NNOM is the highest award for intellectual academic and creative achievement given by the Nigerian state on the strutory fixed date – first Thursday of December every year.
The 2018 award was conferred on him by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari urged the awardee to hold high the intellectual work, assuring that his administration would continue to promote excellence and national unity.
Chairman, Governing Board of the Nigeria National Merit Award, Prof Shekarau Aku Yakubu said they were very proud to present the 76th recipient of the award for 2018 to Mr President.
Yakubu described Prof Obafemi as a true embodiment of the noblest ideas of Nigerian citizenship and genuinely committed to social crusader, a nation builder and pathfinder.
“Obafemi is a multi-talented and many-sided personality, playwright, poet, novelist, a great scholar and translator and a public intellectual per excellence. He is morally committed to promotion of social justice in our nation. “This Laureate is indeed a source of pride to Nigeria and the Nation is indeed blessed to have such a distinguished teacher whose potentials should always be tapped for the growth and sustainable development of the country.
“His efforts will continue to blaze new trails of academies excellence for the progress of our nation.
In is acceptance speech, Prof Obafemi expressed profound gratitude to President Buhari for accepting the decision of the Board of the Nigerian National Merit Award to confer NNOM Award 2018 on him.
The Kogi State born laurate, said that With good educational poiicies combined with merit, the children of the poor with humble and lowly parentage can rise to stand before the President to recewe the Nigerian National Order of Merit, the highest honour and recognition for ‘academic and intellectual contributions made by citizens of Nigeria’.
He also thanked the Board for finding him deserving of the Award. “I must say that I do not take the honour for granted at all, considering the number of nominees from among whom I was picked for the Award. It compels me to take a deep reflection on how I arrived at this point in life,” the recipient said.
He told the president that “with the Change philosophy of your government, added to your proverbial and nation-wide personal reputation for integrity and commitment to national development, peace and national security, the time is now to utilize the merit inherent in these institutions and other similar institutions in this potentially great country, with the bubbling energies of its teaming youths, whose future depends on today’s envisioned governance.”
He discolsed that his undergraduate and graduate studies were financed through the Kwara State Government Scholarship and the University of llorin Staff Development Schemes. Two critical lessons emerge from this narrative.
“It is time for us to open participation space for the production, distribution and exchange of the nation’s mammoth endowments-material and ineffablein order to take the nation to where it can, and should be, as the country on whose shoulders the destiny of the Africa continent rests.
He dedicated the award to his family, the immediate “as represented here by my wife and children, and to my larger family of teachers and mentors, living and deceased, as well as all my students who have crossed my path in the nearly five decades of my academic and intellectual journey-without whom I will not be here today.” Mathew Dadiya – Abuja