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2016-02-03 16:18:13 -
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The Governor of Nigeria’s Enugu State has been presented with the Metro Éireann International Outstanding Leadership Award for 2015.

Governor Ifeanyi Lawrence Ugwuanyi received the accolade in a ceremony at the Radisson Blu Royal in Dublin attended by more than 250 people of various nationalities living in Ireland and beyond.

He was honoured for his visionary leadership both as leader of Enugu State since last summer and in his role as chair of Nigeria’s House of Representatives committee on marine transport for eight of his 12 years as a member of the house.

Speaking following the presentation of the award by incoming DCU vice president Prof Daire Keogh, Governor Ugwuanyi dedicated the award to the people of Enugu State, stating that they were the “true heroes of democracy in view of their support and decision to join his administration” despite all odds.

The governor took the opportunity to extend invitations to investors in Ireland and across Europe to invest in Enugu State, which he said has huge prospects.

Also speaking on the night, Labour TD Joe Costello, who led an Irish trade delegation to Nigeria in his former capacity as Minister for Trade and Development, and Olusola Iginla, charge d’affaires of the Nigerian Embassy in Ireland, both highlighted Ireland’s shared links with Nigeria.

The International Outstanding Leadership Awards for 2015 also celebrated the indispensable contributions of four others “to the advancement of change on the international stage, their vital role in local and global development and their importance to the economy and society of different continents and the international community”, according to the organisers.

Among them were DCU’s Pro Fionnuala Waldron, who received her Human Rights Education Award from businessman Frank Nwaubani.

The Distinguished Career in Foreign Services prize was presented by former Irish Ambassador to Nigeria Joe Lynch to Ambassador Benedict Onochie Amobi – a former charge d’affaires at the Nigerian Embassy in Ireland and most recently Ambassador to Sweden.

Women for Election, represented by Michelle O’Donnell Keating, received the Impactful Campaign Award from Meg Offiah. And Booker Prize winner Roddy Doyle was presented with the Appreciation Award by the newspaper’s editor Chinedu Onyejelem.

Immediately after the ceremony, writer Irene Lynch, who lived in Nigeria for many years during her husband’s posting as Irish ambassador, presented a copy of her book on missionaries in Nigeria to the governor.

The night’s entertainment featured music and dance from three different continents. Performers included the African-Irish group Winning Kids from the Farrell Caffrey School of Irish Dancing, the Ojemba Band, the Lace Band of Congo, DJ Spaqz and the Shamrock Bhangra and Bollywood dancers.

Other special guests at the 2015 International Outstanding Leadership Awards, organised by Metro Éireann in conjunction with Kingdom Media Ireland and Kingdom Media Network Inc Nigeria, included former MEP Emer Costello, DCU president Prof Brian MacCraith, Dr Linus Offiah, Dr Enuoma Amobi, Dr Belinda Moller, Dr Ken Germaine and solicitors Matthew Emeka Ezeani and Waheed Mudah.

Members of Governor Ugwuanyi’s delegation in attendance included the Enugu State Economic Advisory Committee chair Monsgr Prof Obiora Ike, chief Loretta Aniagolu and engineer Kevin Onah. 

Other dignitaries included members of the Enugu State House of Assembly and state executive council: deputy speaker Uzogbado Donatus and house majority leader Ikechukwu Ezeukwu, agriculture commissioner Mike Ene, commissioner for commerce and industry Bar Sam Ogbu-Nwobodo and commissioner for education Prof Uche Eze.

Also in attendance were senior special adviser to the governor on the diaspora, Bar Olangwa Ezekwu, chief press secretary Uwakwe Abugu, senior special adviser and PA Dubem Onyia Jr and senior special adviser on investments Nnamdi Sullivan.

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