The Public Interest Lawyers League (PILL) yesterday called a “joke,” the 2012 National Honours List published by the federal government.
In a public statement signed by its President, Abdul Mahmud, PILL said that President Goodluck Jonathan would find it difficult to justify the names put forward by his government, and wondered why the nation’s cultural icons are not it instead.
“From discredited entrepreneurs whose stars faded as their enterprises, dubious politicians who fail democracy and the people, puny public servants, with no sense of service or commitment, who make governance what it is in our country today, to the everyday jesters who walk the quarters of political governance, they remind us that ours is Kamuzu Banda’s country,” PILL said.
Calling on President Jonathan to end the joke, the group argued that National Honours are not about conferring honours on patronage-seekers and bootlickers.
“It is about giving recognition to individuals who commit their lives of service to the community; and it is about recognising the stellar patriots among us,” the statement said.
The lawyers warned that such honours are not supposed to be part of the complex networks of the patronage system that successive governments have made it, and are not cash instruments a patron president deploys to secure clientele-loyalty.
“They are what they are: honours,” PILL said. “Sadly, the 2012 Honours list, like others before it, names debtors and thieves as patriots, dubious enterprise moguls as the exemplars of the New Nigerian entrepreneurial utopia.”