■ Says Political Icon Award motivation to do more
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Yakubu Dogara, has described The Sun Awards as the most prestigious in the country, saying the conferment of The Sun Political Icon of the Year award on him will serve as motivation to work harder towards the development of the country.
Dogara, who spoke yesterday when he received a team led by Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Publishing Limited, Mr. Eric Osagie, further commended The Sun for ensuring transparency in the selection of awardees since the inception of the annual award.
He said: “When I heard that I had been awarded The Sun Political Icon of the Year, I was surprised, in view of the gladiators and icons in the field. I thought that there were other governors and ministers; so the news was quite amazing to me mainly because I didn’t know the criteria for the award until you reeled them out to me now.
“But I must admit that this is one of the very prestigious awards that is available here in Nigeria and I must thank you for the fact that your newspaper realises that the work of journalism is not just to criticise but also to recognise those who are contributing to the development of the country at great expense and to identify them for recognition or awards.”
The Speaker opined that leaders need to be motivated from time to time, even as they are criticised. He emphasised that motivation of any kind from the media will go a long way in challenging leaders to do more.
Dogara said: “This kind of award coming from The Sun serves as a motivation and without motivation we cannot achieve much. We cannot innovate without motivation and whether we like it or not, politics remains the only way through which leadership can be recruited in many countries and the only way we can institute governments. So, it (politics) has come to be with us; we cannot run away from it.
“It can only take people and not angels to improve on existing situations; so when leaders who truly love what they do are motivated, this increases the chances of having better leadership, which will translate to the development of the country. So, The Sun newspapers selecting leaders for recognition is a wonderful idea that deserves commendation.
“I congratulate other recipients of these awards in various categories and hope that it motivates us and we continue to have the passion to do what will lead to innovation. We have to find ways to innovate because Nigeria can only compete by coming up with innovations.”
The Speaker, however, stressed that the media must set the agenda and not pander to public opinion, especially when issues of national importance are at stake. He argued that globally acknowledged icons who have changed the world, such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and William Wilberforce, came up with ideas that were unpopular but turned out to be milestones in human development, while certain populist ideologies ended up being destructive.
He said: “The media most times tends to pander to public opinion, some of which have been accentuated by certain sections of the public. But if we look at things critically, the public has never invented anything.
“Most inventions, innovations are achieved by individuals or a small group of individuals who really believe in what they are doing; thereafter, there are adapters who pick on these new ideas and later the public comes in and this is why the media, in satisfying its important role of the watchdog, should recognise that public opinion is not always the best.
“So, when we look at the public, we should seek out those policies that speak to the future, even if they are not popular, isolate and promote them. People like (Adolf) Hitler became very popular, even fascism in Italy was popular. These far right movements were quite popular then, but at the end of the day, we saw where they led the world.”
Earlier, Osagie explained to Dogara that his selection as The Sun Political Icon of the Year was unanimously agreed to by members of the Board of Editors, who have closely monitored his approach in leading the House.
The Sun MD told the Speaker that his award had placed him in an elite group of Nigerian role models, many of whom have maintained their integrity to the admiration of many.
“All our awardees are people of proven integrity. Our awards are not for sale. Nobody has ever come out to say, he/she paid so and so amount for our award. For us in The Sun, we cherish our awards so much that its roll call is made of icons such as Dr. Mike Adenuga, Oby Ezekwesili and Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.
“The Board of Editors voted for you in recognition of your antecedents as a dogged patriot, a torch bearer, a staunch believer in the principle of the separation of powers and ultimately the defender of the democratic faith.”
According to Osagie, it has taken Dogara a high level of political nous to maintain a bi-partisan House that is independent but still cooperative with the Executive in critical moments.
“We have followed your path since you emerged the Speaker of the House. We also know that there have been battles here and there. But you are still here and we recognise the courage you have shown maintaining the delicate balance between the independence of the Legislature and working with the Executive and more importantly, your safeguarding the principle of separation of power without rocking the boat.”
On the delegation to present Speaker Dogara with the letter notifying him of The Sun Political Icon of the Year Award 2016 were General Manager, Marketing & Corporate Services, Mrs. Neta Nwosu; Editor, Sunday Sun, Abdulfatah Oladeinde and Bureau Chief, Nation’s Capital, Iheanacho Nwosu.