By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, has awarded the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, with a “Distinguished Role Model” in education, for his outstanding achievements in the sector in four years.
The National President, NUJ, Chris Isiguzo, said the Governor was singled out by the award Committee out of the 36 state governors after painstaking assessment of each state in the education sector.
According to him, “the Role Model in Education Award is a special category award, given to Bello for bringing revolution to education in Kogi State.”
Isiguzo continued: “The award we are presenting to him (Bello) today is a special category award in education. Apart from recognising political actors that have done well in press freedom, we also take time out to single out political leaders that have by their own actions made enormous contributions across sectors.
“Governor Yahaya Bello started a university from the scratch, and today, that university is set to kick off. He has transformed the state polytechnic and other institutions.
“These were among many other achievements of the governor, which the award committee took into consideration, including the fact that the teaching staff in Kogi State stood out clearly among their colleagues in other states.”
He noted, “If you look at the teaching staff in Kogi State and compare them with their contemporaries in other states, the difference is clear. Oftentimes, political actors tend to confuse the role of the media. They see us from the point of view of antagonists.
“We are institutional partners. Where a government has done well, it is our responsibility to acknowledge such achievement; where the government has also not done very well, it is also our responsibility to challenge the same government and say, in this same area, you have not done well.”
The NUJ President added, “So many people may not understand what we are doing today, but it is something that we must have to do because we must encourage the shining examples we have in the present democratic experiment. This is why we have gathered here together with my colleagues, and with the endorsement of the national leadership of the union, we have come to present this special recognition to His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.
“I must also point out that in arriving at this conclusion, it was not something that one or two persons sat down to do. The Managing Director, Enentis Communications, Dr. Peter Ademu, led the team of people that went through and screened the nominations. At the end of the day, they informed me that they had selected Governor Yahaya Bello after thorough screening, that he stands out of the Governors of the 36 states.”
Responding, Bello said his administration identified the development of the education sector as the key to high-level human capital development needed for the emancipation of the people of the state.
He said, “I did not know that in carrying out my constitutional responsibilities to the best of my ability and within the limited resources available, I was making a serious impact in the educational sector and paving the way for awards.
“The transformed education system is the reason our youth are no longer taking to crime.”