DECEMBER 10, 2021. NATION MEDIA GROUP, BY MOHAMMED MOMOH.
Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua has been feted as “Best Governor of the Year” at the second edition of the Africa Illustrious Awards 2021. The second term governor was presented the award during a colourful gala held at Radisson Blu Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria, on Thursday, December 9.
The award, established in 2020 and managed by Nigerian-based My Media Africa, recognises Africans who have excelled in 36 different categories including governance, agriculture, education, arts, sports, community development and philanthropy. For 2021, Dr Mutua trumped Oscar Mabuyane, Premier of Eastern Cape province, and Bushy Maape, Premier of North Western province, both from South Africa.
According to the organizers, the three leaders were finalists, thanks to their leadership in infrastructure, youth development, recreational facilities, and healthcare. The panel cited improved healthcare facilities in Machakos County, in particular the free cancer care and treatment centre that takes care of vulnerable Kenyans, as one of the reasons Dr Mutua came out top.
Clean and beautiful
“Machakos is very clean and beautiful,” Prof Henry Iwuanyanwu, one of the award curators, opined. The panellists were also impressed by the Machakos People’s Park, which they said is clean, beautiful and free for all Kenyans to enjoy. The final criteria was youth development, where the panel cited the bursaries allocated to young people, sports stadia and table-banking for women among others.
Others who bagged awards are Nigerians who excelled in sports. They include the late Samuel Okwaraji, Rashidi Yekini and Joseph Blankson. Okwaraji, a 25-year-old footballer, collapsed and died during the 1990 World Cup qualifier against Angola in Lagos. Yekini, a Nigerian footballer and striker, died at the age of 48.
Blankson was a 42-year-old Nigerian contractor who died while saving 13 victims of a boat accident. My Media Africa gave families of the late legends N500,000 each. Also, a 35-year-old activist, Hazmat Lawal of Connected Development (Code), won in the Climate Change Advocate category.
In 2020, the Best Governor of the Year was Mr Babagana Umara Zulum, governor of Borno State in Nigeria. In spite of the raging insurgency that has devastated North East Borno state, including the killing of more than 95,000 persons in the region, Prof Zulum seems undeterred in bringing development to the embattled state while also forging for peace and security, organizers of the award said at the time. In the other categories, another Kenyan, Prof PLO Lumumba, emerged tops as the “Pan-Africanist of all times”. Other finalists include Emmanuel Tuloe from Liberia, Mutebe Henry from Uganda, Ousman Touray from The Gambia, Strive Masiyiwa from Zimbabwe, David Adeleke (Davido) from Nigeria, Hon Jewel Taylor, Vice-President of Liberia, Chinedu Okoli (Flavour), Peter Ndifong from Cameroon, Dr Charles Hackman from Ghana, among others.
Former President of Nigeria, Mr Goodluck Jonathan, also won the 2020 Africa Illustrious Award as the “African Peace Ambassador of all Time”. The award calls for nominations in the various categories from across Africa and the diaspora.
Thereafter, the public is invited to vote on nominees via social media.
The shortlist is then subjected to scrutiny by a panel of 26 eminent Africans drawn from across the continent in order to settle on the winners.