On October 11th, 2022, President Buhari will host a ceremony at the Aso Rock Villa to confer national honours on 437 recipients. These honours are the nation’s most premium, the kind that you win and can legitimately use “Do you know who I am?” unprovoked in an argument with a random stranger.
These national honours are a recognition of meritorious service to Nigeria, mostly for Nigerians but also awarded to some outstanding foreigners.
For example, one of the recipients of this year’s honours is the late Dr Stella Adadevoh who courageously limited the spread of Ebola in Nigeria in 2014. Another recipient is Abdullahi Abubakar, an imam who hid and protected 262 Christians from being killed during a religious crisis in Plateau State in 2018. Josephine Agu, an airport cleaner who returned $12,200 she found in a toilet, will also receive the honour.
Some public officeholders also get these honours by default. But if there’s anything to expect about a national honours list, it’s that everyone can’t agree that every recipient deserves it. And there are some names on Buhari’s list that have raised eyebrows, but first…
What are the Nigerian national honours?
Here’s a list of the national honours Buhari is awarding Nigerians — and seven foreigners — this year.
1. Grand Commander of the Niger (GCON)
2. Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR)
3. Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON)
4. Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR)
5. Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON)
6. Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR)
7. Member of the Order of the Niger (MON)
8. Federal Republic Medal I (FRM I)
9. Federal Republic Medal II (FRM II)
These are some of the award recipients raising eyebrows
Ogbonnaya Onu for CON
This man has been the Nigerian Minister of Science and Technology since 2015 and it’s impossible to say he’s covered himself in glory.
In 2016, unprovoked, Onu promised that Nigeria would hack the local production of pencils within two years. Six years later and his promise has entered voicemail alongside the 400,000 new jobs he promised.
We didn’t ask for flying cars or landing a Nigerian on the moon o. Ordinary local pencil production and he didn’t deliver, so why does he deserve a CON?
Adamu Adamu for CON
This man supervised some of the worst ASUU strikes in Nigeria’s history, so who was he really serving to deserve a CON? And to award him at a time when university students have been sitting at home for over eight months is just rubbing salt into the wound.
Mamman Daura for CON
Mamman Daura is also getting a CON for being an “elder statesman”, but you may remember him as Buhari’s nephew. Blood isn’t just thicker than water; it can also get you a national award.
Sabi’u Yusuf for OON
Sabi’u Yusuf is another awardee with blood ties to the president and it’s just easy at this point to call this the Buhari family honours list. Yusuf also serves as Buhari’s personal assistant and was once involved in a confrontation with the first lady, Aisha Buhari, that resulted in a gun discharge inside Aso Rock Villa. Being the president’s favourite young nephew gets you an OON.
For all the years of talking down on Nigerians and calling Buhari “the ramrod straight man” one too many times, Femi Adesina, the president’s vuvuzela, is also being rewarded with an OON.
The Federal Government has disowned the list of award recipients reported by the media and promised to release the authentic list when appropriate. But we’ll all see on October 11th, won’t we?