Henry Anibe Agbonika named Igala Man of the Year by Arise Igala Leadership Awards

May 26th, 2018

Development specialist and policy implementation expert Henry Anibe Agbonika was today awarded Igala Man of the year for his amazing contributions to the development of the agricultural value chain in Kogi State amongst other giant individual strides.


At the event held at the Sheraton in Abuja, Mr Agbonika received his award by delivering a keynote address where he further expressed his passion for the development of agribusiness for the Igala Nation. In a speech well received by audiences, he praised the rich Igala socio-political economic history and highlighted the current challenges of the Igala Raw Cashew Nut export trade amongst other key insights.

In an expository Lecture, Mr Agbonika lamented the huge decline of the Igala Agriculture Economy and the hardship faced by local Igala farmers in renting and acquiring farming equipment. 

Mr Agbonika who received the award with his family expressed gratitude to the Arise Igala Leadership and the entire Igala people for the rare honor and pledged to continue to use his resources and networks to strengthen the course for the restoration of the glory of the Igala Nation.

The award was presented to Mr Agbonika by a representative of the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello with the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Kogi State, Edward Onoja also in attendance.

See full address here.Keynote address at Arise Igala Award Ceremony-Henry Agbonika

See a profile of Henry Anibe Agbonika, Igala 2017/18 Man of the Year below

Henry Anibe Agbonika is a development specialist with close to two decades of experience in development planning and implementation, specializing in policy development as well as the conceptualization, design, and implementation of projects at national and sub national levels. 

Born in Wusasa, Zaria, Kaduna State on August 26, 1977, Mr. Agbonika completed his primary education at the ABU Staff School, Kongo, Zaria, then proceeded to Therbow Schools, Zaria for his junior secondary school education, and Ochadamu Community Secondary School, Ochadamu, Kogi State for senior secondary school education. Upon completion of secondary education in 1994, he joined Arewa Textiles Limited, Kakuri, Kaduna as an operative in the new weaving mill. In 1997, he proceeded to the Bayero University, Kano to study for a Diploma in Library and Information Science.

At the turn of the new millennium, he gained admission at the Kogi State University, Anyigba for a degree in English and Literary Studies.

Mr. Agbonika was introduced to the field of Development Communication by one of his mentors, and he decided to pursue a full-blown Masters’ degree in this area, at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. In ABU, he embraced the full consciousness of development under the tutelage of late Prof. Jenks Z. Okwori, a globally renowned professor of participatory development.

In 2007, he joined the services of The Street Hawker Entrepreneurship magazine, and rose to become Deputy Editor, and Head of Operations/Abuja Bureau Chief at various times. Working with a passionate and committed team made up of the publisher and other professionals, the magazine was repositioned to become a leading resource on entrepreneurship and enterprise development in Nigeria.

In 2009, Mr. Henry Anibe Agbonika undertook a consultancy for the then National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) that saw him monitor projects across 16 states in Nigeria. Part of the output for this activity was the first ever NAPEP SUCCESS STORY, a knowledge product capturing stories of Nigerians in rural areas whose lives were impacted and lifted out of poverty. This consultancy afforded him the opportunity to understand poverty in all its ramifications across Nigeria.

Henry Anibe Agbonika joined the international development sector as a Program Officer with the Nigerian Program of the then Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), now Global Affairs Canada (GAC). In this role, he worked with a team of experts and professionals in Canada and Nigeria, in the conceptualization, design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of projects funded by the Government of Canada. Specifically, Mr. Agbonika was involved in the Building Nigeria’s Response to Climate Change (BNRCC) project, which informed responses to climate change in Nigeria by enhancing capacity at the community, state and national levels to implement effective adaptation strategies, policies and actions, while ensuring informed responses to the impacts of climate change through improved livelihood, health, access to natural resources, equality and governance. 

In 2012, Mr. Agbonika became the Technical Analyst and Advisor(consultant), on Stimulating Sustainable Economic Growth/ Extractive Industries (SSEG/EI) to the Canadian aid agency in Nigeria. In this capacity, he was saddled with the responsibility of contributing to the development and achievement of the objectives and expected results of CIDA’s SSEG/EI strategy and other related development agenda in Nigeria. He led efforts in understanding the character and nature of Nigeria’s solid minerals sector for possible development intervention by the aid agency. All of the efforts paid off in 2013 with the preparation of a Strategic Roadmap for Mining Sector Development in Nigeria by the World Bank through an Externally Funded Output (EFO) financed by the Canadian and Australian governments from 2012 to 2016. It is worthy to note that the roadmap provided the basis for designing many key elements of the current Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project (MinDiver) of the World Bank in Nigeria. 

Considering that Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) activities have consistently dominated the country’s solid minerals sector, it was Mr. Agbonika’s desire to have an intervention geared at improving the safety, efficiency, and profitability of ASM with the view to increasing its contribution to local economies. 

Mr. Henry Anibe Agbonika was also instrumental in laying the foundations for CIDA’s sustainable economic programming in the country, particularly in the focus states of Cross River and Bauchi where efforts are ongoing to create sustainable long term economic growth that will increase revenue generation, create employment, and lead to poverty reduction. In the early days of his engagement with communities and actors in the North East and South-South, it became apparent that agriculture holds the greatest promise for development. Agbonika believes improvements in agricultural productivity and innovation can drive economic growth, while recognising that barriers to trade, market access, and infrastructure, insecure land tenure, high input costs and poor access to technology remain stumbling blocks. He has thus spent the last seven years in search of innovations that can dismantle these obstacles.

From experience over the years, he understands the imperative of sound public policies in the drive towards inclusive growth, and as such embraced the opportunity to join the Nigerian Economic Summit Group(NESG) as Head, Abuja Office responsible for northern operations and later on becoming Head, Policy Intelligence and Innovation until his voluntary resignation. 

Mr. Agbonika was also a delegate to the sub national technical working group of the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat (EBES) with the mandate to drive reforms aimed at benchmarking performance and promoting peer learning through healthy competition and cooperation among states on key socioeconomic measures of development and growth. The important drivers in this regard are transparency, efficiency and reduction in costs to the SMEs.

Mr Agbonika believes that critical to our nation’s development is the ability to galvanize energies, resources and capacities of people and communities across board towards achieving the common good. For him, it is first of all, about local strategies, values, institutions, and resources. This world view has been shaped by his experiences and associations from citadels across West Africa, East Africa, South East Asia, Europe and North America. 

Trained in agricultural value chain development under the livelihoods and markets program of the Coady International Institute of the Saint Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Canada, Henry is very passionate about agribusiness and the promises it holds for the transformation of local economies and contributions to economic growth across Africa. He is currently working with several actors, influencers and supporters to build capacity and strengthen value chains through The Kogi Agribusiness Services and Value Added (KASAVA) initiative. 

A Certified Knowledge Manager (CKM) of the Knowledge Management Institute, works with organizations in developing knowledge management culture and putting in place systems and processes. He designed the Knowledge Management strategy for the country’s National Malaria Program. 

He has also consulted for private sector organizations and institutions of government over the last 10 years and is currently the lead consultant/CEO of Post Development Synergies Limited – a development advisory committed to providing home grown solutions to Nigeria’s development challenges.

A proudly devoted lover of God, Mr. Henry Anibe Agbonika is happily married to a lovely wife and they are blessed with three children.

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