Rave of the moment and Grammy Award winner, Damini Ogulu aka Burna Boy has received a special award from Governor Nyesom Wike.
Wike conferred on Burna Boy the “Distinguished Service Star of Rivers State, DSSRS’.
According to a statement by Wike’s Media Aide, Kelvin Ebiri, the award “is 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 endeavor’’.
The Governor conferred the honour on the music icon, who won the Best Global Music Album with his “Twice As Tall’’ album at the 63rd Grammy Award.
The state award was conferred on him at a grand reception organised by the state government for him in Port Harcourt.
The governor said the honour was “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 endeavour’’.
He 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.
Wike also announced that the government would allocate a plot of land in Old Government Residential Area of Port Harcourt and give money for the awardee 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.
Wike also assured that his administration would promote indigenes of the State like Burna Boy and others who made the State proud in any field of human endeavour.
He said: “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.
“Who would have believed in this world that an Ahoada man will win a Grammy. Who would have believed it? So, you should know that this is God’s own state.’’
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 artists 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 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 most humble 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 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.
The State Commissioner of Culture and Tourism, Mrs. Tonye-Briggs Oniyide, said that in the entertainment sector, a nomination to any honours platform indicated that the artiste provided value through 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.