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President Buhari confers 2018 NNOM Award on Prof. Obafemi

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Professor Olufemi Obafemi

Professor Olufemi Obafemi


President Muhammadu Buhari has conferred on Prof. Olufemi Obafemi the 2018 Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) Award and pledged to continue to promote excellence and merit to enhance rapid development and national unity.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that conferment of the NNOM on the recipient by the president was held on Wednesday at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, .

President Buhari, who congratulated the recipient of the award, said Nigeria needed the knowledge and expertise of the awardee.

The President said he believed that Obafemi and others, who were previously honoured with the award, would be remembered and would serve as motivation and encouragement to future generation of Nigerians.

“Our country needs the knowledge, expertise and contribution of today’s recipient to help boost and improve its intellectual development.

“It is for this reason that the approved statutory cash prize of N10million is attached to the Award for the recipient.

“As envisaged, this prize will inspire young generation of researchers to follow in their footsteps.

“The recipient of today is admitted into this admirable, respected and distinguished class of Nigerians as the 76th member of the body of Nigerian National Order of Merit Awardees.

“He has made Nigeria proud with his remarkable achievements drawing global attention to our nation.

“It is my hope that you sustain your interest in writing and research and strive to new levels and remain a source of inspiration to all Nigerians.

“This government will not only study the recommendations in the communiqué of the 11th Annual Forum of the laureates, we will also continue to support your initiative, efforts and solutions to major problems in the country,’’ he said.

According to the President, the report of the committee on the activities of the Nigerian National Merit Award will also be studied by the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation for full implementation.

He also pledged to look into the financial and other challenges facing the Nigerian National Merit Award (NNMA) with a view to addressing them.

He said government would particularly look into the budgetary allocation and funding of NNMA to make it discharge its responsibilities diligently.

In his remarks, the chairman of the Governing Board of the NNMA, Prof. Shekarau Aku, said the 76th recipient of the Award for 2018 who, by outstanding research work and service to humanity, had undoubtedly printed his name in gold.

“This recipient has successfully scaled the buddies and is thus worthy to be conferred with the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM).

“Obafemi is a multi-talented and many-sided personality, playwright, poet, novelist, a great scholar and translator.

“A public intellectual per excellence, he is morally committed to promotion of social justice in our nation and elsewhere, also promotes building bridges of understanding across the contentious gulfs of class, culture and race.

“This Laureate is indeed a source of pride to Nigeria and the Nation is indeed blessed to have such a distinguished teacher whose potentials should always be tapped for the growth and sustainable development of the country,” he said.

According to the NNMA Board Chairman, Obafemi’s efforts will continue to blaze new trails of academic excellence for the progress of Nigeria.

Aku also implored the President to urgently address the dire financial straits that the NNMA had found itself in, stressing the need for a major re-endowment for the NNMA.

In his acceptance speech, Obafemi expressed appreciation to the President and the board for selecting him as the 2018 recipient of the award.

The recipient said he did not take the honour for granted considering the number of nominees from among whom he was picked for the Award.

Obafemi, who narrated his life’s journey, said: “It compels me to take a deep reflection on how I arrived at this point in life.

“The story of my life’s journey provides instruction on the value of merit in the attainment of possibilities for individuals, groups and societies.

“In 1963, I gained admission into two missionary-run colleges in the then Kabba Division in today’s Kogi State. The fees of the institutions were simply beyond the means of my parents- peasant farmer and a food vendor.

“I had to wait until the following year when I passed the Common Entrance Examinations and gained admission into one of the Northern Nigerian government’s Provincial Secondary Schools, sited, equitably, in the Fourteen Provinces of the Northern Region.

“Even at that, the relatively small school fees of Thirteen pounds a year could only be paid after my father had sold his cocoa/coffee plantation and my mother the finest of her few clothes.

“It was not until the third year when, by government policy, the Provincial colleges in the region became full-fledged Government colleges, that my parents were marginally able to sponsor my Secondary education with less hardship.”

According to him, a combination of good mission, regional, state, and federal education policies of the sixties and seventies opened access and opportunities to qualified pupils and students to obtain sound education.

“This has affirmed my conviction that merit is a veritable credo of governance and I propose that it is forever good to stick to what is just and right.

“What remains is for our governments to adhere to the Merit principle as the objective condition for national transformation.”

He dedicated the award to his family, his teachers and mentors, living and deceased, and all his students in the past five decades.

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Plateau unrest: Military taskforce accuses elites of manipulating, misguiding youths into violence

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Nigerian Army

Nigerian Army


The Special Military Taskforce code named Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), saddled with the responsibility of maintaining peace in Plateau State, on Tuesday blamed elites in the state of manipulating and misguiding youths into perpetuating violence.

Commander OPSH, Major General Augustine Agundu, made the disclosure in Jos at a youth summit organised by OPSH and Civil Military Relief Initiative to foster unity and peaceful coexistence.

Agundu said within his five months as OPSH Commander, he was able to interact with different groups (ordinary/elite) and he understood the true situation of things.

“My deduction here on the Plateau is that the youth have been manipulated and misguided into violence.

“Some mischief makers are exploiting the vulnerability of the youth population to unleash mayhem on law abiding citizens,” he stated.

The Commander said, according to UNICEF figures, 45.8 percent of Plateau population are youth under the age of 30 years.

According to him, with almost half of the population being youth, it therefore means that the youths should be prepared to take up leadership responsibilities and not indulge in the act of violence.

“Some claim to be representing you, but in truth they prosper in atmosphere of chaos and bloodletting”, he explained.

“May I arouse your consciousness and urge you to never allow yourselves to be used as agents of disintegration.

“This crises on the Plateau has lasted for too long and must stop now if we all agree in unity of peace purpose,” he added.

He said, “An average Plateau youth is energetic, vibrant, hardworking, focus and result oriented.”

Agundu urged them not to allow anybody to belittle their capacity to positively change the society.

He appealed to them not to indulge in drugs, stating that the crises is perpetrated as effect of drug consumption.

The Commander expalined that the summit by OPSH, is a non kinetic approach to entrench enduring peace in Plateau.

According to him, he convened the meeting so that eyeball to eyeball, the youth who have bore the brunt of most crises, and were most often used to foment the trouble to understand that it would take them no where.

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New minimum wage: Oshiomhole declares stand on N30,000, reveals what Buhari will do

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Adams Oshiomhole, Chairman of APC

Adams Oshiomhole, Chairman of APC


The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Adams Oshiomhole has thrown his weight behind the clamour for a new minimum wage.

Oshiomhole stated that the refusal to pay new wage will amount to creating poverty for Nigerians.

He spoke at a reception in honour of the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba on his election as President of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in Abuja.

The former Edo State Governor also stated that there was no basis for governors to refuse to pay what he tagged living wage to workers.

He, however, assured workers that President Muhammadu Buhari will not do anything that will undermine their welfare.

According to Oshiomhole, “I am sure you must have read some of my comments on the minimum wage. I have told people that even I was to become the Secretary General of the United Nations I am a creation of Labour and I will never, publicly or privately, do anything that will undermine or do anything that is designed to possibly affect the welfare of Nigeria workers.

“I am a believer Nigeria needs to have a National minimum wage. I do not belong to those who say because we are in a Federation, we should have different wages.

“I join in amplifying that we cannot apply the principles of federalism separately.

“If we have the National Salaries and Wages Commission that makes it possible for me as governor of Edo State presiding over about 4.3 million population to earn the same salary as the governor of Kano and Lagos state who are presiding over 15 million, that argument cannot change when it comes to fixing a National minimum wage.

“The primary purpose of government is the welfare of the people. The most portent asset of the people is the state that protects you from the oppressor.

“This President is not about to put that asunder no matter the pressure from any section of governors or state.

“I believe that we have to work together not only to get wages fixed, but to ensure also that they are paid. When the President makes public statements like the ones he has made, he has challenged you to take advantage and make sure that when he provide those resources as he has done almost four times, you ensure that they are used for the purpose for which he provided the money. If you don’t, I don’t think you have someone else to blame.

On state governors refusal to pay N30, 000 demanded by labour, Oshiomhole said: “Minimum wage is not about party but about Nigeria.

“When I was a member of the governors’ forum, I did publicly advise my colleagues then that when it comes to the issue of minimum wage, I am not with them. Not only secretly but publicly too, I am going to dissociate myself.

“I believe that we need a National minimum wage. I believe that Nigeria is capable of paying a National minimum wage.

“I believe the primary purpose of government is the welfare of the people and that payment of wages is not a process of prosperity.

“If Nigeria was to wake up tomorrow and there is no one liter of oil and you must employ a worker, you are obliged to pay.

“Wages is a consequence of work. He who must employ must pay and even the Bible says a laborer is entitled to his wages.

“I believe this view and I have canvassed them. I had an extensive interview on this and I spoke extensively on it.”

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Enugu workers hail Gov. Ugwuanyi over 13th month salary

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Gov. Ugwuanyi

Gov. Ugwuanyi


Workers in Enugu State have confirmed receipt of the 13th month salary as 2018 Christmas bonus from Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration to celebrate the season with their loved ones.

Confirming the news, the Chairman of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Enugu State Council, Comrade Igbokwe Chukwuma Igbokwe disclosed that “some workers have started calling me that they have received alert for the 13th month salary”.

The elated labour leader had in a letter issued to Gov. Ugwuanyi, which was co-signed by his secretary, Comrade Benneth Asogwa, appreciated the governor’s “magnanimity for the approval and payment of the 13th month salary (Christmas bonus) to the civil servants and workers of the state-owned parastatals in Enugu State”.

They stated that the Congress was delighted that “for the first time the state-owned parastatals will be paid 13th month salary alongside their colleagues in the civil service”.

The Congress noted that the governor’s kind gesture towards the civil/public servants of the state has “demonstrated your continuous love for the workers of Enugu State by putting smiles on their faces in this Christmas season”.

They therefore, pledged their unflinching support for the success of his administration.

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