The Nigeria Union of Journalists has honoured the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, with a distinguished Role Model Award in education, for what it described as his outstanding achievements in education in his state in the last five years.
The National President, NUJ, Chris Isiguzo, said the governor was given the award Committee after a 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 stated, “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.
“For Governor Yahaya Bello, today, we singled him out because of the massive transformation he has brought to the education sector and we are giving him the role model award in education. Governor Yahaya Bello started a university from scratch, and today, that university is set to kick off. He has transformed the state polytechnic and other institutions.”
He said 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.
The NUJ President added, “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.”
Responding, Bello said his administration identified the development of the education sector as the key to 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.”