The Abia State Commissioner for Information and Strategies, Chief John Okiyi Kalu has charged the organizers of the Igbo Heritage Awards to use the platform of the Awards to promote the sterling values for which the Igbo nation is globally respected.
The Honourable Commissioner gave the charge when the team of organizers of the 2021 edition of Igbo Heritage Awards paid him a courtesy visit in his office.
Describing Igbo Heritage Awards as a unique brand that fills a vacuum in the socio-cultural fabrics of Igbo land, Chief John Okiyi Kalu criticized the practice by most people or organizations that institute awards with doubtful intents, mostly for pecuniary gratification, and urged the Igbo Heritage Awards team not to indulge in such debauchery.
In his words, “I commend the initiative of Igbo Heritage Awards and urge you to sacrifice to nurture the brand into a sustainable institution that will continue to bring honour to Igbo land and rekindle her consciousness towards unity of purpose. Having held the inaugural edition in Enugu, I am glad that you have brought the second edition to Abia and I can assure you that this would be a turning point edition because Abia State has always played leading roles in the advancement of Igbo interests, especially under the visionary leadership of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu who, more than anyone else, has promoted indigenous Igbo brands locally and internationally. My advice is that you use the platform of Igbo Heritage Awards to promote values and celebrate only individuals or corporate entities that truly merit the honour. Resist every temptation to compromise the integrity of your nomination and selection processes, so that recipients of the Awards would be proud, and you would create genuine ambassadors for the Igbo nation”.
The Honourable Commissioner remarked that Abia State is home to some of the greatest names in Igbo land, before and after the era of Dr. Michael Okpara, whose legacies have continued to engender national development. He also noted that in the historical context of Igbo ancestry, Arochukwu in Abia State and Nri in Anambra State have been the frontline hegemonies defining the Igbo man’s journey through time. He therefore considered it appropriate for Abia State to host the forthcoming Igbo Heritage Awards which, in his reckoning, would further consolidate Governor Ikpeazu’s long-standing advocacy for restitution of values in Igbo land.
Earlier in his address, leader of the delegation and Editor-in-Chief of African Heritage Times, Mr. Victor Nwokocha, informed the Commissioner that Igbo Heritage Awards was instituted in 2019 to honour outstanding Igbo patriots across spheres and generations, whose pioneering breakthroughs, leadership excellence and humanism have become part of the Igbo heritage of excellence making Igbo land, Nigeria and Africa proud. He said that the first edition held in Enugu in December 2019 and the forthcoming edition is a joint effort of African Heritage Times, Flo FM 94.9 Umuahia and the Igbo Renaissance Centre, Gregory University Uturu.
In addition, Mr. Nwokocha explained that the Awards, now the biggest advocacy initiative for heritage preservation and promotion across Igbo land, was founded as a sovereign and non-political recognition platform celebrating the distinctive courage, resilience, freedom, culture, greatness and collective self-empowerment of the Igbo man. He appealed for the support of the Abia State Ministry of Information and Strategies as well as that of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu towards the successful hosting of the 2021 edition of the Awards, billed to hold at Hotel Royal Damgrete, Umuahia on October 8, 2021.
The Honourable Commissioner, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, assured of his support and that of the Ministry and promised to draw the attention of the State Chief Executive to the forthcoming event.
In his vote of thanks on behalf of the team, Mr. Prosper Nwachukwu of Flo FM 94.9 Umuahia, thanked the Honourable Commissioner and pledged that the Igbo Heritage Awards team will always uphold the sanctity of quality assurance processes which have been the anchor point of brand integrity for the Awards.
Present during the courtesy visit were the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Deaconess Carol Igwe, Director of Administration, Dr. Onuoha Udeala, Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Lucky Meregini, General Manager of Abia Printing Press, Pastor Chimezie Nwarie, Editor-in-Chief/CEO of Afnews.ng, Mr. Iroegbu Emenike, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Tourism and Entertainment, Queen Onyekachi Atulomah and Mr. Chukwuma Emele of the Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State (BCA).