Delta Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, on Friday said the state had in its three decades of existence been a potpourri of diversity and inclusion, trials and triumphs and growth and stability.
He stated this at the Gala and Award Night in Asaba marking the grand finale of a week-long celebration of the 30th anniversary of the creation of the state.
At the event held at Event Center, no fewer than 18 distinguished Deltans, including Chairman of Zenith Bank, Mr Jim Ovia, Chairman of United Bank for Africa, Mr Tony Elumelu, Director-General of World Trade Organization, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and eminent scholar, Professor Obaro Ikime, were honoured for their contributions to the development of the state and country.
Other awardees were Professor Joy Ogwu, Prof. Grace Alele-Williams, Prof. Emmanuel Nwanze, renowned architect, Chief Charles Majoroh, Chief E.K. Clark, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, Vanguard Publisher, Mr Sam Amuka-Pemu and Frontline comedian, Atunyota Akpobome (a.k.a Alibaba).
The awardees also included Michael Ajereh (Don Jazzy), Ese Brume, Timipamere Akiayefa and three posthumous recipients – Chief Mukoro Mowoe, Chief James Otobo and Chief Dennis Osadebay, former Premier of defunct Midwest Region.
Okowa thanked Deltans for their support and cooperation in building a smart, strong and safe state.
“After 30 years, I can boldly say that it has been three decades of diversity and inclusion, of trials and triumphs, and of growth and stability.
“More significantly, Deltans have come to live as one big, happy family and the State has continued to forge ahead in all indices of human, physical and economic development,” he said.
He expressed gratitude to the civil servants – serving, retired or late – who made huge sacrifices to ensure the successful take-off of the State.
He said that his administration was breaking new grounds in job and wealth creation through entrepreneurship development while building road and physical infrastructure of the most vital interest and impact.
“A classic example is the 20.28km Obotobo I – Obotobo II – Sokebolou–Yokri – Road beside the Atlantic Ocean in Burutu Local Government Area.
“Furthermore, the riverside communities of Burutu, Oporoza, Okerenkoko and Benekrukru, among others, have been given a facelift with well-paved roads, while most urban centres are being enhanced through growth and renewal.
“As we reflected on the last 30 years, it was clear to us that celebration of this milestone would not be complete without recognizing Deltans who have made the state proud in their various fields of endeavour.
“While the public/civil servants were holding the home front, many of our own were flying the flag of the state in the national arena.
“Hence, we decided to recognize some of our distinguished sons and daughters, and to also use the opportunity to let the whole world know the invaluable contributions Deltans are making to project Nigeria,” he said.
According to him, the list of prominent sons and daughters is by no means exhaustive and there are many Deltans making waves in various aspects of life and across the nations of the world.
“As a government, we thought this is a good starting point and we are deeply grateful that the awardees considered it worthwhile to be here today and we thank you for giving us that honour,” the governor stated.
He solicited the continued support of all Deltans, including the Diaspora, to his administration in its determination to deliver a Stronger Delta to them.
He assured that ongoing projects and programmes would be concluded while premium would continue to be attached to well-being of citizens.