Lagos — It was a night of colourful display of African culture and honour at the inaugural African Heritage Concert and Awards, where the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote was conferred with the Champion of Local Content Development in Africa Award.
The event was held on Saturday evening in Kigali, Rwanda and it featured a stellar cast of change-makers across Africa who physically picked up their awards, including the immediate past Nigerian President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, who won the African Democracy and Peace Icon Award; former President of the Republic of Botswana, Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama, who picked up the Africa Philanthropist Award, and pan-Africanist and legal practitioner, Prof PLO Lumumba, who was conferred with the Africa Advancement Icon Award.
Some other winners included the late President of the Republic of Tanzania, Mr John Magufuli, who won the African Icon Award (posthumous); the former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Olumide Akpata, who was conferred with the African Legal Icon Award and the Triplets Ghetto Kids from Uganda, who won the African Entertainment Award.
The Executive Secretary dedicated the award to his family and the hard-working staff of the Board. He noted the award and several others he had clinched in the past were made possible by the staff’s dedication and support. He hinted that the award would challenge him to continue promoting local content across Africa in concert with other organisations and individuals.
He emphasised that all African nations should optimize value addition to their natural resources and develop the capacities and capabilities of their human resources, so they can participate fully in the value chain of their extractive industries, particularly the oil and gas industry. He stated that NCDMB had already started to promote local content implementation in the linkage sectors such as mining, power and manufacturing. He indicated that the primary task for the various African nations is to energize their core sectors and inculcate the can-do belief in their nationals.
Wabote hailed the organizers of the African Heritage Concert and Award, describing the award as a stepping stone to the African continent’s development.
Former President Jonathan also commended the organisers of the African Heritage Concert and Award for honouring Africans who have distinguished themselves in different endeavours. He regretted that “we live in a thankless society,” and urged that it is important to celebrate the efforts of individuals who are changing the narrative. He admitted that the African continent is facing huge challenges, yet some people are working hard to ameliorate the difficulties and are making huge differences in the same environment, hence the need to acknowledge their efforts.
Jonathan challenged political officer holders to initiate policies that would improve the lives of the citizenry and build institutions that will outlive them, such that they would be remembered for good when they leave office. Speaking further, the former President commended the Government and people of Rwanda for their developmental strides and for becoming a preferred destination where organisations and groups across Africa and beyond now prefer to host their events.
Prof PLO Lumumba in his acceptance speech hinted that Africa is currently on the cusp of hope and development. He warned that foreign interests are currently scrabbling for the resources in the continent, advising that “if we are not careful, Africa will be eaten for lunch. We should be alert and ensure that it does not happen again, our continent should not be conquered again.”
In his welcome comments, the Chairman of Heritage Times, Mr Moses Siloko Siasia explained that the African Heritage Concert and Awards were conceived to motivate change-makers in the public, and private sectors across the continent, to position them as models for other persons to emulate.
The Executive Secretary was accompanied to the African Heritage Concert and Awards by two members of the Board’s Governing Council, Mr Mina Oforiokuma and Mr Nicolas Odinuwe. Other officials on the entourage were the Director of Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr Akintunde Adelana; Director of Finance and Personnel Management, Mr Isaac Yalah and Special Technical Assistant to the Executive Secretary, Engr. Abayomi Bamidele.
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