By Desmond Ejibas
Port Harcourt – The Akwa Ibom Indigenes Organisation in South Africa has presented Mr Nsima Ekere, the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), with the award of “Akwa Ibom Top Personality of the Year.’’
Mr Kingsley Ibokette, the President of the organisation, said in a statement on Monday in Port Harcourt that Mr Larry Udom received the award on behalf of Ekere.
He said that the group chose Ekere as its personality of the year for his contributions to the development of the Niger Delta.
“Dr Ladislas Agbesi, the President of Pan-Africa Business Forum, received the award of “Africa`s Top Personality of the Year.
“In addition, the association also inducted other indigenes such as Dr Inyang Out, Dr Ubon Akpabio, Prof. Patrick Ebewo, Rev. Uwana-Abasi Israel and Mr Simeon Iwatt as patrons of the association.
“The awards were presented to the recipients at the organisation’s End of Year party in Pretoria, South Africa,” he added.
Ibokette said that the organisation recorded several successes in promoting and protecting the interests of indigenes of the state as well as other Nigerians living in South Africa.
He attributed the successes to the group’s focus in promoting unity and discipline among Nigerians in that country.
“We have been preaching the message of togetherness, unity and discipline in our society as Akwa Ibomites and as a people in Diaspora.
“It is worth mentioning again that not a single Akwa Ibomite has been convicted for any fraudulent activity in South Africa.
“Akwa Ibom State was recently promoted by the General Officer Commanding of 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj-Gen. Jamil Sarham.
“Sarham said out of 36 states, Akwa Ibom has the lowest crime rate in Nigeria. This virtue is being exhibited here in South Africa by Akwa Ibomites,” he said.
The President of Nigerian Union, South Africa, Mr Adetola Olubajo, also commended Akwa Ibom indigenes living in that country for being law abiding.
The statement quoted Olubajo as saying that the union had no record of any Akwa Ibom indigene languishing in a South African prison.
“This is not to say that they (Akwa Ibom indigenes) are angels, but they have self-control and avoided the get rich quick attitude.
“We urge Akwa Ibom indigenes in South Africa to join hands with the union to fight crime.
“ Successful Akwa Ibom indigenes should help the upcoming ones out of the streets.
“The union would work with government officials to continue to protect lives and properties of Nigerians living in South Africa,” he said.
Mr Brian Rengasamy, Special Adviser to the South African Minister of Energy, was also quoted as calling for closer ties between Nigeria and South Africa in the petroleum sector.
He said Nigerian crude oil ranked among the top two most sought after oil by the South African government.
Other dignitaries at the award ceremony included Nigeria’s Consul General to South Africa, Godwin Adama, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Oluwasomi Stephen. (NAN)