HONOUR FOR ME, ADIKE, ASIABAKA AND OTHERS
November 20, 2011 was a special day for the indigenes of Awo-Idemili in Orsu Local Government Area of Imo State resident in Lagos. It was the day, citizens of this community and their friends gathered at Awo-Idemili Town Hall (Obi-Awo) in Ikotu Egbe, Lagos, to hold their cultural day and civic reception of their two illustrious sons, Chief Chibueze John Adike, Assistant Comptroller-General of Immigration Zone A, Ikeja, Lagos and Prof. Cyril Chigozie Asiabaka, Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Technology (FUTO), Owerri, Imo State and award of honours for indigenes of the town that have distinguished themselves in their various fields. I happen to be one of those given award of excellence. I shall return to this later.
The occasion witnessed cultural dances, masquerade display and other side attractions that made it a show to remember and cherish in the history of our town. The turn-out was massive and impressive. Men of Immigration Service and other security operatives were handy to ensure security.
Among dignitaries that grace the occasion were former military governor of Imo and Lagos states, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd) and his beautiful wife, Air Vice Marshall B.C. Ugwueke and his wife, Eze Dr. I.I Okoligwe, Igwe of Awo-Idemili Ancient Kingdom, Eze Dr. Joseph Amafili of Okwufuruaku, Awo-Idemili, Eze Michael Ebighi of Okwuamaraihe, Awo-Idemili, Eze G.N. Okolie of Isiama, Awo-Idemili, Hon. Alhaji Abubakar Ozoh, Special Assistant to Imo State Governor on Inter-Party Relations, Chief Val Mbamala, former chairman of Orsu LGA and frontline politician in Imo State.
Chief Adike was honoured in view of his being the first indigene of Awo-Idemili that joined the Nigeria Immigration Service and risen to his present status. He made the Immigration uniform attractive to some of us that wanted to be there but things proved otherwise. Moreover, Adike has been associated with community development and is always ready to render such assistance when the need arises. He readily identifies with his people and carries them along in all that he is doing. Indeed, Adike is our Ambassador and we are all proud of him. He has distinguished himself as an eminent son of Awo-Idemili, Orsu LGA, Imo State and Nigeria.
Prof. Cyril Asiabaka is also a distinguished son of Awo-Idemili in his own right having made a huge mark as a university teacher and an expert in Agriculture. Before he left the shores of Nigeria for the United States, where he bagged all his three degrees, Asiabaka proved himself a worthy son of the soil in his identification with everything the community cherished. And when he returned from the US and joined the services of FUTO, he was very helpful to our youths aspiring to further their education as a mentor and a role model.
Academically, Asiabaka represents one of the best the community has produced hence the honour bestowed on him. We are very proud of his achievement. And my humble self was honoured for my contribution in the field of journalism that spanned two decades. According to the citation, I was honoured as the first outstanding journalist from the community. This honour is also in line with the previous one given to me by Orsu LGA Development Union (OLGADU), Lagos as the most outstanding media practitioner from Orsu Local Government. I thank OLGADU for recognizing me first before my people.
I feel happy being honoured by my own people. It is like a prophet being recognized by his people. I appreciate the honour and promise to do more in my chosen field. I will continue to give them the best in my practice while at the same time uplifting the name and image of my community, my council area, my state and the entire nation. When I started this journey in 1992, I did not know that it will take me thus far. I thank my maker, my parents, my mentors too numerous to name here and all those who have one way or the other contributed to my overall success. To my fans, I dedicate this award. You are the main motivator for my writing and I will continue to satisfy you always.
What does the award mean to me? It means everything. It is a motivator, an energizer, and a propeller. It urges me to do more. It shows that people are interested in what I am doing. It is very significant to me and will help in my work as a role model, an opinion molder and agenda setter.
To the other awardees, I doff my hat for you all and congratulate you immensely for being recognized by your community individually and collectively. I urge you all to continue to render service to your people at all times. I will select only a few for mention here due to space constraint. Let those not included bear with me as I hold all of you in high esteem. Those honoured as grand patrons were, Chief Emmanuel Ubah, Chief JCN Mbalisike and Chief GN Okoye. Patrons include Chief John Adike, Engr. Clement Okechukwu, Simon Agbasimere, Enoch Awoji, Michael Odogwu, Christian Akunne, SOO Okolie, Innocent Mbagwu, Anthony Irika, Romanus Obiagazie, Francis Uzowuru and Mattew Obodozie.
In poltics, the following were also honoured. They include the first military administrator of Enugu State, Col. Herbert Obi Eze (Rtd), Hon Emma Amafili, the late Hon Kevin Nwosu, the late Hon AA Igbozurike, the late Sir MA Ozodinobi, Hon Val Mbamala and Hon Alhaji Abubakar Ozoh.
In education and civil service, we have Prof. MU Igbozurike, the late Eze RE Odinkemelu, Chief Pius Nnebue, late Mr Agbasimere, Ugoeze Nikki Okoligwe, Mr. Robert Obioha, Mrs. Ojinka,and Mrs Aku Okey Odinkemelu. For the professionals, we have Eze Dr. I.I Okoligwe, Barr.GC Izunobi, late AC Mbah,and late Engr. Linus Ezinwoke.
In the area of community service, we have the late Chief CO Agbodike, late Chief Achakpo, Chief Isaac Odionye, John Utasi, Dom Nwosu, Prince Ignatius Ngodi, Casmir Emenine, Victor Nwaribeaku, Polycarp Ozoh and Joseph Onyeakusi. Others in this category include Chief JCN Mbalisike, GN Okoye, Emmanuel Ubah, Philip Akunne, James Ibemesirim, JC Obiegbule, Lambert Emenine, Sabestine Onyedika, Innocent Mbagwu, CO Agbodike,Oliver Nwabuna, Hyacinth Ohaekwusi, Innocent Uzoigwe, Dennis Anyiam, Hyacinth Dillion Okeke, James Ndineze , Alphonsus Onyejiaku and Michael Odogwu.
During the occasion, the President of Awo-Idemili Welfare Union, Lagos, Chief Isaac Odionye congratulated all the awardees and urged them to continue to put in their best in their various fields of calling. He used the platform to appeal to the Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, to help the community in the areas of road construction, erosion control, provision of potable water and electricity supply. The president craved the indulgence of the Imo State action governor to attend to these challenges facing the community.
The president noted that the roads within Awo-idemili, the headquartes of Orsu LGA are in disarray and needed the urgent intervention of the governor. Orsu LGA headquarters is perhaps the only one in Imo State without tarred roads, even the roads leading up to the council headquarters are in tatters. Orsu LGA is the only one without urban plan and street names. We want these anomalies to be addressed forthwith. We appeal to Okorocha administration to give Orsu LGA a facelift that previous administrations in Owerri had denied us. We are a part of Imo State, and we want the government to prove it by bringing development to our area.
In a paper delivered at the occasion by Mr. Greg Obioha, entitled, 'Awo-Idemili: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow and the Challenges Ahead,' the guest lecturer impressed on the need for Awo-Idemili indigenes to unite in its politics. He regretted that for long, we have been relegated to the background because we have not been speaking with one voice. He wants our citizens to be more politically conscious and fight for their rights at all times; as a way to redress the situation.