The Nigerian National Merit Award (NMMA) has since inception in 1979 conferred the Nigerian National Order of Merit Award (NNOM) on 71 Nigerians from all walks of life.Prof. Gbolagade Ayoola disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) IN Abuja recently.According to Ayoola, as at December 2014, a total of 71 Nigerians have distinguished themselves and have been able to pass through litmus test of the NMMA to get the NNOM Award.He said that from the 71 Nigerians, 51 were still living while 21 had died. Adding that 15 were honoured in the field of medicine, 10 from science, 11 from the field of engineering /technology, 34 from humanity and 1 from other human endeavour.He also said that 68 out of the total number conferred award on were men while 3 female benefited from the award.He said that prospective recipients of the Award were either nominated by persons or a group of persons who felt that the nominees had distinguished themselves nationally and internationally in various spheres.“ We put up call for nomination in January and we give up to 2 or 3 months for candidates to respond.“ The next step is to convene the meeting of Specialised Committee by way of short listing and making necessary arrangement for `blind assessment’.“The Committee of Chairmen of Specialised Committee of Assessors will now be convened to look at the output of the work of Secialised Committee of Assessos.“And they will carry the work further to see how good, how satisfactory the job of the specialised committee and take necessary steps,’’ Ayoola said.He further said that the NNMA Governing Board has no right to nominate any person(s), adding that the person has to offer himself for nomination or the general public could nominate such a person based on outstanding performances.He explained that it was the mandate of NNMA to place advertisement in the National dailies informing the general public of the categorisation of awards.He said that those nominated would be scrutinized by the Committee of Assessors set up by the NMMA in four core categorisation such as Engineering/ Technology, Science, Medicine and Humanities.“The Governing Board at the meeting convened for the purpose deserve the right to ratify the recommendation of the Chairman of the Specialised Committee.“ It is when they ratify that a communication will be sent to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria about the recommendation for him to be invited to grant the award.The Secretary however called on Nigerians to erase the general misconceptions that NNMA only awards influential persons in the country.
He stressed that the NNOM Award was distinct from the National honours Award and was a separate Order of dignity that specifically aims at recognising, promoting and rewarding academic achievements in all fields of human endeavour.Alheri Davo (Mrs.)HOU/ PPPR
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Report By: PRNigeria.com