President Muhammadu Buhari has presented awards to 44 Nigerians whose contributions to nation-building have been recognised.
The beneficiaries are mostly former and serving public officers, including members of the opposition PDP.
Foremost amongst the recipients from the opposition party are former President Goodluck Jonathan, Governor Bala Muhammad of Bauchi State, and Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Speaker House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Service Chiefs, and 16 state governors also received various awards for their services.
At the event, President Buhari noted that the introduction of the Nigeria Excellence Award in Public Service, NEAPS, would encourage patriotism and selfless service to the nation.
While commenting on the introduction of the awards, former President Jonathan expressed gratitude to the government for recognizing his service to the nation, but queried why local government officials were not recognised.
Dr. Jonathan requested that government should also include teachers in the next list of recipients to give them a sense of belonging.
Earlier, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, said the objective of the Nigerian Excellence Awards in Public Service was to recognise and reward innovation, purposeful leadership, and other exceptional deserving individuals that had contributed to the betterment of the country.