New Jersey - Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers and the speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly, Ms Sheila Oliver were on Sunday awarded African Writers Quintessence award for exemplary leadership.
The North America Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that during the event, Port Harcourt, the Rivers capital was also unveiled as the UNESCO World Book Capital 2014, the city won the nomination having defeated Oxford and Moscow in the selection process.
In his remarks, Amaechi urged Nigerians to demand accountability and transparency from their leaders.
"The people are the core determinants of the dynamics of every society.
"It is commonplace to hear in Nigeria that our votes don’t matter, but I tell you that through constant participation and insistence on transparency and accountability in the electoral process, the people can eventually have their way.
"The system has no other choice but to be straightened out. The people remain the power-base of the nation.
"They determine the quality of leaders they get, and determine the direction of the governance. They can monitor accountability in governance and the strategic direction of the country.
"Never forget that the voice of the people will continue to remain the voice of God,’’ Amaechi said while receiving the award.
The event witnessed cultural display and goodwill messages from some Nigerian-American professors like Austine Okwu, Toyin Falola, Kalu Ogba, Ogaga Ifowodo and Wole Soyinka.
They described Amaechi as an achiever whose achievements in the state qualify him for the leadership award.
Soyinka was represented by Dr Yemi Ogunbiyi, former Managing Director of the defunct Daily Times of Nigeria.
Soyinka, Nigeria's noble laureate in his remarks said "for us in the Book World, still basking in the glow of a Nigerian city bestowed with the honour of the World Book Capital for 2014, this is a much-deserved recognition.
"It would have given me enormous satisfaction to be able to be present and to share this moment, unfortunately I cannot. On behalf of my fellow writers and other partakers in the literary pursuit I say hearty felicitations.
"We look forward to next year in Port Harcourt, a historic capital city festooned with the written word with all its spiritually liberating manifestations.”
But in protest, the Director General of the Network for Defence of Democracy and Good Governance, Egberipapa Soboma-Jackrich11, the spokesman of the Concerned Kalabari People in the U.S, Diepiriye Doulas condemned the award.
They said that the governor had in his first tenure in office, assured the state that "Rivers money is for Rivers people and we admired him.
"But this time around, the state revenue is being used to fund the G7 governors, groups and solidarity visits to the state government house in Port Harcourt.
"It is hard to believe that Amaechi, a South Southerner will be a key player to fight to unseat South Southerner from Aso Rock Villa.
"He has redirected the resources of the State for this unholy project and people are feeding fat on it. Nobody knows why he is so stubborn and ignoring the advice of elders.
"He has refused to humble himself, we are afraid he would stumble.’’ they stressed at the venue of event.