Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The federal government thursday constituted the board of the Nigerian National Merit Award (NNMA), two months after its appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Dr. Habibat Lawan, inaugurated the board to be chaired by Prof Shekarau Yakubu Aku.
Other members of the board included Prof. Adele Jinadu, Prof. Igwe Laz Ekwueme, Prof. Sheikh Abdullah, Prof. Andrew Nok, Prof. Mohammed Hassan and Prof Joseph Andy.
The Permanent Secretary, Special Duties, Office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Dr Mrs. Amina Shamaki, will represent the SGF on the board, while Mr. Ibrahim Nanadi is the acting secretary.
The NNMA was set up by Act 53 of 1979 and amended by Act 96 of 1992 to advise on the conferment of the award of the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) to deserving Nigerians who have made various contributions in the areas of science, technology, medicine, humanities, arts and culture and other fields of human endeavour.
Since inception, only 79 people have been decorated with the NNOM also known as the Order of Dignitary.
The award carries a cash prize, a certificate, a medal and entitles the recipient to affix the NNOM designation after his/her name.
Lawan charged the board made up of renowned academics with proven track record, to honourably discharge the responsibilities placed on their shoulders by sustaining the high level of integrity
established in the NMNA.
â€œI charge you all to dig deep into your moral, ethics and religious reservoir to clad yourself with the armour that will insulate and protect you from whatever pressure to compromise your integrity during your tenure on this board,â€ she said.
Speaking after the inauguration, Aku said he felt an immense sense of gratitude to be appointed the chairman while all the members considered it an honour and privilege to serve.
The professor of Engineering said their wealth of experience will be brought on the NNMA, adding that everything the nation holds dearly depends on merit.
â€œOur democracy, economy, socio-cultural environment and the life of every citizen depends on the furtherance of merit. We can stimulate some sustainable goals and development when mediocrity is removed from our national life,â€ Aku said.