President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja charged Nigeria scientists to strengthen research that will enhance creativity and innovations, capable of lifting the country to the top bracket of outstanding nations.
The President stated this while conferring the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) Award for years 2020 and 2021 on three eminent Nigerian scientists who distinguished themselves in the field of medicine and science. He commended the awardees which include Oluyinka Olutoye, Medicine (2020); late Charles Chidume, Science (2020) and Godwin Ekhaguere, Science (2021), even as he expressed the belief that Nigeria’s collective future rests on active participation in science and technology.
One of the recipients, Charles Chidume had died after he was selected and recommended for approval to President and was given the award posthumously. The Nigerian National Merit Award (NNMA) which was established 43 years ago, had seen 76 Nigerian Scientists being honored in various fields, with addition of the latest three recipients bringing the total number of recipients to only 79.
The President commended the high standards of the Award and undeniable testimony of the strict adherence to quality and the merit-driven evaluation procedure for selecting laureates. The President while welcoming the new Laureates to the prestigious league of highly honoured citizens, said the nation would continue to celebrate and trumpet the scholars’ achievements as a shining example worthy of emulation by the upcoming young men and women in the country.
”Please endeavour, at all times, to serve as beacons of hope and aspiration for the younger generation of Nigerians, reminding them that our survival and collective future as a nation ultimately rests on our being active participants in global developmental efforts, especially in science and technology,” he told the recipients.
He added that the integrity of the Award also underscores 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. While congratulating the three awardees, the President expressed the government’s appreciation for the patience of the 2020 Award winners, who had to wait close to two years to receive their Award due to the emergence of Covid-19 in 2020.
The president recounted that the total lockdown of the country, in 2020, made it difficult for the assessment process to hold then but was later held concurrently last year alongside with the 2021 applications. Recognising families, friends, associates and well-wishers, who were present at the Council Chambers in State House to share the joy of the awardees, the President enjoined youths in the country to emulate the good works of the laureates by dedicating themselves to”excellence and strive to contribute their quota to the arduous task of getting Nigeria on the top bracket of outstanding nations.”
The President also congratulated members of the Governing Board of the NNMA under chairmanship of Shekarau Yakubu Aku, as well as members of the four specialized committees of assessors and external assessors for their integrity and transparency, and for the excellent work they have done.