The organizers of the Abuja International Film Festival (AIFF) have named the governor of Cross River State, Nigeria as one of the three Special Recognition Awardees in the 16th edition of the festival holding in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria.
Abuja International Film Festival is the longest running film festival in Anglophone West Africa. The festival aims to celebrate outstanding work in video films in Nigeria and promote growth in the film industry in particular and the creative industry in general.
According to the Festival Director, Mrs Temitope Duker, Sen. Prof. Benedict Ayade was selected for the Award based on his strides in developing the creative economy in the state, his industrialization strides as well as support for growth of tourism.
Ayade is presently serving his second term as Executive Governor of Cross River State having won his reelection massively in the 2019 gubernatorial election in the state. Ayade is a Professor of Environmental Sciences and recently returned to the university for his Master’s degree in Law.
Governor Ayade has supported the development of the creative economy in Cross River State during his term and recently rewarded outstanding creative industry players in the state. These are winners of the Linda Ayade Literary Art and Afi Ekong Visual Art Competitions, who got one thousand pounds prize money each.
He also supported and invested in the production of several nollywood films within the state.
Some of Sen. Ayade’s industrialization projects include the Cross River Garment Factory, the Rice Seeds and Seedlings Factory, the ultra modern Vitaminized Rice Mill, the Cocoa Processing Factory, the Frozen Chicken Plant, the Toothpicks Factory, the Feedmill and the Pharmaceutical Company to mention a few.
In the area of tourism, the governor has brought innovation to the Carnival Calabar and Festivals with the introduction of the international carnival and the bikers carnival. He also introduced the exotic cars show, the Miss Africa pageant and the latest, the Black Africa Music Festival.
Also awarded alongside the governor were the Managing Director of Air Peace Airlines Mr. Allen Onyema, for the Patriotic and humanitarian gesture in the evacuation of stranded Nigerians in South Africa, Alhaji Adedayo Thomas the executive director of the national film and video Censors board for his enviable contributions to developing the industry and Mr Charles Okpaleke of the Play Network Group for his investment in the Nigerian movie industry.
The award was presented to the governor at the closing ceremony of the 16th Abuja International Film Festival which held at the Silverbird Cinema in Abuja on Friday 25th October, 2019. The governor was represented at the event.
The governor in his response thanked the organizers and promised to continue to support the development of the creative industry, redouble his efforts in industrialization and further grow tourism in the state which are pillars of its growth.
Past winners of the award include former president Goodluck Jonathan, Engr Musa kwankwaso, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, late Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, late Ambassador Segun Olusola amongst several eminent Nigerians in the last 16 years.