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President Jonathan Plans To Immortalize Deserving Nigerians

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President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has expressed readiness to immortalizing recipients of the Nigeria National Order Of Merit (NNOM) Award who have taken the country to greater heights both in Nigeria and in the Diaspora.

Jonathan who disclosed this, Thursday, at the investiture for the conferment of the year 2010 and 2011 Nigeria National Order Of Merit (NNOM) Award, said 'It is my pleasure to address you this morning on this very important occasion of the conferment of the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) Award for last year 2010 and this year 2011.

He noted that 'The two-year combined award is being conferred on five distinguished Nigerians who have been adjudged worthy of the Honour by the Governing Board of the Nigerian National Merit Award. The NNOM Award is the highest and most prestigious Award bestowed by our dear Nation on its citizens, at home and in the Diaspora, for creative, intellectual and academic contributions that have national as well as global significance.

'On behalf of the Nation, I am very proud to welcome the new Laureates to the prestigious league of highly honoured citizens. I also want to assure you that we will continue to celebrate and hold up your achievement as a shining example worthy of emulation by our up-coming young men and women.

'It is humbling to note that since the Nigerian National Merit Award (NNMA) was established 32 years ago, the addition of these five recipients will only bring the total number of recipients to a mere 65. This is a clear evidence of the high standards of the Award and an undeniable testimony of the strict adherence to quality and the merit-driven evaluation procedure for selecting laureates.

'It also underscores the high expectations of the Nation that the new recipients of the Award, like their predecessors, shall continue to hold the banners of creativity and intellectual excellence very, very high.  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.

While congratulating the five distinguished recipients of the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) Award for years 2010 and 2011, he said 'I must also express our appreciation for the patience of the 2010 Award winners, who had to wait one long year to receive their Award today.    On behalf of the Federal Government and indeed the entire Nation, I congratulate you all very heartily. 

The two recipients for 2010 include, Professor Andrew Jonathan Nok, a Science researcher of repute, who is being honoured most significantly for his works on Trypanosoma congolense, Professor Isidore O. Okpewho in Humanities as an outstanding Scholar of Comparative Literature, reputed among the first to establish the fact that both Epic and Myth exist in African Literature.

Other three recipients for the year 2011 are Professor Ebiegberi J. Alagoa (Humanities), a prolific writer, historian, diligent teacher and experienced archivist whose intellectual writings cover not only Nigeria, but also Egypt and the rest of North Africa; Professor Francis S. Idachaba (Social Sciences), a Professor of Agricultural Economics and an acclaimed researcher in the areas of Policy Advocacy for societal impacts as well as Mr. Ibok Effiong Etukudo (Engineering/Technology), a brilliant and creative scholar and developer of Micro/Nanno devices.

President Jonathan said that by their achievements, they have all done Nigeria proud and commended members of the Governing Board of the Nigerian National Merit Award under Chairmanship of Professor Oluwafeyisola Sylvester Adegoke, as well as members of the Board's four specialized Committees of Assessors and External Assessors for their integrity and transparency, and for the excellent work they have done.

According to him, 'The noble idea of constituting the Assessors Committees, whose membership is not disclosed to the public, ensures credibility that could be emulated by other Government Agencies performing similar functions.  The fact that transparency and love for the Nation have been the hallmark of your stewardship is well borne out by the fact that the NNOM Award is one of the enduring national legacies that are held in high regard globally and nationally and your decisions have been well acclaimed and controversy-free over the years.

'Let me assure you that the Government and Peoples of Nigeria appreciate your efforts and I enjoin you all to keep up the good work. I want to re-assure you that my government will study the recommendations contained in the Communiqué of the 4th Annual Forum of NNOM Laureates 2011, and will continue to support your innovative approach to the re-establishment of the nation's research and development capability.

'My Administration is aware that the Committee for the Actualization of the Nigerian National Research and Development Fund, set up in December 2008 under the able leadership of the Chairman, NNMA Governing Board, Prof. O. S. Adegoke completed its task and submitted its report to the SGF in 2008.  I have directed that the White Paper, which is being prepared by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), be brought before the Federal Executive Council as soon as possible.

'I personally attach great importance to Research and Development (R & D) as I am convinced that no nation can prosper without them. We will continue to support potentially ground-breaking work going on in our Tertiary and specialized Research Institutions. We will also continue to push for collaboration between the private and public sectors to boost cross-sectorial research undertakings.

'I wish to reassure you that this Administration is fully committed to giving the recognition that the NNMA deserves, by immortalizing its recipients who have taken this country to greater heights both in Nigeria and in the Diaspora. We are a nation keen on fostering excellence across board and we will continue to celebrate those who have attained measurable levels of excellence in their professional life', the President said.