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Adadevoh’s Karis: Worthy honour for an amazon

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dr-ameyo-stella-adadevohA good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart- Eccl. 7: 1-2

IT took the generous and patriotic heart of Rev. Chris O. Okotie to enlist the late Dr. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh in the pantheon of Nigerian heroes, by making her the beneficiary of the 2015 edition of the prestigious Karis Award at the 25th anniversary of God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense (G.R.A.C.E.) programme. The doctor who died on an impromptu call to service for the nation as she went about her medical duties, had until now, not been adequately recognised by the nation. This nomination makes her the fifth woman to be honoured with the award.

The pastor’s mega-church, the Household of God International Ministries, named Dr. Adadevoh as the 2015 Karis awardee in recognition of the exceptional and altruistic role she played in helping to contain the spread of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD.) Dr. Adadevoh bravely made a life- threatening and timely intervention when in 2014, she stopped the index case, the Liberian-American diplomat, Patrick Sawyer, a patient at her hospital, First Consultants Hospital, Lagos, when he attempted to check himself out of the hospital despite being diagnosed with the highly infectious disease.

As Rev. Okotie’s one-time personal physician at the same hospital, the pastor had kept in touch with Dr. Adadevoh over the years, even up till the time of her death. For him, her demise was not just a national loss; it was also a personal loss. Her acquaintance with all and sundry transcended mere casualty, as the encomiums that have been heaped on the amiable doctor from near and far show.

When the G.R.A.C.E. programme was instituted in 1990, Rev. Okotie hinted at the patriotic sentiments which formed the need to create a platform with which the church can engage with the public in extending its love in concrete terms. G.R.A.C.E. emerged as the church’s vehicle for accomplishing this lofty Christian ideal.

As the programme grew in strength and as the spirit which necessitated its creation began to find new avenues of expression, it became evident to the Reverend that a wide vacuum existed in the due honour of men and women who had served the nation faithfully at their different spheres, but had not been duly recognised by the country. This thinking birthed the KARIS Awards in 1996, and this year, the late amazon of no mean order, Dr. Adadevoh, who will be represented at the event by her family, joins the illustrious list of winners of the prestigious awards.

Past winners include former Head of State, late Gen. Murtala Muhammed, retired Police D.I.G., Chris Omeben, renowned mathematician, Prof. Chike Obi, political stalwart, late Mallam Aminu Kano, political activist, late Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro, politician and nationalist, late Sir Akanu Ibiam, Chief Thomas Osigbemhe JP, Mr. Taiwo Akinkunmi, designer of the national flag, female political activists, Hajia Gambo Sawaba from Kano and Chief (Mrs.) Margaret Ekpo, Air Commodore Habiba Ruth Garba (rtd), one-time national goalkeeper, Emmanuel Okala and first female enlisted police woman, late (Mrs.) Beatrice Ibeneme.

According to Ladi Ayodeji, Head of the church’s Media Communications Unit, in choosing from a list of nominations; “emphasis is placed on reward of integrity in any sphere of the Nigerian life, and highlighting the fact that service, personal integrity and honour are still valuable and recognisable attributes, at a time when the nation is grappling to correct its pitiable image as a corrupt nation, and upturn the belief that crime and corruption pay.”

G.R.A.C.E. and the Karis Awards are the highlight of the annual event, which usually takes place on the last Sunday before each Christmas. This year, it will be hosted on Sunday, 13 December, 2015, and as in previous editions, the beneficiaries of the church’s G.R.A.C.E. charity remain Pacelli School for the Blind and partially sighted, The Strong Tower Mission, The Sunshine Foundation and the Spinal Cord Injuries Association of Nigeria, which individually get N1 million like the Karis awardee. The programme is self-sponsored by the church.

Part of the G.R.A.C.E. anthem which was written in 1990 by Rev. Okotie says: “Some may never see… hear… walk… and… talk, but it’s up to you and me to show the love of Jesus, and let them know that He cares. We need to love them, we need to touch them, we need to serve them, ‘cause we know that Jesus cares. We need to bless them, take away their sorrow, who knows tomorrow, it may be you or may be me”.
The G.R.A.C.E. programme is a visible demonstration by the church of this belief, and the award nomination is proof of the eloquent testimonies of the late Dr. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh’s uprightness, professionalism and worthiness of the honour of being awarded with the 2015 Karis Award, albeit, post-humously.

As usual, G.R.A.C.E. 2015 will feature a special, non-competitive version of the now famous Queen Esther costume pageant, the red carpet and photo-sessions on the lavishly lighted street which is festooned with millions of Christmas lights in celebration of the birth of the Christ.

•Olukolade contributed this piece from Lagos.


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