Late Samuel Okwaraji, Rashidi Yekini and Joseph Blankson were among those honoured at the 2020 African “Illustrious Award’’ event for their contribution to the country’s development.

The award, which is the third edition and organised by “My Media Africa’’ – a media company, was held on Thursday night in Lagos.

Families of the late legends received N500,000 each and were recognised for their sacrifices.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Okwaraji, a 25-year-old footballer, collapsed and died during the 1990 World Cup qualifier against Angola in Lagos.

Also, Yekini, a Nigerian footballer and a striker, died at the age of 48.

Blankson was a 42-year-old Nigerian contractor who died while saving 13 victims of a boat accident.

Other awardees include a Governor from Kenya, Dr Alfred Mutual, who emerged winner in the Best Governor of the year category.

Also, a 35-year-old activist, Mr Hazmat Lawal, of Connected Development (CODE), a Non-governmental organization (NGO), won in the Climate Change Advocate Category.

Lawal, while expressing gratitude, described the award as exciting and a call to do more.

He said that climate change is plaguing Africa.

“Today, we are bearing the brunt; women are losing livelihoods and diseases are killing children.

“I believe that our role as advocates and activists is to continue to hold government to account.

“Most importantly, we must amplify the issues that affect people and mobilise other citizens to take action.

“Climate change, as much as it is a threat, also gives an opportunity for us to create a green economy, green jobs and sustainable livelihoods.

“Also, I believe that if we can harness the potential and dividends in climate change, Nigeria will stand out and we can rebuild back better as we work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa,’’ he said.

In his remarks, the Managing Director, My Media Africa, Mr Arinze Madueke, said that the essence of the award is to inculcate good values and culture in people, especially the youth.

Madueke said, “Well, I will say this award has nothing to do with politics.

“It is purely a way to reward those who have done very well in their various endeavours, entrepreneurship, technology, innovation, business, among others.’’