President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday conferred Chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote; foremost investment banker, philanthropist and Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Tony Elumelu; and industrialist Oba Otudeko, with the National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) Award for job creation.
The trio were conferred the award under “Special Category” while 22 other individuals and seven corporate organizations also received awards under various categories.
Also honoured at the event which held in Abuja include the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Services, Hameed Ali; Chairman of Channels Television, John Momoh; Registrar of Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, Is-haq Oloyede, as well as Sam Omatseye, a newspaper columnist.
President Buhari said that the awards was a practical demonstration of the commitment of his administration to the promotion of the ideals of a productive nation.
President Buhari who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, in his keynote speech congratulated Elumelu and other awardees for serving the nation and humanity and urged them to do more to develop Nigerian economy.
“To the awardees I say a big congratulations, we celebrate you for your outstanding achievements and breakthrough in your different areas of enterprise.
“To whom much is given much more is expected. I trust that this award will propel you to greater heights and to do more for sustainable growth in our country.”
Buhari said the award is an indication of government’s firm commitment to entrench the culture of productivity and excellence in the psyche of all Nigerians .
The president stressed that productivity plays a very significant role in wealth creation, employment generation, social progress and improve standard of living in Nigeria.
“I reiterate that productivity is crucial in creating the condition necessary to achieve sustainable national goal and development”, he said.
He also urged urged state governors to make transparency their watchword while handling state funds and promised to sustain the policies to ensure additional investments are channeled thereby creating more jobs in the sector.
In his address, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige re-emphasized the commitment of government to the economy.
He explained that the National Productivity day and conferment of National Productivity order of merit award was one of the flagship programmes of the government designed to institutionalize productivity consciousness and excellence in service among workers and organizations by rewarding innovation, creativity and hard work among the citizenry.
He said since inception of the award in 1991, a total of 333 individuals and 84 organizations have benefited from it and that 25 individuals and seven organizations have proved themselves worthy of the 2019 award.
Elumelu’s award was basically in recognition of his commitment to the sustainable development of Africa through his investments across key sectors and the impact of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, TEF empowering over young entrepreneurs across the continent.
“We are proud to be a key contributor to Africa’s narrative of success and prosperity,” Eluemelu, founder of TEF stated after the awards.
“We continue our mission to empower African entrepreneurs,” he noted.
Over 9,000 African entrepreneurs across the 54 African countries would have benefitted from the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme by the end of this year; each of them creating jobs and generating revenue on the continent.
Elumelu expressed gratitude for being recognised by the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and pledged to create more jobs for the Nigerian youths.
According to him, job creation will not only take youths off the streets, but will also tackle the problem of insecurity and promote national development.
“It’s good to be recognised by your people, your government and especially by Buhari’s government for job creation and for helping to empower young ones”, he said.
He added, “I and my fellow awardees appreciate the gesture , we appreciate the recognition and we pledge to create more jobs for the country.”
The Awardees were listed under three categories: Individuals, Special, and Organization. The awardees under the Individual Category are as follows: Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, Chief Richard Onwuka Egbule, FNIM; Deputy Corps Marshal Ojeme I. Ewhrudjakpor, Dr Aishatu Abubakar, Prof. Adesola Olatunde Adepoju, Hajia Vivian Idama, Barr. Georgina Ekeoma Ehuriah, MON, Prof. Hussaini Doko Ibrahim, Abubakar Mamu, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd), Engr Ahmed Umar Farouk, Prof. Olanrewaju Adigun Fagbohun, SAN, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba, Chief Nabia Ahmed Saleh, Lawal Aliyu, Shuaibu Adamu, Al-Hassan Saleh Yakmut, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama, Leonard Nnamdi Ekeh, Hajia Muheeba Dankaka, John Momoh and Sam Omatseye.
The Special Category has Aliko Dangote, Oba Otudeko and Tony Elumelu, while the Organizations Category includes Casers Group, Vintage Farms and Products, Dufil Prima Foods Plc, Dozzy Oil and Gas, Krisoral Group, Kpakpando Foundation for People with Disabilities, and Reynold Construction Company (RCC).
Godsgift Onyedinefu, Abuja