I am profoundly grateful for the honour of this recognition and award presented by the Anambra Man of the Year Awards Organisation.

I specially thank the organisers of this event led by Chinedu Okafor and Chikezie Chiedu, the Lead Co-ordinators, and Barrister Lizzy Anyaonu, the Co-ordinator representing Stand Up For Women Society; Alex Ekene Nwankwo of AlexReports; Uche Obizoba of Eminent Magazine, Igbere TV, and all the organisations that came together to make this project a reality. I commend them for their commitment to excellence and the promotion and celebration of Ndi Anambra.

Indeed, Ndi Anambra is worthy of celebration. We are blessed and the magnitude of our blessings could well possibly be beyond human comprehension.

As a people, we are abundant in talents, gifts, and capacities. There is no endeavour of life whether it is in business, entertainment, sports, sciences, industry, technology, government, media, academics, or the arts that we do not have our brothers and sisters thriving and excelling and this is true for every continent on Earth.

The collaboration of five organisations who put this awards event together has taken it upon themselves to celebrate the best of us. They deserve an award as well.

When I think of the enormous bundle of blessings that is Ndi Anambra, two things come to the top of my mind. First, is the significance of being chosen as the Anambra Man of the Year of 2021 from among such gifted giants. I feel humbled and honoured to have been chosen by Ndi Anambra in a public vote. It can only be the work of the Divine.

My life is a story of God’s grace and unending love. Who is Valentine? The village boy born just as the brutal Nigerian Civil War was ending in rural Anambra. Raised by a village school headmaster and catechist father and a trader and farmer mother. We lost our father three days ago. He was 92 years. Who am I? It is only God who decided to put His hands on me and then all that you celebrate today began to unfold.

So I am first and most grateful to God Almighty for His love, His kindness, and His mercies. I don’t attribute any of my accomplishments to my abilities or my hard work or my knowledge. Though these are necessary factors in any success story, I attribute my accomplishments, my life’s journey, indeed my very being to God’s grace. “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being. For we are His offspring.” (Acts 17:28).

I thank my lovely wife, Ojiugo, the pillar and anchor of our family, for being the ever-present and sure help and support. Without her love, wisdom, and strength, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. To our children too. I thank the four of them for being such wonderful kids.

I am grateful to my running mate, Dame Azuka Enemo who had to take her leave just before I was called on stage to attend to an urgent matter. I thank her for standing by me and working hard to ensure that our vision for Anambra is realized.

I thank PDP leaders at the national level in Anambra State. The leadership of our party is fully represented this evening here led by our State Chairman, Chief Ndubuisi Nwobu. I am grateful for all your support.

I thank all my mentors and leaders in business, in politics, and in life, whose wisdom, generosity of spirit, and guidance have contributed to my success.

I thank my friends and leaders who sent goodwill messages to me after it was announced that I had won this award. Some of those messages have been published in the brochure of today’s event. Honourable Sir Cyril Egwuatu, Hon Barrister Valentine Ayika, Chief Andy Ezike, Honourable Chuka Ezenwune, Obinna Ufudo, Chief Tony Offiah, Barrister Don Amamgbo, Chief Okey Ezeibe, Chief Chike Ezechukwu, Engr Uche Okoli, Chief Jideofor Ezeofor and his lovely wife, Ichie Sunday Ezeobiora, Apostle Nnamdi Mbaigbo, Dr Amaechi Nwachukwu and his wife, Chief Hez Okonkwo, and Mr Robert Umeozulu. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

I also thank those who voted for me to win this award. I feel blessed to have the level of acceptance, particularly among Ndi Anambra.

I said early that when I think of the enormous blessing that Ndi Anambra are to humanity, two things come to the top of my mind. The first is the significance of this award given the context in which it comes. The second is the tragedy of the wide gap between our potentials and our achievements.

I am reminded every day and even today of the sad state of things at home. A situation where we are unable to boast of basic social services like good motorable roads, universal basic healthcare, or free quality education for our children.

We are, on one hand, an Anambra, the ‘Home of the Most Billionaires in Nigeria’, but on the other hand, we are also home to thousands of out-of-school children. We are Anambra, the land of a proud and prosperous people, we are also the land where a sad majority of our women cannot access the vital healthcare they need to stay alive when they are pregnant.

We are Anambra, the home of the globally celebrated business tycoons, doctors, academics, professors, world champions; we are also a hotbed for criminal behaviour because we have a youth population stripped of their dreams, their hopes, and their belief in self because of the lack of opportunity.

It is this tragic paradox, the gapping gap between our reality and our potential. The divergence between our dreams and our achievements. The contrast between our limitless possibilities and our present state. It is the tragic paradox of what is Anambra of our dreams and the present-day Anambra that pulled me into politics. It is what led to my joining the race for governor of our dear state.

For me, political power is not a means in itself, but a platform to use in changing the lives of our people positively. We thank God for the race we ran for governor and the outcome of the election.

Many people are asking me, Val, what is next for you? As long as the tragedies of poor leadership remain, I will not give up on Anambra or my people. I will continue to do what is necessary to raise the political consciousness of our people, to raise our people to a new mind, to do what is necessary to correct the errors of the past, and to open the doors to a brand new future of enormous possibilities. Ka Anambra Chawapu.

Thank you.

Valentine Ozigbo
January 6, 2022

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