Tinubu, Tanzanian President, Others to Grace 2023 Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership

President Bola Tinubu, and his Tanzanian counterpart, President Samia Hassan have been listed among dignitaries expected at the 2023 Obafemi Awolowo Prize for leadership award scheduled for Wednesday, March 6, 2024.

Other dignitaries expected at the event are former heads of state from within and outside Nigeria, state governors, royal fathers and other distinguished Nigerians.

A statement issued by the Executive Director of the Foundation,  Dr. Awolowo Dosumu said the event will be chaired by Hassan of Tanzania.

The president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, will receive the distinguished Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership 2023.

The award is an initiative of the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation set up in April 1992 to serve as the custodian of Chief Awolowo’s intellectual and leadership legacy.

The statement added that: “The Foundation, following a rigorous selection process by a panel of eminent Nigerians, announced in December 2023 that Dr Akinwumi Adesina, CON (President of the African Development Bank) had been picked as winner of the prize.

“The actual presentation of the prize, which consists of a plaque, medal and the certificate of award, will be made at a ceremony expected to draw a wide array of distinguished Nigerian and global exemplars on the 6th of March, beginning from 11am.

“ Adesina, winner of the 2023 Leadership prize, will deliver a lecture at that occasion. Special performances, musical celebration, goodwill messages, as well as video documentaries on Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr Adesina and the Foundation, which was set up in 1992 to preserve Awo’’s intellectual legacy, are decided features of the event.

“The documentary on Chief Obafemi Awolowo seeks to refresh the national memory concerning critical milestones in his political career with a view to teasing out, in a didactic fashion, edifying lessons for a generation groping for direction and leadership renewal,” it said.

Former Head of State and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, as well as Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Chairman of the eminent Selection Committee will be present at the occasion.

“The high billings of the event centre around the showcasing of the spirit of excellence and outstanding leadership attributes for which Chief Obafemi Awolowo was renowned. The event is also expected to encourage the dignity of labour and sign post the culture of productivity,” it stressed.

It said the idea of the leadership prize derives from the special dialogue of the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation held in July 2011 with the theme, “Transformational Leadership and Good Governance: Lessons from the Awolowo Example”.

It said that it was observed on that occasion that one of the greatest challenges confronting Nigeria is leadership deficit.

“It was recommended at that dialogue that an Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership be instituted for the purpose of recognising excellence and benchmarking key leadership attributes associated with Chief Awolowo.

“The Foundation is gratified that Dr Akinwumi Adesina, whose nomination was unanimously made by the selection committee, headed by the globally acclaimed technocrat and diplomat, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, graciously accepted the nomination, describing it as ‘deeply personal’ and ‘a treasured recognition that will inspire (him) for the rest of (his) life’

“The March 6 event seeks to mainstream and to celebrate a revered genre of outstanding contribution which at once uplifts the national soul and regales humanity.

“It is the Foundation’s hope that the prize for leadership, being made to such a globally acclaimed awardee, will assist in restructuring national values, as well as send a powerful message concerning the desirability of transformational leadership and a revival of productivity ethics,” it said.

 Wale Igbintade