President Goodluck Jonathan has decorated Professor Francis Abiola Irele of Kwara State University, Malete, with the prestigious Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) Award for 2013.
Prof Irele, who is the Provost, College of Humanities, Management and Social Sciences, KWASU, was decorated on Thursday, December 5, alongside Professors Hillary Iyang Iyang and Seth Sunday Ajayi at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Among over 40 nominees, the trio stood out in the fields of Humanities, Engineering/Technology and Science respectively.
Prof Irele is an author of over a hundred publications including The Cambridge History of African and Caribbean Literature and The African Experience in Literature and Ideology.
President Jonathan, who was represented at the event by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, stressed the importance of global development efforts in science, technology and economics on the survival and collective future of the country.
He noted that the award was one of Nigeria’s most prestigious awards and the highest bestowed on Nigerian citizens at home and in the Diaspora for creative, intellectual and academic contributions of national and global significance.
The President, who noted that the three recipients of the award have not only made contributions as a matter of their callings, but have also individually excelled in their fields of endeavours, urged them to consolidate their service to the political, economic and strategic development of the nation.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Governing Board of Nigerian National Merit Award (NNMA), Professor Oluwafeyisola Sylvester Adegoke, urged the recipients to remain beacons of excellence and hope for all Nigerians, saying the nation was expecting a lot from them.
Speaking on behalf of the awardees, Professor Ajayi expressed confidence in the future of Nigeria, noting that for one to be recognised in one’s own country without lobbying underscored the integrity of the Jonathan administration.
It will be recalled that the Vice-Chancellor of the Kwara State University, Professor AbdulRasheed Na’Allah, had while commenting on the award, described Professor Irele as “the number one scholar of African literary studies and of African humanities in the world today and KWASU is proud to have Abiola Irele as one of the University’s academic leaders.”
The honouree is a member of Senate, the University's Appointments and Promotions Committee, member of the University Research Council, Acting Director of the Kwara State University Press, and Editor of the distinguished journal, The Savanah Review, among his many roles in KWASU.Sponsored by Harvard University's Du Bois Centre, Abiola Irele in 2010 donated his library collection to the Kwara State University Library. His Collection is currently the leading special collection at the KWASU University Library.
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President Jonathan decorates Prof. Irele