President Muhammadu Buhari has come under fire over the publication of the names of those to be conferred national honours.
Naija News reported that the President would honour 430 Nigerians and seven foreigners at Nigeria’s National Honours Awards 2022 scheduled for October 11 at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Some of the nominees for the national honours include the Director-General, World Trade Organisation, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations, Amina Mohammed and the former Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai.
Others are President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamil; new Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola; and the immediate past CJN, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, amongst others.
However, some Civil Society Organisations have slammed President Buhari over the calibre of people nominated for the prestigious awards.
Reacting, Executive Director of YIAGA Africa, Samson Itodo, said the nominees for the awards should be people of integrity and icons that people see and want to emulate.
Itodo said national honours should not be given to corrupt politicians who don’t merit the awards, adding that the President should have scrutinised the list of nominees.
He, however, said Buhari has the prerogative to confer national awards on Nigerians, or individuals who have contributed to national development.
He said, “The President has the prerogative to confer national awards on Nigerians, or individuals who have contributed to national development, and who have also distinguished themselves.
“Those given these awards, ideally, should be icons that people see and revere and want to emulate those qualities that they have. But if you give these awards to people who, morally, don’t have the capital to hold those awards, Nigerians would not recognise or take those seriously.”
Itodo said Buhari missed the opportunity to display qualities of impartiality and non-partisanship, forge unity and show leadership as the father of the nation,
Also, the Convener, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution, Dare-Ariyo Atoye, noted that there should be guidelines for choosing the awardees.
Dare-Ariyo cited the exclusion of a former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, from the recipients’ list, adding that the award should not be used for revenge.
He said, “The national award should not be an award that should be used to settle political scores. It should not be an award for vendetta.
“It should not be an award to serve narrow interests. But it should be an award to indeed appreciate the ingenuity of selected Nigerians, who have served the country meritoriously, so that carriers of these awards can be seen as ambassadors of this country, based on values, based on good deeds.”