Anambra Applauds Post-humous NNOM Award To Prof. Chidume For Great Achievements

The Govt promises to honour outstanding Academics at 30th Anniversary
2 years ago
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Anambra State government has expressed delight at the award of the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM), to Professor Charles Ejike Chidume on February 8 at State House Abuja.

NNOM, established about 43 years ago, is the country’s highest honour for intellectual and artistic achievements.
Professor Chidume, an internationally recognized mathematics professor, beat over 1,200 contestants and received the honour last week, alongside Professor Oluyinka Olutoye, a medical scientist, who was also announced a winner the same year, as well as Professor Godwin O. Ekhaguere, a scientist, who got the 2021 award.

An indigene of Nimo in Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State who trained at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and Queen’s University in Canada as well as the Ohio State University in the United States, Professor Chidume died on October 7, last year at the age of 74 while serving as the acting President of the African University of Science and Technology, Abuja, after a long, successful period at the UNN as an outstanding scholar.

READ ALSO: Three Nigerian Scholars Recieve National Order Of Merit Award

Though the NNOM honour is, like the Nobel Prize, awarded annually only to living individuals and organisations, President Buhari last week conferred it post-humously on Chidume because when he was selected as a laureate in 2020 he was still alive.

The awards could not hold last year on account of the lockdown arising from the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the state commissioner for Information and public enlightenment, C. Don Adinuba, the state Governor, Willie Obiano was qouted as saying in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday thus: “By being among the three most recent NNOM laureates, Professor Chidume has helped to elongate the list of winners of Nigeria’s most prestigious award for academic excellence from Anambra State.”

Professor Chinua Achebe, author of Things Fall Apart, and Africa’s most successful novelist, raconteur, essayist and social critic, was the first recipient of the honour when it was established in the late 1970s by the departing military regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo, explained Adinuba.

Apart from Achebe, winners from the state include Dr Pius Okigbo in economics, Professor Chukwuedo Nwokolo in medicine, Professor Laz Ekwueme in music, Professor Alex Animalu in physics, Professor Chukwuemeka Ike in literature and Professor Ben Nwabueze in law.

“It is regrettable”, bemoaned Governor Obiano, “this award was not conferred on such world-class scholars from Anambra State as Professor Kenneth Onwuka Dike, the first vice chancellor of the University of Ibadan who went on to Harvard as a distinguished history professor; Professor Chike Obi, the preeminent mathematician; Professor Ben Obumselu, the most scintillating literary scholar in Africa, before their deaths”.

Anambra and Ekiti states are states with the largest numbers of the 79 persons who have received the NNOM since inauguration 43 years ago.

According to Adinuba, all the NNOM recipients from Anambra State will be among indigenes of the state to be honoured at the ceremony marking the state’s 30th anniversary which would have held last August 27 but for the November 6 gubernatorial election in the state.

“We will continue to honour men and women of outstanding learning”, declared the commissioner, “because education explains the difference between a developed society and an undeveloped one”.

He noted that: “it is as a result of the premium paid to education by the Governor Obiano administration that Anambra has posted far better results than any state in Nigeria in the last seven years, almost habitually winning the first position in every external examination involving schoolchildren”.

Adinuba expressed optimism that with Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, a globally respected economics professor, assuming office as governor on March 17, Anambra State will become far more competitive in education and other sectors.


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