Mr Kinsley Amafibe, the Project Director of the SSPA, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday that foremost Nigerian comedian, Alibaba and veteran singer, Timi Dakolo, were also nominated for the award.
Other nominees for the award, which would hold on Dec. 16, included King Alfred Diete-Spiff, traditional rulers, as well as industrialists, veteran entertainers and athletes from the South-South region.
Amafibe said the names were among the list of nominees made available by organisers of the award — Good Dreams Multimedia Concepts, an NGO that celebrates productivity, excellence and good governance.
He said the nominees would be honoured because of their contributions to the peace and development of the South-South.
He added that “we believe that this recognition will always be the push for them to achieve more in their various fields.
“After looking critically at the various achievements of these sons and daughters of South-South, there is no better way to appreciate them than giving them a boost.’’
The project director said that although there were more people contributing to peaceful coexistence and development in the South-South, there was need to honour the outstanding ones.
He noted that Rivers was peaceful “and very strategic in the South-South; its peace or otherwise can affect other states in the region in one way or the other.’’
He also commended artistes from the South-South, especially those nominated for the awards, adding that “the Nigerian entertainment industry has become one of our unifying factors.
“It entertains and brings happiness to Nigerians, which are crucial keys to peace, in spite of tribal and religious divides.
“Besides, these artistes listed for honour have been involved in humanitarian initiatives that have impacted the society, especially in the South-South.’’
According to Amafibe, the 2016 edition of the award will feature a summit with the theme: “Peace in the South-South, Our Hope to Economic Development.”
He added that militancy, kidnapping and other vices threatening peace in the region would be discussed at the summit.
“Peace in the Niger-Delta is very crucial to our economic survival as a nation, especially in this recession we are facing.
“We must do everything collectively to sustain peace in the region, and that is the essence of choosing the theme for the summit,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the South–South Progressive Awards is an annual award that honours Nigerians, especially those from the South-South who contributed meaningfully to the development of the region.
The awards cuts across over 20 categories, with recipients picked from various fields and backgrounds.
The categories include South-South Governor of the Year, Award for Peacekeeping in the South-South, South-South Comedian and Entertainment Entrepreneur of the Year.
Others include South-South Traditional Ruler of the Year, South-South Construction Company of the Year and South–South Community Personality of the Year.
The 2016 edition is scheduled for the Presidential Hotel in Port Harcourt, Rivers.