Wednesday, 19 June 2013
Lagos ACN Slams Continued Debasement Of National Honours Award
The Lagos State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria has slammed the federal government for the way and manner it is awarding national honours to Nigerians with questionable integrity. The party says that with the latest list of awardees of the country’s national honour, it is certain that the present regime is not listening to the opinion of Nigerians on how to redeem a process that has been so seriously abused that Nigerians do not attach any value to national honours again.
In a release in Lagos, signed by the Lagos State Publicity Secretary of the ACN, Joe Igbokwe, the party says that a careful perusal of the latest names released for national honours shows that it is a pot pouri of businessmen that have no scruples, friends and associates of those in government, discredited contractors and acolytes of those in power, especially at the federal level and mainly PDP party members who have done absolutely nothing than living off the state. It regrets that what was instituted as a badge of honour has been bastardized to the extent that Nigerians see it as badge of dishonor and regretted that the present government is not in a hurry to reverse this negative perception.
“Going through the names of the newest awardees of various categories of national honours, one notices that those that compiled the names see the honour as reward for their friends, associates, business fronts, party men and nothing more. We see the awards still as a whimsical ritual that further erodes the entire concept when Nigerians desire an enrichment of the nation’s moral codes. It is clearly regrettable that the government did not take into consideration recent expressions of disappointment of Nigerians with the award and make necessary amends in the current list. Rather, what we see is a mix of names of people whom Nigerians cannot place in the events that has shaped this country for good. We are shocked that the same tardy way and manner this regime has been known to handle critical issues was on display in this latest list as there is no binding code of honour that unites these latest lists of awardees, as it should be. We only see a combination of people, most of whom have played negative roles in the evolution of Nigeria till the present where we have a wrecked country in our hands.
“We would have expected that the massive public outcry against the list of awardees last year would have forced this regime to ensure the adoption strict guidelines in arriving at subsequent list of awardees but our hope for improvement has been dashed again by the current list. We do not feel that we should continue this way as such honours stand to be consigned to the dustbin in the very nearest future if nothing is done to sanitize them. We feel that this nation is making itself a laughing stock in the comity of nations when we continue to reward thousands of people every year with national honours when the country is regressing badly. We feel there is nothing wrong in suspending the awards for some years while the country grapples with the enormous problems starring it in the face.
“We call on the presidency not to continue bluffing through the feelings and opinions of Nigerians on such issues that determine the ethical and moral standing of the nation for that is one of the critical lessons national honors are meant to serve. We demand a thorough review of the entire process of awarding national honours to ensure that only those competent and equipped with requisite integrity are honored. We demand that well defined criteria be set for the award of national honours and not an empty, base and hollow ritual that Nigerians treat with scorn and odium at present. We demand that the federal government reform the process or stop this meaningless signal that deprecates rather than enrich the national moral base.”