Leadership according to Professor John Stoessinger, is the brain of a nation, as it alone is capable of blending other elements of state power for maximum effect. This is why, Charles de Gaulle argues that “(leadership) is too serious a business to be left in the hands of mediocres”. Viable, bold, and imaginative leadership is the springboard through which sustainable development could be attained.
Leadership in global parlance has been viewed as representing the managerial ideas, inspirational utterances, transformative visions and propelling actions for a society.
In this regard, Akwa Ibom is a global case study of a society that is being transformed at a phenomenal rate owing to the focus, vision and drive on the part of its leadership. As the central energy that propels meaningful development, Governor Godswill Akpabio has invested significantly in enthroning sustainable livelihood and development for his people.
Recently, the uncommon transformation programme of Chief Akpabio received impetus in faraway United Kingdom following a conferment of leadership and excellence awards on him by two reputable international media organisations in quick succession.
First was the Nigeria Arise Most Outstanding Governor in Infrastructural Development 2014 award on him by Ben TV – UK on August 30th, this was followed a week later by the Leader of the Year Award on him by NewsAfrica on Monday September 8, 2014.
It is pertinent to note that the advent of Chief Godswill Akpabio as Governor of Akwa Ibom in 2007 has demystified previous notions that African leaders lacked the political will to invest in sustainable infrastructural development and that genuine development has never been on the agenda of most African leaders.
Back at the 2014 Nigeria Arise series and Award ceremony in London, Governor Godswill Akpabio was one of the notable Nigerian leaders that was celebrated by Ben TV in a colourful ceremony that took place at the Holiday Inn Regents Park, London.
Organisers of the event, Ben TV asserted that as a way of branding, motivating and encouraging Nigerian and African leaders and mentors, the award is for those that have excelled in their field, business pursuits or called by Nigerians to do more in their industry for the development of the nation.
Governor Godswill Akpabio’s emergence to govern the people of Akwa Ibom State and his zeal to turn around the fortune of his land have paid off and has made him undeniably the most popular political image within and outside the country.
Similarly, at the Dorchester Hotel in Central London a week later, the Governor was honoured as Leader of the Year by NewsAfrica at the 2014 Annual Lecture of NewsAfrica Magazine, held at The Dorchester Hotel, London.
The Publisher of NewsAfrica Mr Moffat Ekoriko and the Chairman of Business Council on Africa, UK Mr Patrick Or both said Akpabio was voted as Leader of the Year, “for showing uncommon leadership in a country where leaders see their success in office in terms of personal wealth and also said that Chief Akpabio was the only man to be honoured with the Leadership Award by the Magazine, after the former Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Kofi Anan who was earlier honoured in 2002.
Chief Akpabio who also presented a lecture, tiltled Delivering Dividends of Democracy: An African Experience at the 2014 Annual Lecture of NewsAfrica, acknowledged that after decades of military dictatorship and colonialism in most countries in the continent, democracy came like a new dawn for Africans.
The Akwa Ibom State Governor who also applauded the current democratic dispensation in Nigeria re-iterated that the 15 years of democracy in the country has recorded more gains in the country than the 35 years of military rule.
Chief Godswill Akpabio’s name today is phenomenal among the comity of leaders in the world. From Akwa Ibom State, the uncommon transformation story has been heard and witnessed by many. This is seen in the innumerable accolades that have been bestowed on him by diverse institutions and groups across the globe .
Jonathan Howard, Chief Executive, Business Council on Africa-UK; Chief Paul Ekpo Akwa Ibom State PDP Chairman and others who graced the occasion, attested that the honour accorded Governor Godswill Akpabio was well merited.
It can be clearly seen that for the first time in the history of Akwa Ibom state, the people have clearly benefitted from a deliberate policy to develop the State through projects and programmes such as free and compulsory education, free medical services to the young, elderly and expectant mothers, the Massive roads network of over 1800kms that dot the entire state, turnkey infrastructure, like the ultra-modern e-library complex, the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Center, the Underground Pipeline Jacking technology drainage system, the Ibom International Airport, the new international hospital and referral centre, a breathtaking 30 thousand capacity international stadium, and other key infrastructure in all the sectors of the economy, as well as a Gas processing plant with 69km of Gas Pipeline which was only recently commissioned by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Governor Godswill Akpabio’s unassailable transformation blaze in the state has continued to catch the attention of several national and international organisations and corporate bodies. Prominent among his latest recognitions are, Commander Order of the Niger (CON)2011, Congressional certificate of recognition of the US congress 2011( Governor Akpabio is the 2nd black man to win this award after The Late Nelson Mandela, Gold Humanitarian award the Highest National Honour of the Niger Republic, Exam Ethics Marshall 2009 ( Ghana), Honorary Doctorate from more than 15 reputable academic institutions , media professionals / bodies, Doctorate in Management Science from the Nigeria Defence Academy, Kaduna, Best governor since the creation of Akwa Ibom state by League of Publishers in his home state,
Africa Lifetime achievement Price, among others.
Africa Lifetime achievement Price, among others.
The latest recognition by Ben TV and NewsAfrica Magazine is a further attestation to the endorsement he has won from the global media, a far cry from the earlier notions that the mass media especially the international media were attack dogs who saw nothing useful in African Governments.
The events at London may have come and gone, but the people of the state could do well to remember that by the several recognitions and honours accorded their Governor, Akwa Ibom has been placed on a pedestal as a model of democracy.
It behooves on all to contribute their quota as patriotic citizens, to nurture and see preserve this legacy