Presidency: Why Buhari hasn’t organised national honours award

By FACTNEWS on 13/12/2019

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The Presidency has defended the non-conferment of national honours on deserving Nigerians by the President, Muhammadu Buhari, since 2015, saying that productivity and merit take priority in recognising individuals.

He said this was the reason Buhari had placed more emphasis on the National Productivity Awards and Nigerian National Merit Awards since assumption of office in 2015.

The Federal Government yearly hosts the national honours event, first started in 1963, where the country’s honours such as Grand Commander of the Niger, Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, Member of the Order of the Niger, Order of the Niger, among others are conferred on Nigerians.

The country’s highest national honour is the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, the type President Buhari himself holds. He can also confer it on a few deserving persons, either while they are alive or posthumously.

As of 2014 when the last honours event was hosted by former President Goodluck Jonathan, the total number of beneficiaries stood at 4,737.

Jonathan had decorated 313 persons with honours at the last-held event.

However, Buhari has not hosted the event since assuming office in 2015, though on June 12, 2018, He posthumously conferred the GCFR on the presumed winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election, the late Chief Moshood Abiola.

 Abiola’s running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, received the GCON, while the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi also got the GCON posthumously.

But the tradition of hosting the event yearly has stopped since 2015. Attempts at hosting the event, including setting up committees to organise it, had hardly materialised in the last four years.


But giving its reasons, the Presidency said Buhari gave priority to productivity and merit awards.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu,  said: "Every year, these four years (2015-2019), the President has personally hosted the National Productivity Awards and the Nigerian National Merit Awards.

“Please, take note, productivity and merit. These are important priorities.”

As for the national honours, the Presidency said the system was being reinvented to place emphasis on credibility and merit, as against the large-scale distribution of medals.

“My understanding is that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation is working to reinvent the system and imbue it with merit and credibility,” he said.




Posted on December, 13 2019

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