Osun governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, was last week honoured with the Spirit of Emancipation Award of Excellence in Trinidad and Tobago by the Emancipation Support Committee.
The event held at the Lidj Yasu Omowale Village, in the capital city of Port of Spain.
Governor Aregbesola was accompanied by his wife, Alhaja Sherifat Aregbesola, and government officials including the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr Ajibola Bashiru, Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr Obawale Adebisi, the Special Adviser on Culture and Tourism, Mrs Taiwo Oluga, the Director General of Office of Economic Development and Partnership (OEDP) Dr Charles Akinola and the Chairman Osun Tourism Board, Eng Bimbola Daniyan.
In presenting the award to him, Mr Khafra Kambon, Chairman of the Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad and Tobago, commended Governor Aregbesola for his commitment to the emancipation of all black people in the tradition of the great pan-Africanists like Dr Kwame Nkrumah, WEB du Boise, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and others.
He thanked the Governor for attending the Emancipation Day celebration and for identifying with the people of Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean.
‘‘We have decided to honour our brother, His Excellency Rauf Aregbesola, for his commitment to the emancipation of all black people in the rich tradition of the great pan-Africanists like Dr Kwame Nkrumah, George Padmore, WEB du Boise, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and others.
We feel honoured for him to have attended this year’s emancipation day with a delegation from Osun. We have therefore decided to honour him with this award not just from Trinidad and Tobago but on behalf of all the people of the Caribbean”, he said.
Governor Aregbesola in his response thanked the Emancipation Support Committee for the award.
He urged them to carry on the torch of the emancipation of all black people in order for the struggles of the past not to be in vain.
According to him, “I feel at home, with my brethren here in Trinidad and Tobago. I can see that all black people are one. I share your aspirations and struggles and I urge you not to rest on your oars until there is freedom for all black people wherever they are found.
“I thank the Emancipation Support Committee and especially my brother, Khafra Kambon, for the honour done to me today. This award will spur me to greater commitment to fight for the freedom and emancipation of all black people.
“I look forward to greater cooperation between our two nations economically, socially, culturally and spiritually. If the blacks in Diaspora are successful, it will lift the black in the continent. If the blacks in the continent are poor and downtrodden, it will negatively affects the status of the Diasporean blacks.
Other eminent personalities that received awards at the occasion included Ambassador Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson, African Union Commission and Ambassador Wallace William.
Earlier in the day, a rally had been held in front of the Treasury Building on the Brian Lara Promenade. This was the spot in Port of Spain where emancipation proclamation was made on August 1, 1834. That was 184 years ago. From that spot, huge crowd of people, led the Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley, and other government officials held a five mile walk.
The rally and the walk were attended by political, religious and community leaders in Trinidad and Tobago, delegates from the Caribbean, Africa, (including Governor Rauf Aregbesola and the team from Osun), United States, Europe and other parts of the world.