*Photo R-L: Dabiri-Erewa, Balogun *
Allah says in the Glorious Qur’an 3: verse 26 thus: Say, “O Allah, Owner of Sovereignty, You give sovereignty to whom You will and You take sovereignty away from whom You will. *You honor whom You will and You humble whom You will.* In Your hand is [all] good. Indeed, You are over all things competent”.
The foregoing verse further confirms to me that it is only Allah, our uncreated Creator that can only honour we the homo- sapiens creatures of His. Irrespective as human beings tried, the Creator must sanction such honours and put the thoughts and actions in human beings to implement.
So when the letter of honour came to the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa that the authorities of Lagos State University, (LASU), Ojo, Lagos has deemed it fit to bestow on her the Honourary Doctorate Award during its 25th Convocation ceremony on Thursday March 24, 2022, it was one honour too many and an award well deserved. To all those who have been following the selfless and proactive impactful life of Hon. Kafayat Abike Dabiri-Erewa, one will see that it has been rewarded and appreciated with too many awards, honours and recognition of excellence too numerous to list. As at my last count, apart from those she rejected, I have counted well over 300 received since she became a public officer in 2003 to date.
Permit me to list some of the major ones here for record purposes:
*SOME AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS*
1. Educate Africa Institute (EAI) Merit Award 2021 for commitment to service delivery, outstanding contribution and service to humanity.
2. Centre for Ethics and Self Value Orientation Award as Integrity Icon of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Gold Medalist in Public Administration. 2021.
3. FOI Award of Excellence 2021, to mark the 10th anniversary of Freedom of Information Act in Nigeria.
4. Ansar-ud-deen Youth Association (ADYAN) 2021 Northern States Council Congress Merit Award.
5. Global Excellence Award by Afroglobal television, Toronto, Canada.
6. The 2021 NEWSDIRECT Award of Excellence for Exemplary leadership by News Direct Newspaper.
7. All Africa makeup (AFRIMAC) Conference and Exhibition award 2021 in appreciation of her outstanding contributions and immense support to the upliftment of AFRIMAC.
8. Royal Award by the Ayangburen of Ikorodu kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Oba (Engr.) Kabir Adewale Shotobi, for uplifting the standard of Ikorodu, Lagos State and Nigeria as a good ambassador.
9. Award of Excellence by H.E Dr. Benson Alfred Bana, the Tanzania Ambassador to Nigeria. 2021.
10. Citizens Advocate Ambassador Award of Excellence by the Photo Journalist Association of Nigeria (PJAN) for outstanding performance in promoting the interest of the Citizens first, and the country as a whole.
11. Induction into the Center For Black and African Arts and Civilization’s (CBAAC) Black and African Hall of Fame 2021.
12. The Guardian’s Award for the ‘Most Outstanding Female-led Federal Commission. 2021
13. The Frontline Defender Award for Human Rights and Sustainable Development by Drum Major of Social Justice and Awards. 2021.
14. Lifetime Achievers Award, given in lieu of Sterling Leadership 2021.
15. Women Enterprise Alliance (WenA) List of Top 5 Sky-trampling Personalities for IWD2021.
16. ThisDay Style Magazine’s list of “50 Women We Admire: Titans of Our Time.” (Mother’s Day Edition 2021).
17. Nigeria Women Annual 100 Leading Women 2021, in acknowledgement of a distinguished career and contribution to the development to the society.
18. International Tourist Choice in recognition of outstanding contribution towards National and Global development in the area of Agriculture , tourism and its value chain.
19. Kaleidascope Global Conference Award Personality of the year 2020.
20. Outstanding Women Achievers Award (OWAA), 2010, organized by Hugo Magazines, recognizing her as a Parliamentarian Achiever.
21. Donald M. Payne (US House of Reps) Award and Certificate of special congressional recognition for her unwavering commitment to humanity and serving as Chairwoman for Nigeria House Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs, 2010.
22. Most Productive Female Representative of the Year, 2010, by Igbogbo Community Ikorodu.
23. Nigerian Union of Journalists Zone G, for her Excellence in service, 2010.
24. Parliamentary Award, 2010, South-west House of Representatives member of the Decade, 2010.
25. African Parliamentary Award, Committee Chairman of the Decade, 2010.
26. Academy of Training and Employment, Newark, New Jersey Award, in honour of her outstanding dedication, commitment and accomplishments to the Nigerians in the Diaspora, especially in America, 2010.
27. Ikorodu Division Resource Development Group Award, in appreciation of her laudable achievement and distinguished contribution to Ikorodu Division in particular, and mankind in general, culminating in her enviable admission into the Ikorodu Hall of Fame, 2010 .
28. Lagos State Indigenes Association, Abuja, Award as the best people’s representative of the year 2010 and her contribution to the development of state and Nigeria in general.
29. Catholic Youths Organization of Nigeria (CYON), Garki Deanery Award, in recognition and honour of her contribution in advancing democracy in Nigeria, 2010.
30. ROMAKEY CHILDREN DEVELOPMENT CENTRE Award, in recognition of her selfless and immense contribution to the growth and development of the organization, 2010.
31. Humanitas Magazine Patriotism Award as a distinguished Nigerian in recognition and appreciation of her selfless and patriotic services to the country and people of Nigeria, 2010.
32. NIDO Global Award, Canada, Federal Republic of Nigeria people choice awards, 2010.
33. Certificate of Recognition from California Legislative Assembly, in honour of her participation in the 2009 National Association of Seadogs 6th Annual Black History Celebration.
34. 1st National Waves Gold Award for Achievers, as the best House of Reps. Member of the year, 2008.
35. Chief Obafemi Awolowo (AWOIST) leadership Award, as the Grand Officer of the Masses (GOM), in due recognition of her roles as an epitome their political heritage, selfless services to humanity as well as vanguard for the emancipation of the downtrodden Nigerian populace in her bid to orchestrate AWOISM in her political endeavours, 2008.
36. Legends’ Hall of Fame Award for inspiring qualities and outstanding feats worthy of emulation, 2008.
37. Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Worker’s Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU), Award, in recognition of her exemplary and visionary leadership in her field of endeavour, 2008.
38. Association of Lagos State Indigenes, Kaduna, Award as a focused and ingenious legislator, 2008. 39. National Association of Administrative Students of Nigeria (NAASN) Award as a good replica of democracy, 2008.
40. Yar’adua/Jonathan Solidarity Forum (Home and Abroad) Award, un recognition of her dedicated service to our great nation, 2008.
41. Role Model Award of The Association of Professional Women on Rural Development (PWORD), 2008, in recognition of her unparalleled achievements in her chosen career.
42.An Award of Excellence in Public Service from Business Day.
43. Certificate of Appreciation from the President, Board of Directors and the Executive of The Nigerian Union, U.S.A, in recognition of her outstanding leadership and sharing of the vision of the Nigerian Union-U.S.A in building stability and Democracy of Nigeria through participation in the “Nigerian Election 2007” Town Hall Forum in Houston, Texas.
44. Commander of Great Ife (CGI), National Award, 2007.
45. Students Union Government, Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa, Award of excellence, in recognition of her 3rd Annual Ladies Week, 2007.
46. Uniife Muslim Graduates’ Association, Abuja (UNIFEMGA) award for exemplary leadership, 2007.
47. President’s INTER-SUBEB Primary School Debate Programme Award, in recognition of her noble contributions to the educational development in Nigeria, 2007.
48. The Presidency and Ministry of Education Award, in recognition of her noble contributions to the educational development in Nigeria, 2007.
49. This Day Representative of the year, 2006.
50. EKO Pioneers of Lagos Distinguished merit Award, in recognition of her immense contribution towards the development of Lagos State, 2006.
51. Federal Ministry of information and National Orientation Award, in recognition of her contribution to the success of The Nigeria Mothers Summit, 2006.
52. Mothers’ United and Mobilized Award, to commemorate the inauguration of Loyola Jesuit College, as a PTA Chapter, 2006.
53. Movement for Democracy and Visionary Leadership Award, in recognition of her immense contribution to democratic development, stable and peaceful united Nigeria, 2006.
54. Igbo People’s Action Congress (IPAC), Award, in recognition of her outstanding role in the media industry, principles and qualitative leadership roles at the National Assembly and total commitment to democracy,2006.
55. Sardauna Magazine Excellence and Leadership Award, as the Outstanding Female Legislator, 2006.
56. City People Award, as the Best Female Politician of the year 2006.
57. National Legislative Award 2005/2006.
58. Society for Self Employment and Self Reliance Award as the Most Outstanding Female Honourable Member of the House of Representatives, 2005.
59. African Culture Institute and Zenith Bank JEWEL OF THE FUTURE Award, 2005.
60. Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Chapel Award, in recognition of her distinguished performance and contributions to the advancement of democracy, as a honourable member of House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004.
61. Independent Television and Radio Programme Producers Association of Nigeria (INTARPPAN), Award, in commemoration of her investiture as patroness of INTARPPAN, 2004.
62. Royal Achievers International Media Network Award, in recognition of her initiative, loyalty and commitment to the overall growth and development of her beloved country as well as for representing the hope and aspirations of the world committee of patriotic women of integrity in the era of global civilization,2004.
63. The Students Planning/Implementation Committee (SPIC), Lagos State Polytechnic, School of Part- Time Studies, Ikorodu Annex Award as the Most Vibrant Federal female Legislator (MVFFL) and in recognition of her sublimity as a visionary leader, committed to youth empowerment and social political development, 2004.
64. Faculty of Law, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Award of merit for her laudable assistance towards the development of youths, 2004.
65. Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) Award for commitment to NIPR’s Campaign for National Reputation on Professional Excellence, Human Dignity and Pride in Nigeria, 2004.
66. Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Alumni Association, Lagos Branch Award for Distinguished Alumni Outstanding Professional Attainment, 2004.
67. Students’ Union Government (SUG), House of Parliament, University of Jos Award, as a ray of hope for this generation, 2004.
68. Society Role Model and Achievers Award, 2004.
69. Lead Bank Award, in congratulation for her position of leadership, 2003.
70. Prime International Achievers’ Award for distinguished private individuals and Chief Executives of Corporate Organizations, in recognition of her developmental achievement in Nigeria and West Africa, 2003.
71. UNICEF Child Friendly Award for Human Interest Reporting on the Story of Mary, the Miracle Baby on NTA Newsline, 2003.
72. Rotary Club of Abuja District Merit Award for Community Service, 2003.
73. Prime International Gold Award for Distinguished Private Individuals and Chief Executives of Corporate Organizations for Development and Achievement in Nigeria and West Africa.
74. Lagos State House of Assembly Correspondents Association Outstanding Award for consistently pursuing a noble cause and for being a Role Model for Nigerian Women.
75. Named Millennium Model (Nov. 25, 2001). A tribute Excellence sponsored by Platinum Bank to inspire present and future generations of Nigerians, to their very best in this Millennium.
76. 5th Diamond Award for media excellence and TV Reporter of the year 1996.
77. Nigerian Media Merit Award (NMMA), as the 1995 winner of Cadbury Nigeria Plc’s prize for TV Reporter of the year.
78. National Association of Administrative Students of Nigeria (NAASN) Award for her enormous contribution to the Nigerian polity and strive towards the Freedom of Information Bill (F.O.I).
79. Commendation from the Board of Supervisors, County of Alameda, State of California.
80. PROLAYEE SPORT ACADEMY IKORODU Award of excellence for her exemplary leadership.
81. African Leadership Prize (2)
82. Face of Russell and Creative Communicator Award, in recognition of her contribution and achievement in the communication industry.
83. Northern Youth Coalition Movement (NYCM) award for excellent performance.
84. Female Ministries Forum International Award of Excellence for the Upliftment of Womanhood.
85. The Most Outstanding Female-led Head of a Government Federal Agency, a Guardian Award as part of the Guardian’s Women’s Day Summit 2021;
86. Frontline Defender Award for Human Rights and Sustainable Development by Drums Majors for Peace during the Stakeholders Summit of Social Justice and Awards, 2021.
87. Integrity Icon of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Awards and gold medalist in Public Administration by the Centre for Ethics and Self-value Orientation.
88. Merit Award to the NiDCOM boss for her selfless efforts, doggedness, humaneness and strategic leadership in the Diaspora by Educate Africa Institute (EAI)
89. Certificate of Award on Innovative Diaspora Development on Diaspora Reintegration and Partnership UN SDG#17, by Diaspora Innovation Institute, USA (DII)
90. Global Excellence Award by Afro-Global Television, Toronto, Canada.
In all of these awards, there is a high sense of fulfillment and elation that comes to one, when one’s community honour a person. This is what Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa must have felt when she was given award during the 30th Ikorodu Oga Day by the Ayangburen of Ikorodu Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Oba (Engr.) Kabir Adewale Shotobi, for lifting the standard of Ikorodu, Lagos State and Nigeria, as a good Ambassador.
Of all these awards, honours and recognitions since 2003 till date, none has change the nomenclature of her title than this latest one, hence its uniqueness.
In the letter of nomination to her which was personally signed by the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Ibiyemi I. Olatunji-Bello mni said” *the conferment of Honorary Doctorate Degree on you is in recognition and appreciation of your immense contribution towards the development of the Lagos State University and by extension, Lagos state in particular.”*
Henceforth from Thursday March 24, 2022, the former Hon. Kafayat Abike Dabiri-Erewa will now be known and addressed as Hon. (Dr) Kafayat Abike Dabiri-Erewa. All former documents remain valid. Nigerians both home and in the Diaspora should take note.
I hereby join numerous well wishers to felicitate with Hon. (Dr) Abike Dabiri-Erewa on her conferment of Honorary Doctorate Degree from the prestigious Lagos State University and pray that more laurels await her in her future endeavours.
Like the Director General, World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said in an interview segment with Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, during the 2021 National Diaspora day celebration, that what was the secret to her success; which she replied: “when you are doing something you are passionate about, you will surely succeed”.
So being passionate to what you do, and believe in, will surely produce something out of nothing; even in the presence of obstacles.
For the indefatigable Dr Abike Dabiri-Erewa, she is a firm believer that there are no alternative to hardwork. Despite several challenges, she has managed to rise above it all to put the Nigeria Diaspora on the global map. This mantra of hers, has set the pace for others to follow through her relentless, energy and doggedness in service delivery to Nigerians in the Diaspora.
Allah says again in Qur’an 2: verse 247 thus: … ” *Indeed, Allah has chosen him over you and has increased him abundantly in knowledge and stature. And Allah gives His sovereignty to whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing [in favor] and Knowing.”*
*.Abdur-Rahman Balogun is the Head of Media, Public Relations and Protocols of NIDCOM, Abuja *