Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano on August 24th, 2016 held a world press conference to mark the commencement of the 25th anniversary of the creation of Anambra State. The anniversary celebration he had said would span about six months, to be spiced with various activities including lectures, carnival, trade fair, awards presentation and so many others.
The awards presentation which was part of the last among the six-month-long event was held recently, but it turned out to be bigger than what was expected. It was an occasion that must have been painstakingly organised. Starting from the array of cars in the very expansive compound beside the governor’s lodge which served as car park, to the make of the cars, one can tell that it was a convergence of men of means even without setting feet inside the equally expansive tent which served as venue of the occasion.
It was simply an event packaged to honor those who have made Anambra’s story a success since its 25 years of existence. Everyone who had contributed anything to the growth of the state in whatever way seemed to have been remembered by the organizers in one category or another. Most were dead already, while so many others were not from the state, but for their contribution, the governor insisted that they were worth being honored. In all, over 300 of such people carted home awards, making it almost the highest number of awards to be given out in one single event.
The entry of the governor, Obiano, signaled the full commencement of the event as shouts of Akpokuo Dike Aguleri; his traditional title rented the air. When he mounted the stage to address the people, his first statement was to express happiness about being the first jubilee governor of the state in the history of its creation. “I am happy to the jubilee governor of the state, words cannot express my happiness.” He added that Anambra people are hardworking, industrious and enterprising, and have remained so in any part of the world that they found themselves, and that the day was a day to reward all for what they stood for.
The awards were presented in 10 different categories including; Pillars of Our Heritage Awards, Light Bearers Awards, Lifetime Achievement Awards, Philanthropists Extraordinaire and Business Titans Awards, Ambassadors of Excellence Awards and Outstanding Public Service Awards. Other categories are; Lifetime Achievement Awards for Pillars of Inter-denomination Harmony, Icons of Education Awards, Icons of Tradition and Service to Humanity Awards and Evergreen Posthumous Awards.
In other categories, traditional rulers who have served over 30 years on the throne were also honoured, while business men and philanthropists who Anambra have in their numbers were also called out for honour. In this category, the likes of Prince Engr. Arthur Eze; Chairman of Oranto Oil, Sao Tome and Principe and defunct Triax Group was honored, alongside Dr. Innocent Chukwuma of Innoson Motors, Dr. Ifeanyi Uba of Capital Oil and Gas, Dr. Cosmas Maduka of Coscharis Motors, Chief Ernest Azudialu Obiechesi of Obijackson Foundation among numerous others were also honoured under the category; Philanthropist Extraordinaire and Business Titans Awards.
Members of the National Assembly, both past and serving were also honoured under the Outstanding Public Service Awards, while religious leaders from various denominations were honoured under the Pillar of Inter-denomination Harmony Awards.
Obiano who displayed exceptional strength by personally presenting the awards to all the recipients radiated in smiles after the presentations. He conveyed his thanks and happiness over the attendance and also restated his drive to make Anambra a business destination for anyone willing to invest in business around the country. He added that the honour to all was though for their contribution to the state but added that it should signpost the beginning of what the state demands from them.
For business men, Obiano reminded them of the need to ‘bring back your Dollars and Naira and invest in our state.’ He assured that he and his team have created an enabling environment for business to thrive in the state, and that it was left for them to invest at home. The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe had in the anniversary lecture titled; Aku Ruo Uno, which means letting ones wealth come home, reminded the people of the state on the need to invest at home to grow the state economy.