The Igala Cultural and Development Association, a socio-cultural group in Kogi State, on Sunday conferred Merit Awards on 24 of its illustrious sons and daughters for their contributions to societal development.
Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq, President of the association, while speaking at the 2020 Igala Merit Award ceremony in Anyigba, said the awardees, including Chief Yusuf Okpanachi, a philanthropist, were so honoured for their outstanding contributions towards the upliftment of Igala Kingdom.
Sadiq noted that Okpanachi had embarked on various intervention projects across rural communities in Igalaland such as provision of potable water, roads, electricity, health facility as well as women and youth empowerment.
He described Okpanachi as a worthy son of the Igala Kingdom whose interventions had positively touched the lives of the vulnerable and downtrodden.
The ICDA president explained that the “2020 Igala Merit Award” was meant for those who had contributed immensely to the development of their immediate communities as well as those who distinguished themselves in their various fields of endeavour.
He said the “Ugbono of Igala Kingdom” award given to Okpanachi is the highest category in the land, which entitled him to use Commander of Igala Kingdom in his name.
Okpanachi, in his remarks, thanked the ICDA for recognising his efforts and assured that the honour would spur him to do more for the people.
Also speaking at the event, Chief Edward Onoja, Deputy Governor of Kogi State, described ICDA as the only platform that could be effectively used to achieve the needed peace, unity and harmonious relationship in Igalaland.
Onoja said: “The greatness of Igala Kingdom should be our major priority.
“We should be concerned in assisting in the provision of infrastructure for the development of our people as governments worldwide cannot do it all alone.”
Responding on behalf of other recipients, Abdullahi Halims, lawmaker representing Ankpa/Omala/Olamaboro Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, commended ICDA for the initiative to honour deserving Igala sons and daughters.
Halims urged the association to sustain the the spirit of encouragement, saying it would spur well meaning citizens to support the less privileged in the society.