Vanguard Newspapers on Friday night, honoured Mr Ejiro Otarigho with a Hero’s Award for driving a blazing petroleum tanker out of a point where lives and property would have been consumed by a huge fire.
Otarigho, Agbarho-born driver in Delta, sometime in 2022, at a high risk to his life, steered a burning tanker laden with petrol away from a densely populated part of his community, to a river to avert disaster.
Also honoured with the same Award at the event which held at Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos, is Mrs Eunice Onuekwuzi, who rejected N5,000 inducement to vote a particular political party in an election conducted by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Anambra.
Both awardees were joined by Vice-Presidential Candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Governor of Delta, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa; his Akwa-Ibom counterpart, Udom Emmanuel; Oyo governor, Seyi Makinde; Borno governor, Babagana Zulum; and Kwara governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, for the award by the Management of the Newspaper.
The governors were honoured for their contributions to governance and development of their various states, while business mogul and Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who got Vanguard’s Personality-of-the-Year award, led some key public and private sector players, who were honoured for Lifetime Achievements.
Conferring the award, the management of the leading newspaper said Okowa was specifically honoured for his administration’s impact on infrastructure, healthcare, economy, education, agriculture and youth development in Delta.
Some of his accomplishments include construction of no fewer than 2,000 kilometres of road and 1,775.84 kilometres of drains, creation of 128,813 direct and indirect jobs through youth empowerment and social investment delivery platforms as well as pioneering Contributory Health Commission in the country with 1,130,888 enrollees currently, and 510 healthcare facilities accredited for the health insurance scheme.
Chairperson of the day and Chairman, Access Bank Plc, Mrs Ajoritsedere Awosika, commended the Vanguard for honouring eminent Nigerians who had contributed to the growth and development of the country.
Okowa, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr Kingsley Otuaro, said he was delighted to receive the award for a second time from having won it earlier in 2019.
He described the award as an attestation of the good work his administration was doing in the state and commended the newspaper’s publishers for the honour.
“We thank the publishers for considering us very worthy for this award, as Governor of the year 2022.
“It means a lot to us as a state and to Okowa as an individual because life is all about service to humanity and he has over the years put himself out to serve mankind.
“The publishers are undoubtedly a very credible media outfit and they would have ordinarily put out all their benchmark and criteria for selecting worthy recipients of the Governor-of-the-year award.
“Governor Okowa means many things to many people and as someone who has worked very closely with him in almost eight years now, he is an amazing personality, a man who has dedicated his heart to God and to the people in public service.
“The Lord found him worthy and elevated him to where he is and by the grace of God his elevation will continue.
“As Deltans, we all know he has done a lot to change narratives in the state and for the PDP Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar to have chosen him as his running mate confirms the maxim that indeed there is no hiding place for a golden fish,” Otuaro stated.