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Why we gave Burna Boy Rivers’ 2nd highest award, choice land – Wike

Gov Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has explained why he gifted the state’s second-highest award as well as land in the choicest part of the Garden City and fund to build it to Burna Boy (real name Damini Ogulu), who won the 63rd Grammy Award for his album ‘Twice as Tall’.

Gov Wike said the bombshell of a gift was to set a standard that any Rivers person that achieves the highest feat in his or her chosen field would be sure of huge rewards back home. The governor said a standard would definitely motivate youths of the state to aim for the tops globally.

The governor had organized a huge reception on Saturday, March 27, 2021, where he announced N10m to each performer and later announced the second-highest honour to Burna Boy.

The award, Distinguished Service Star of Rivers State (DSSRS), is indicated as the second-highest distinction in Rivers State Order and is conferred on individuals in recognition of their exceptional service/performance in any field of human endeavour.

The governor who described the homecoming reception for Burna Boy, who hails from Ahoada West Local Government Area of the State, as a joyous moment for the state, also announced that the government will allocate him land in Old Government Residential Area of Port Harcourt and give him money to build a house there.

“Rivers State government will provide a land at Old GRA for Burna Boy. Not only are we to provide that, we are going to give him money to build for himself. We are going to do that for him let others be encouraged, that if you get to this level, Rivers State government will promote you. We are happy with you (Burna Boy), we are happy with your parents for what they have done,” Wike said.

He explained that the ceremony was one of the happiest days of his life and assured that his administration will not relent in promoting indigenes of the state like Burna Boy and others who make the state proud in any field of human endeavour.

Read Also: Burna Boy stands twice as tall with first Grammy Award win

“I will do what is required as a governor to encourage him (Burna Boy) and his parents and to encourage all our artists to know that the time has come when we must look inwards; when we must come home.

“All of you, you go to Abuja, you go to Lagos, home is home. Who would have believed in this world that an Ahoada man will win Grammy? Who would have believed it? So, you should know that this is God’s own state,” he said.

At the award ceremony which was attended by people from all walks of life, the governor said the honour aims to show gratitude publicly to indigenes of Rivers State who have shown outstanding talent with their works and stand out head and shoulders above others in their endeavours.

The governor commended Timaya, Duncan Mighty and other artistes who graced the award ceremony in honour of Burna Boy and announced a gift of N10 million each to all the artistes that performed during the concert.

Burna Boy, who was accompanied by his parents, siblings and crew, expressed profound gratitude to the government and people of Rivers State for considering him worthy of the award.

“I have collected honours everywhere in the world, but it feels different when you get it from home. This is my humblest moment and I thank each and every one of you. I thank the best Governor I have ever experienced. I don’t like politics and politicians but this my Governor has shown me that there is hope for the youths and there is hope for us.

“This award is not only for me but for all of you and the future Burna Boys. I love you Port Harcourt, everywhere I go, I carry you with me,” he said.

Rivers State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Tonye Briggs Oniyide, said that in the entertainment sector, a nomination to any honours platform is an indication that the artist has provided value through his hard work.

“This victory on the world stage underscores the ability of raw talents in our state, it underlines our ability to focus on our goal. To our celebrant, I urge you to always remember that Rivers state is your own. Always find time to identify with the development here. Come home to join in the task of grooming young talents in the industry. Port Harcourt needs your music academy from where we can raise the Burna Boys of tomorrow,” she said.

At the reception ceremony, Burna Boy said he was deeply grateful and incredibly humbled by the reception and honour to be conferred on him by the government of Rivers State.

“I really appreciate being here. This is probably the biggest honour that will be bestowed on me since I was born. It is one thing to win the Grammy and to be applauded everywhere else in the world and another thing to be loved in your own home and that to me is worth more than anything I can get. So I appreciate you my Governor for taking your time out to do this,” he said.

Burna Boy won the Best Global Music Album category with his Twice As Tall album at the 63rd Grammy Awards.

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