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Politicians, Professionals, Others Make List As Buhari Rewards Friends, Loyalists with National Honours

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By Eric Elezuo

A total of 437 persons, including seven foreigners, have been listed by President Muhammadu Buhari, to be rewarded at the Nigeria’s National Honours Awards 2022 scheduled for October 11 at the State House, Abuja.

The list of nominees, which hit the media space on Sunday, has since gone viral on the Internet, amid knocks, kudos and congratulatory messages from a cross section of Nigerians. Some have argued that the cabibre of Nigerians honoured are deserving of the award while others have described the awards and awardees as padi padi, accusing Buhari of assembling his friends and loyalists for honours.

Among those who made the list were politicians, public servants, businessmen, scholars, security officers, senior lawyers, traditional and religious leaders as well as deceased persons.

The Punch quoted the President of YIAGA Foundation, Samson Itodo, as saying that “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.”

In his response as well, the Convener, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution, Dare-Ariyo Atoye, who also spoke to The Punch, noted that there should be guidelines for choosing the awardees.

“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,” he said.

Notable among deceased recipients is the former Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, who died in 2020 following complications from COVID-19, and DIG Joseph Egbunike, who died in active service.

While there are five Nigerians, who made the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) category including President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; the new Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola; the immediate past CJN, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad; Director-General, World Trade Organisation, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; and Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations, Amina Mohammed, 54 others were considered for Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) and 67 for the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON).

Others are 64 for Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR), 101 for Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON), 75 for Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR), 56 for Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) and eight for Federal Republic Medal (FRM).

The awardees include serving and former governors, serving and former presiding officers of the National Assembly, serving and former Chief Justices of Nigeria and serving and former members of the National Assembly.

Others are serving and former service chiefs, traditional rulers, retired public servants, lawyers, philanthropists, businessmen, ministers and members of the academia.

Some prominent Nigerians on the CFR list include Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor; former Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, Appeal Court president, Monica Mensem, former Army Chief, Tukur Buratai, and serving military chiefs

Others are Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, his predecessor, Mohammed Adamu, Emir of Lafia, Sidi Bage, and Tor Tiv, James Ayatse.

Some nominees in the CON category of national honours are the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Ishaq Oloyede and state governors such as Mai Mala-Buni (Yobe), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi) and Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna).

Others are Babagana Zulum (Borno), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives; Idris Wase, Finance minister, Zainab Ahmed and her works counterpart, Babatunde Fashola, amongst others.

Nominees in the OFR category include Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Ignatius Kaigama, CEO of the NNPCL, Mele Kyari, Nasiru Bayero and Muiz Banire. Others are Ishaq Bello, Aliyu El-Nafaty and Kehinde Aina, amongst others.

In the OON category, most National Assembly members such as Alhassan Doguwa, Muktar Betara, Ndudi Elumelu and Nkiruka Onyejeocha made the list.

Others are a former Permanent Secretary, Sunday Echono, NBA President Yakubu Maikyau, Sarki Abba and Sabiu (Tunde) Yusuf, amongst others.

Sanusi Lemu, late DIG Joseph Egunike (posthumous), Haliru Nababa and Burna Boy. Others are Simon Shango, Billy Okoye, Akwa Okon and Emeka Agbanari, amongst others made the MFR list.

The likes of 2Face Idibia, Shehu Othman, Teni the entertainer and Abubakar Maikano berthed on the MON category.

Additional information from Premium Times

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Ebonyi Rally: Atiku Reiterates Commitment to Restructuring, Devolution, Says APC Deceitful

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Former Vice President of Nigeria and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday, pledged his total commitment to power devolution and restructuring if elected the president, next month.

Atiku spoke while addressing a mammoth crowd of PDP supporters at Pa Ngele Oruta township stadium Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital.

While noting that the people of the South-East zone, had been clamouring for restructuring to enable them have more powers to deal with their local affairs, the presidential hopeful assured the people that restructuring and devolution of power would be a major policy of his administration.

He described the rulling All Progressives Congress (APC) as a deceitful alliance and not a political party, even as he claimed the alliance that brought APC had collapsed.

He said the APC promised to restructure the Nigeria but failed to do so.

Atiku said: “I am committed to power devolution and restructuring. All the South Eastern states have been yearning and have been propagating for restructuring of this country because they want to have more powers, more resources to deal with their own local affairs. We agree entirely and that is why it is a major policy of our government, if you support us and if you give us the opportunity.

“APC had promised the same. Did they do it? They abandoned the issue of restructuring, they are very deceitful alliance, very deceitful.

We are committed and we mean what we say and if you give us the support, we will deliver.

They said some people formed a party, it is not a party. It is an alliance and the alliance is collapsing and it has collapsed”.

He promised to empower women and youths to take over power from old politicians if given the mandate to be president of the country.

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Niger Delta Will Benefit from Our Resource Control Agenda – Atiku

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Presidential Candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Tuesday said if voted into office, his administration would change the security architecture in the country and grow the economy.

He gave the assurance at the party’s Presidential Campaign in Delta held at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.

Abubakar said that between 1999 and 2015, PDP grew Nigeria’s economy and made it the largest in Africa, but that the All Progressives Congress (APC) destroyed it with its inept leadership.

He said that with adequate security and right economic policies, a PDP administration led by him would attract Foreign Direct Investment that would grow the nation’s economy, adding that the security of the country was paramount because no nation could develop without security.

He told Deltans that the team was not in the state to campaign, saying “we are here to show our gratitude and appreciation to say that we are with you in all respects because of the support we have received from you from 1999 to date.
“All through my political journey, Delta state has always supported me and I want to promise you that I shall not betray the trust of Delta and the entire Niger Delta.

“That is why in my modest appreciation, I chose one of you as my vice presidential candidate and you know that a running mate is always a stepping stone.

“Therefore it is up to you to show your support by giving Governor Okowa the massive support to enable us to rescue and rebuild our dear country.”

On his policy document, the PDP Presidential flag bearer stated that his administration would pay attention to developing the education sector, and promised that under his watch, strikes by members of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) would be eradicated.

“The Niger Delta and other parts of the country will benefit from our resource control and restructuring agenda because it is our intention to devolve more powers to the states and local governments to tackle peculiar challenges facing the people.

“The APC government has disunited Nigeria in all aspects and it is our commitment to restore the unity of this country by ensuring that every part of this country has a sense of belonging.

“You must believe in PDP because as a party we built the biggest economy in Africa until the APC came and destroyed it in 2015.
“Why vote for the same party that has suffered us in the last seven years plus? Let us vote them out to unite and rebuild our country again,” he said.

The Vice-Presidential Candidate of the party and Governor of Delta, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, said that Atiku knew how to address the socio-economic challenges bedevilling the country and urged the people to vote for the party.
According to him, we all know that the APC-led Federal Government brought poverty to the nation; they destroyed our economy to the extent that Nigerians are now hungry, without food to eat.

“How can a bag of rice be sold for almost N50, 000? It is only Atiku that can solve the problems in the country because when the PDP took over the reins of power in 1999, Atiku and Obasanjo were able to restore the nation’s lost glory.

“Atiku has assured Nigerians that he will revive the economy of the country and reposition it for optimum productivity in all sectors of the Nigerian economy.

“For over 20 years, Atiku has been advocating for the restructuring of Nigeria where states and local governments will get more money that will stimulate growth and development and this is what we want in the Niger Delta.

“Atiku has also promised that his administration, if elected, will put in place a constitutional framework that will enable states to have State Police so as to stem the tide of insecurity in the country.

“Atiku is an experienced politician that has the capacity and pedigree to reset the country and I call on all eligible voters in the state to ensure that they have their PVCs to enable them vote in the forthcoming general elections,” Okowa stated.

National Chairman of the party, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, on his part, congratulated Deltans for the choice of Okowa as Vice-Presidential Candidate and lauded previous governors of the state for their contributions to the growth and development of the state.

He called on sons and daughters of the state to vote massively for all PDP candidates in the general elections.

The rally was attended by former Vice-President, Namadi Sambo, former President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki; Governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Udom Emmanuel of Akwa-Ibom, Godwin Obaseki of Edo, Douye Diri of Bayelsa and Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa.

Earlier, Atiku Abubakar had held a meeting with traditional rulers in Delta, at their Secretariat in Asaba, and assured that if elected, he would ensure that clear constitutional roles were given to monarchs in the country.

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Atiku Campaigns in Bayelsa, Promises Devolution of Power, Restructuring

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The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has promised the Niger Delta people that his administration will devolve powers from the centre and restructure Nigeria if elected.

Atiku, who spoke at the campaign rally of the PDP in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Monday, noted that the people of the region had been clamouring for resource control and the restructuring of the country and that his government, when elected, would accede to their demands.

He reiterated the implementation of his five-point developmental agenda for the nation, which he listed as the unification of the country, tackling insecurity, the economy, ending the strike in universities, and restructuring.

He said, “I promised to tackle insecurity. Here in Bayelsa State, you have faced a number of security challenges. You have lost so many people due to breaches of law and order. I promise I will restore security in this country.

“We proposed to restructure this country. You people in the Niger Delta need more restructuring than any other part of this country. We will give you more resources and more powers to deal with your problems. You don’t have to always start begging the Federal Government.”

In his remarks, the Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, said Atiku was the only presidential candidate who had pledged to give the Ijaw people, and indeed the Niger Delta, restructuring.

Diri said partly, “Now, the only candidate who has keyed in and who has talked about what the Ijaw people want and what the people of Bayelsa want is Atiku; we have been talking about: resource control, Atiku is the only candidate that has talked about the restructuring of this country. Therefore, Atiku and the PDP are the only candidates and parties for which the Ijaw people will vote.”

Also speaking, the vice presidential candidate of the PDP and governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, called on the people of Bayelsa State to give the party no fewer than 700,000 votes, while the geopolitical zone should deliver at least five million votes for the PDP at the presidential polls.

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