From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said that the Sun Award is not given based on sentiments or political affiliation.
Governor Wike declared this when the management team of the company led by the Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief, Mr Onuoha Ukeh, visited him to deliver a confirmation letter for the Sun Man of the Year 2020 award to the governor at Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The governor recalled that the last time he received the Sun Governor of the Year back-to-back, he had remarked that, if such award was by merit or performance, he would win it again.
He said that the Sun Newspapers award bestowed on him would be dedicated to God and Rivers people, attributing the achievements recorded to his administration to support of the residents.
‘Let me, on behalf of the government and people of Rivers State, thank you and members of your team for the honour of the Sun Man of The Year 2020 award,’ he said.
‘I recollect sometime ago, just as you rightly said, when you came to present to me the Governor of the Year award, I did say and I will continue to say that I believe that you are not influenced to do what you have done, or what you will continue to do.
‘I believe that you have a role to let the public know what is happening in our various states. I believe that if you carry out your responsibility very well, I believe that the public would be the most beneficiary of it all.
‘What I don’t like and which I have always said I will never be a party to is where the award is given based on sentiments; the award is given based on political affiliation.
‘When I saw the letter, I did say that, if they have thought it necessary we merit it, then, we have no choice but to accept it. I will dedicate this award to God Almighty and the entire people of the state. It wouldn’t have been possible, but for God and the support people of the state have given to this administration.
‘I have been to a lot of states, where you see a governor passing on the road and there is no reaction from the people. And here in our state, you can see the reaction of the people, telling you how happy they are with your actions and activities.
‘We feel so glad that our people are given us necessary support. And let me assure you that, by the grace of God, we would be there.
‘For me, governance is not only based on the infrastructure. There are certain laws that are in place that will enhance governance in society. For instance, today, the legislature is working on the bill to make sure that every judicial officer that retires is entitled to a comfortable home, because it is believed that, in order to make sure we reduce the level of corruption. You see a judicial officer that retires and has no home.’
He said it was because of the quest to acquire property that leads judicial officers to indulge in corruption.
‘So, the government believes that part of the role we should play is to let them understand that government has made provision for them; and so that, that shouldn’t be a reason to involve in what you are not supposed to be involved.
‘Again, the legislature is working a bill to establish a judicial institute. The essence of it is not competing with the National Judicial Council, but to complement the effort of the National Judicial Council.’
The governor noted the kind of burden the council has in training judges, stressing that it is enormous.
‘So, it is important that we train our judges from time to time and magistrates too. Like as I earlier said, this is not taking away the functions of the National Judicial Council, but complementing their efforts.’
“These are things that promote efficiency and not only the infrastructure. These are part of the areas that help to make society effective.
Earlier in his address, the MD/Editor-in-Chief, said the selection for the Sun Award was a rigorous process, Governor Wike was unanimously selected for his remarkable contributions to the socio-economic development of Nigeria and promotion of fiscal federalism with his position on Valued Added Tax (VAT), which will help in the restructuring of Nigeria.
‘The selection of Sun award is a rigorous process that we sit for days to deliberate, argue and finally arrive at who will receive the award,’ he said.
‘But, in choosing the Man of the Year, when the name of His Excellency was mentioned, there was no argument or contention about it because His Excellency has proved himself in all spheres of governance to merit this award.
‘We would recall that His Excellency has won the Sun Governor of the Year twice. And it was back-to-back. I remember the first time we came here to tell him about winning Governor of the Year, and after our presentation, he told us that if this award was based on merit, about performance, that he would win it again.
‘Today, His Excellency has guided Nigeria to true federalism with the issue on VAT. Knowing what fiscal federalism should be, His Excellency went to court to challenge the collection of VAT and the Court stated that actually, the States should collect VAT. And that is laying the foundation for true federalism and fiscal federalism.’
Ukeh commended Governor Wike for the sterling performance in office and infrastructural revolution taking place in Rivers State.