THE Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has said President Mohammadu Buhari led anti-corruption war was not targeted at anybody but against the enemies of the state, who have stolen common resources for selfish enrichment.
The Acting president made the clarification yesterday during the 2017 BusinessDay States Competitiveness and Good Governance Award held in Abuja.
He insisted that the anti-corruption crusade was not only geared towards eradicating corruption but aimed at engendering development and good governance across the country.
Osinbajo, who was represented by Sen. Babafemi Ojodu, said the administration beyond fighting corruption, had gone ahead to initiate plans that had helped the states to embrace competiveness and overcome their present economic challenges.
He commended BusinessDay for its choice of Competitiveness and Good Governance in choosing the award recipients, saying that the award would spur the awardees to increase their performance in governance.
“The present fight against corruption led by President Buhari is not targeted at anybody but a fight against institutional rot and bad governance. It is a fight against those who have stolen our common wealth for selfish enrichment.
“We must applaud BusinessDay for this competitive and good governance award aimed at gauging the performance of public sector at the state level. It is very reassuring for BusinessDay to engage in this exercise.
“What is particularly pleasing about the award is that it selected the key priorities of the present administration for good governance as enunciated in the economic recovery of the government.
“This will help in promoting transparency, provide infrastructure and other critical aspects of governance. More will be achieved if we can work together to ensure affordable education, housing, increase jobs opportunities and other dividends of democracy.
“It is worthy of note that the choice of BusinessDay in selecting the awardees aligned with the recently signed Executive Order on Ease of Doing Business.”
The Acting president further charged the public office holders to hold their offices in trust and also urged other media outfits to emulate Businessday in initiating ideas that would enhance competitiveness and good governance in the country.
“I challenge other media organizations to borrow a leave from Business Day to come up with such initiatives to improve good governance and developmental practices. This goes to remind us that those entrusted with the position of leadership should know that they are called to serve and not to be served.
“This goes to remind us that those entrusted with the position of leadership that they are called to serve and not to be served,” he added.
On the effort of government to encourage states, Prof. Osinbajo said, “the introduction of the Bell Out Fund initiative by Federal Government was evidence of President Buhari’s administration resolve to spur state governments to competiveness and good governance among other initiatives.
“It is in recognition of the critical importance of states that we have consistently initiated so many initiatives in support of states.
“Since our return to democratic governance in 1999, our democratic dispensation opened a new vista for competitiveness and good governance through the 36 states of the federation, with a view to accelerating democratic process, progress and development. We have indeed seen record improvements over the years, though there are still much to be done,” he added.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Publisher and Chief Executive Officer, Business Day Newspaper, Mr. Frank Aigbogun said the 2017 States Competitiveness and Good Governance Award was conceptualised to recognise competitiveness and good governance in Nigeria among the state governors because they believe that it forms a big bedrock for national development and transformation.
While congratulating the awardees, he said their successful emergence as winners of the awards would enhance the competitiveness of their respective states.
“In a nation in need of recovery, we believe there is a need to motivate and galvanise state governments and remind the chief executives that the era of dependency on federal allocation to sustain their states is over and should rather begin to showcase their areas of competitiveness to up their internally generated revenue, IGR.
“Increasing IGR is paramount to economic development. We believe that each state is well endowed with many resources and has a comparative advantage in one area or the other. They need to increase competitiveness with IGR.
“We believe this opens the door for self sufficiency in areas of competitive strength and bilateral trade and also improve industrialization,” he added. He cited the partnership between Kebbi and Lagos states in rice production and trade which he described as a huge success.
According to him, such attempt in harnessing the competitiveness advantage of states will engender increase in employment and food security and also wealth creation.
The award was broken into 13 categories, ranging from the fastest growing state economy, best state in tourism, transparency and rural and urban infrastructure development among others.
According to the organizers, 38 nominees were identified in the award out of which 15 winners emerged. In arriving at the winners, the judges said they used a combination of qualitative and qualitative analysis.
Responding on behalf of other awardees, the Kano state Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje expressed confidence that the award would enhance competitiveness in different areas of governance.
“Since this event is meant to be a sustainable event every year I believe competitiveness will increase in different areas. We are highly delighted to see that the issues that BusunessDay have chosen are contemporary issues that if we are to move Nigeria forward, they are issues that government must pay attention to.
“In particular, they examined issues of growing cities. Certainly Kano is the most populous state in the federation and the second cosmopolitan city in Nigeria after Lagos. But if you have high population, you are at risk. Either you make your population an asset or it becomes a liability.
“I’m happy to hear that you have taken the issue of urban renewal very important. Agriculture is fast growing in Nigeria because the cheap money that we receive from oil is no more reliable. Agriculture must be productive and we are happy that the present administration under Muhammadu Buhari had taken agriculture as a very important issue of economic development.
“What we require is sustainable policy because without sustainable policies, agriculture will be very difficult to be improved.
“Our educational system does not match with contemporary requirement in terms of skills acquisition. So for a state government to give initiative and introduce measures where skill acquisition is given priority for the development of small and medium industries, there’s no better way to improve the economy than this approach. It is our belief that this competition will encourage and promote good governance,” the governor added.
Meanwhile, the Kano state emerged the winner of the Fastest growing state economy in Nigeria; Osun, best state in Tourism; Jigawa, best state in Transparency and Enugu, best state in Rural and urban infrastructure development.