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Anambra @ 25: Zik, Ojukwu, Ekwueme, Achebe, Tansi, 294 Others Honoured

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​THREE HUNDRED persons, including the first President of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, first Nigerian millionaire, Sir Lois Odumegwu Ojukwu, his son, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, as well as Blessed Iwene Tansi, Francis Cardinal Arinze, Professor Chinua Achebe and Oaluda Equano, yesterday, received awards as part of activities marking the 25th anniversary of the creation of Anambra State.

The awards, which were in 10 categories, were presented by the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano at an impressive ceremony that attracted guests from within and outside Nigeria.

The categories were pillars of our heritage, light bearers, lifetime achievement, philanthropists extraordinaire and business titans, ambassadors of excellence and outstanding public service. Others were lifetime achievement, ICONS of Education, ICONS of tradition and service to humanity and evergreen (posthumous award)

The pillars of our heritage awards went to the late Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu and his son, late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chinua Achebe, Blessed Iwene Tansi, Francis Cardinal Arinze and Olauda Equino, while the light bearers awards went to former vice President of Nigeria, Dr Alex Ekwueme, former secretary of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Senate presidents of Nigeria, namely Dr Nwafor Orizu and Dr Chuba Okadigbo, Louis Mbanefo (Attorney General of former Eastern region) Archbishop Jude Okolo (Papal Nuncio to the Vatican in Niger and the Central Africa countries) and Archbishop of Onitsha, Most Reverend Valerian Okeke.

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Former President of Nigeria, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida was rewarded in the lifetime category of the ward for creating the state in 1991. Others who benefited in this category were Late Dr Akpabi Asika (former administrator of defunct East Central State), Commodore Joseph Abulu (first military administrator of the state), Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife (first civilian governor of the state), Col Mike Attah, Garba Rufai, Commander Emmanuel Ukaegbu, Dr Chinwoke Mbadinuju, Senator Chris Ngige, Dame Virgy Etiaba and Mr. Peter Obi, who were all former governors.

Other awardees were former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Agunwa Anaekwe, Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, Speaker of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Chief Innocent Chukwuma (INNOSON Motors), Chief Pete Edochie, Emmanuel Okala, John Mikel Obi, among many others.

Obiano said Anambra had every reason to celebrate because indigenes of the state were excelling in every part of the world where they reside. “I am very lucky to be the jubilee governor and the honour to bestow these awards on the recipients. Today, our people are the best in most spheres of human endeavour and that is why we decided to honour them”, he said.

According to him, the award was devoid of political affiliation, as the awardees cut across all political parties, religious denominations and the business sector.

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