By Peter Ejiofor
The National Youth for Women Empowerment and Education has given Rev. Samuel Ikpea, Chairman, Nigeria Football Supporters Club (NFSC) its rarely won Late Mrs Ladi Kwali Leadership Platinum Award as “Icon of Women Development’’.
Ikpea was decorated with the award and inducted into the group’s Hall of Fame by the NGO’s Leader, Mr Alfa Abdulmalik, at the club’s secretariat during NFSC Monthly Star Night Party on Thursday.
Abdulmalik said it should be on record that his nomination for the award was informed by the NFSC chairman’s tireless commitment to Nigeria women’s cause and his relentless quest to liberate, emancipate and empower them.
He noted that Ikpea’s nomination was as a result of his philanthropic gestures and ability to work with different people irrespective of tribe and religion and his roles in the empowerment of the youth and women in skills acquisition and mentorship.
He added that nominees for the award went through a rigorous screening during a congress meeting where they were expected to meet certain criteria in integrity, philanthropy, good track record and exemplary distinguished leadership.
According to him, Ikpea, who is a beneficiary of the award, recently spearheaded the Silver Jubilee Anniversary celebration of Nigeria’s first Olympic gold medallist Chioma Ajunwa-Oparah, through the Greatdynamics Talent.
“Our honour only goes to individuals who have provided exemplary leadership, contributed immensely to the development of women and humanity in general and individuals who have conducted themselves with honour, respect and dignity.
“It is our hope that as we honour you, you will continue to serve humanity in your usual magnanimity and equanimity,’’ said Abdulmalik who led the group’s delegation from Abuja to present the award.
He explained that the group was an umbrella body of progressive youths whose membership spread across 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, regardless of sex.
“Its sole aim and objective is promoting and championing women education, women empowerment, women emancipation and women participation in politics and governance.
“Our motto is When You Educate a Woman, You Educate a Nation’’.
“The liberation of women from the shackles of poverty, ignorance, illiteracy and any form of deprivation/subjugation that is inconsistent with the spirit and letters of the 1999 Constitution as amended 2011 is one of our foremost priorities.’’
In his acceptance speech, an apparently astonished Ikpea, said that he never expected the honour as he had never met any member of the group but was surprised at the way they chronicled his activities back to 1991.
While commending the group for the thorough research they conducted on his activities, he advised people to note that whatever you are doing, someone somewhere is recording it.
“I promise to be part of your organisation and actively participate in your activities.
“By the powers conferred on me by the club, I make you all here full members of Nigeria Football Supporters Club.
“If you are from a state where a chapter doesn’t exist, you can initiate one,’’ Ikpea said.
Fondly referred to as a man of many parts, the NFSC chairman lauded the group’s aims and objectives, saying that at this stage of Nigeria’s development, there was the need for more women to engage in politics and governance.“The empowerment and financial autonomy of women and the improvement of their political, social, economic and health status is a highly important end in itself. It is essential for the achievement of sustainable development.’’