AfDB boss, Adeshina, wins Obafemi Awolowo prize for leadership

The Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership on Thursday announced former Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria and current President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, as winner of this year’s award.

Awolowo, in whose honour the Award was instituted, was First Premier of Western Region and, later, former Opposition Leader in the Federal Parliament, who later became Nigeria’s Federal Commissioner for finance (now known as Minister of Finance) and Vice Chairman, Federal Executive Council under the regime of General Yakubu Gowon.

The sage, who played crucial roles in Nigeria’s constitutional and political development during the country’s colonial and postcolonial history, was one of Nigeria’s and indeed Africa’s foremost leaders. 

Chairman, Selection Committee of the Prize, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, made this known at a press conference, held at Gbagada, Lagos, and attended by other members of the committee including Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Ambassador Tokunbo Awolowo – Dosumu, Chief Lai Ogunbanji, Prof. Sat Obiyan, Prof. Banji Oyeyinka, Dr. Dele Seteolu, among others.

Anyaoku said the recipient of the Leadership Prize for the 2023, Dr. Adesina, emerged from among numerous distinguished personalities across the globe whose names were submitted before the committee, after a careful, detailed and rigorous screening process.

He recalled that the Leadership Prize was a direct outcome of the Special Dialogue held in July 2011 and themed, “Transformational Leadership and Good Governance: Lessons from the Awolọwọ Example,” saying that the dialogue highlighted the fact that one of the greatest challenges facing African countries was the dearth of good leadership, and consequently recommended that the Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ Foundation should institute a Prize for Leadership to encourage, recognize, reward and celebrate excellence in leadership.

He said the prize award, which is the fourth in the series,” not only confers considerable honour and recognition on the recipient, but also serves as a strong incentive to other persons to pursue excellence in leadership and good governance.”

It will be recalled that the recipient of the maiden award of the Prize was announced on 19 December, 2012, while the ceremony for the presentation of the award was held on 6 March, 2013.

The award ceremony for Dr. Adeṣina is scheduled to hold in March 6th 2024, which coincided with Chief Awolọwọ’s birth anniversary.

“After a careful, detailed and rigorous screening process, the Selection Committee was unanimous in deciding the recipient of this year’s Prize. I have great pleasure to inform you that the considered view of the Selection Committee is that of all the nominees presented before it, the person adjudged to possess the attributes for the award to the highest degree and therefore is the recipient of the 2023 Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ Prize for Leadership is Dr. Akinwunmi Ayọdeji Adeṣina, CON, President of the African Development Bank,” he declared.  

“Dr. Adeṣina, a former Nigerian Minister of Agriculture in the administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, is currently serving a second term as President of African Development Bank.