Gen. Sani Abacha
By Peter Okutu, Abakaliki
Ebonyi State Government has concluded it’s maiden edition of the State Honours Award with over 300 prominent Nigerians from all over the country as recipients.
Among those honoured at the grand finale held Thursday night at the Christian Ecumenical Centre, Abakaliki, was former President, Dr GoodLuck Jonathan who received the honour of Grand Commander, Ebonyi Hall of Fame, GCEHF.
The Late Military Head of State, General Sani Abacha was also honoured posthumously as GCEHF for being the instrument for Ebonyi State creation in October 1996. Other honourees included the Chief of Staff to President Mohammadu Buhari, Alhaji Ibrahim Gambari; Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor; two former Governors of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi and Ayo Fayose as well as former Governor of Abia State, Chief Theodore Orji.
Governor Umahi also honoured his predecessors, Chief Martin Elechi and Senator Sam Egwu as well as the first Military Administrator of the State, Navy Commander Walter Feghabor, among others.
President Muhammadu Buhari, the special guest of honour, in his speech, congratulated Governor Umahi for the feats he has attained in political leadership.
Buhari, whose speech was delivered by his representative, the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, noted that Governor Umahi’s administrative policies are in tandem with the three core pillars of Buhari’s administration: Economy, Security and anti-corruption.
He commended Umahi for his commitment to security in the Southeast, his unprecedented infrastructure and his Agricultural policies which he observed, have made Ebonyi one of the largest producers of rice in the country.
The President emphasized that Governor Umahi’s exemplary leadership has marked him. out as a bridge builder who transcends Party and sectional sentiments in fostering a one united Nigeria.
Buhari added: “May I congratulate all the awardees, and also His Excellency, Governor David Umah, not only for the vision of establishing these awards so that the recipient will be spurred on to give more of their contributions to the society but also for the Governor’s exemplary leadership that he has demonstrated in the transformation of the State.
“He is indeed an achiever, a great achiever, and a role model in the relationship between the federal and State government on what heights a State can achieve if given very limited resources.”
President Buhari called on all Nigerians to rededicate themselves to the ideals of the founding fathers of the country for a peaceful, united and prosperous Nigeria.
Former President GoodLuck Jonathan in his remarks described his award as a further Strengthening of the agelong bond existing between Bayelsa and Ebonyi State.
While noting that awards are relevant in appreciation of those who have contributed to a people, he cautioned recipients to continue to live worthy of the attributes that attracted the awards.
The former President, however, made a case for a legal amendment empowering the federal government to withdraw national Honours from holders found wanting in character and conduct.
“Talking about awards, I want to say, probably, when we are making laws, at the federal level, there should be an amendment empowering the president or the State Governors to strike off such Honours”
While pledging the indebtedness of the honourees to Ebonyi State for the gesture, Jonathan commended Governor Umahi saying: “Mr Governor, you are doing well, you have performed.”
Others who spoke at the event, including the APC presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, represented by Kashim Ibrahim-Imam and the Chairman of Ebonyi founding fathers, Chief Francis Orji, joined the teeming guests and Ebonyi citizens to.pour encomiums on Umahi for the award initiative and his transformative leadership.
Imam described Governor Umahi as: “a miracle worker; a performer and an achiever.”
The Chairman of the State Merit Award Committee and Ebonyi Deputy Governor, Barr. Eric Kelechi Igwe, while laying the background for the event, traced the hill and valley experiences through which the State passed to its present enviable state.
He commended the founding fathers, Governor Umahi and his predecessors for their selfless sacrifices.
“Tonight is the night to tell the story of how we overcame” Igwe submitted.
Governor Umahi, prior to the award night, had taken former President Jonathan and other dignitaries around some of the mega project sites where the former president commissioned some of the completed projects.
Jonathan also officially laid the foundation stone for the ongoing Olympic Stadium in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital, named after late General Sani Abacha.
Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of Vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.