Wednesday, 29 December 2004
Nigerian National Honors Awards 2004 Revisited
Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States
The persons who comprised the list, of the just concluded national honors awards, and gala event, are arguably, a reflection of improvements in the selection process. Equally reflected as a mark of these improvements is the quality of persons selected from various professions, occupations and from within Nigeria and outside, persons of stellar attributes and career excellences, deserving persons, who were selected for these prestigious national awards.
Abundant numbers of concerned Nigerians have, in the past expressed dim views and disapprovals of the sorts of persons, that have managed to receive national honors awards through and from previous governments; Now it does appears, that some progress have been made in the selection process, which is prove positive and also indicative of caliber and quality, of Nigerians on the honors list in 2004, namely, Nigerians who are highly accomplished individuals in their chosen field of human endeavors.
It is of particular interest to me that, notable among the awardees in 2004, were those who have excelled in the science and technology fields, thereby improving and enriching the lives of Nigerians, Nigeria and humanity as a whole. This is particularly so, as science and technology now permeates and pervades all aspect of human life, from cradle to grave. Emphasis is placed on science and technology by nations, because of the overwhelming, but positive impact and influence of science and technology in everyday life.
National honor awards to deserving persons, is a crucially important event, and an undertaking, that could spur more Nigerians and non-Nigerians to pursue activities that elevate Nigerians, Nigeria and humanity
It is noteworthy, that the Oluwole brothers who were among this year’s awardees, along with Mr. Ekeh the computer expert who worked harder than most, to tailor computers for local needs in Nigeria, serve as epitome of Nigeria’s forward march to development and advancements in the science and technology arena, in the global scheme of things.
It is probably trite, but it bears restating the fact that, national honor awards and recognitions, are clearly desirable, as it is an added impetus to Nigeria’s yearnings for greatness, as there are every likelihood, that such public acclaim, recognition and honor, would motivate and inspire other persons, of positive dispositions, to aspire and aim high, for the achievements of lofty goals and objectives which will culminate in the improvements of lives in Nigeria with unquantifiable beneficial impact on Nigeria and humanity.
Keenly aware that the list of national honors awardees was long, and comprised Nigerians and non-Nigerians of diverse backgrounds, trainings and professions, I must add that singling out the science and technology fields’ awardees, was intentional, as it is meant only as a demonstration of wise choice of such persons, by the selection commission/committee and it is indicative that the selection process is responsive to public concerns regarding what was hitherto the case, where essentially, majority of awardees, were patently uninspiring, as they were constituted and comprised of persons, whose only claim to fame, was their political or business connections, without having produced a pin or nickel or without haven been known for any remarkable ideas…. In the past, the honors list was made up of persons who were mostly ex-military men without a history of gallantry or patriotism; Awardees were mostly people with dubious wealth of the rogue contractor types!
Awardees were frequently persons who ascended to fame, mostly notoriety, through illegal means, they were mostly persons encompassing extreme decadence and indecency, those persons who have historically plundered Nigeria greedily, as they deprived our country of national resources or wealth, these deprivations have wrought profound consequences, of the nature and magnitude being felt now, in present-day Nigeria. The mediocrity of the old process and the dullness of the honorees’ antecedents, were almost always palpably predictable!
But even in all this, I will remind us that the example I made of the science and technology cadres awardees, is not intended to suggest that the process should become exclusive for the elite or become elitists. It is, instead, to exemplify roles of these important fields to national development and greatness of modern nations as Nigeria is on the path of advancement and greatness
National award in my view, is, and could be a wonderfully remarkable tool, for motivating and inspiring persons with positive disposition, persons with talents and creativity, to devote and dedicate and use all their intellects for the enhancements of lives in Nigeria and the entire world.
In the future therefore, it would be elevating and uplifting, when it becomes the practice that, everyday persons are nominated and awarded, these very prestigious national awards, persons such as the everyday police, or fire fighters, the messenger or clerk who refused to succumb to avarice, other persons who shun greed or corruption, or Nigerian soldiers who perform in peace keeping operations gallantly and honorably and the diligent taxi driver who returns properties that were forgotten in his car by passenger or tailors and fashion designers who excel in the making of the best Nigerian clothes/fashion and generally, awardees would be persons who epitomize altruism and selflessness, persons who serve, persons who volunteer services without the expectation of personal financial benefits or rewards.
Agriculture is a long neglected sector of the Nigerian economy, I therefore propose a nationwide efforts that is focused on, stimulating interests in agriculture, with the organizing or establishment of competitions at various levels, in towns, district, local government, state and federal levels, competition geared to selecting innovators in farming and food production, and the overall best farmer, or innovator in food production, during the period of each year, winners could receive cash and other materials as prizes, and additionally, should receive a national honor for the efforts at feeding Nigeria…
Food is a matter of national security priority, in this realization, spurring yearly competitions in the nooks and crannies of Nigeria, on how to farm more efficiently, productively and harvest effectively, prolong shelf-life for farm and food products, including qualitative distribution of such, winners would receives ample rewards and this would surely be a win-win end-result or outcome.
Food could become abundant and plentiful in our land once more, as awareness in planting, harvesting, storage-preservation and distribution techniques are spread nationwide, even as the importance of food self-sufficiency is also publicized, while at the same time, exulting the importance and preeminence of the place of farming and food production in Nigeria. Acclaim, adoration, exaltation, exultation and celebration of worthy virtues and accomplishments among Nigerians would serve a worthy national purpose; Attainment of that objective, would be, is in itself, praiseworthy.
On the whole, national award events could, and should be turned into, an awe inspiring national events that engenders patriotic, nationalistic and selfless actions; As we use our boundless energies, talents, creativities and daring gallantry positively, all for the betterment of lives, for improvements of the human condition in Nigeria and worldwide for benefit the entire humanity! Worthy honors in which, and deserving honorees in whom, we could all bask and revel in!