National honors are not for decoration – Buhari tells recipients

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By Abbas Jimoh & Muideen Olaniyi

President Muhammadu Buhari told recipients of national honors yesterday that the awards are not merely decorative but a reminder of an important part of their responsibility as citizens to always strive to do their best to the country.

He spoke in Abuja at the National Honors Award 2022 investiture ceremony where 443 Nigerians and seven foreigners were recognized.

The President noted that nation-building involves a lot of sacrifices on the part of citizens, pointing out that citizens who contribute to national development deserve encouragement and appreciation.

He said it was on the basis of this premise that he reconstituted the National Honors Committee chaired by the Emir of Lafia, Judge Sidi Bage. Muhammad I. (rtd), for recommending suitable Nigerians and our friends for proper recognition.

Buhari said the committee diligently reviewed more than 5,000 submissions before coming up with the names of the winners.

He said the selection and selection of nominees for the awards, as always, followed broad criteria established in accordance with the National Honors Act 2004.

He listed the criteria as consistent and meaningful participation in community and/or national development; render unsolicited, selfless and philanthropic service to humanity; exceptional sacrifice for the defense of a cause deemed positive, relevant and beneficial to the nation and the community.

He listed other criteria as distinct act of bravery in protecting and/or defending the national interest, public peace, safety of life and property; outstanding achievement in any area of ​​expertise where the individual’s activities in that area have contributed significantly to the achievement of national goals and objectives; immense contributions to the upliftment of the community, state, nation and/or mankind through achievement by means of inventions and outstanding state honor and glory through personal dedication and patriotic commitment; and service with integrity.

Buhari noted that this was the first time his administration had singled out individuals and friends of Nigeria for national honors except for the special investiture ceremony honoring the presumed winner of the presidential election of 1993, late MKO Abiola; Baba Gana Kingibe and the late human rights lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi, whose ceremony was specially organized to right the wrongs of the past, as well as national athletes also recently honored for their spectacular performances in several competitions.

He said patriotic Nigerians and honored friends of the nation have distinguished themselves in various ways in an effort to recreate a new Nigeria through upholding the rule of law, whitewashing, transparency and accountability. in the management of scarce resources.

He said recognized individuals in the private sector had also “acquitted themselves honorablely in business, entertainment, hospitality, transportation and other forms of human endeavors to transform Nigeria.

He asked other Nigerians who have not yet been recognized to be patient and understand that their efforts in nation building were appreciated and would also be recognized at the right time.

The President said, “We have among the recipients today, Amb. Teacher. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who are the pride of our country on the international scene. “Our dear sisters are an inspiration to our young women who, through hard work and dedication, can achieve greatness.

“We also have on the list, Imam Abdullahi Abubakar, a religious leader who hid over 262 Christians in his mosque from the attacks in Yelwa Gindi Akwati village, Plateau State.

“He is a good example of religious tolerance that we preach among Nigerians. I am delighted that he is today honored with the title of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR).

“Worthy of mention are our artists, especially our very own Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu (Burna Boy), who won the Grammy Awards in 2020. He and other artists repositioned the Nigerian entertainment industry and put it on the world map.

“As Expo 2020 Dubai drew to a close, the Nigeria Pavilion was a hive of activity as our musicians entertained guests from around the world.

“Despite the current economic challenges, Nigeria still boasts of men and women of integrity; Ms Josephine Agu, an airport cleaner, returned $12,200 found in the toilets at Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, along with Ogbanago Muhammed Ibrahim, a bank security guard who found and returned $10 000 dollars.

“Today, we celebrate their dignity and strong character by bestowing on them national honours. They are a shining example for our younger generation.

He congratulated all the awardees and commended the non-Nigerian awardees, assuring everyone that his administration would continue to provide them with an enabling environment to undertake their lawful activities to enable them to continue their efforts towards contributing to the development of Nigeria.

The president said his administration will continue to root out all forms of banditry, criminality, terrorism and insurgency in the country.

“As I stated earlier in my independence address to the nation, I will hand over a Nigeria free from insecurity to the next generation of leaders,” he said.

Thirteen people were honored posthumously, including a former chief of staff to the president, Abba Kyari (CFR); a former army chief of staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru and an aviation man Matthew Oyedepo.

Rewards in perspective

The distinctions in order of importance are as follows: Order of the Federal Republic, composed of Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (GCFR), Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR), Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) and member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR).

Also, in the Order of Niger, are Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON), Commander of the Order of Niger (CON), Officer of the Order of Niger (OON), Member of the Order of Medal of Niger (MON) and of the Federal Republic (FRM).

The GCFR and GCON are usually reserved and granted to the former President and Vice President of Nigeria, including former Military Heads of State of Nigeria and Chiefs of General Staff.

The GCON is also usually awarded to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and the President of the Nigerian Senate during their first year in office, while the CON is usually awarded to Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

The 2022 list includes politicians, civil servants, security officials, diplomats, academics, business people, traditional rulers, religious leaders and legal practitioners, among others.

The six conferred with GCON are Senate Speaker Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan; Chief Justice of the Federation (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola; the immediate past CJN, Judge Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad (Rtd); a former Minister of Finance and current Director General of the World Trade Organization, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala; a former Minister of the Environment and currently Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed and the former President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Professor Tijani Muhammad-Bande.

Also honored were Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives; Deputy Senate Speaker Lawan; Senator Ovie Omo-Agege; the secretary of the federation government, Boss Mustapha; Federation Civil Service Chief Folashade Yemi-Esan; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and former President of the Court of Appeals, Justice Ayo Salami (retired), among others.

Others were the 19th Emir of Zazzau, His Highness Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli and the Registrar of JAMB, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, among others.

Seven people received FRM I and FRM II respectively.

The seven recognized foreigners were Pierre Vandebeek, late George Stavros Coumantaros (posthumous), Deepak Singhal, Dr. Attia A. Nasreddin, Chief Nabil A. Saleh (JP), Faysal M. El-Khalil and Ronald Chagoury would be honored with the OFR.

Laureates pledge to commit to greater Nigeria

Speaking on behalf of the laureates, Senate Speaker Ahmad Lawan thanked Buhari for the honor, saying it was an encouragement to work harder and a call to duty to serve Nigeria with renewed strength, loyalty and honesty. .

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