By Henry Uche, Lagos
In a bid to promote patriotism and to boost the image of Nigeria, the Human & Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) has honoured 12 Nigerians with different categories of awards for their outstanding behaviour and actions which has contributed to and enhanced public perception of Nigeria.
The awards were given at the 4th edition of the Gani Fawehinmi Impact and Integrity Awards (GFIIA) following a five-month public process of nominations, shortlisting and voting.
Lifetime Awards was presented to Mohammed Fawehinmi, Olanrewaju Fasasi (Sound Sultan) and Dr Ayotunde Alao. Channels TV Judiciary correspondence, Mrs Shola Soyele and Mr Emmanuel Eluu, a staff of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited and driver at Muritala Muhammed Airport, who found and returned $40,000 belonging to a passenger, were also honoured.
Speaking at the event, HEDA’s Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, said the Award ceremony started on July 13, 2021, with a public call for a nomination following which 271 nomination entries were received; of this number, 21 persons were shortlisted for voting in the four categories of the Awards: six for Outstanding Impact, eight for Outstanding Integrity, four for Valuable Whistle-Blower and three for Nigerians-In-Diaspora Integrity Ambassador.
His words: “Finally, the top three nominees in each category were honoured today as follows: The Outstanding Integrity Award was won by Mr Olasupo Abideen Openyemi, an Alumnus of Harvard Business School, United States of America. The runners up are Dr Tonye Clinton-Jaja, former Chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission and Acting Head, Bills and Legislative Drafting Division of the National Institute for Legislative Studies; as well as Mr Molik Sherifdeen, a member of the Junior Chamber International (JCI).
“The Valuable Whistle-Blower Award was won by Mr Paul Alaba Lawani, a winner of the Global Town Crier Media Award; while the runners up are: Mr Akinyemi Ojo Adebayo, Chair of the Board of Trustee, International Organisation for Human Rights Development and Environment, Nigeria; and Mr Tukur Muazu.
“The Outstanding Impact Award was won by Mr Baba Muhammad Dzukogi, former National Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Authors; while the runners up are Ambassador Chineke Cajethan Goodluck, founder of the United Organisation for Education and Sports Development; and Professor Nwaocha Ogechukwu, a Professor of Religious Studies and 2022 Nominee for Nobel Peace Prize”
He added: “The Nigerians in Diaspora Award was won by Ms Onuike Ifeoma Chinenye, a passionate girls’ rights activist who has also displayed the attributes of distinction when she graduated as the best student and valedictorian in the Girne American University securing a first-class degree in law and repeated the same feat in her Master’s degree.”
According to him, the overall objective of the Awards was to take the fight against corruption beyond the usual naming and shaming and to step outside the box by ensuring that those who notwithstanding the attractiveness of corruption, bribery and other forms of sharp practices have taken to a life of transparency, honesty and integrity are identified, duly recognized and honoured, as a form of inspiration for a greater number of people to follow. “This is why HEDA, with the support of MacArthur Foundation, launched the GFIIA in 2018 to recognise these forthright individuals,” he added