The Imo State Government has honoured President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf with a chieftaincy title, a merit award and a statue after being indicted into the Imo State Hall of Fame.
The Imo State Government also named a street called Ellen Sirleaf Road in its State Capital, Owerri after the Liberian President. A dispatch from the Liberian Embassy in Nigeria says the Liberian leader received the honours during a two-day working visit to the Southeastern Nigerian State. The visit lasted from Thursday to Friday, the 9th to 10th of November, 2017.
According to the dispatch, President Sirleaf’s visit was in response to an invitation from the Executive Governor of Imo State, Rochas Anayo Owelle Okorocha.
The highlight of President Sirleaf’s visit came on Friday when Governor Okorocha unveiled a towering statue of her at the Ijemba Ojuku Center in Heroes Square in Owerri.
Impressed with her statue, President Sirleaf thanked Governor Okorocha and the people of Imo State for the recognition. President Sirleaf’s statue stands among other statues erected in honor of other prominent African leaders, present and past. They include those of South African President Jacob Zuma, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo Ado and some prominent Nigerians to include Nnamdi Azikiwe, and Tafawa Balewa, among others.
Prior to the unveiling of her statue, the Liberian leader was conferred the Grand Chancellor Imo State Merit Award. The title is the highest in the State as provided under Law Number 18 of 2017, as enacted by the Imo State House of Assembly.
“You are honoured by the people of Imo State through Governor Okorocha because of your achievement and invaluable contributions towards peace and governance”, read a citation signed by the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly.
President Sirleaf, in her acceptance speech, said, “I accept with gratitude and humility The Grand Chancellor of Imo State. This award opens another chapter in the long history of deepened fraternal ties between the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the people of the Republic of Liberia.”
“The people of Liberia will forever remain grateful for the altruistic sacrifice of Nigeria in restoring peace to Liberia after nearly two decades of civil war between 1989 and 2003. We will continue to remember what you did for us and the contributions who have made to these now 15 plus years of peace in our country. We look forward to solidifying our already strong ties of mutual opportunities and investments under the Liberian-Nigerian Joint Commission that was relaunched in 2014”, she continued.
Earlier, President Sirleaf met and addressed students of the Rochas Foundation College of Africa. Five Liberian students are among the Foundation’s beneficiaries where dozen others from other Africa countries are receiving free education.
President Sirleaf later in the day delivered an inspirational lecture to Imo women on the topic “Women in Politics”. The colourful event was held at the Imo International Convention Centre (IICC) in Owerri.
Previously on Thursday evening, the Liberian Leader upon arrival was conferred with a chieftaincy title by the Chairman of the State Council of Traditional Rulers, Samuel Ohiri at the Eze Imo Palace. The title in the Igbo language is called “Ada Di Oha Nma”, translated as “Daughter that is good for all”.