L-R, Onyenma Ogugochukwu, former chairman NDDC, with Aldohpus Wabara, former Senate President.
Winners have emerged in the 2017 BusinessDay States Competitiveness and Good Governance Awards. At the event which was held at the prestigious Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja,Thursday, 14 states out of those nominated won in different award categories.
Kano State won the Fastest Growing State economy award. This followed the noticeable increase in its IGR, expanding business opportunities and rising confidence among investors across the state. Osun State won the Best State in Tourism Award, following its consistent successes in hosting the annual Osun Osogbo festival.
Ebonyi State won the most improved in healthcare development.
L-R, Vincent Ogbulafor, former PDP chairman, with Austin Akobundu, former minister of State, Defence.
Governor David Umahi’s administration was commended for channeling the resources of the state to build the first virology centre for the entire south eastern region. The list of winners included Jigawa State, which won the Transparency in Governance award. The Award Committee based its decision on full disclosure of the contracts awarded, their costs, contractors and the level of performance of each project. Enugu and Edo states jointly won the most improved state in rural and urban development.
Abia State won the best state promoting made in Nigeria goods and SME development award category. This campaign earned entrepreneurs in Abia state about N1 billion in revenue in the last fiscal year. Governor Okezie Ikpeazu was highly commended for promoting made in Nigeria goods.
Kaduna State won the most improved state in ease of doing business. Since he assumed office, Mallam El Rufai introduced a number of measures that have seen all the government agencies improved remarkably in addressing investors’ concerns and this has led to a number of new investments being injected into the state.
L-R, Aisha El-Rufia, wife Kaduna State Governor, with Linus Uchechukwu Anukwu.
Other winners and their award categories are: Benue State (Agric development); Ogun State(Housing development) while Imo and Sokoto states won the most improved states in education development for the southern and northern regions respectively.
Apart from being the state with the highest enrolments into tertiary institutions in the country, Imo State has maintained the top five positions by WAEC ranking among the states of the federation. On its part, Sokoto State has embarked on massive reforms of the education sector, starting with the highest budgetary allocation to that sector. Gombe and Plateau states won the most improved states in peace and security.
Giving his opening remarks, Frank Aigbogun, publisher/CEO BusinessDay, thanked the dignitaries in attendance and enjoined the winners not rest on their oars as the sky is the limit.
“ As the leading business and financial newspaper in West Africa, our aim is to encourage state governments and public officials generally, to see governance as a serious business, so that our scarce resources can be judiciously used with a view to making Nigeria a better place for all” Aigbogun said.
L-R, Nasiru El-Rufai, Kaduna State Governor with Pauline Tallen, former Deputy Governor Plataeu State.
“There is no doubt that since the good governance awards debuted, we have seen a lot of improvements in governance across the states. Starting with increasing internally generated revenue(IGR), robust official websites that help public officials disseminate information better; timely disclosures of government finances, especially with regards to the awards of contracts, and so on” Aigbogun added.
Representing the Acting President at the event, Babafemi Ojudu, his special adviser on political affairs, said, “It is in recognition of the critical importance of states to a prosperous economy that the Buhari administration has acted swiftly and consistently to offer several initiatives in support of states.
“For instance, just after we assumed office in 2015 we discovered that several states were owing as much as seven months salary backlogs. There and then, President Muhammadu Buhari approved a bailout programme which made additional cash available to states.
That was followed by a Budget Support facility which we have just recently extended, ie extra cash running into billions of naira to each of the 35 states that benefited.
“We must commend state governments also for signing up for the Fiscal Responsibility Plan, and urge them to do more by further blocking financial leakages and take on official graft even more aggressively.”
L-R, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Kano State Governor, with Acho Nwaakanma, former Deputy Governor ,Abia State.
Ojudu further added. “Even the release of more billions as Paris debt refunds is without a question, another proof of President Buhari’s resolve to spur economic growth in the States, even when earnings had dipped more than half.
“This is why we must applaud this initiative by BusinessDay, the leading financial and business intelligence newspaper, to put quantitative and qualitative metrics in place to gauge the performance of the public sector at State level.”
Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje,of Kano state said the awards should be commended and hosted annually to encourage states compete and improve themselves in good governance.
“There is no better way to improve the economy than in this kind of competitive awards.We are grateful to BusinessDay for this kind of award.
L-R, Jacob Buba, Gbomgwom Jos, with Babafemi Ojodu, SA to Vice President on Political Matters.
Okezie Ikpeazu, governor of Abia State, said the award has given him the impetus to do more, in line with the delivery of the mandate given to him by the people of the state.
The event was attended by dignitaries from government and across sectors of the economy.
Some of dignitaries present included governors Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna State, Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State, Okezie Ikpiazu of Abia State and Samuel Ortom of Benue State.
L-R, Adeyemi Dipeolu, SA to the President on Economic Matters, with Letep Dabang, Chairman APC Plataeu State.