Grammy Award winner, Damini Ogulu, popularly known as Burna Boy, has been conferred with one of the highest awards in Rivers State by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
The award known as ‘‘Distinguished Service Star of Rivers State, DSSRS,” 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 endeavour.
Governor Wike, conferred the honour on the internationally acclaimed music icon who won the Best Global Music Album with his Twice As Tall album at the 63rd Grammy Awards during a grand reception organised by the Rivers State government for him in Port Harcourt.
At the award ceremony which was attended by people from all walks of life, the governor said the honour aimed to show gratitude publicly to indigenes of Rivers State who have shown outstanding talent with their works and stood out head and shoulders above others in their endeavours.
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 would allocate him a 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.”
Governor Wike explained that the ceremony was one of the happiest days of his life and assured that his administration would not relent in promoting indigenes of the state like Burna Boy and others who he said, made the state proud in any field of human endeavour.
“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 inward; 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.”
The governor commended Timaya, Duncan Mighty and other artists who graced the award ceremony in honour of Burna Boy and announced a gift of N10million 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 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 most humblest moment and I thank each and everyone 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.”
Rivers State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mrs. 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.”