HEDA honours 12 finalists at 4th Fawehinmi Awards
By Aisha Abass
Nigeria’s leading anti-corruption group, the Human and Environmental Delelopment Agenda, (HEDA Resource Centre) on Friday gave awards to 12 distinguished Nigerians for their unique roles in fighting corruption.
The event held at Ikeja in Lagos drew prominent Nigerias from across the country.
HEDA is Nigeria’s most outstanding anti-corruption platform whose vigorous campaign has led to some of officials being hunted.
The Fawehinmi Impact and Integrity Awards (GFIIA)was named after the late activist Fawehinmi who died of cancer. It was the fourth in the series.
The event was the product of nominations by Nigerians at homeand in the Diaspora, following a five-month window leadng to voting and shortlisting of the finalists.
Thousands of Nigerians took part in the nomination leading to some 271 personalities voted for by Nigerians.
A lifetime Award was given to Mohammed Fawehinmi, son of the late Fawehimi who died of COVID 19, Olanrewaju Fasasi (Sound Sultan) and Dr Ayotunde Alao.
Others were Channels TV Judiciary correspondence, Mrs Shola Soyele and Mr Emmanuel Eluu, a staff of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited and driver at Muritala Muhammed Airport, who found and returned $40,000 belonging to a passenger, were also honoured.
The Outstanding Integrity Award was won by Mr Olasupo Abideen Opeyemi, an Alumnus of Harvard Business School, United States of America. The runners up were Dr Tonye Clinton-Jaja, former Chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission and Acting Head, Bills and Legislative Drafting Division of the National Institute for Legislative Studies as well as Mr Molik Sherifdeen, a member of the Junior Chamber International (JCI).
The Valuable Whistle-Blower Award was won by Mr Paul Alaba Lawani, a winner of the Global Town Crier Media Award; while the runners up were Mr Akinyemi Ojo Adebayo, Chairman, Board of Trustee, International Organisation for Human Rights Development and Environment, Nigeria; and Mr Tukur Muazu.
The Outstanding Impact Award was won by Mr Baba Muhammad Dzukogi, former National Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Authors, while the runners up were Ambassador Chineke Cajethan Goodluck, founder of the United Organisation for Education and Sports Development and Professor Nwaocha Ogechukwu, a Professor of Religious Studies and 2022 Nominee for Nobel Peace Prize.
HEDA’s Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju said “Today is the climax of the 4th edition of the Gani Fawehinmi Awards which started on July 13, 2021 with a public call for nomination following which 271 nomination entries were received; of this number, 21 persons were shortlisted for voting in the four categories of the Awards: six for Outstanding Impact, eight for Outstanding Integrity, four for Valuable Whistle-Blower and three for Nigerians-In-Diaspora Integrity Ambassador.”
The Nigerians in Diaspora Award was won by Ms Onuike Ifeoma Chinenye, a passionate girls’ rights activist who has also displayed the attributes of distinction when she graduated as the best student and valedictorian in the Girne American University securing a first class degree in law and repeated the same feat in her Master’s degree.”
Suraju said the overall objective of the Awards is to take the fight against corruption beyond the usual naming and shaming but to step outside the box by ensuring that those who notwithstanding the attractiveness of corruption, bribery and other forms of sharp practices have taken to a life of transparency, honesty and integrity are identified, duly recognized and honoured, as a form of inspiration for greater number of people to follow.
He said this was why HEDA, with the Support of MacArthur Foundation, launched the GFIIA in 2018 to recognise these forthright individuals, he added.
The event was graced by prominent Nigerians including Mr Femi Falana SAN, Hon. Justice Habeeb Abiru, Justice of the Court of Appeal, (JCA), Mr Kunle Adegoke( SAN), Comrade Achike Chude, Mr Nurudeen Ogbara among others.