December 30, (THEWILL) – A new reward for excellence in gospel music ministry has been added to the growing list of awards for the appreciation of Nigerian gospel artistes.
Instituted by Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, it is known as the Emmanuel Award for Excellence in Gospel Music Ministry. The award is a private endowment of Governor Emmanuel’s family and will be conferred on an artiste, whose work has far-reaching transcendental impact on the populace for the preceding year.
The inaugural recognition was won by renowned gospel musician, Pastor Nathaniel Bassey, he was also blessed with $10,000 (which the organisers announced he will receive in Naira equivalent). Bassey, who has a good reputation as a trumpeter, was celebrated for reaching global audiences with his 30-day midnight praise live stream, ‘Hallelujah Challenge’, which started June 1 – June 30, 2017. It has since garnered participation from millions of people who join him to praise and worship God annually at that period of the year.
Explaining the motivation for the award, Governor Emmanuel said, “In demonstrating our resolve to create a global brand that will be reckoned with, across the gospel music community in Nigeria, and further encourage and reward these creative ministers to do even more in winning souls for the Kingdom of God, through music ministration, we wish to announce the institution of the Emmanuel Award for Excellence in Gospel Music Ministry. Emmanuel means ‘God with us’ and nothing reveals the essence of God with us than gospel music, which in the first instance is made possible by gospel music ministers.
“The Emmanuel Award for Excellence in Gospel Ministry will be given every December during this event, to the Nigerian Gospel Music Artiste, who, in the last 12 months of the preceding year, has demonstrated extraordinary expressive talents and deep humanism and has been able to awaken new audiences to the transcendental power of the Gospel through music ministration, teaching and performance”, he stated.
The award was part of the high points of the rebranded 2022 Akwa Ibom Christmas Carols and Gospel Festival.
Incidentally, it is the last Akwa Ibom Carol Festival that Mr Udom Emmanuel will preside over as a sitting governor.
Staged under the theme, ‘Go Forward’, which was sourced from Exodus Chapter 14:15, the gathering had in attendance governors Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Ademola Adeleke of Osun State, Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, former governors Liyel Imoke of Cross River State and Gabriel Suswam of Benue State. The Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Moses Ekpo and his Bayelsa State counterpart, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the governorship candidate of the party in Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Umo Eno, the Oku Ibom Ibibio and the Ooni of Ife, HRM Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, while the exposition of the gospel for the night was carried out by Pastor David Ibiyeomie of the Salvation Ministries.