Buhari Transcends Partisan Divide, Confers Wike with Excellence Award in Public Service

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike being conferred with the Distinguished Award in Infrastructure Delivery by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at the maiden edition of Excellence Award in Public Service ceremony on Friday, 21 October 2022.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari Friday, transcended partisan political divide to confer the Excellence in Public Service Award to Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, former Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and 42 others.

Gov. Wike was conferred with the “Distinguished Award in Infrastructure Delivery”, while President Jonathan was awarded in the category of Peace Building at the maiden edition the Nigeria Excellence Awards in Public Service (NEAPS) ceremony, held at yhe Presidential Villa, Aso Rock, Abuja.

President Buhari, while acknowledging that the award was devoid of politics, stressed that the initiators of the award deployed one of the best indices to determine the level of performance of Public Officers.

With the award, the 44 recipients, he noted, will be challenged to perform above board henceforth, knowing that they are being monitored by the people.

“Public Service is a public trust where Officers and even employees must be accountable to the people whom they should serve at all times with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency.

“They are expected to act with patriotism and think out of the box in order to solve the many problems facing the people which they lead.”

President Buhari spoke further saying that at present, issues in corruption continue to affect the civil services in many countries, around the world.

The president stated that several reasons of the issues in corruption still exist because of deep rooted problems like nepotism, cronyism, political patronage as well as lack of transparency and accountability.

“These vices distract them (public officers) from delivering on their mandate and aspirations.

“The unsystematic enforcement of law and institutional mechanisms for holding civil servants and public officials accountable of their actions will always lead to a negative impression to the citizens.

“I wish that leaders will arise and stand up to be counted among leaders who have distinguished themselves to do the right thing and leave their footprints on the sands of time.”

Secretary to the Federal Government, Boss Mustapha said the award is purely a public sector initiative which, independently assessed the performance of public servants in the discharge of their roles and responsibilities.

“The Nigeria Excellence Award in Public Service is an award they recognize and rewards innovation, purposeful leadership and other exceptionally deserving individuals that have contributed immensely to the growth and development of the public service and the country at large.”

Former president, Goodluck Jonathan, who gave the vote of thanks on behalf of the recipients, noted that while 16 out of the 36 State governors received awards in various categories, none of the 774 council chairmen were found worthy for recognition.

To this end, he recommended that the National Assembly should as a matter of national importance review the function and system of the Local Governments in Nigeria.

He charged the organisers of the award to also consider other Nigerians, particularly teachers and medical partitioners for recognition.

Governor Wike said President Buhari has demonstrated leadership in recognising excellence in public service beyond political affiliation.

He noted that if the Nigeria Excellence Awards in Public Service which is completely devoid of politics is sustained, it will spur competition and engender good governance.

“For me, just like what Mr President said, it has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with achievement, and for me that shows leadership, that they don’t choose only those that people will say oh, they belong to the same political party.”

After the event at the villa, a reception in honour of Gov. Wike was organised with Enugu State Governor Ífeanyi Ugwuanyi who was conferred the State Judicial Reform award in attendance.

Chairman of the event and governor of Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu noted that Governor Wike and his Enugu State counterpart, Governor Ugwuanyi have shown capacity as reputed leaders with success records despite the odds against them.

Dr. Ikpeazu said it is imperative for leaders to always turn their adversaries into advantage for the good of the generality of people. He added that the expected liberation of Nigeria will happen in his generation.

Former governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah Jang said it is important for leaders to be very concerned about who takes over from them.

He said it is disheartening to see ones success and achievements in office destroyed due to lack of capacity of a successor to sustain such positive feat.

On his part former minister of information, Prof. Jerry Gana said the people of the middle belt are resolved in their admiration and support for Gov. Wike because he is courageous, has integrity and a tremendous achiever who has passionately delivered democratic dividend to Rivers people.

The chairman of Rivers PDP elders council, Chief Fredinard Alabraba said the State is happy to have a courageous leader like governor Wike.

He explained that Gov. Wike’s financial prudence is the reason why Rivers State has since 2020 maintained first position in fiscal performance in the country.