NEWS AGENCY OF NIGERIA. December 06, 2
Jonathan seeks support of intellectuals to move Nigeria forward
President Goodluck Jonathan said on Thursday in Abuja that Nigeria required the knowledge, expertise and contributions of intellectuals for its overall development and success of the Transformation Agenda.
The President said this at the investiture of professors Samuel Ohaegbulem and Emmanuel Yoloye with the 2012 Nigerian National Order of Merit Award (NNOMA).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ceremony, which took place at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, was attended by Vice President Namadi Sambo, ministers and academics.
“The Nigerian National Order of Merit Award is the highest and most prestigious honour this nation bestows on its citizens at home and in the diaspora for proving creative intellectual and academic contributions of national as well as global significance.
“It is encouraging that since its establishment 33 years ago, integrity of this esteemed award has been preserved through rigorous and painstaking assessment exercise in the areas of science, engineering, technology, medicine, humanities and other areas of human endeavour.
“With our two awardees this year, the total number of Nigerians who have been honoured with the award now stands at only 67, an average of two per year.
“This is a strong pointer to the high standard and merit-driven evaluation procedures underlining the selection of the winners of the award.
“It also underlines our nation’s high expectation that our new awardees, like their industrious predecessors, will hold the banner of creativity and intellectual development aloof.
“There is no doubt that our nation needs the knowledge, expertise and contributions of today’s recipients to boost its overall development, particularly in the successful implementation of the government’s transformation agenda.’’
The president recalled his approval, last year, of an increase in the statutory cash prize attached to the award from N5 million to N10 million per recipient with effect from 2010.
He said the increase was in recognition of not only the importance his administration attached to intellectualism, but the need to inspire young generations of researchers.
Jonathan challenged the recipients to sustain their interests in research and excellence and remain sources of inspiration to all and sundry, especially the upcoming generation.
He gave the assurance that his administration would continue to support initiatives and solutions to the country’s major problems, especially those emanating from the body of the recipients of the award.
Earlier, Prof Sylvester Adegoke, the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian National Merit Award, had said that the award was given for intellectual, academic and creative achievements.
He said the two recipients were selected through a rigorous process and had etched their names in gold through hard work and outstanding researches and service to humanity.
Adegoke said out of the more than 40 nominees evaluated by the governing board and four specialised committees of assessors, only the two recipients were found to have successfully met the requirements.
He said with the investiture of the duo, their names would enter into the annals of Nigerian history as the 66th and 67th Nigerians to receive the award since its inception in 1979.
He said Ohaegbulam had distinguished himself as “a highly and very productive neuro-surgeon, while Yoloye “is a well re-known and globally recognised educational scientist’’.
“These two eminent Nigerians scholars successfully passed through the rigorous merit driven strained process normally applied by our four specialised committees of assessors and several selected external assessors and were found by the Governing Board to be extremely worthy.
“They are both a source of pride not only to our country Nigeria, but also to humanity.
“Despite our failings in other spheres of life, our nation is blessed to have such distinguished and dedicated intellectuals, who have spent their lifetime serving the needs of others and in the process they have raised the prestige of Nigeria higher among nations of the world.’’
Adegoke urged the president to ensure that a proper funding mechanism for the NNOMA endowment fund was put in place and formal recognition and launch of NNOMA Policy Group were done.