Four Nigerians win Gani Fawehimi Integrity Award
By Aisha Abass and Omolade Adegbuyi
The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) has honoured 12 Nigerians for their accomplishments in striving for integrity and impact in the society. However, four people won in the four categories.
The award it to recognise efforts towards ensuring a safe and corrupt-free Nigeria.
The four winners have emerged in what has become famous as Gani Fawehinmi Impact and Integrity Awards, (GFIIA).
The third edition of the GFIIA took place on Thursday, at Radisson Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos state. The award was divided into four categories: Outstanding Integrity Award (OIA), Outstanding Impact Award (OIA), the Valuable Whistle-Blower Award (VWA) and Nigerians in Diaspora Integrity Ambassador Award.
HEDA, since 2018, usually honours individuals believed to have strived for “integrity and patriotic commitment to honesty, justice, truth and fairness in the quest to stamp out corruption in both private and public spheres”.
The Gani Fawehinmi Impact and Integrity Awards (GFIIA), organised by HEDA, is to commemorate the late Gani Fawehinmi — a senior advocate of Nigeria — who was known for his courage and selflessness in the defence of the voiceless in the society.
Three people were nominated in each of the four categories, and among the nominees were Babagana Zulum, g
Governor of Borno state; Ibrahim Gwarzo, Board c
Chairman of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO); Agba Jalingo, publisher of CrossRiverWatch, and Iyorwuse Hagher, Professor of African drama.
All 12 nominees were given award certificates.
Gwarzo won the ‘Outstanding Integrity’ award for his stance during the certificate scandal of Chima Igwe, the then Director-General of FIIRO.
In his acceptance speech, the board chairman urged Nigerians to stand against corruption, adding that corruption usually fights back but cannot conquer the resilience of determined people.
Gwarzo said despite the threats and petitions against the board members of FIIRO during the certificate scandal saga of Chima, they refused to compromise.
The category of ‘Nigerians in Diaspora Integrity Ambassador’ was won by Iyorwuese Hagher, a professor of African Drama.
Abdullahi Sambo, a staff member of Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET), won the ‘Whistle Blower’ award for exposing the fraudulent acts in NBET, which led to his dismissal from the agency — he was later reinstated by the industrial court.
The ‘Outstanding Impact’ award was won by Nurudeen Temitola.
In his opening address, Olanrewaju Suraj, chairman of HEDA, said the GFIIA is aimed at celebrating ordinary citizens who have consistently made impact and showed integrity in public and private businesses, especially in the fight against corruption.
On his part,Hon. Justice Olubunmi Oyewole of the Court of Appeal who was the guest lecturer of the event thanked HEDA for considering him worthy of being the Guest
Speaker of the event.
Addressing the congregation, he said, “Corruption cannot be fought without courage, be it in the private or public sector. It takes courage to choose to be different; it takes immense courage to walk alone on the straight and narrow path.”
He urged Nigerians to build up courage in order to fight corruption that has eaten deep into the governance system.
While congratulating the recepients of the award, he said “The recognition you receive today is a call to be consistent and unwavering. The greatest legacy one can leave behind is a good name and unsoiled reputation”.
He also said “We cannot fight corruption with individuality. We need to build institutions. When these institutions are built, laws should be made to make it impossible for corrupt practices to occur.’’