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April 22, 2024
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Foundation explains choice of Adesina as winner of Awolowo leadership award

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By Olawunmi Ashafa

Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, President of Africa Development Bank (AfDB), has been picked as the winner of the 2023 Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership to celebrate his outstanding contribution to economic growth in Nigeria and Africa in general.

Dr Olatokunbo Dosumu, Executive Director, Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday in Lagos.

Adeshina will be honoured with the award on Wednesday, March 6, in Lagos.

Dosumu noted that the decision followed a rigorous selection process led by a panel of eminent Nigerians and the choice of Adesina was announced in December 2023.

Dosumu said: “The Foundation is gratified that Dr Adesina, whose nomination was made by the selection committee, headed by the globally acclaimed technocrat and diplomat, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, graciously accepted the nomination.

“Anyaoku described it as ‘deeply personal and a treasured recognition’ that will inspire him for the rest of his life.”

According to her, the 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 etnics,” she said.

She said that the actual presentation of the prize, which consists of a plaque, medal and the certificate of award, would be made at a ceremony.

According to her, the ceremony is expected to draw a wide array of distinguished Nigerians and global exemplars.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Adesina, who is a former Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria, will deliver a lecture at the occassion.

“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 Awolowo’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,” she said.

Dignitaries to be present at the occasion include a former Head of State and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, Gen. Yakubu Gowon.

Others are Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Chairman of the selection committee, while President Bola Tinubu is the Special Guest of Honour.

Visiting Heads of government, former leaders from within and outside Nigeria, state governors, royal fathers and other distinguished Nigerians are others expected to grace the occasion.

Dosunmu said the event would be chaired by President Samia Suluhu Hassan of the United Repubiic of Tanzania.

She said the highlights of the event would center around the showcasing of the spirit of excellence and outstanding leadership attributes for which Awolowo was renowned.

“The event is also expected to encourage the dignity of labour and sign-post the culture of productivity.

“The idea of the leadership prize, it will be recalled, 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’,” she said.

Dosunmu observed that on that occasion that one of the greatest challenges confronting Nigeria was leadership deficit.

She recalled that it was recommended at that dialogue that an Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership be instituted.

Dosunmu said this was for the purpose of recognising excellence and benchmarking key leadership attributes associated with Awolowo. (NAN)

Edited by Folasade Adeniran

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