Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has said The Sun Man of the Year 2018 Award is most “inspiring”.
The governor revealed that he was shocked when he read about it, as he had no inkling that The Sun could find him worthy for such great honour.
El-Rufai was announced The Sun Man of the Year 2018 award winner in October along side 21 others, who won various awards. He and others would receive the awards on January 25, 2019 in Lagos. Speaking when the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Publishing Limited, Mr. Eric Osagie, led a team to formally notify him of the award, Governor El-Rufai said he learnt about the Man of the Year award in a news report online.
He said since he was not earlier contacted to expect the announcement, he asked his aides to verify if it was true. When it was verified, he said, it gladdened his heart.
The governor said The Sun was courageous to have picked him for the award, since he is not a popular man but someone seen as controversial.
He thanked The Sun for recognising that he and his team are adding value to the governance of Kaduna State, declaring that he wholeheartedly accept the award, which he dedicated to Kaduna people.
El-Rufai said: “This award nomination came to me as a shock. It is surprising and inspiring. When I read it online, I was shocked because it was unexpected. Thank you very much. It is the type of recognition we need to spur us to do more for the state and Nigeria in general.
“Every decision we have taken since we came on board has been very difficult, but necessary to lift our state. What we inherited was shocking and we needed to change the fortunes of the state for the better.
“It is important we do the right thing because other states in the region (North) look up to us.” Speaking on the sack of teachers, in his bid to sanitise the education system, El-Rufai said: “It was not easy to lay off 22,000 teachers. We did it. It was not easy to recruit 25,000 teachers. We did it. We are determined to do the right thing in the interest of Kaduna people.”
He used the opportunity to explain the choice of a female running mate for 2019 election, declaring that it was done to tell female youths in the North that the woman’s place is not to bear and take care of children but also to participation in governance and leadership.
He said the choice of Hadiza Balarabe, a Muslim woman, was a product of the collective courage of his team in government, as part of efforts to change girl-child perspective that her life only ends in marriage.
Speaking earlier, The Sun MD said El-Rufai was picked for the award in recognition of the remarkable transformation he “brought to bear on infrastructure, security, education, healthcare and rural development, among others, in Kaduna State” since assuming office on May 29, 2015.
He said the Kaduna State governor had made tremendous impact “in public service and as a private citizen,” stating: “Your tenure as minister of Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, from July 2003 to May 2007, showed your profound zeal for excellence. You tried to not only return the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to its original masterplan but also to make it a modern city to be reckoned with globally.”
Osagie said as governor of Kaduna State, El-Rufai had “shown vision, courage, leadership and selfless service,” while noting that the state’s adoption of “the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy led to closure of 470 accounts belonging to different ministries, departments and agencies and the recovery of N24.7 billion.”
He said other programmes and policies of Kaduna State, which earned El-Rufai Man of the Year award include: reforms in the Kaduna State civil service, which caused the reduction of the number of ministries from 19 to 13 as well as the number of permanent secretaries from 35 to 18; the launch of free feeding programme in schools and abolition of fees and levies in public primary and junior secondary schools.
The MD invited the governor to personally attend The Sun Awards ceremony holding in Lagos on January 25, 2019, to which El-Rufai promised to be present.