NATIONAL HONOURS AWARDS: MATTERS ARISING
In the history of any country, it is a tradition to see some people excelling more than others in their chosen career, or some people affecting the lives of others more positively. This set of the people are bound to be recognized so that their efforts would not be in vain. This brings me to the matter on the Nigerian National Honours.
Nigerian National Honours are a set of orders and decorations conferred upon Nigerians and friends of Nigeria every year. They were instituted by the National Honors Acts No. 5 of 1964 during the Nigeria First Republic, to honour Nigerians who rendered services to the benefit of the nation.
However, one wonders about the criteria for giving National Honours in Nigeria. Is it by rendering service to the nation in such a way that impacts positively on lives or otherwise?
If one critically analyse the importance of this honour, one will see that, the beneficiaries are supposed to be people with impeccable achievements people that are the best in their chosen field. Somebody whose life serves as inspiration to others, somebody who put smiles on the faces of others.
Over the years since inception, many Nigerians and friends of Nigeria have benefited from these honours. Ironically, some contributed positively to the growth of this nation, while others did the opposite. What baffles me is, if the yardstick for giving these honours has to do with impacting positively on this country or if it is affecting other people's lives positively, then I think there is a man in this country that I wonder why the eagle eyes of the Federal Government have not been able to pick. His philanthropy knows no bound.
I am talking of no other person than Primate Elijah Babatunde Ayodele, the Spiritual head of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church located at Oke Afa in Isolo area of Lagos State. He is also the head of INRI Widows Foundation (IWF), a foundation that is taking care of not less than 1,500 widows, both Christians and Muslims alike. He is also the head of the INRI aged club fellowship, a body that is taking care of the aged people, both male and female; a responsibility meant for the government of the day in advanced countries of the world.
This respected man of God is also responsible for the welfare of orphans and vulnerable children from primary school to university level in the area of education. He also takes care of their general wellbeing.A bridge builder, Primate Ayodele had contributed positively to his society in many ways. Just of recent, he donated some motorbikes to Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), to ease the work of the agency.
This man of God took it upon himself to place all aged people in his club on salary to ease their suffering. He took it upon himself to be administering medical check up for thousands of people bi-annually.
Apart from orphan and vulnerable children, he caters for their education. This man also gives free JAMB and GCE forms to people annually. This man recently donated several computers to public secondary schools in Lagos.
Another unique thing about him is that he doesn't discriminate between religions and denominations when impacting positively on the lives of the people. In 2011, he sent two Muslim widows to Mecca for the Muslim annual Hajj rite, a feat rare in a country threatened by religious intolerance. Also, this respected man of God has sent many Christian widows to Jerusalem without soliciting assistance from anybody.
This man, in his magnanimous character, on yearly basis and during any Christian festivity distributes clothing materials, chickens, footwear and many other things to widows, orphans and the vulnerable, just to put smiles on their faces. About 1,500 widows, 500 orphans and 1,200 aged people received this largesse in December, last year, including Muslim widows.
One way or the other, he has affected this country positively, projected positive image of this country both within and outside the country and he has made his mark, he is no push over in his endeavours.
In all honesty, this great man of God deserves a national honour to ginger him to do more.
Aina writes from Lagos.