THE BEST AMONGST BUHARI’S HARVEST OF HONOURS, AWARD
By Salisu Na’inna Dambatta
Those who track the number of high-grade honours and awards conferred on President Muhammadu Buhari for his leadership role in Nigeria, Africa and the world, can read this item and update their list of the honours and awards he received.
The latest award he received in Nouakchott, Mauritania, came from the Abu Dhabi Peace Forum in recognition of his contributions for Strengthening Peace in Africa.
During the award ceremony President Buhari highlighted the importance of good governance, inclusiveness and the need to create opportunities for youths to sustain a peaceful democratic atmosphere.
But the purpose of this article is to refresh the memories of Nigerians regarding the numerous awards and honours garnered by the President as a leader.
It is important to appreciate that the most important honour a leader can get in a democratic setting is earning the trust of his fellow citizens to run their affairs in the proverbial times of plenty and scarcity.
Muhammad Buhari was profoundly honoured in that context by 15,424,921 Nigerians in 2015 and 15,191,847 in 2019, who willingly voted for him, thereby entrusting him with the role of leading them and running their affairs. There is no doubt that this is the best and most outstanding honour for him.
It is an irreversible honour for him as a citizen, leader, retired soldier, patriot and a first class statesman contributed to the world by Nigeria.
The truth is that all the other honours and awards received by President Muhammadu Buhari in Africa and overseas, logically explaining, had their foundation and roots in the trust Nigerians reposed in him with those massive votes, and the manner in which he managed, exercised or deployed that trust in the service of our country.
Another dimension of reposing trust in President Buhari and honouring him came way back in 2018 during a summit of the Aftican Union (AU). African leaders at the summit collectively named him as AU’s “first ever anti-corruption champion in Africa.”
Africa Renewal, a United Nations digital magazine says that Buhari’s appointment by AU “comes 15 years after Member States adopted the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combatting Corruption (AUCPCC).”
Recall that in January 2021 President Muhammadu Buhari received AfCFTA Award from the AU for his exceptional contribution to the kick-off of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
In May 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari was named the winner of the 2021 Great Builder Super Prize, the Babacar Ndiaye Trophy in Cairo, Egypt.
The organisers said the President merited the award “for his personal leadership and for the efforts made to ensure road safety and the health of the population in the context of transport.”
The selection committee said Nigeria’s efforts to improve road safety and air quality for road users and advancing major transport projects, especially in the rail sector, that will ensure the optimal operation of roads and transport under his leadership, were the reasons for giving him the award.
In early December 2022, President Umaro Sissoco Embaló of Guinea Bissau conferred the country’s highest national honour, the Amilcar Cabral Award, on President Muhammadu Buhari and named a major street in Bissau after him.
The Portuguese President, Mr. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on June 30, 2022 conferred his country’s highest National Honour, the Collar of the Order of Prince Henry, on President Muhammadu Buhari in Lisbon. The Portuguese President described Buhari as a man of integrity who is widely respected.
Years before his election as President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari was in 2011 honoured by the American Association of University Women, New York City Branch. The Association conferred on him its “Legacy Ambassador’s Award” in recognition of the steps he took to encourage women and ease their entry into politics.
It is nice that President Muhammadu Buhari continues to be honoured at home. The honour at home through popular electoral mandate paved way for his statesmanship qualities to be accentuated for ease of appreciation through various other credible awards and honours.
Salisu Na’inna Ɗambatta is a retired Federal Director of Information.