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Gov. Fayemi Honored By African Writers Endowment & New Jersey Leaders In U.S

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The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi was, on Saturday, September 28, 2019, honoured by the African Writers Endowment and New Jersey State leaders in Princeton, New Jersey, the United States of America.

The event was the 2019 Quintessence Awards and Conference of the African Writers Endowment, In. (AWE).  Governor Fayemi was the honoree at the event on Saturday, September 28, 2019, where he received the 2019 Quintessence Award, along with Honorable Jaqueline Jennings, a former mayor of Willingboro Township, New Jersey.

When three performance artists began the rhythmic and coordinated beating of the talking drums in the acclaimed Yoruba musical tradition, the over 260 people who had gathered at the Westin Princeton hotel in New Jersey, knew that the Special Guest of Honor, His Excellency, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, had arrived.

The award was Presented to Fayemi formally by His Excellency, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, the first recipient of the award in 1998/1999 and who chaired the event this year.

Governor Fayemi ushered into the event arena by the organiser, the Executive Director of the African Writers Endowment, Dr. Ugorji Okechukwu Ugorji

The 2019 Quintessence Award was in recognition of Governor Fayemi’s “Distinguished accomplishments as a Public Administrator, and for outstanding contributions to the history and heritage of African peoples.”

Speaking at the event, Professor Gambari said he was glad to see Fayemi receive the recognition.

“The governor is a scholar, an academic, an excellent public administrator, and one who exemplifies enlightened leadership on our continent,” Gambari stated.

Gambari commended the AWE for sustaining the event for 20 years.

He stated that while “it is one thing to start something, it is even more remarkable to sustain it. The Pan-African thrust of this event remains apt.”

Both the New Jersey governor, the Honorable Phil Murphy, and the bicameral New Jersey Legislature, also weighed in on the recognition of Governor Fayemi.

Murphy wrote a letter acknowledging the event and congratulating Fayemi for the award he was about to receive.

Led by State Senator Troy Singleton, Assemblyman Herb Conaway, and Assemblywoman Carol Murphy, the New Jersey Senate and the New Jersey General Assembly also issued a Joint Resolution in honor of Fayemi, extoling the governor’s cerebral background and practical approach to governance, as well as his strong character as a public servant.

Three governors attend

To the pleasant surprise of the organizers, AWE, and attendants at the conference, Governor Fayemi was accompanied to the event by two of his counterparts from Nigeria – Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State, and Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State.

L-R:  Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State, Governor Fayemi and his wife, Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi

The two governors came in solidarity with Fayemi, who is the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum.

In the keynote speech delivered at the event, Fayemi thanked the African Writers Endowment for the recognition accorded him.

He said he was proud to be in the company of those, such as Professor Gambari, who had received the award in the past.

He said: “My presence here should be an affirmation that I am truly honored to receive this award. I am proud to join the impressive list of others who have received this honor.

I personally consider the literary community to be my first constituency. As a writer myself and journalist, every writer is kindred spirit.

Fayemi delivering the keynote speech

“I am also married to one,” referring to his wife, Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, who is an author and a celebrated activist in her own rights.

Continuing, Fayemi said: “I must take a moment to salute all writers present here, as well as the leadership of the African Writers Endowment, Inc.

“This is one award that is close to my heart; it is deeply appreciated and I humbly accept it.

“I also want to extend gratitude to the Senate and General Assembly of New Jersey for the honor done me by the resolution in the hallow chambers of the Senate and the Assembly.”

In his remarks on the event, the Executive Director of the African Writers Endowment, Dr. Ugorji Okechukwu Ugorji noted that the event was successful beyond the expectations of the organizers.

The organisers, attendees and the awardees during the event

His words: “It was humbling and gratifying to see our honorees attend and personally accept.

“And it was a triple pleasure and honor to see three governors from Africa’s largest democracy attend our gathering, break bread with all the attendants and join all of us on the dance floor.” Ugorji went on to say that “Governor Fayemi was superlatively impressive in his keynote speech, the delivery of the speech, and in his carriage.”

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