L-R; 2020 Award Winner Late Prof Charles Ejike Chidume, who was represented by his son, Dr Okechukwu Chidume, 2022 Award Winner, Prof Oluyinka Olutoye who was represented by his father, Oba Olufemi Olutoye, Award winner of 2021 Nigerian National Order of Merit, Prof Godwin Ekhaguere, President Muhammadu Buhari, SGF Mr. Boss Mustapha, Minister of Special Duties, Sen George Akume and Chairman, Nigerian National Merit Award Award (NNOM), Prof Shekarau Yakubu Aku during the presentation at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday
President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria’s collective future rests on active participation in science and technology.
He made the observation in Abuja while conferring the Nigerian National Order of Merit, NNOM, Award for years 2020 and 2021 on three Nigerians who distinguished themselves in the field of medicine and science.
The recipients are Dr. Oluyinka Olurotimi Olutoye, Medicine, 2020, late Professor Charles Ejike Chidume, Science, 2020, and Professor Godwin Samuel Ekhaguere, Science, 2021.
President Buhari said he was very proud to welcome the new laureates to the prestigious league of highly honoured citizens, saying that the nation will continue to celebrate the scholars’ achievements to prompt the youth into emulating them.
He said the integrity of the award underscored the high expectations of the nation that the new recipients, like their predecessors, would continue to hold the banners of creativity and intellectual excellence very high.
The President congratulated members of the Governing Board of the Nigerian National Merit Award, NNMA, under the Chairmanship of Professor Shekarau Yakubu Aku, and members of the Four Specialised Committees of Assessors and External Assessors for their integrity and transparency, and for the excellent work they had done.
On the request of the Chairman of the Governing Board over the dwindling budgetary allocation constraining the agency in carrying out its mandatory functions, President Buhari promised that the Federal Government would provide special intervention as was done in 2020 to the NNMA, within limited resources available.
The Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, had said the three intellectuals emerged winners for the 2020 and 2021 Award after the selection process, from the over 1,200 applications received by the NNOM Governing Board during the period under consideration.
He explained that Professor Charles Ejike Chidume died after he was selected and recommended for approval to Mr. President, saying that his award was posthumous.
The Minister called on Nigerian universities to rise up to the challenge and continue to lead in innovative research targeted at providing solutions to the myriad of problems affecting the country, especially post Covid-19 era.
The Chairman, NNMA Governing Board, Professor Aku had also announced that recipients of the prestigious awards a cash reward of 10 million Naira each.
Reporting by Abdullah Bello; editing by Marian Benjamin