Two of Nigeria’s distinguished scholars will be rewarded by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, December 1, with a Nigerian National Order of Merit, NNOM, as well as a cash prize of N10 million.
They are Sadik Omowunmi and Tanure Ojaide, both professors from the science and humanities categories respectively.
Omowunmi is a Chemist and the director at the Center for Advanced Sensors and Environmental Systems, CASE, State University of New York, Binghamton. Ojaide on the other hand is a contemporary literary icon.
The NNOM is the highest national honours given to individuals that have demonstrated exceptional ability in their various fields of endeavours.
It is quite different from the national honours award which is usually conferred on Politicians.
Chairman of the Governing Board of the Award, Etim Essien, made this known during a news conference to mark the 9th Forum of NNOM Laureates in Abuja on Thursday.
The theme of the forum is: “Mono-Economy, Diversification, Exchange Rate Stability and the Development of the Nigerian Nation.”
Essien stated that alongside the N10 million cash prize, the president would also present the awardees with certificates and medals.
He said: “As prescribed in the laws governing the NNMA, the investiture will be performed by Mr President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, Dec.1, at the Presidential Villa.
“The law stipulates that the award will be given on the first Thursday of December of every year.
“The NNMA, which is the agency responsible to seek out the best intellectual and creative Nigerian minds, was set up to seek accolades at home.
“It is also charged with the responsibility to help in directing their energies to finding solutions to Nigeria’s problems and thus promote national development and enhance good national image internationally,’’ he said.
Essien noted that the NNOM award was restricted mostly to Nigerian academics at home and in the Diaspora, who had achieved significant heights in their various fields.
Explaining how the awardees were selected, the board chairman said that a committee was set up to review the works of the recipients and make recommendations to the governing board.
The board will then analyse the recommendations critically before transmitting same to the president not later than September 1 of every year.