Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari conferred the 2017 Nigerian National Merit Award (NNMA) on a prominent Nigerian scholar, Professor Adesoji Adesina and a popular artist, Bruce Onobrakpeya.
Performing the ceremony at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, he praised the research and intellectual qualities of the recipients.
Osinbajo assured that the federal government would continue to support research innovation in the country as he noted that posterity would not forgive government functionaries if they failed to provide support for research activities.
While noting that every winner of NNMA was unique, he described the recipients as “milestones of Nigeria’s checkered history” adding that they should deploy their huge experiences to advance the course of the society.
Osinbajo also praised the Governing Board of NNMA which he noted had so far identified 75 recipients of the award.
Welcoming the two recipients to the “prestigious league” of Nigerian National Order of Merit Investiture, he said the award “epitomizes the finest of Nigerian innovation.”
Speaking about the individual recipient, Osinbajo observed that Adesina’s works in engineering and technology spanned over three decades in various fields including mining, defence, manufacturing, among others, with over 400 publications and competitive research grants.
He said Adesina had trained a number of students including 42 PhD holders who are now professors, executives in petro-chemical industry and captains of engineering designs in various parts of the world.
He added: “To date, Prof. Adesina is credited with nearly 450 refereed publications, patents and books. He has supervised more than 100 graduate students to completion, including 42 PhD alumni with a truly global hue.
“Among these former students are university professors in highly-ranked institutions, executives of the petrol-chemical processing industries, government dignitaries and captains of engineering design and consulting firms located throughout China, South-east Asia, Middle East, Europe, USA, Canada and Australia.
“He has won over $15 million in competitive research grants from government and industry sponsors.”
On Onobrakpeya, he also observed that his works in arts and humanities have spanned six decades.
He described him as celebrated as a painter, initiator of art, author and philanthropist.
According to him, Onobrakpeya had received over 30 awards and appointments in recognition of his excellent and intellectual contributions to humanity as well as lifetime awards.
Osinbajo also described Onobrakpeya as a social commentator, whose works of art date back to 1957, which he described as a period of early development of arts in the country.
While noting that the artist was an advocate of social causes who focuses on social developments, Osinbajo said Onobrakoeya’s art works included painting on divine prayer for help.
According to him, his works also addressed political instability, sociological problems while his contemporary works border on the murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa and broken pipes.
Speaking on behalf of the recipients, Adesina expressed gratitude for the recognition as well as for the efforts made by the Governing Board of the MNMA towards the success of the award.
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