“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if need be, it is an ideal which I am prepared to die for”.
That was a quote from the great African patriot, Nelson Mandela of South Africa and was stated by the Editor –in-Chief of African Leadership Magazine, Mr. Ken Giami, during his speech on the third edition of the Heroes of Nigeria Democracy and Development Awards 2012, held at the Ladi Kwali Hall, Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.
The colourful event was witnessed by dignitaries from all walks of life that came to honour these great Nigerians who have contributed a lot in making sure that Nigeria’s nascent democracy is sustained.
Speaking with Interval Midweek Magazine, Mr. Ken who is very passionate about the growth of Nigeria emphasised the need for Nigerians, especially the media to stop peddling rumour about the country and project a good image of the Nigeria state so as to attract foreign investment.
“I believe that some men and women have given their time and resources toward making our society a better place. Most of the time, we are cast in certain mood by the western media. If you travel outside the country, they believe people still live on trees in Africa. Also, they believe everybody in Nigeria is a criminal. It is a little section of the society that is overpowering the good ones. We have good men and women who are doing great things that people are not aware of. We have those who have contributed to people’s lives; who have contributed to democracy and nation building. That is why we have elder statesmen, like Alex Ekwueme. Nobody can argue the fact that he has contributed to nation building and democracy which is our criteria for the award,” Mr. Ken noted.
He also urged Nigerians to contribute to nation building instead of placing emphasis on sectionalism which was the reason for the emergence of groups like the Boko Haram sect.
The representative of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, Mr. Ferdinand Agwu, who has not been happy with the issue of tribalism and sectionalism, said it was time for all Nigerians to come together and forget about ethno-religious bigotry.
“This is not the time to talk about our tribal affiliations. It is time we begin to talk like Nigerians. We must begin to show love for our nation; until we do that, we won’t go far,” he stated.
Former Vice President Dr. Alex Ekwueme, who was honoured at the event for his contributions to national development. The award was presented to him by Col. Paul Omeruwa (rtd), former military governor of Kogi State.
Others who were also honoured include governors of Benue and Katsina states, Dr. Gabriel Suswam and Alhaji Shehu Shema; DG, NAFDAC, Professor Paul Orhi; Professor Ben Nwabueze and SGF Pius Anyim Pius among others.
There were some side attractions at the event, including a live band and Abuja’s only corporate comedian, Dr. Ayuba who was on hand to crack the ribs of guests at the event.