The Special Adviser to the State Governor of Osun on Environment and Sanitation, Hon Bola Ilori, has emerged the Best Government Sector Environmentalist in Nigeria.
The award was conferred on him by the Nigerian Association of Christian Journalists (NACJ) owing to his landmark achievements in environmental development in the country in the aftermath of a nationwide assessment and voting carried out throughout the country by the association.
Presenting the award of NACJ Integrity Man of the Year in Environmental Management in Nigeria 2014 to Bola Ilori, Mr Bola Alawode, Award Committee Chairman of NACJ, described the award conferred on Ilori as a well-deserved one.
Alawode who described Ilori as a man of action said his wealth of knowledge on environment and sanitation speaks volume which has led to the friendly environment devoid of diseases to the society and the continued good rating of Osun in the environment sector.
According to him, Nigerians were the determining factor in selecting who becomes the winner in various categories, saying three persons were nominated and published in national newspapers asking Nigerians to vote for their preferred nominee, adding that, by the time the vote was counted it produced Ilori as the winner of the award.
“As journalists monitoring and criticising the continued downward slide of Nigerian value of dedication to service, integrity and innovation in governance, we must not fail to comment and signpost the few oasis of hope when we sight them,” Ilori said.
Ilori’s consistent sterling performance in three different states of Lagos, Ondo and currently Osun, is proving him not to be a fluke. He is the about the most experienced government sector environmentalist today in Nigeria haven managed the environment sector in three different states in the country.
He added that, in a bid to ensure that there was no interference in the voting process, an Independent Agency was engaged to handle the voting without notifying any of the nominees apart from the general advert in the newspapers.
“Apart from Ilori, the two other nominees were: the Director General, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Mrs. Ngeri Benebo; and Mr Ola Oresanya, Managing Director, Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA). I must acknowledge that all the three nominees have outstanding performances in service to Nigeria and represent Nigeria’s current best in the environment field going by our nationwide assessment”.Alawode added.
Breaking down the votes that accrued to each nominees, Alawode said DG NESREA, Mrs Benebo scored 6,252 votes; LAWMA MD, Mr Oresanya had 10,433 votes, while the eventual winner, Mr Bola Ilori scored 22,146 votes in the nationwide vote cast.
The Coordinating Director in the Osun State Ministry of Environment, Mrs Abimbola Bolaji, who was visibly elated, described the awardee as a goal getter and human development agent whose contribution to the ministry has surpassed his predecessors.
Mrs Bolaji affirmed that Ilori is a different species of politician that is not selfish, self-centred or given to wayward lifestyle associated with many politicians.
“Going by Hon. Bola Ilori’s laudable achievements in the environment sector and human capacity in Nigeria, not only in Osun but also in Lagos and Ondo States where he had served, I must say I count myself lucky to have the opportunity of working with him. My staff and I are proud that our collective efforts have continued to win award locally and internationally in the last three years,” Mrs Abolaji concluded.
In his response, Hon Bola Ilori specifically expressed gratitude to the Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; and the entire members of the State Executive Council particularly the state Commissioner for Environment, Prof. Olubukola Oyawoye, for their support. “What we have achieved would not have been possible without the unalloyed support from the state Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who at every point thinks of how to move the state forward and improve the well being of the people of Osun,” he said.
Ilori described the award as a thing of joy, thanking the staff of the ministry and Nigerians in general who voted for him, noting further that it is a challenge for him to do more.
“I can not forget to thank the staff of Ministry of Environment of Osun, Ondo and Lagos States for their support during my service in the respective states and continued support during the voting for this award,” Ilori said.
He therefore charged the people of the state to ensure that Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is returned to office by voting en block for him in the next governorship poll for the continuation of good governance being enjoyed in the state.
Others who spoke at the gathering include Engr Dipo Alani, Director in the state Ministry of Environment; and Mr Dapo Abolarin, Director Forestry, state Ministry of Environment.