Maiden edition of Civil Society Awards holds in Nigeria
It was a day of pomp and pageantry as the “who is who” in the social enterprise sectors across the continent of Africa converged at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island in the aquatic splendor of Lagos State to appreciate and celebrate development of social workers who have weathered the storm to carve a niche for themselves in their various core of competency and advocacy in the civil society world.
Much credence to the initiator and convener of the awards, Ambassador (Barrister) Phillips Obuesi who in his ingenuity conceived such a monumental idea, nurtured and watered it to fruition. In his opening remarks, “civil society is the aggregate of non- governmental organizations and institutions that manifest the interests and will of citizens”. He said. Civil Society includes the family and private sphere referred to as the “third sector” of the society, distinct from government and business.
He said, there is need to celebrate the civil society sector because there are groups of people doing ground swelling development works, people who through dint of hard work and dedication to the vision of their organization are advancing the cause of humanity and honestly promoting a just, inclusive and sustainable society. In his statement, he also appealed to the United Nations to adopt June 29th as the Civil Society Day because that date is still vacant, it is a way of celebrating great citizens of the world who inadvertently have become the conscience of their thoughts and their actions to make the world a better place.
The Civil Society Awards was drawn from the social enterprises which was selected from a total number of 128 nominations across Africa in the following categories: Human Rights, democracy/legislative advocacy, gender based advocacy, girls education, quality education, Human Trafficking, Youth Empowerment & Development, Poverty Alleviation, Peace Building, Good Health, and Sustainable Environment which only fifteen of them was awarded at the maiden edition. Two specially selected corporate development institutions were also recognized (United Nations Information Centre, Lagos and MTN Foundation).
The following individuals were honored with an award of excellence: His Excellency, Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, Governor of Lagos, Ambassador Asabe Yar’adua (Civil Society Award in Peace Building), Chief (Barrister) Asuquo Asuquo Okpo (Civil Society Award for Community Development & Grassroots Leadership), Dr. Desmond Majekodunmi (Civil Society Award in Defense of Nature), MTN Foundation (Civil Society Award in Excellence Education & Youth Empowerment) and Mr. Lawrence Wilbert (Civil Society Award in Humanitarian Services).
Among the dignitaries that graced the accession with their presence were His Excellency, Akinwunmi Ambode, Governor of Lagos, ably represented by Mr. Kehinde Joseph, Special Adviser to the Governor on Civic Engagements. Barrister Sunday Emmanuel represented by Prince Goodluck Obi, Mr. Lawrence Wilbert, Mr. Asoquo Asuquo Okpo, Don Metche A. Nnadiekwe, Chief Emmanuel Nuankwelie, Executive Director, inspired Liberia Project was ably represented by Ambassador Nwodi Daniel Chinedu, Executive Director, Students Without Borders International among others.
Chief Emmanuel Nuankwelie, Executive Director, inspired Liberia Project won under the category of Democracy/Legislative Advocacy and Barrister Sunday Emmanuel emerged and was awarded the Anti-Corruption Personality of the Year.
It is the desire of the organizers to sustain such an innovation on an annual basis as many of the awardees never knew they were on the list of awardees until few days to the event. It was an award devoid of inducements and gratifications.
Hearty congratulations to all the awardees.