President Jonathan who spoke at the Nigerian Tribune’s Men of the Year Award ceremony in Abuja noted that acts of terrorism in Nigeria were not against the government alone but also war against the Nigerian people.
Jonathan spoke through his representative, the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mr. Edem Duke, even as the Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu warned that perpetrators of acts of terrorism would be dealt with according to the laws of the land.
Jonathan said: “Terrorism is a new phenomenon facing the country and that is why the Federal Government is responding to it by mobilizing resources to attack the source.
“The administration is collaborating with foreign and neighboring bodies because the nature of the attack is foreign to our country. Terrorism should not be seen as sensational; rather it is a dastardly act against the people of Nigeria. We therefore call on the media to partner with the government in sensitizing the public on the negative effects of this act. The issue of security calls for greater responsibility by the media in reporting such sensitive issues”.
Governor Aliyu was the keynote speaker at the event where the Senate President, David Mark, Ondo State governor, Olusegun Mimiko, business mogul, Aliko Dangote and the Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe were honoured.
Aliyu in his keynote address entitled “Patriotism, Service Delivery and Commitment to National Service: The Nigerian Experience, challenged Nigerians on patriotism and the need to rise above ethnic loyalties.
According to him “We are fond of giving negative perspectives and exaggerations of our situation, with adverse implications for our national image and reputation. This brings me to the highpoint of my keynote address- Patriotism, which more than corruption, poverty or ignorance is probably the most serious challenge to our development as a nation.
“Great nations are built not merely by economic resources, not merely by technological advancement, but by the combination of the right values, the right attitudes and the commitment of the people to the promotion of the national interest above primordial sentiments and ethnic loyalties”.
He also lauded the vision of the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, saying that “through Papa Awo’s rich and inspiring biography and legacies we could see the value of education as the greatest instrument of liberation and social equalization”.
The Senate President who received the Best Public Officer of the Year 2011 in his acceptance speech warned those with evil intention for the nation to have re-think, stressing that the nation cannot move forward when mire with crisis.
He commended the resilience of the Tribune newspaper which he said had seen it waxing stronger in the last 63 years, noting that it has survived this long because it was a paper founded on truth.
He said, “The newspaper had survived the turbulent times because it was founded on the truth”.
In his own acceptance speech, Mimiko who bagged the Governor of the Year 2011 praised Awolowo and described him as the precursor of meaningful development in Nigeria.
Mark was conferred with the Best Public Officer of the Year 2011, Mimiko bagged the Governor of Year 2011, Dangote received the award for Man of the Year 2011 award and Runsewe was rewarded as the Most Enterprising Director-General of the Year 2011.
In her opening message, Chairman of Tribune titles, Yeye Oodua, H.I.D. Awolowo, stressed on the importance of rewarding workers. She said only a nation that knows how to reward its workforce moves forward.
She said, “If the nation was desirous of getting out of the present economic doldrums, “we must be willing and be seen to oiling the wheels that drive the economy”.
She said it was the fervent believe of Tribune, that there was no better way of honouring a hardworking man than to give him his roses to smell while his still alive.
Dignitaries at the event included the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekeremadu, Hon. Zakari Mohammed, Senator Smart Adeyemi among others.