By Musa Ilallah
To the utter disappointment of naysayers and other wailing elements within and outside the shores of the country, who would stop at nothing to block achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari from being showcased and noticed, more international bodies not only see those achievements but are nominating the Nigerian President for various international award competitions as well as continental leadership roles, none of which he has failed to emerge as winner.
The latest being that on Friday 28 May, 2021, when the Daura, Katsina State-born President of Africa’s most populous country, Muhammadu Buhari, was named winner of the 2021 Great Builder Super Prize for “Trophée Babacar Ndiaye,” taking over from President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi of Egypt, who won the 2020 prize.
A statement from the African Development Bank, AfDB in May this year named President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria as the winner of the Africa Builders Award during the inaugural Africa Road Builders Conference held in March this year in Cairo, Egypt.
Slated for formal presentation of the award on June 24 on the side-lines of the AfDB’s Annual Meetings, the selection committee for the award comprises of media representatives from the five regions of the African continent who rely on media reports and experts on road networks, transport, and sustainable development.
Fattah al-Sissi, received the award “for his personal leadership and for the efforts made to ensure road safety and the health of the population in the context of transport.
The selection committee however, cited Nigeria’s efforts towards ‘improving road safety and air quality for road users’ as the reason for the conferment of the Babacar Ndiaye Africa Road Builders Award on President Buhari.
It is very heart warming hearing that the committee also commended the Nigerian President for his efforts to obtain COVID-19 vaccines and for ‘advancing major transport projects, especially in the rail sector that would ensure the optimal operation of roads and transport’.
The Babacar Ndiaye Africa Road Builders Award is organised by Acturoutes, an information platform on infrastructure and roads in Africa, and Media for Infrastructure and Finance in Africa, MIFA, a network of African journalists specialised in road infrastructure.
Created in honour of Babacar Ndiaye, a former President of the AfDB Group from 1985 to 1995 and sponsored by the AfDB President.
The selection committee comprises of media representatives from the five regions of the continent by relying on media reports and experts on road networks, transport, and sustainable development.
As an annual ritual, the Africa Road Builders selection committee carefully evaluates ambitious and tangible projects that have a real impact on the mobility of people in Africa.
Excited by the award on PMB, the Buhari Media Organisation, BMO in a statement signed by Niyi Akinsiju and Cassidy Maduweke, Chairman and Secretary respectively, described the award as a major “recognition of Buhari’s infrastructural strides”, adding that it was coming at a time the country is doing so much work with lmuch less money available at it’s disposal.
“We see it as a worthy honour because the selection committee depended on experts on road networks, transport and sustainable development in the continent to arrive at the decision that President Buhari was heads over shoulders above his fellow African leaders.
“And in rating Nigeria high in infrastructural development under the President, the committee cited the country’s efforts at improving road safety and quality for road users, as well as in advancing major transport projects especially in the rail sector.
“For us, it is not surprising as it is a confirmation of all we have always said about the President doing far more than his predecessors in the area of road construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation, as well as in modernising and expanding Nigeria’s rail network’’ BMO added.
BMO recalled that this is not the first time since 2015 that the President would be getting accolades in the continent.
It needs noting here that just last year, PMB was singled out for praises and recognition among his peers in ECOWAS as West Africa’s Covid-19 champion. This was as a result of the proactive steps President Buhari took at the onset of the pandemic to prevent it from overwhelming the nation’s health system.
One can vividly recall that those measures also caught the attention of the World Health Organisation, WHO which urged many countries to take a cue from Nigeria’s strategic efforts to address the threats Covid 19 posed to the citizens.
Also, The African Union, AU in 2018 pronounced President Buhari as its Anti-corruption champion that year.
“So the Babacar Ndiaye trophy is his third major honour in four years and we dare say that Nigerians should be proud to have a President that is well respected for his achievements in office across the World”.
BMO reassured Nigerians that President Buhari would continue to make the country proud.
It is therefore undoubtedly clear that the country is marching towards growth and sustainable development in not just transportation but in all other spheres of life like Education, Health, Agriculture, Power, Water supply, Security and general economy.
What Nigerians need to do to reciprocate and encourage PMB to do more is support, support and more support to the administration.
EMEKA ANYAOKU STREET,