By Taye Obateru
Jos — Former Chief of Defence Staff and Defence Minister, General Domkat Bali (rtd) has said he rejected the national merit award given to him recently because he considered it an insult to his personality.
He said in an interview in Langtang, Plateau State that having received a national honour in a higher category before, going for one lower in status did not make sense to him, adding that it was better to allow another person take the slot than pick a lower award.
Bali, who is now the traditional head of his Taroh people was, however, grateful to President Goodluck Jonathan for considering him for the honour.
According to him, “it makes no sense to me. I saw the recent national merit award given to me as an insult to my personality. They told me the 2011 honour awarded me is Commander of the Federal Republic, CFR.
“But the Federal Government of Nigeria gave me in the past a higher national merit honor as Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON, which is the second highest national honour in Nigeria. So what this current government offers me in 2011 National Merit Award is inferior to what I have before now.
“So I said, let them give the CFR to someone else who deserves that. I don’t deserve that because I had a higher one. That was the reason why I refused to attend the programme because my appearance there in Abuja will mean my acceptance to be demoted.”
Bali, who acknowledged that some people accepted lower awards than what they had before, said he could not bring himself to toe the same line, adding: “I could be wrong in my reasoning.”
He said he spoke with some of those who accepted a lower award and they said it was acceptable to them “but in my own arrogance, it does not make sense to me; it is not acceptable to me going to Abuja to receive a national honour lower than the one I already have.”
Before this clarification, many had been wondering why the Ponzhi Taroh, like Chief Chinua Achebe, rejected the national award.