Abimbola Adeluyi, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday reaffirmed his administration’s promise of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.
In a message delivered on his behalf by Senator George Akume at the Nigerian National Merit Awards in Abuja, the President indicated that plans were afoot to urgently address the economic challenges plaguing the country and place it on the path of steady growth.
He said that the men and women who were being honoured at the event were part of the construction team that will take Nigeria to the next level. He described the Nigerian National Order of Merit Award as the most prestigious and credible national recognition in the country.
The Forum of Laureates of the Nigerian National Order of Merit, the President stated, has continued to make steady growth in terms of rewarding excellence and showcasing innovations.
“My years as President of this magnificent country has only succeeded in convincing me the more that it would require men and women like these ones gathered here today to move us to our next phase of being at the frontline of global positioning and advancement,” the President’s statement read.
“These indeed are men and women who will continually refuse to engage in all forms of mediocrity and stick to their guns no matter the challenges confronting them.
“They are gathered here to enlighten us and collaborate with like minds on policies that will move us, as a nation, forward. The endless opportunities being harnessed by the NNMA cannot be overemphasised. The laureates being celebrated here today are well known for their productivity and intellectual might as they soar far above the hurdles of archaism and embrace fully, the gains of contemporary technology and refined art,” he explained.
Akume noted that the main focus of the Forum of Laureates of the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) was to deliberate on salient issues of national interest, and as a result, create an enabling environment for the body of Laureates to channel views in policy making thereby contributing to national discourse.
He added: “Towards this end, notable changes as well as positive reinforcement will be birthed here today while getting rid of negative notions ascribed to education and scholarship in general. I must proudly say that the NNMA, through these fora, has been able to record innumerable successes and has made significant strides in their determined effort to make Nigeria the greatest nation in Africa and the world over.”
The NNMA was established in 1979 to identify and assess candidates for the meritorious award of Nigerian National Merit (NNOM), based on their outstanding contributions to national development in different fields.
2019’s keynote speaker, Mrs Makinwa Adebusoye, said this year’s theme ‘The Missing Links in 20 of democracy in Nigeria: Think Tanks as Catalysts for Development’, was carefully crafted to encourage bright minds to share their knowledge and help move Nigeria forward.