Governor Isiaka Adeboyega Oyetola of State of Osun, his counterparts in Adamawa and Cross River states, Ahmadu Fintiri and Benedict Ayade, respectively, have become award winners at the BusinessDay’s State Competiveness and Good Governance Award for Year 2020.
The event, held Thursday at Transcorp Hotel, Abuja, is the eighth edition of the award created to ensure leaders at the sub-national levels of governance imbibe the culture of hard work and deliver the dividends of democracy to its citizens.
This is as the Special Guest of Honour and former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, drummed support for state security structures to combat insecurity in the states.
The governors of the 36 states of the federation competed in various categories in which an Award Committee, made up of eminent personalities, gathered primary data through on-the-spot assessments, interactions with the locals and the analysis of secondary data provided on different socio-economic parameters as published by the nation’s data agency, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
At the end of the intense data gathering exercise, 18 governors emerged winners at the awards. They include Isiaka Adeboyega Oyetola of Osun State, Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State, Benedict Ayade of Cross River State, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, Babagana Zulum of Borno State, David Umahi of Ebonyi State, Adedapo Abiodun of Ogun State, and Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State.
Others are Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Oluwaseyi Makinde of Oyo State, Mohammed Yahaya of Gombe State, Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State, Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, Abubakar Bello of Niger State, and Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.
The governors distinguished themselves in different award categories:
Including Excellence in Governance, Fastest Growing State Economy, Transparency in Governance, Best Governor in Urban and Rural Infrastructure Development, Best Governor in Education Development, Best Governor in Healthcare Development, Best State in ICT, Best State in Manpower Development, Best State in the Provision of Security and the Best Governor in Agriculture Development.
Others are the Best Governor in Tourism Development, Best Governor in Housing Development, the state with the Best Ease of Doing Business, Youth & Sports Development and the State with the Most Improved Security.
Oyetola, who clinched the overall best governor of the year, distinguished himself as a quintessential administrator, an astute manager of men and resources, a silent achiever, an iconic leader with a large heart for the people and service and a trailblazer who believes that a leader is as good as his last accomplishment.
All the awardees expressed gratitude that their efforts were being recognised and pledged that such recognition would spur them to do more.
Delivering his keynote address, Gowon commended BusinessDay for its resolve to keep public officials on alert for better service delivery, reiterated his suggestion at a previous Good Governance event that the Awards is meant to catalyse public officials to chart a new policy direction for the nation.
“This is with a view to replicating the developmental initiatives that made other emerging and transition countries such as China, South Korea, etc., as global leaders in food production, manufacturing, research and development, trade, innovation and above all, political stability,” he said.
The former Head of State identified the security of the nation as paramount, stressing the need for state security structure that must comply with the Nigerian Constitution.
“The security of our nation is paramount. While we commend all the Nigerian governors for their collaborative support to ensure provision of adequate security for the citizenry that we are still confronted with report of more cases of killings, rape, attacks and destruction of farms, kidnapping for ransom, etc., these amplify the security challenges before us as a people and nation.
“This is why it is now not considered to be out of place to experiment with the state-specific security arrangement, etc. ‘Amotekun,’ provided they are all in compliance with the Nigerian Constitution and not used to victimise political opponents,” he said.
In his welcome address, Ogho Okiti, managing director of BusinessDay, noted that with the eventful activities of the year 2020, including the COVID-19 and later the EndSARS crisis, chief executives of states in Nigeria were confronted with pressing issues in different areas of governance.
“This is the key reason why we are gathered here this evening. Nigeria and Nigerians continue to demand for excellence in governance. It is therefore important to recognise and celebrate leaders that despite all odds strive to deliver excellence in governance.
“This annual programme only serves to single out executive governors who have improved the socio-economic well-being in their respective jurisdiction.
“National Discourse and Good Governance Awards came into being to provide an independent feedback mechanism to states on the different policies, programmed and projects they execute and the effects such actions are having on the socio-economic well-being of the residents of their states,” he said.