For past recipients of national honours with questionable character, their honours will be withdrawn from them to prove that the Federal Government remains committed to ensuring that all persons with proven integrity benefit from the national recognition.
Bestowing the national honours on 155 recipients on Monday in Abuja, President Goodluck Jonathan issued a directive to national honours committee to investigate past awardees to ascertain if they were st
He said, “We are convinced that the National Honours Award is a very important part of the symbols of the country’s value and pride. Whilst government is always pleased to admit deserving persons into the ranks of those honoured by Nigeria, all holders must not fall short of our collective expectations. The dignity, honour and respect of the National Honours must never be tarnished
“In light of the foregoing, I have directed that the National Honours Committee compile a list of persons conferred with the National Honours but that their current credibility is questionable. If they are found wanting, our prestigious Honours will be withdrawn. This is essential in ensuring that holders of National Honours are truly worthy representations of our national values and honour, and especially are patriotic Nigerians or real friend of our dear land”.
Jonathan also directed the Award committee to expand recipients search processes to include all levels of the society. He noted that the total of 4430 recipients of categories of the award since inception in 1963 was not enough adding that many more Nigerians deserved the recognition.
The President urged all citizens to join hands with the government in efforts at transforming the country.
He specifically called on the people to engage in value re-orientation, confidence rebuilding in the polity and positive attitudinal change.
Speaking on the recipients, Jonathan said they cut across far and wide and had distinguished themselves as icons and examples to all.
Specifically, the President identified Muhammadd Zakari, a senior information officer on GL 10 in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation who was honoured for honesty.
Zakari, decorated with Members of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) was honoured for retuning an error payment to him of over N6 million in November 2011.Dr Mike Adenuga the CEO of Globacom, was decorated with the highest honour among all the recipients; Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON).Jonathan said Adenuga contributed immensely as a businessman and entrepreneur, to the growth and development of the economy.
“He worked hard to establish Globacom as an international communication company which provides means of livelihood to over 100,000 Nigerians.
Today accross Ghana, Benin Repubblics, he has built a formidable brand and is expandingfootholds in Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal.’’ He said.
Adenuga is the second person from the private sector to be decorated with the honour of GCON.
The President broke a jinx at the 2011 Award ceremony when he honoured business mogul, Aliko Dangote, with, GCON, the second highest award in all the categories.
The award was hitherto exclusively reserved for Vice Presidents, Senate Presidents and Chief Justices of Nigeria
The six Paralympian gold medallists at the just concluded Paralympic Games in London were decorated with the award of Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) .
The President said they were recognised for hard work and for lifting the hope of the nation at the global sports fiesta.
The paralympians who had earlier been given N5 million cash reward included, were Biji Loveline, Ivory Nwokorie, Esther Oyema, Joy Onaolapo, Anozie Grace and Yakubu Adesokan.
Jonathan congratulated the recipients and implored them to sustain the tempo of their performances and be mentors to the young ones.
Earlier, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim said the recipients were subjected to thorough scrutiny by the Award Committee before approval by the President.
Chairman of Committee and retired Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alfa Belgore said they set new standard in the nomination process and urged that it should be sustained.
He challenged the recipients to see the awards as motivation to work harder in contributing to national development.
Belgore underscored the need for government and well meaning Nigerians particularly in the private sector to harness the abundant natural and human resources of the country to maximum benefits.
A total of 155 recipients were decorated with six of the eight statutorily recognized categories of honours.
Six serving and two retired Justices of the Supreme Court; and retired Inspector General of Police, M.D. Abubakar were decorated with the honour of Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR).
Also among the awardee of CFR were the first governor of Lagos State retired Gen. Mobolaji Johnson and an entrepreneur and Chief Gabriel Igbinedion
Governors Gabriel Suswam (Benue), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta) and Martins Elechi ( Ebonyi), former Bauchi Governor, Adamu Muazu, six Senators and five ministers were among the 25 decorated for the honour of Grand Commander of the order of Niger (CON)There were 24 recipients Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR), 38 for Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) and 38 also for Members of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR).