Buhari confers NNOM on three Nigerians, urges youths to emulate awardees

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has said Nigeria’s survival and its collective future ultimately rest on the active participation of citizens in global developmental efforts, especially in science and technology.

Buhari spoke on Tuesday in Abuja when he conferred the Nigerian National Order of Merit Award for the years 2020 and 2021 on three Nigerians, who distinguished themselves in medicine and science.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement titled, ‘President Buhari: Nigeria’s collective future rests on active participation in science and technology, confers NNOM award on three scholars’.

Conferring the award on the recipients, Dr Oluyinka Olutoye, Medicine (2020); the late Prof Charles Chidume, Science (2020) and Prof Godwin Ekhaguere, Science (2021), the President said he was very proud to welcome the new laureates to the prestigious league of highly honoured citizens.

According to him, the nation will continue to celebrate the achievements of scholars to serve as a shining example worthy of emulation by the country’s young academics and professionals.

Buhari advised the new laureates, “Please endeavour at all times to serve as beacons of hope and aspiration for the younger generation of Nigerians, reminding them that our survival and collective future as a nation ultimately rest on our being active participants in global developmental efforts, especially in science and technology.”

The President noted that since the NNMA was established 43 years ago, the addition of the three recipients would bring the total number to only 79, which confirmed the strict adherence to quality and the merit-driven evaluation procedures for selecting laureates.The President also expressed the government’s appreciation for the patience of the 2020 award winners, who had to endure close to two years to receive their awards due to the emergence of COVID-19 in 2020.

Recognising families, friends, associates and well-wishers, who were present at the Council Chambers of the State House, Buhari enjoined youths in the country to emulate the good works of the laureates by dedicating themselves to excellence and striving to contribute their quota to the arduous task of getting Nigeria on the top bracket of outstanding nations. The President also congratulated members of the Governing Board of the NNMA under the chairmanship of Prof Shekarau Aku, and members of the four specialised committees of assessors and external assessors for their integrity and transparency.

“Let me assure you that the government and people of Nigeria appreciate your efforts and I enjoin you all to keep up the good work,” he said.

On the request of Aku over the dwindling budgetary allocation to the agency and how it was constrained in carrying out its mandatory functions, Buhari promised that the Federal Government would provide special intervention as was done in the year 2020 to the NNMA within the limited resources available.

The President added that the Federal Government would do everything possible to maintain and sustain the agency.

The Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, George Akume, said the three intellectuals emerged winners from over 1,200 applications received by the NNOM Governing Board during the period under consideration.

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