While conferring national honours on 450 individuals including 7 foreigners on Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari said that citizens who contribute to national development should be encouraged and rewarded because according to him, nation building requires sacrifice. The president said, “It is worthy of note that nation-building involves a lot of sacrifice by the citizenry. Citizens who contribute to national development deserve to be encouraged and appreciated. It is based on this premise that I reconstituted the National Honours Award Committee chaired by Justice Sidi Muhammad, the Emir of Lafia, a distinguished retired justice, and other patriotic Nigerians as members to recommend suitable Nigerians and our friends for appropriate recognition. The committee has done a patriotic duty by diligently going through over 5,000 submissions and coming up with these recommendations.
“The patriotic Nigerians and our friends being honoured today have distinguished themselves in various ways to recreate a new Nigeria of our dreams through respect for the rule of law, image laundering, transparency, and accountability in the management of scarce resources.” The president disclosed that 5,000 nominations were reduced to 450 awardees using criteria outlined in the National Honours Act, CAP.N43 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. He also appealed to other Nigerians who are yet to receive the recognition to be “patient and understand that their efforts in nation building are appreciated and, at the right time, will similarly be recognised.”
Six individuals were conferred with GCON, 55 got Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic, 65 got the Commander of the Order of Niger, 77 received the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic; 110 were presented with the Officer of the Order of the Niger; 74 got Member of the Order of the Federal Republic and 55 got Member of the Order of the Niger. There were four recipients each for the Federal Republic Medal I and Federal Republic Medal II while the 7 foreigners received the OFR award.
Topping the 2022 National Honours Award recipients in the category of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger are: President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola; Immediate Past CJN, Justice Ibrahim Muhammad; Director-General, World Trade Organisation, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed; and Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande.
Others include Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku (CON); business magnate, Kessington Adebutu (CFR); Emir of Kano, Aminu Bayero (CFR); the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III (CFR); the former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Wole Olanipekun (CFR); Mrs Comfort Eyitayo (OON); the late Dr Stella Adavevoh (OON); Dr Olamide Brown (MFR); Dr Linus Okorie (MFR); and Damini Ogulu, a.k.a Burna Boy (MFR).
Senate President Ahmad Lawan, spoke on behalf of the recipients and described the honours as an additional call to service. He said, “This award is an additional call to service. It is a call to duty and an invitation to realise that citizens’ efforts will not be in vain. We are therefore inspired, motivated and admonished to keep up our inputs, as stakeholders in the building of a virile nation.”
Another recipient of the honour of the Officer of the Federal Republic Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, also described the honour as a call for more service to humanity. She said, “Beyond the label, this award is another call on me and my office to intensify activities aimed at achieving the overall objective of the Sustainable Development Goals, which is ‘leave no one behind.’ Already, we have delivered key interventions in health, education, empowerment, and job creation that are already yielding expected dividends in terms of saving lives of our mothers and their children, and enhancing the livelihoods and welfare of women, children and youths across the country.”