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What’s In An Award? By abiodun KOMOLAFE



An award, scrutinized without bias, is “a recognition, or reward, for certain excellent, or outlandish performances.”  Aside the fact that an award serves as a motivation for the awardee, the utility value of such an award is as good as the perception of the people over the credibility value of the giver. Put differently, awards and/or institutional recognitions attached to them are as good as the integrity profile of the institutions, which confer the awards on people. Thinking a lot more clearly, what is at stake is the sincerity of purpose. Truth be told, we are in a world where awards are now 10-for-10k in nature, content, and context. As a matter of fact, anybody can ‘win’ laurels. While many awards, these days, are given for sycophantic reasons; or, as an upfront payment for futuristic advantages, some are seriously unnecessary and irresponsible, simply because the givers as well as the takers are unworthy of the core and the import of such a gesture. 
In a world where development has become a refuge of scoundrels, it is an endless tale of people just converging to give awards, without appreciating their complexity, philosophical or crucial sociological imports.  If an award is given by a non-credible organization, whatever the name ascribed to that award is equally unworthy. But then, there cannot be a counterfeit or fake denomination of a two thousand naira note, because there is no original of it. Impliedly, if there are fake and irresponsible awards, there must also be original and worthy awards in circulation. Thus, a worthy award is the one given by a “worthy giver” to a carefully, and rigorously selected recipient. 
The highly coveted and socio-politically esteemed ‘Best Governor of the Year 2020’ Award, won recently, by Governor Gboyega Oyetola of the State of Osun, refers. To be sure, lots of scrutiny, debates, facts-finding, arguments and counter-arguments, to mention a few, must have gone into the final selection of Oyetola as the choice of the panel of judges. There is no doubt that the panel, which chose him as the winner, was insightful and mindful of the burdens of its media and social responsibility, not to betray the trust of the society. In a free society, landmark achievements are made, which become standards for the society. The stage is set for everyone to contribute, aspire, and attempt to surpass the extant recorded landmarks; and when that is done, pronto, the celebration of another notable achievement. That is how developed nations are built; landmark achievements are continually built upon by succeeding generations of other people. Of course, this is where vision becomes important. 
Using good governance as the benchmark, the judges were able to find this astute administrator, with aversion for noise making and self-aggrandizement, worthy of the coveted prize. It is in this respect that yours sincerely joins other well-meaning Nigerians in congratulating past winners of this prestigious, first-among-equals award even as we also congratulate Oyetola for being the newest recipient. The newspaper must also be commended for having the forthrightness and capability to decipher values that must have influenced its decision to make this governor, whose humanness is unrivaled and progressive ideals are undiluted, its choice. One can only hope that it’d sustain the high standard and credibility profile of both the newspaper and the awards it confers on selected worthy Nigerians. 

In times like this, the finesse that Oyetola brought into governance is worthy of mention. He has brought responsibility and accountability to the office of ‘Mr. Governor.’ In fact, he has shown the people how to lead by responding to issues promptly. What is happening now is that this governor, who carries power gingerly and responsibly, has shown that government truly exists to serve the people. Even the state’s bureaucracy has taken its cue from the leadership traits of this noiseless achiever and progressive administrator. 

Broadly speaking, Oyetola’s achievements in the last two years are as breathtaking as they are  outstanding. The governor started with the health sector, believing that ‘health is wealth’; and that, if there’s to be any meaningful development, it must be powered by healthy people and to be enjoyed by a healthy citizen population. Through the World Bank Assisted funding, the health sector has been reinvigorated in Osun. Currently, it has a functional, well-equipped Health Centre per every delineated Electoral Ward in every Local Government Area of the state.
The Education sector, where, on the policy level, Oyetola reversed some previous decisions that were deemed contentious or controversial, after a thorough scrutiny and consultation with the stakeholders and eggheads in the sector, has not gone unnoticed! Now, indigenes and residents alike are feeling proud with what is on ground. As we speak, the process of recruiting new, qualified teachers for public primary and secondary schools in the state is also at an advanced stage; and this proposes to employ about 3,000 qualified people into the teaching profession. 
It is also gratifying to note that Oyetola is paying deserved attention to tourism in the state. He has built a connecting bridge between the State of Osun Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the people. Before now, most people perceived the relevance of the Ministry in the abstract sense. But now, through campaigns and effective orientation, people are getting to understand what tourism entails and are buying into the socio-political economy of the sector. In Osun, particularly in Osogbo and its environs, real estates, hotels, and other hospitality-based activities are springing up rapidly, as many people are now being attracted to the state through tourism. 
In the Works and Transportation sector, undoubtedly, a major government Ministry, the governor has raised the bar. In the present dispensation, works and contracts are now monitored and projects are executed and delivered on schedule and according to preset standards
On the security situation in the state, the governor is proactive, always making frantic efforts towards ensuring that there is synergy among the stakeholders. His efforts at ensuring that illegal mining ends, so that the state can make money and use it to energize development, have also gone a long way in demonstrating that the fortress of the future is conquerable. Needless to repeat that Osun workers and pensioners are currently having the best of situations! In compliance with his campaign promises, the governor has continued to pay full salaries and pensions to the state’s workers and retirees, despite its being at the bottom four in the Federation Revenue Allocation Table. Added to this is that Oyetola’s administration has not added to the loan burden that he inherited, even as he has not for once defaulted in the repayment of the loans he met on ground. 
Given the few aforementioned achievements, the panel of judges might not have found it stressful to make Oyetola its pick as he whom the cap fits in the 2020 edition of the Awards Ceremony.
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, make Gboyega Oyetola’s Administration the best in the history of the State of Osun!
KOMOLAFE is Senior Special Assistant to Governor Oyetola on Media (; 07087941459 – SMS only)


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