SAN) as the Legal Practitioner of the Year Award.
Others include CEO of Anambra Fire Service, Engr. Martin Agbili as the civil servant of the year; Rev Fr Dr Edwin Obiorah, SAN; Chief Mrs Amaka Ezechiedo; Pharm. Sam Ubachukwu; High Chief Christopher Ndubuisi; and Prof Uzochukwu Solomon.
The awardees were honoured at the second edition of the annual Anambra man of the year award 2021 held in Awka State capital.
Ozigbo, who is the immediate past President and Group CEO of Transcorp Plc, and Alexander Chika Okafor of Chicason conglomerate were honoured as Anambra man of the year, respectively for their immense contributions to the State and its development.
Anambra man of the year award is being organised by a coalition of multiple organisations, the Akulueuno Foundation, Eminent Media, Stand up for Women Society, Tour Nigeria Communications, Alex Reports and 100 Achievers Team.
In a welcome address , the convener of the event and managing director of TourNigeria Communications, Chief Chikezie Chiedu said the Anambra Man of the year award was conceptualized in order to celebrate the outstanding feats by individuals, brands and corporate organizations and as a medium to inspire members of the society, encourage hard work, industry and excellence.
“This is important because it affords our youngsters a platform to spot the kind of role model they need to emulate, if they want to reach for the stars in different areas of human endeavour, ” he said.
He noted that the State is blessed with abundant natural resources of gas, crude oil, bauxite and ceramics, one hundred percent arable soil; a GDP of $10 billion and a per capita income of about 2,000 dollars which he said prided itself as the commercial hub of the country.
He said: “Beyond natural resources, trade and commerce, Anambra parades the most celebrated and vast human resources and as a home to great men and women.”
Also speaking, the Chairman on the occasion, Major General Anthony Emeka Ajemba (Rtd) said he was moved by the calibre of people honoured.
He noted that the award would make most Anambra people to think home and invest in the State.
He also said that the award would encourage the young ones to work hard to be great like the awardees .
The Managing Director of Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority, Dr George Moghalu who delivered a keynote address said the event had afforded all the stakeholders an opportunity to articulate the best vision of the State’s future and consider what needed to be done to achieve the desired goals.
Moghalu said the State and its people were not where they ought to be due to failure in the system .
“We have allowed our State and our people to become caught up in the tyranny of low expectations that encourage us to set small goals and celebrate basic achievements. Worst of all, we have succumbed to the fallacy that the problems that bedevil us are beyond our collective capacity. This is where we are.
“Now, to the question of where we ought to be; you see, Anambra State is a promise unfulfilled. We are a people of boundless capacity, with a history of excellence in every area of human endeavour.
“Our biggest challenge has always been the opportunity challenge: the absence of the social infrastructure necessary for individuals to achieve their highest ambitions.
“The best vision of Anambra State’s future for me is that of a State where our children can dream big dreams and have the opportunity to achieve those dreams here at home and to the benefit of us all. And I believe that we can make this possible through the practice of principled politics.
“The kind of politics that emphasizes caring for the sick, the afflicted; housing the homeless and building ladders of opportunity that allows every citizen, regardless of the circumstance of birth, to achieve by the strength of their own endeavours the best aspirations of the human spirit, ”he said
He called for restoration of moral authority of government, modeling the best practices that allow people to believe that government could be a force for good in their lives.
“We cannot do any of these things for as long as we practice a myopic politics focused on pursuing short-term gains, personal enrichment, and the service of ambition for its own sake. Whereas politics ought to be a means to achieving progress and a more just society, in Anambra State, it has become the exclusive preserve of merchant politicians trading the common good for private profit.
“Most troublesome of all, is that a new generation of younger politicians are emerging who have known no other style of politics other than the belief that this desperate and depraved style of politics is the only way there is. A political belief rooted in the corruption of due process and the violation of the rights of people can never yield any good outcome, ”he said
Receiving his award, Ozigbo
thanked the organisers of the event for their commitment towards excellence and the promotion as well as celebrating Anambra people.
He said when he thought of enormous bundle of blessings that was in Anambra, he felt humbled and honoured to have been chosen by Anambra people in a public vote.
Highlighting the tragedy of the wide gap between Anambra’s potential and its achievements he said, he was sadden by the state of things in Anambra State.
He noted that the State was unable to boast of essential social services like good motorable roads, universal basic healthcare, or free quality education for the children.
“On the one hand, we are an Anambra, the ‘home of the most billionaires in Nigeria’, but on the other hand, we are also home to thousands of out-of-school children. We are Anambra, the land of a proud and prosperous people; we are also where a sad majority of our women cannot access the vital healthcare they need to stay alive when pregnant.
“We are Anambra, the home of the globally celebrated business tycoons, doctors, academics, professors, world champions. We are also a hotbed for criminal behaviour because we have a youth population stripped of their dreams, hopes, and belief in themselves because of the lack of opportunity.
“I sought public office because I was dissatisfied with the contrast between our limitless possibilities and our present state, the tragic paradox of the Anambra of our dreams and the present-day Anambra.
“As long as the tragedies of poor leadership remain, I will not give up on Anambra or my people. I will continue to do what is necessary to raise our people’s political consciousness, raise our people to a new mind, do what is necessary to correct the errors of the past, and open the doors to a brand new future of enormous possibilities, ” Ozigbo said.
Also speaking after receiving his award CEO of Chicason conglomerates of sixteen companies , Chief Okafor urged the young ones in the State to work hard to achieve success in their lives, noting that nothing good comes simple in life.
He noted that he is not chairman of about sixteen companies over hight but after painstaking and hard work.
He said that it took hard work and strategic planning to achieve success in life .
Okafor admonished the youths to shun all kinds of fraud and get-rich-quick syndrome in the pursuit of their dreams, if they wanted to succeed .