ONDO State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi and the Katsina State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema and other eminent personalities were at the weekend conferred
with the 2011 Zik Leadership Prize in Good Governance in Lagos.
The annual award, set up in 1994 by the Public Policy Research and Analysis Centre (PPRAC) in honour of the first civilian President and Commander of the Armed Forces in Nigeria, Late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, is to recognise and honour those in positions of authority who emplace exemplary leadership in Africa.
Other eminent personalities who were conferred with the prestigious awards include the President of Liberia, Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Esama of Benin Kingdom, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, Chairman of Dantata Group, Alhaji Aminu Dantata, Chief Executive Officer of First Bank PLC, Mr. Olabisi Onasanya and the Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji.
In his welcome address, the Chairman of the Advisory Board of the PPRAC, Prof. Jubril Aminu stated that the recipients emerged after a stringent selection process which eliminated other nominees following a rigorous criteria adopted by the centre.
He said since its inception, eminent Africans in various leadership positions have been striving hard to win the award. He however commended the governors for coming personally to receive the awards.
Prof Aminu also said that Nigerians are yearning for leaders that are genuinely ready to bring about a paradigm shift in governance because they have been attributing their socio-economic challenges to wrong choices made by the majority of their past leaders.
He commended the awardees for their frantic efforts and contributions to societal development and advised them to see their awards as challenges to do more in the service of the people.
Presenting the award to Governor Olusegun Mimiko, the Chairman of occasion, Vice President, Alhaji Namadi Sambo stated that Mimiko won the award due to his administration’s outstanding performance in three years in office.
While urging him to continue in the same direction, Sambo who was represented at the occasion by the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire noted that the country will soon overcome its myriads of challenges if all Nigerians perform their respective duties in the best of their abilities.
He emphasised the need to put measures in place to promote the development of the youths who he referred to as the leaders of tomorrow.
The Vice President who said that nobody can fault the selection process due to the pedigrees of the recipients, charged the organisers to do everything possible to sustain the event which he said will engender socio-economic transformation of the country.
Mimiko while addressing newsmen after the award said that his administration will not relent in spreading the deliverables of good governance to all the nooks and crannies of the State.
He said his administration’s achievement in Ondo State in three years qualifies to be called a revolution in governance adding that the success story of his administration would not have been possible without the prayers, cooperation and support of the people.
Mimiko while re-iterating the commitment of his administration to do more said: “By the grace of God, we in Ondo State will take increased devotion from all the awards and recognitions we have received into redoubling our efforts to make sure that we spread, to all the nooks and crannies of Ondo State, the message of hope and the dawn of life more abundant for our people through the instrumentality of good governance.”
Speaking as the Royal Guest of Honour, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade highlighted the remarkable contributions of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe to the nation’s socio-economic and political growth lauded the governors for enthroning good governments in their respective states.
He opined that the recognition will spur them and encourage others in leadership positions to showcase their leadership qualities in order to make their marks on the sand of time.
The governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi in his response on behalf of the awardees, highlighted the few achievements of each of the awardees in their various positions in the last few years.
He observed that the era of extravagant promises by leaders to the masses was gone adding that Nigerians are now ready to question their leaders who they entrust with their future.
Having given kudos to PPRAC for carrying out a thorough research before conferring the awards on the recipients, Obi expressed delight that both Mimiko and Shema were recipients of the awards for delivering on Universal Basic Education (UBE) in the country.
He told the gathering that he had toured the two states and confirmed that while Shema was constructing six-lane road in his state, Mimiko had built a gigantic Mother and Child Hospital and embarked on an effective maternal and infant mortality reduction initiate called Abiye, which the World Bank has adjudged as the best in Africa.