DUBLIN- IT was twin honour for the Governor of Cross River State,  Senator  Liyel  Imoke, last weekend, as he bagged  two high-status  International  Awards at the Nigerian Carnival Ireland, NCI, in Dublin, the capital and largest city of Ireland.

Held at  the  Round room  of the  historic  Mansion House, Dublin,  Senator  Imoke  was  honoured with the  “Global Tourism Ambassador  Award 2014”  for  making Nigeria a world Tourist destination via Calabar Carnival.

Scenes from the Calabar carnival in Ireland
Scenes from the Calabar carnival in Ireland

He was also honoured as  the “NCI most outstanding personality of the year 2014  Award” for  his  credible records in the realization of numerous enviable achievements in developmental projects, and  for being  an exceptional leader.

The Awards ceremony, which climaxed the 5th  Anniversary  celebrations of the NCI  was co-hosted by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke and the Nigerian Ambassador to Ireland,  Dr.  Bolere  Ketebu,  and  had as special guests,  High Chief  Edem  Duke, Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation.

Arrival

Senator Imoke arrived  Ireland via Dublin Airport  for the Carnival in the morning of Friday, August 22, accompanied by his aides and some other important  personalities.

Ireland

Ireland, or officially the Republic of Ireland, is an island nation in the North Atlantic Ocean. (The northernmost part of the island is Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.) Almost 20 per cent of the land is devoted to farming. Less than 10 per cent of farmland is used to grow crops and the majority is used as grazing land for livestock.

Other awardees

Receiving awards alongside the Governor at  the ceremony  were former Ireland Minister of Justice, Deputy Alan Shatter, who was represented by Cleo Lambert and ace Nigerian broadcaster,  Bisi  Olatilo.

Shatter, received the NCI Migrant’s Choice Integration Ambassador 2014 Award for facilitating the settlement and building of “a sense of belonging” for thousands of migrants in Ireland while  Bisi  Olatilo  received the NCI Media Excellence Award 2014.

Shatter received the NCI Migrant’s Choice Integration Ambassador 2014 Award for facilitating the settlement and building of “a sense of belonging” for thousands of migrants in Ireland while  Bisi  Olatilo  received the NCI Media Excellence Award 2014.

Believer in continuity

At the occasion, Chairman of the Cross River State Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Chief  Ntufam  John  Okon, described Senator  Liyel  Imoke  as a perfectionist; one who loves to see things done with commitment and dedication.

“This is one great leader who believes so much in continuity of governance. Instead of pushing aside the efforts of the past administration, he has successfully transformed the inadequacies that may have been found in the projects of the past administration into top class achievements by linking them all up with innovations.

“Example of this is the linking of the  Tinapa  Resort to the Summit Hill project through the P8 Monorail electric powered passenger  train.  Calabar’s  new attraction, Summit Hills, is an exciting real estate project in Calabar and it is already alive and breathing. It consists of a Convention Centre, Hotel, Recreational Facilities, Golf Course, Clubhouse, Nature Reserve, Hospital and a variety of Residential units to create a vibrant and bustling community within a unique Eco system,” he added.

Dividend of democracy

The PDP chieftain opined, “His Excellency has brought  so much dividend of democracy  to the people in his almost eight years in office; as a matter of fact, it was his scorecard as a true and outstanding leader in every sense  that earned him the honour of  “NCI most outstanding personality of the year 2014 Award.”

Expanding tourism frontiers

Head of Cross River State Tourism bureau, Mr. Michael William, spoke delightedly about how Cross River State has evolved into the strategic position of the benchmark of tourism in Nigeria and sub-Africa region.

He seized the opportunity to invite tourism enthusiasts to the  yearly  Carnival  Calabar.  The Carnival event which usually takes a two-day space in the 32 day  Calabar  festival  will hold this year on December 26 and  27.

Good-natured

Everyone, especially Nigerians, who had opportunity of meeting  Senator  Imoke,  whose presence brought a unique excitement to the Nigerian Carnival in Dublin,  this year,  were entranced by the humble mien of the governor and were grateful for an opportunity to stand beside or shake hands with the man,  who interestingly does not believe in a governor  going about commissioning every little project that is executed by  government.

Also in Dublin for the Carnival were the  Cross River State Commissioner for Local Government, Chief Peter  Ojie,  the State Chairman, House Committee on Culture and Tourism,  Chike  Okogwu, Member of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, (SURE-P), Prince Philip  Orebiyi, Senior Special Assistant to the  Kogi  State Governor and Musa  Kakangi  Kaduna State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism.

There was also the  highly esteemed “Carnival  Calabar” team, led by Mr. Chris  Agibe,  amongst  a host of other dignitaries from Cross River State.

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