Creative artists under the aegis of the Great Ekenhuan Alumni Association, Abuja, a group of graduates of Theatre Arts, Fine and Applied Arts, and Mass Communications departments of the University of Benin, Edo State, on Friday honoured leading personalities in the country.
Among those at the event, which held in the nation’s capital include, Dr Solomon Arase, former Inspector General of Police (IGP) and current chairman of Police Service Commission (PSC), late Chief Raymond Dokpesi, founder of DAAR Communications, owners of AIT and Raypower FM, and General Joel Unuigbe (Rtd) former Chief of Defence Logistics of the Nigerian military.
The honour was conferred on the personalities on the occasion of the Patrons’ Investiture and Award Day, which held as part of the 10th anniversary celebration of the body. At the event, Dr Arase, Gen Unuigbe, Dr Sam Akpara, a former lecturer at the Federal College of Education, Katsina and a Fellow of the Society of Nigerian Artists (SONAS), and Bishop Great Eromosele, an Abuja based priest, were handed insignia of office as patrons of the association, while one of late Dr Dokpesi’s sons, Peter, received a Certificate of Appreciation for his “sincere cordial and inspiring affiliation with Great Ekenhuan Alumni Association, Abuja”.
The association also used the occasion to confer awards on some its members for meritorious service. Among those honoured include Mr Nnamdi Okosieme, a top Nigerian journalist and a former Director of Research and Documentation in the Presidency under Dr Goodluck Jonathan, and the initiator of the idea for setting up the association.
Okosieme, a former Chairman of the association, has the distinction of being the longest serving chairman in the history of the association having held office from 2014 to 2019.
Other members conferred with awards include Pastor Princewill Ihedigbo, businessman and pioneer chairman of the association, Chief Kingsley Okafor, Artrepreneur and President of Association of Professional Creative Artists and Designers, Andrew Izirein, current chairman of the association and Dele Ahamisi, the body’s Legal Adviser.
Other recipients include Mrs Stella Nwabuche, incoming chairperson of the association, Osazuwa Ehibor and Emmanuel Ohiomokhare, a journalist.
Speaking at the occasion, Gen Unuigbe, who as chairman of the occasion, was represented by Mr Matthew Okpeku, said he was delighted to associate with the group especially given its commitment to using the arts to grow the Nigerian economy.
In addition to the awards, a keynote lecture was delivered at the occasion by Chief Okafor.
The lecture titled, “Wealth Creation in the Visual Art, Chief Okafor stressed the primacy of the creative arts over many other disciplines noting that globally, it rakes in more income than many other well known fields of human endeavor.
He said: “Statistics from the World Economic Forum of 2021 show that all the eleven creative and cultural sectors combined generated $3,500 billion in revenue, about 4.8 per cent of the entire world GDP. This is a progression from the 3 percent revenue in the 2019 statistics.
In terms of job creation, the creative industry employs more people than the automotive industry in the entire USA, Europe and Japan combined”!
He noted that Nigeria’s creative sector is a thriving industry driven by young and talented individuals and that despite facing many challenges, has contributed significantly to Nigeria’s GDP with revenue projections estimated to hit $105 bn this year.