Mbeki Named Winner Of Awolowo Prize For Leadership


FORMER South African president, Mr. Thabo Mbeki, has been unveiled as recipient of the 2014 Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership. He joins Prof. Wole Soyinka, the inaugural winner of the biennial award in the prestigious hall of fame of the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation.

    Mbeki would be presented with the prize at an honours ceremony to be held on March 6, which organizers said will consist of a medal, certificate and a plaque. The emphasis is on the intrinsic value of the award, which in itself not only confers considerable honour and recognition on the recipient, but also serves as a strong incentive to Nigerians for the pursuit of excellence in leadership and good governance.

   At a media briefing Friday, chairman of the selection committee, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, said after an elaborate and rigorous screening process and very careful consideration, “the Selection Committee came to the unanimous conclusion that of all the nominees presented before it, the individual adjudged to possess the attributes for the award to the highest degree is Mr. Thabo Mbeki.”

 Anyaoku said in addition to being a renowned champion of Africa’s renaissance, Mbeki has in his distinguished career till date demonstrated many of the core leadership qualities that have been associated with Chief Obafemi Awolowo and which the prize was meant to encourage and reward. He, however, noted that nominations for the award excludes serving public servants.

   The Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership is an initiative of the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, which was set up in April 1992 to serve as the custodian of Awolowo’s intellectual and leadership legacy and to immortalize the democratic and development-oriented ideals of the late sage.

   Awolowo, a pan-African nationalist of repute, was the first Premier of the Western Region and later leader of opposition in the federal parliament. He played a crucial role in Nigeria’s constitutional and political development during the country’s colonial and post-colonial history.

   According to the Selection Committee chairman, the institution of the prize was a direct outcome of the Special Dialogue held in July 2011. “The dialogue highlighted the fact that one of the greatest challenges facing African countries is the dearth of good leadership. It, therefore, recommended that the foundation should institute the leadership prize to encourage, recognize, reward and celebrate excellence in Nigerian leadership.”

   Members of the selection committee include Anyaoku, Justice Muhammadu Uwais, Prof. Akin Mabogunje, Sir Olaniwun Ajayi, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Olorogun Felix Ibru, Prof. O. Akinkugbe, Bishop Emmanuel Gbonigi, and Bishop Matthew Kukah.

   Others are Prof. Adetokunbo Lucas, Prof. Ladipo Adamolekun, Prof. Anya O. Anya, Mr. Bola Akingbade, Prof. (Mrs.) Funmi Soetan and Mr. Niyi Adegbonmire.

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