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Governor Hope Uzodinma has declared that Imo State actually owes a lot of gratitude to the late first civilian Governor of Imo State, Chief Sam Onunaka Mbakwe, pointing out that the former Governor made huge sacrifices which the people cannot repay.
Governor Uzodinma made this declaration while speaking at the weekend while being conferred with the Beacon of Hope for Good Governance award by the family of late Chief Mbakwe at the Rockview Hotel Owerri.
The award was conferred on Governor Uzodinma by late Chief Mbakwe’s heir apparent Engr Alex Mbakwe, under the platform of Chief Sam Mbakwe Leadership Award 2023.
The Eastern Updates recalls that this is the first time that such an award is being conferred on either a sitting or former Governor of Imo State.
Receiving the award, Governor Uzodinma expressed gratitude to the family of the late sage for the honour and noted that Chief Mbakwe led a sacrificial life for Imo State and the Igbos, and that the love he showed to the people cannot be measured.
He said late Chief Mbakwe was almost living in penury when he left office because he was completely engrossed in the activities that would lead to good of the people.
The Governor said that he is not surprised that many years after the passing of late Chief Mbakwe, he still remains a reference point for everything good to be copied by those in positions of authority who crave for good governance in public service.
He said he will forever cherish the honour done him by the late Chief Mbakwe’s family.
Earlier in his welcome address, son of the former Governor, Eng Alex Mbakwe appreciated all the dignatories who came to grace the occasion and took time to revisit some of the qualities that distinguish his father from his peers.
The Chairman of the event, HRH Eze Oliver Ohanwe, who is also the Pro Chancellor of Ben Uwajimogu College of Education, Ihitte Uboma, said in his remarks that late Chief Mbakwe loved Imo State so much and that there is a nexus between his love for Imo and the love Governor Uzodimma has also shown to the people.
He described the award given to the Governor as fitting and appropriate.
The award was preceded by a lecture delivered by an accomplished scholar and former Director at National Universities Commission, Prof Engr. Val Ikechukwu of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
The theme of the lecture is: The Challenge of Leadership in Imo State: Lessons from Sam Mbakwe Model.
President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, former Governor Ikedi Ohakim, former INEC Chairman, Prof. Maurice Iwu, former Ambassador, Chief Greg Mbadiwe and other dignitaries graced the occasion.