It was a moment of celebration for some prominent Ijaw sons and daughters as two notable Ijaw elite groups, the Ijaw Republican Assembly (IRA) and the Ijaw Media Action Initiative (IMAI) honoured former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the governorship candidate of the Accord Party in Rivers State, Dumo Lulu-Briggs and 48 other prominent Ijaw sons and daughters with lifetime achievement awards.
Former President Jonathan and Lulu-Briggs received Grand Award as the Ijaw Man For All Season and Merit Award as the Ijaw Politician of the Year 2018, respectively.
The Award for former President Goodluck Jonathan was received on his behalf.
Other 15 honourees made of sons and daughters of Ijaw nation were the Ijaw freedom fighter, the late Major Isaac Adaka Boro, late Senator Melford Okilo and late High Chief Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs, amongst others, received Post-Humous Awards.
Ms Ibinabo Fiberesima, former National President of Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN was also among the awardees.
Alatubo Charles who is also the President of the IRA in his remarks at the second edition of Heroes of Ijaw Nation Award Night, held at the Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt at the weekend, expressed the hope that the third edition of the ceremony would be better as Ijaw heroes and heroines will annually be honoured.
Harry said: “This is an uncommon day in the history of the Ijaw nation. Ijaw people are uncommon people. We are not here just to eulogise ourselves: we are not here just to applaud our achievements but we are here also to dream and achieve that dream.
“This is just the second edition of the Heroes of Ijaw Nation Award Night and we are hopeful that the third edition of this award will be bigger and greater.”
Speaking to Journalists, one of the awardees and former Minister of Culture, Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas, said it has been the duty of the Ijaw Republican Assembly to make sure that the Ijaw nation is properly advertised, properly recognised.
Graham-Douglas, who was honoured with the Ijaw Lifetime Award, expressed regrets that the Nigerian nation seems not to appreciate the efforts of IRA in the promotion of the Ijaw nation.
He stated that the Ijaw man lives and toils in the most hostile terrains of the mangrove forest, hosts the mainstay of the Nigerian economy, which is crude oil, that was first discovered in a commercial quantities in Ijaw land of Oloibiri, now in Bayelsa State, he still lives and dies in polluted environment.
“The brilliant man behind this, Charles Harry is an achiever. The award is beginning to gain grounds. I believe the whole idea is the recognition and emancipation of the Ijaw dream.
“The Ijaws of the coastal area have long been marginalised, have long been deprived and yet, as the base of the wealth of this country, it needs some recognition.
“From the onset, it has been the duty of the Ijaw Republican Assembly to ensure that the Ijaw nation is properly advertised, properly recognised but the Nigerian nation seems not to appreciate that. Ijaw Republican Assembly is one body that is promoting and uplifting the ideals.”