Jonathan presents merit award to two professors

Channels Television  
Updated December 6, 2012

The Federal Government is in process of establishing Nigeria National Merit Award Policy Group and a complementary National Research and Development Fund.

From left: President Goodluck Jonathan, decorating Samuel Ohaegbulam with the Nigerian National Order of Merit Award at the Presidential villa, Abuja, on Thursday.

President Goodluck Jonathan disclosed this on Thursday at the presentation of the 2012 Nigerian National Order of Merit Award to Professor Samuel Ohaegbulam (medicine) and Professor Emmanuel Yoloye (humanities) at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The president said that the purpose of the award is to encourage technological research essential for socio-economic development of the country.
Jonathan also assured the Nigerian National Merit Award (NNMA) of Federal Government continuous support.

According to him, the administration was committed to fully supporting the NMMA and its activities.

The President who was responding to the request made by NNMA said actions are already in place for the establishment of the National Research and Development Fund.

He said, “Through the SGF, actions have already commenced on the proposed NMMA Policy Group and the establishment of National Research and Development Fund. The government will continue to promote excellence on merit in our strive to rapid development and nationhood. In this regards, those who are honoured will be remembered as beacons to serve and motivation and encouragement to younger generations of Nigerians.

“Let me reiterate our administration’s commitment to fully supporting the NMMA and its activities. NMMA will do better if other tiers of government and private sector also actively support and contribute to its activities,” President Jonathan said.

He also promised that his administration will study the recommendations contained in the communiqué issued at the end of the 5th annual forum and also continue to support the activities of NNMA.

“Our government will not only study the recommendations in the communiqué of the 5th annual forum of the laureates, we will also continue to support your initiative efforts and solutions to major problems in our country.

“The report of the committee on the activities of the NMMA is also being studied by the office of the SGF. I will like to assure you that the Federal Government supports the endowment fund of the NMMA and will take necessary steps to strengthen the institution.”

The national order of merit award is the highest and most prestigious honour the nation bestows on its citizens at home and in the Diaspora for proving creative intellectual and academic contribution of national and global significance.

The number of recipient of the 33 year old award which spreads across all areas of human endeavours with the two new awardees has increased to 67, an average of two per year.

The limited number of recipient per year according to the president is an indication of the high standard of procedures employed in the selection process.

“This is a strong pointer to the high standard and merit-driven evaluation procedures underlying the selection of the winners of the award, which also underlines our nation’s expectation that our new awardees, like their industrious predecessors, will hold the banner of creativity and intellectual development.

“There is no doubt that our nation needs the knowledge, expertise and contributions of today’s recipients to boost its overall development, particularly in the successful implementation of the government’s transformation agenda.

“It is for this reason that I approved an increase in the statutory cash prize attached to the award from N5m to N10m per recipient with effect from 2010. As envisaged, this prize will inspire young generation of researchers to follow their footsteps.”

Inducting the recipients, the President urged them to sustain their interest in research and to also remain as sources of inspiration to all.
He said, “These recipients are today admitted into this very admirable, respected and distinguished class of Nigerians as 66th and 67th members. By your remarkable achievements, you have made Nigeria proud and once again put our nation on a high global pedestal. It is my hope that you will sustain your interests in research and excellence and remain sources of inspiration to all and sundry especially our upcoming generation.”

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of NNMA Governing Board, Sylvester Adegoke said “the success of government of the developed economies of the world is solidly reinforced by the use of intellectuals outside of government to support the articulation and implementation of Policies that have been carefully defined by the public servants serving within the government.

He therefore requested amongst other things that the annual staging of the Forum of Laureates be used as a platform for bringing together the Laureates both at home and in Diaspora, the National Academy and Researchers, key government officials and the private sector to discuss salient issues of national importance.

He also requested for the urgent establishment of the Nigerian National Research and Development Fund to be manage on behalf of the Federal Government in a merit driven fashion by reputed researchers drawn from among the Laureates, the five national academies, the post-graduate medical college of Nigeria and representatives of the relevant MDAs and organised private sector. The fund shall be available purely on merit and competitive basis to Nigerian researchers. It will help to bridge the technology gap.

Other requested made by Prof. Adegoke was for the Proper funding of the NNMA endowment fund and also granting of formal recognition and launch of NNMA Policy Group.