It was indeed an epoch- making moment in the history of Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS) and Kwara State in general as we watched our own Executive Chairman Dr Muritala Awodun, receive the award of Africa Best Rated Leadership Personality of The Year. The Award which was presented by the African Development Magazine’s (ADM) in the 5th edition of their annual conference tagged International Conference on Development and Award of Excellence held on the 31st March, 2016 at the Accra City Hotel, Accra, Ghana. The ADM International Conference on Development is an annual event intended to bring together experts from different countries and diverse backgrounds to a round table to discuss Africa’s problems, proffer solutions and identify a pragmatic way forward.The theme of the 2016 edition was ” Forging Regional Integration through Innovative Accelerated Development of Africa- the emphasis on Science Technology and Innovation”.
The award conferred on Dr Awodun is in recognition of his past contributions to the entrepreneurial development among the youths in Kwara state and across the nations. The transformation agenda of the Internally Generated Revenue drive in Kwara state led by Dr Awodun is another major consideration for this laudable award.
Other awardees from Nigeria included Adebisi Yewande Awoniyi, Africa best Rated Aviation Personality of the Year, Pastor Bola Adeboye Africa Best Rated Bank CEO of the year, Dr Abdulmumuni Ibrahim, DSC, MNI Africa Best Rated Healthcare (Regulatory) Personality of the Year and Dr Abayomi Ajayi Africa Best Rated Healthcare Personality of the year. Also honoured were Ghanaian dignitaries like His Majesty, Ehunabobrim Pra Agyensaim V1 Omanhene (King) of Owirenkyiman (Owirenkyiman Kingdom) Lifetime Achievement Award, Mr Torgbor Mensar Most Influential Personality in Advertising in Ghana Award and Dr Micheal Abu Sakara Foster Life time Achievement Award.
This year 2016 edition witnessed a remarkable turnout of dignitaries across the nations of Africa. 22 people were selected from African countries for the 2016 awards.
The Speaker of the day, Dr George Owusu Essegbe a Director of CSIR- Science and Technology Policy Research Institute, Ghana set the intellectual tone that led to engaging discussions on Regional Integration with emphasis on Science Technology and Innovation. Dr Essegbe reiterated that the key to acceleration of Africa’s development is science, Technology and Innovation (STI) . He emphasized the need for Africa leaders to get involved in the Science and Technology revolution that has engulfed the world and threatens to alienate Africa in global development. He added that Africans should be technology producers and not just consumers. He advised that entrepreneurs should be encouraged to create wealth in recreation and entertainment sector with ICT adding that such wealth will be created entirely on the basis of knowledge and creativity. He also cited other examples like the solar energy technology.
Dr Essegbe affirmed that the adoption of Science, Technology and Innovation for Africa (STISA-2024) in July 2014 as the blueprint for STI activities in 2014 was in the right direction. He however suggested that all the priorities spelt out in the STISA-2024 comes with specific details in the areas of research , development and innovation. For example, he explained that for the eradication of hunger and achieving food and nutrition security, research and innovation must address the agricultural challenges of cultivation, seed soil climate and post- harvest.
According to Essegbe, It is not enough to establish scientific institutions, it must be matched with a change of mindset and an orientation to serious commitment to application of knowledge in solving contextual problems. He explained that Knowledge is of no value unless put in practice. Critical actors such as policy makers must resolve to support these institutions.
Dr Essegbe submitted that with a new orientation and conviction, it is not beyond the capacity of Africans to catch up with the rest of the world in mastering the fundamentals of the scientific knowledge that currently drives socio- economic development. The time indeed is ripe for Africa to innovate solutions to its challenges and take significant steps into the scientific and technological revolution of her time. Africa governments must resolve to make the financial commitments required while the Private sectors should also play their part.
Dr Essegbe’ s presentation was followed with an interactive section on way forward for Africa. Responding on the questions on when and How Africa should respond to the challenges of Regional Integration, Dr Awodun stated that the time was now and the process of how is for Africa leaders to rise up to the occasion by “doing” i.e match their words with actions.
After dinner was served, the presentation of award was done by Professor S.K. B Asante the Chairman of the occasion and Dr Victor Kwame Agyeman the Key note Speaker of the day. As customary of KW-IRS, the Executive Chairman, expressed his appreciation to the Organizers of the great occasion and presented them with the KWIRS souvenir.
It was indeed an exquisite experience and we cannot but say a big congratulation to our amiable and indefatigable Executive Chairman, Dr Muritala Awodun for the deserving award and for doing Kwarans and KWIRS proud.