It was a gathering of men and women from all walks of life at the Sheraton Hotel, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, for the Nigeria Silent Heroes Awards (NSHA), to recognize outstanding people who have contributed positively to the society.
Among distinguished Nigerians from various fields of endeavour on the roll of honour were Mrs. Sussan Elumelu, mother of member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu; Women Affairs Minister, Pauline Tallen; general overseer of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry (MFM), Daniel Kolawole Olukoya; national president of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Alhaji Musa Mohammed; two journalists from The Sun Newspapers, Chioma Okay Okezie, Channels Television, Ann Nwanado and many others.
Ma Elumelu, who was elated about the recognition given to many women by the organizers of the award event, appealed to women to be role models to children. She charged them to be strong and not to be discouraged while bringing up their children.
“When I was bringing up my children, I was not discouraged because I knew that when you give children quality training and upbringing, they will reciprocate with quality life. The fear of God is number one training, and the second training is morals. Look at my children, their names are ringing bells today because they remember all my advice and they are doing things with the fear of God.”
The Elumelu matriarch, who was represented on the occasion by Ma Oby Madu-Rapu, said she was elated when she saw gender equality in the awardees’list. “I can see many women in the list of awardees, the Woman Affairs Minister and so many others, including Ma Elumelu. I am so happy that women are no longer treated as second class citizens. We are competing favourably with men as role models to many. I call on young girls to emulate good women that are bringing pride to the nation and not to emulate women who are showcasing immoralities. Finally, I want to let women know that they should be role models to children. Children copy us because they are closer to us. What they copy from us is what they will grow with,”she said.
Minister of Women Affairs, Tallen, expressed the belief that several challenges affecting the country could be addressed with the ‘invaluable’ contributions of hardworking Nigerian women.
The minister was named Silent Hero in Women Emancipation by the NSHA, and received an award plaque at the event.
She dedicated the award to all Nigerian women, while delivering her acceptance speech.
Tallen, observed that, though Nigerian women have contributed significantly towards national development over the years, their efforts have not been adequately acknowledged.
“Nigeria will do well, if we begin to acknowledge women’s contributions. Nigerian women remain critical and strategic partners to making the country better. It is time for Nigerian women to say no to early girl marriage, female genital mutilation and gender-based violence, among several issues affecting us. We must join efforts to fight the aforementioned vices, and several others, so as to make Nigeria great and better for all.”
Another awardee, Alhaji Mohammed, urged leaders at all levels to ensure unity and justice anywhere they find themselves.
According to him, only unity and justice would bring peace and progress in society: “What every leader is supposed to follow is unity, progress and justice, because, when there is unity, there is progress, and when there is justice, there is peace. So, every leader should ensure unity and justice among the people he or she is leading.
“I feel happy the way Silent Heroes recognized me. For them to identify me in a country of over 200 million people is something that is of great honour to me and, for that reason, I will put more effort in my work.”
Pastor Etomi Edwin, representative of the general overseer of the MFM, Olukoya, thanked God for being alive to receive the honour on behalf of the GO and for the life of his father in the Lord, Dr. Daniel Olukoya.
He said, “As a balanced Christian, he is focused. It’s not just in the church but also outside the church; you can attest to the fact that you have MFM Football Club to encourage the youths; to ensure that they get off the street. We also have the MFM basketball court, female basketball team. Our father in the Lord is into many philanthropic programmes.
“He is also a lover of education. We have Mountain Top Group of Schools and we are delighted when we are encouraged. Today, he is being honoured with a Silent Hero in Faith.”
Earlier, in his speech, the founder of the Initiative, Mr. Sunday Odita-Udemaguna, said he was convinced about the need to recognize personalities who defied the odds in their life’s journey to become who they are in the contemporary world.
“Over the years, in my almost two decades of journalism practice, as I continued to see people who achieved greatness through their belief that nothing was impossible, I became hugely convinced that there was the need to recognize such personalities who defied the odds to become who they are in the contemporary world.
“I, therefore, on behalf of my team, warmly congratulate the awardees in this third edition, for having been chosen for recognition from the millions of other worthy Nigerians.”