Editorial

Let trafficking in awards end with 2020

Sam Amadi
Sam Amadi

The search for excellence in Nigeria will truly begin when we let go and end trafficking in awards and honours.

Honors matter as a signaling of what the nation is and wants to become. If honors are dishonorable or become things that money can buy, then our future does not look that good

Dr. Sam Amadi

In 2021 Nigerians should abandon one thing: undue honor. We honor ourselves so easily.

Virtually every month I receive notice of intention to confer on me one award or the other. They always say I am being honored for excellence in one thing or the other. Honestly, I often scratch my head to see this excellence. As the Igbos say, “Kanu gara army e le boot ya” (if Kanu went to war where is his military boot?) It is true may be I am trying a little bit more than most but really we have not yet got to the point of true excellence.

We are on the journey.

So, in 2021, let there be less honors. Let us honor few people who really did some things that are truly extraordinary. I am tired of seeing entities offer awards that really recognize nothing. Worst is when everyone of note must win something. So we use awards as a tool for the Nigerian thing of ensuring no one loses. We are all winners.

May be we are no longer an honorable society so our honors are no longer worthy of the name hence they are on the market for the highest buyers.

You cannot buy honour

Can you imagine being asked to pay money after being literally forced to accept an award? I have rejected many such awards and a few I have accepted when I am convinced of its good faith and non-monetary basis only to get begged by the promoters that they need my widow’s support to cover cost of plaques, etc. If the award is honorable in itself, please put it in a piece of paper. I will gladly accept it. The hood does not make the monk.

Obviously, Nigerian award givers don’t agree with Professor Michael Sandel who argues that honor is one of those things money cannot buy. In his book, “What Money Can’t Buy,” he argues that money cannot buy honors like the Nobel Prize not because the Nobel Committee doesn’t offer the prize for a fee, but because “The market exchange would dissolve the good you are seeking. To buy it is to undermine the good you are seeking.” Is the famous philosopher dead wrong or are Nigerians so ‘non-econs’ that they defeat the rational incentive not to pay for honors that are dissolved by fees?

Anyway, let the trafficking in awards and honor in Nigeria end on December 31,2020. Let it be one of those rags we burn as a ritual for a favorable 2021. Honors matter as a signaling of what the nation is and wants to become. If honors are dishonorable or become things that money can buy, then our future does not look that good.

Let’s restore honorable to our honors in 2021.

Last line: There are appropriate and inappropriate honors. I rejected High Chief from the entire local government twice. I think High Chief Sam Amadi will sound so untrue and archaic.