Every year the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the President with the recommendation of the National Award Committee honors some Nigerians for their loyalty and patriotism to the country, their selfless service and to further encourage them to do more excellent work and meritorious services for the nation.
What an amazing initiative, laudable in itself, commendable and a great tool in breeding love for ones nation, through integrity, excellence, competence and ethical behaviour devoid of ethnic or religious sentiments.
For years I have watched this award organised and the various shabby and shoddy deals and stories that are weaved around it, not one decent person would be comfortable taken such without having a prick of conscience.
This National award is not however different from other awards given either in the religious or circular circles. The storyline is almost the same.
In the past, many Nigerians who have conscience, driven by pure patriotism, not moved by the desire and crave to flounce and BUGA their ego rejected such award and National recognition.
What are they to be recognised and award for ? What is the essence of such recognition and its very impact on the socio- economic and political development?
Each time I look at the long list of those who allegedly have contributed to the national development, I see a list, 70% of the names are the very reason we are where we are as nation, making a caricature of the whole process.
No doubt, there are many who deserve such honor by all standards and consideration, but the inclusion of characters of obvious questionable past and present demeanour makes the excellence and integrity of the award a pedestrian venture if not a public butt.
They feed fat, loot and plunder our collective patrimony . They rape and make the very resources of the nation a private golden hen, laying eggs of golden texture into their private pockets while the masses gnash and grind in penury.
They stand on a rostrum, make great promises, forget as soon as they bestride the seat of power and authority both the promises and the people.
They collect millions for contracts for roads, schools, hospitals, electricity etc nothing is done, the only thing seen is an improved life style with cars and houses to show for it. The list is endless, sadly, such are the characters that populate the list. they come up in their princely garments to receive such honours and award amidst cheers and adulations from lice and bugs sucking too from their loot.
I have no problem with the initiative to honor outstanding persons who in no mean ways contributed to the national buliding, my challenge however, is in the bastadization, monetization, and “halorization” of the award. The process is flawed, and the end cant justify the means, both must be seen to be justifiable in themselves.
Where is Musa, Shikirat, Emeka, Yemi, Nkechi? Where is Ahmed, Adamu, Obinna, Ola? Who are doing great, holding forth the very values of honesty, competence and ethical behaviour in their endeavours? They wouldn’t be shortlisted, their pockets not too deep to meet up with the demands of those concerned; but they are men who are doing amazingly great, flying the flag of this nation full mast, writting her name in gold and raising the bar of her international image and values. Where are they in the list? Just a few of them, an icing on the cake, just a camouflage to cover for its stinking components.
We are all different in choice and interest , with the inalienable right to choose and not to choose; those who accepted such honors have their reasons to do so. However, dancing with the devil, clinking glasses of champagne and receiving gifts from him only to turn and criticize him isn’t anything less hypocrisy.
Though the honor and awards are from “Nigeria” not from the President many argued, brilliant and self exonerating it may sound, however, receiving a white ornaments from dusty and mud hands makes the white ornament a dirty one.
Many who had integrity, honour, prestige, not driven by cheap popularity rejected such honor and award. Better to err on the side of caution than to be cautioned for erring.
A time will come when this honor will make sense and its values and integrity top- notched beyond scandals and vilification. Only then will I accept to be honored. In the now i think it is a scam ,a channel for money spinning for some and a reflection of how disjointed we have all been as a nation.
Congratulations to those so honored and awarded. History one day will throw up your names as those who filled out, driven by cheap popularity, self agrandizement or whatever to receive an award of excellence from the hands of those that have buried the joy, the happiness, the future etc of this country. Then posterity will clap for you for endorsing such inadvertently?
Denial is the behaviour of a person who refuses to face an unpleasant reality. Nigerians are not in any form or mood for any national award of honours. Nobody in their right senses will deny this.
We are in dire situation, things are falling apart, the centre can’t hold, the arrows of insecurity and hunger keep hitting, giving honours and awards are the lest we should care about.
Jarlath Opara Jarlathuche@gmail.com