Akinwumi Adesina to receive prestigious Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership

Thu, Feb 29, 2024
By editor
3 MIN READ

Politics

THE President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, will on March 6, 2024, be formally honoured and presented with the distinguished Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership 2023.

The Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership was first announced in December 2012, with the official award ceremony held on March 6, 2013. Before Adesina was announced as its fourth recipient, three other distinguished personalities had been conferred with the prestigious award – Noble Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; former South African President, Thabo Mbeki; and the founder of the Afe Babalola University, Afe Babalola.

The event also coincides with the birth anniversary of the late statesman in whose memory the award was instituted.  

The award is an initiative of the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation set up in April 1992 to serve as the custodian of Awolowo’s intellectual and leadership legacy. The foundation was established as an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organisation dedicated to immortalising the democratic and development-oriented ideals of Obafemi Awolowo.

According to its organisers, the award is a “prestigious, biennial, international prize structured to follow a rigorous process of nomination and subsequent screening by a Selection Committee consisting of some of the most outstanding Nigerians”. They further said that the prize serves as a strong incentive for persons to pursue excellence in leadership and good governance and confers considerable honour and recognition to the recipient.

Speaking on the selection process, which led to the choice of Adesina as the 2023 recipient, the foundation said the call for nomination for the award was published for several months in 2023 and that, at the close of it, many nominations of eminent persons were received.

Adesina, thereafter, emerged as a unanimous candidate for the 2023 award “after a careful, detailed and rigorous screening process, the Selection Committee… for possessing the attributes for the award to the highest degree”.

Expressing his delight about the award and being in the company of previous eminent recipients, Adesina said, “I am delighted to have been selected as a recipient of the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership. Joining Nobel Prize laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, prior winners of the prize, is such a great honour.”

Adesina, a former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development under President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, is the eighth elected President of the AfDB and the first Nigerian to hold the post. He was first elected to the position on May 28, 2015, by the Bank’s Board of Governors at its Annual Meetings held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. He was re-elected for a second term in 2020 following an excellent performance acknowledged by supporters and critics alike. 

The High Five-point agenda of Adesina’s presidency at the AfDB with the ambition to Feed Africa, Light Up Africa, Industrialise Africa, Integrate Africa and Improve the Quality of Life in Africa, was particularly lauded by the organisers as capable of putting the development of the continent directly in the hands of its people.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is expected to grace the occasion, as well as President Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania, who is expected to chair the event. Other great personalities expected at the event include Gen. Yakubu Gowon, (Chairman BOT of the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation), and John Momoh, Chairman/CEO of Channels Television, who will read the citation of the awardee.

29th February, 2024.

C.E.

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