Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has hailed his nomination by the management of The Sun Publishing Limited as Governor of the Year, saying the honour will spur him to do more for the state and the nation generally.
He said The Sun management did a thorough job by finding him worthy of such an award.
Speaking when he received a delegation from The Sun, led by the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Onuoha Ukeh, Bello described his recognition as heartwarming.
Saying that the award by The Sun would give him an additional push to render more service to the people of Kogi State, Bello promised to continue doing his best for the development of the state and the people.
He said his ultimate goal in government was to improve lives of the people of the state, entrench good policies and provide infrastructure.
Earlier in his speech,The Sun MD said Bello was chosen for Governor of the Year award owing to his achievements in the areas of peace, unity and security.
He also said the governor has done well in development of infrastructure, education and agricultural, among others.
On what Bello has done in security, Ukeh said at a time when the country is plagued by insecurity, Bello has done much to rid Kogi of security breaches and inter-tribal squabbles.
He said: “When you came to office in 2015 you inherited security challenges. Kogi State at that time was notorious as the den of crimes and criminalities. Due to the state’s strategic location, armed robbers and kidnappers attacked travellers frequently. However, on coming to office, you declared a full-blown war on armed robbers, criminals and kidnappers operating in the state.
“While other governors were going to the Presidential Villa begging for help to solve their security challenges, you took it upon yourself as the Chief Security Officer of the state to safeguard your people from men of the underworld. You provided the necessary equipment for security agencies.”
Listing what Bello did to tackle insecurity, the MD said: “It is on record that you provided over 200 utility vehicles and over 500 motorcycles in one fell swoop for security patrol. You also employed the services of vigilance security outfit, while also providing sophisticated gadgets for Operation Total Freedom (OPT) you established to stamp out criminal activities in the state.”
He said the Kogi governor launched the Security Whistle Blower Policy, “wherein reward was given to those who exposed criminals.”
According to him, “the Vigilante Service Operation (VSO) and the domestication of the Criminal Justice Code, which you put in place, were also instrumental to the security of life and property in the state.”
He said in order to arrest farmers/herdsmen clashes, Bello created a dialogue and cooperation platform for a free flow of communication between the government and herdsmen, on the one hand, and the communities and herdsmen on the other hand.
“This move has ensured that both farmers and herdsmen are living peacefully together in the three senatorial districts of Kogi State.”
On infrastructure and policy of the governor, Ukeh noted that despite the meagre resources Kogi has been turned into a construction site with several ongoing constructions, renovations and reconstructions
He maintained that the governor had provided succour to rural residents in some parts of Kogi East through the “light up Kogi East Project” while critical electricity distribution infrastructure was upgraded to enable and enhance power evacuation from Itobe substations in Ajaokuta.
The Sun Awards 2020 holds at the Expo Convention Centre, Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos on Saturday, October 16.
Apart from Gov. Bello, others who will receive awards are: Governor Nyesome Wike of Rivers State and Mallam Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (Man of the Year); Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State ( Governor of the Year); Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State (Political Icon); and Comrade Philip Shaibu, Deputy Governor of Edo State (Sports Personality).
Others are Allen Onyema, chairman, Air Peace and Dr. Adedeji Adeleke (Exceptional Philanthropist); Brig Gen Mohammed Buba Marwa (retd), chairman, National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency, Brig Gen Ibrahim Shuaibu, Director General of the National Youths Service Corps; and Mr. Chinedum Orji, Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly (Public Service); Engr Nnamdi Ezigbo, chairman, SLOT Systems Limited and Dr. ABC Ojiakor, chairman, SEPLAT Petroleum Company Ltd (Entrepreneur of the Year); Alhaji Mustapha Ado, chairman, Ammasco International Ltd and Chief Ebuka Onunkwo, Chairman, Seahorse Lubricant Industries Limited (Industrialist of the Year).
Also to be honoured are First Lady of Ondo State, Chief Mrs. Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu (Most Supportive First Lady,); Chief Obinna Iyiegbu (Obi Cubana), chairman of Cubana Group (Hospitality Icon) and Kanayo O. Kanaya, star actor and producer ( Nollywood Icon).
Other award winners are Mr. Moses Ekpo, Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Olabode George, Prof George Obiozor, President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide and Amb Babagana Kingibe (Lifetime Achievement); Chief Frank Okafor, chairman of Marco Polo Group Limited and Prince Chris Igwe, chairman, Mainland Oil Limited (Investor of the Year).