The socio-religious festivals of the Benue people, including their colourful dances, dresses and songs are about to be brought to the limelight with the introduction of Benue Heroes Award. The awards is expected to bring out tourist value, and the social life in Benue people which is made manifest by the availability of diverse recreational facilities and celebrate the past and present heroes of the state.
In this vein, Ontrade Solid Concept Limited in conjunction with the Ministry of Art, Culture and Tourism, at a recent press conference held at the Benue State National Union of Journalism in Makurdi, unveiled the event with the Honourable Commissioner for Art, Culture and Tourism, Comrade Joseph Shimaor, as the chief host.
With regular protocols undertaken, the Principal Consultant to the Benue Heroes Award and Chief Executive of Ontrade Solid Concept limited, Mrs. Aisha Ogenyi, in her opening speech, stated that the aim of the awards is to draw global attention to the untapped abundant resources in the state, and identify the well-deserved sons and daughters, including non-indigenes, who have contributed to the development of the state.
She added that the event is also targeted at promoting and discovering raw talents which abound in music, sports and other fields, as well as promote the rich cultural heritage of the state.
“The event is in three (3) segments: the world press conference and the unveiling of the Benue Heroes Award followed by the Business Advocacy Night and the launching of the Benue Hall of fame on October, 28, 2017, details of which is on our website www.benueheroesaward.org,” Mrs. Ogenyi said.
She noted that in the course of research, Ontrade has discovered a lot of Benue indigenes who have made great strides, but were never recognized. They include Mammy Ochefu who muted the idea of Mammy markets in the barracks; Alice Adikwu who also won the Miss Nigeria Beauty Pageant in 1963 and others.
The Honourable Commissioner, Comrade Joseph Shimaor in his keynote address gave thanks to God for sparing the lives of the people, saying ‘I am very delighted to be part of this event.’
He specially expressed gratitude to the Executive Governor of Benue State, His Excellency, Dr. Samuel Ortom who in spite of the current economy downturn has continued to proactively support the Ministry of Art, Culture and Tourism, which is charged with the responsibility of harnessing, developing, promoting, packaging and marketing of Arts, Culture and Tourism potential of Benue State.
“The Ministry is conscious of the need to partner with key stakeholders in the arts, culture and tourism sector and other relevant agencies towards ensuring that the mandate of the ministry is sufficiently articulated and prosecuted. It is in this regard that the ministry has continued to source partnership with relevant agencies, promoters and practitioners in this sector in promoting the Arts, Culture and Tourism potentials of the state,” Shimaor said.
He further stated that the state government through the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism is currently negotiating with the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture through the National Council for Arts and Culture to access a loan facility through the Bank of Industry, which practitioners and promoters in the art, culture and tourism industry will access at a single digit interest rate.
The commissioner appealed to everyone working with him to ensure the articulation and prosecution of the mandate of the ministry in the most dynamic way ever possible.
The chairman unveiled the plague of the event and also the Mrs. Ogenyi appreciate the first lady of Benue state, Her Excellency Dr. Mrs. Eunice Ortom who is the brand ambassador of the event for her support, as well as the royal father, HRH Chief Abu King Shulluwa, Tor Senkera 1 for standing behind the historical awards.
The event was hosted by Emmanuel Tiona and Mc Nolly while drama dance was presented by Benue State Art Council Troops and Nino Brown