President Goodluck Jonathan has conferred the Nigerian National Order of Merit Award on Professors Samuel Ohaegbulam and Emmanuel Yoloye, for their contributions to the development of medicine and humanities.
The honour is the highest and most prestigious of its kind bestowed on outstanding, creative and talented Nigerians at home and Diaspora, whose works have made impact significantly at home and abroad.
Speaking at the presentation of the 2012 Nigerian National Order of Merit Award yesterday, the President observed that in the last three decades, the esteem and integrity of the award had not decline.
Instead, he observed that its recipients were increasing by emerging as beneficiaries from a rigorous selection procedure that confers the honour only on those that best deserve it in diverse fields 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 underlying the selection of the winners of the award,” President Jonathan said.
He expressed hope that the award “also underlines our nation’s expectation that our new awardees, like their industrious predecessors, will hold the banner of creativity and intellectual development,” Jonathan emphasised that the country is in dire need of their knowledge, expertise and contributions “to boost its overall development, particularly in the successful implementation of the government’s transformation agenda.”
This, he stated was the reason why the apex government two years ago increased the statutory cash prize attached to the award from N5 million to N10 million per recipient.
“These recipients are today admitted into this very admirable, respected and distinguished class of Nigerians as 66th and 67th members. By your remarkable achievements, you have made Nigeria proud and once again put our nation on a high global pedestal. It is my hope that you will sustain your interests in research and excellence and remain sources of inspiration to all and sundry especially our upcoming generation,” the president added.
He said his administration will study and support the recommendations in the communiqué of the 5th annual forum of the laurets, to find solutions to problems, adding that “the report is also being studied by the office of the SGF.”
He assured that the Federal Government would boost the endowment fund of the NMMA and take necessary steps to strengthen the institution.
In his remarks, Chairman of the NNMA Governing Board, Prof. Sylvester said: “Out of the more than 40 nominees evaluated by the governing board and four specialised committees of assessors only these two gentlemen were found to have successfully scale the hurdles and found worthy to be conferred with the NNM order of merit award for 2012.”
He requested that there should an annual staging of the Forum of Laureates, the urgent establishment of the Nigerian National Research and Development Fund to be manage on behalf of the federal government in a merit driven fashion by reputed researchers and proper funding of the NNMA endowment fund as well as the formal recognition and launch of the NNMA Policy Group.
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