The Yobe State Governor, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni, has said The Sun Award, which he will receive next month, will serve as an impetus to render more selfless service to the country and humanity.
Gov Buni, who is also the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), will on October 16, 2021 receive The Sun Political Icon award for 2020 along with 22 others, who will receive various awards.
Speaking when he received a delegation led by the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Publishing Ltd, Onuoha Ukeh, Gov Buni said he particularly considered the recognition invaluable because he neither lobbied for it nor was the choice influenced by anybody around him .
He said that the honour was a confirmation that people are appreciative of the achievements he has recorded, both as the governor of Yobe and National Chairman of APC’s CECPC, while reiterating that it will spur him to do more for the country and humanity.
He said: “I am highly honoured and I commend the Management of The Sun Newspaper for finding me worthy to be nominated for this award. I am really encouraged and motivated to do more because it is only when some people appreciate what you are doing that you will be propelled to do more.
“This award will certainly be a booster for me to scale up the achievements, both as National Chairman of APC’s CECPC and the governor of Yobe State. It is sweeter because as you rightly pointed out, it is not an award I lobbied to get. It is even better when it is coming from a credible media outfit like The Sun Newspaper.
“Of course, I know the outstanding qualities of The Sun Newspaper. There can be no democracy without the media because you are the watchdog and you actually keep key players on their toes. Above all and as I said earlier, I thank The Sun management.”
Explaining the situation of things in his state, Buni said: “As you all know, Yobe is one of the worst hit states, devastated by the Boko Haram insurgence. Of course, the insurgency has been there for over a decade now and you can imagine the level of devastation not only in terms of infrastructure but also in human angle of it.
“When you look at the areas of healthcare, education and the like, you will notice that a three-year old child when this Boko Haram started, is around 15 years now. You can imagine the vacuum, the trauma and the number of out-of-school children as a result of the situation.
“We are just starting to pick the pieces after the devastation. We have taken some deliberate steps to ensure that we catch up. However, we passionately plead for all hands to be on deck in addressing the situation.”
Earlier, The Sun MD, explained that the choice of Governor Buni as The Sun Political Icon of the Year award was arrived at after a vigorous scrutiny.
Listing factors that influenced the choice, he cited the achievements recorded both as the ruling party boss and in Yobe, in the area of administrative competence, peace resolution mechanism, unity, infrastructure, education and agricultural development, among others.
He said: “At a time when the country, especially, the North East geopolitical zone, is plagued by insecurity, you have done so much to almost insulate your state from security breaches and inter-tribal squabbles. Yobe has been relatively peaceful, with little disruption of business activities compared to other states in the zone. You did not only leave enviable landmarks in your state but also displayed your ingenuity and competence in party administration since assumption of office as the national chairman APC Caretaker Committee.”
He said the APC Caretaker Committee, under Buni’s watch, has doubled its efforts to meet up with the tasks of retaining power beyond 2023, bearing in mind that democracy is as strong as the political parties it produces.
“The CECPC under you has rebuilt the party to strengthen Nigeria democracy in an unwavering commitment to lead the process of political change in the country. In line with the CECPC’s core mandate; to engender unity in the party, promote true reconciliation and give a sense of belonging to every party member, your dispute-resolution mechanism and efforts at resolving internal misunderstandings have paid off, with many formerly aggrieved members withdrawing and terminating many litigations involving the party.”
The Sun MD said Buni had led APC CECPC to embarked on membership registration, revalidation and register update in order to shore up the party’s membership and support-base nationwide.
According to him, Buni’s efforts resulted in “APC now having over 40 million registered members. Many Nigerians joined the party on account of your excellent, transparent leadership style.
“As a peacemaker and stabilising voice, you have constantly met party leaders, party groups and interests; to accommodate all in the APC fold. At the last count, political heavyweights ranging from the grassroots, National Assembly members to state governors, with many still planning to leave their political parties for APC.”
Chronicling his achievements as governor, The Sun MD, said: “In the last two years of your administration in Yobe State, you have introduced a new result oriented approach to addressing healthcare services in primary, secondary and the tertiary healthcare facilities.
The Sun Awards ceremony will be held at the Expo Convention Centre, Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos on Saturday, October 16, 2021.
Apart from Gov Buni, others who will receive awards are: Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Mallam Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (Man of the Year); Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State and Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi 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 and Brig Gen Ibrahim Shuaibu, Director General of the National Youths Service Corps (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).