Some Nigerians have hailed President Goodluck Jonathan’s inclusion of some ordinary people as recipients of the 2014 National Honours Awards.
In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday , the respondents said described the decision as commendable, saying that it would encourage more Nigerians to be diligent in their endevours.
Mrs Kemi Abdulrasak, an Abuja-based civil servant, said “The president’s recognition of those ordinary people is really commendable and he should keep it up.
“This shows that diligence has reward and people would be encouraged to be more patriotic in whatever they do,” she said.
For Patrick Attaiye, an artist, it is a call to higher responsibility for the awardees.
“To whom much is given, much is expected. I am sure they didn’t know that their modest efforts were being noticed at the highest level. They should keep it up.”
Attaiye added that the President was so thoughtful to have awarded the Head of Presidential Stewards, Mr. Onuh Isaac Michaels.
“Onuh, who hails from Etutekpe Community in Olamaboro Local Government of Kogi State, is reputed to have served nine presidents to date.
“I believe he never taught of being awarded.”
However, Mr Abraham John, a pensioner, suggested that such awards should come with some financial incentive.
“Though the recognition is commendable, it could become valueless, if the awardees live in penury.
“I suggest that some financial incentive should be attached, especially for those poor awardees.”
NAN reports that a total of 313 Nigerians were honoured by the President at a ceremony that saw recipients who had distinguished themselves in their fields of endeavour bagging various categories of the National Award.
Among the awardees, it was Mr. Imeh Usuah, an Abuja-based taxi driver who returned a large sum of money forgotten in his vehicle, Mr. Solomon Dauda, a traffic warden, and Mr. Onuh Isaac, a steward, who stole the show.
In addition to the award of the Member of the Order of the Niger, three of them also got house gifts in the Federal Capital Territory.
Jonathan also directed that the designer of the national flag, Pa Michael Akinkunmi, be placed on the salary of a Special Assistant to the President for life, in addition to his national honour of Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic.
The President charged the honourees to ensure that the awards were not seen as mere pieces of paper and garlands tied around their necks.