Governance is a serious business. Governor Godwin Obaseki knows this, and since assuming office as governor of Edo State, has embarked on peopleoriented projects and implemented friendly policies wooing investors into the state. The governor has transformed various sectors of the Edo economy, from sports to education, health, environment, civil and public service, as well as infrastructure, creating a peaceful, secure atmosphere for businesses to thrive in the state. 

In recognition of Governor Obaseki’s giant developmental strides in Edo State, the advisory board of Public Policy Research and Analysis Center (PPRAC), led by its Chairman, Prof. Jubril Aminu, honoured him with the 2021/2022 Zik Award for Good Governance. At the event which took place at Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos, Governor Obaseki took out time to speak with journalists on what the award means to him. RICHARD EWEKA was there and brings excerpts:

Your Excellency, how do you feel receiving this prestigious award for good governance?

I am happy to be here to receive this award for good governance from this distinguished group, PPRAC. I really feel humbled. It’s very humbling to be honoured amongst the awardees tonight and it’s a privilege for me. I never knew the rest of the world was watching and observing very closely what we are doing for the past seven years. I never noticed that this will result in recognition for hard work. Now that the world has seen the changes we have made and the leadership provided, there is nowhere to hide. We will ensure that what we have started we finish it well and ensure that we sustain the achievements that we have accomplished so far.

You have received numerous awards and rejected some; why did you accept the Zik Award for Good Governance?

Well, the Zik Award was totally unsolicited, I didn’t know about this and I was just nominated. In fact, there was no pressure. Looking at the recipients over the years, the quality of the Board of Trustees of the organizing agency, I felt that these are people of repute and the kind of award that one should be associated with.

This award came to me at a very interesting time in my political career as l wind down my term in office. I am undergoing introspection, asking myself if it is worth it. Are the efforts being appreciated? Did you make a mistake? Coming here tonight to be awarded this prize for good governance makes me feel that it is worth it, all the sacrifices.

Do you cherish this award? Will it be source of motivation for you to do more for Edo people?

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This honour, this award is significant because I am being told that I am a recognized leader in a state and system that perhaps some have described as failing. The award has put on us recipients enormous responsibilities that if you are truly a leader recognized to be so, then you have enormous responsibilities to make sure that the system that recognized you as a leader is provided with real leadership and governance so that it doesn’t fail.

What is your message to your colleagues and political leaders who want to be recognized for good governance?

Well, it’s not difficult to govern well; it could be inconvenient, but good governance is not impossible to achieve. Good governance is not that difficult, just do the right thing and do what you know is just.

What should Edo people expect from you going forward, especially after receiving the Zik Award for leadership?

Edo people should expect a renewed commitment and renewed energy from us going forward. We need the energy to finish strong and finish well. I want to make a pledge today that the reward of hard work is more work. The reward for responsibility is more responsibility. I will take up that challenge. Thank you to all that made it possible, especially Edo people.

I am here tonight accompanied by friends, colleagues in government, from the executive arm, the legislative arm and the judiciary. One of the things we have tried to do in Edo State is to make all parts of the system align and work together in synergy. It has not been easy but the evidence after seven years shows it’s working.

I appreciate the organizers of this event and to say we truly thank you for the process. For us it has been very transparent and seamless and has been of high standards and high quality. I will always cherish this and thank you for giving me the impetus to thrive.