Eminent scholar, Banji Akintoye, to deliver Obafemi Awolowo Memorial public lecture

EMINENT scholar and African historian, Professor Banji Akintoye, will on March 6, deliver a lecture to commemorate the annual Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership award.

This was disclosed on Thursday by the Executive Director of the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, Ambassador Olatokunbo Awolowo Dosumu, at a press conference held at the Efunyela Hall, Ikenne-Remo, Ogun State.

The co-chairman of the African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) Plc said that the third edition of the award would not come up as scheduled based on the recommendation of the selection committee.

Awolowo Dosumu noted that two eminent citizens of the world, Professor Wole Soyinka, and former President of South Africa, Mr Thabo Mbeki, had won the previous editions of the award.

She explained that all the nominees whose entries were submitted for the 2016 award were eminently accomplished individuals in their various fields of human endeavours.

Awolowo Dosumu said, “Those who were nominated are highly accomplished individuals but fortunately or unfortunately, the bar that have been set by Chief Obafemi Awolowo is too high and the criteria are so many and if you distinguished yourself in one area, but not necessarily the other areas then it doesn’t work, that’s why, they are highly distinguished individuals.

“They are just distinguished in their chosen fields. For example, if you are academic and you have never had a chance to formulate or actualise the people’s centred programmes then that kind of stand against you in a way. It doesn’t mean you are not a good person or that you are not an excellent person, it just means that you don’t have the chance to be in the arena where you can apply people based principle, that’s an example so we are going to try again this year, hopefully by the Board.”

She added that the lecture titled ‘The Awolowo Legacy and its Message for Nigerian Youths’ would refresh the memory of the people about the outstanding legacy in the sphere of leadership.

The lecture, according to her, would be chaired by the former military Head of State and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation, General Yakubu Gowon and slated to hold at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Island, Lagos by 11am.

“As most of you are probably aware, this year’s memorial event should have been the third edition of the Obafemi Awolowo Prize Leadership.

“However, the Prize is not being awarded this year, not because the nominees were not eminently accomplished individuals in their various fields of endeavour, but because the award is based on demonstrable evidence of substantial achievement, across the board, of the criteria laid out by the Selection Committee.

” For this reason, therefore, the Committee advised that the Foundation hosts a lecture, to be delivered by a seasoned academic and mentee of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the purpose of which is not only to refresh our memory about his outstanding legacy in the sphere of leadership, but also, and particularly, to fire the imagination of Nigerian youths about the immense possibilities for their individual and collective progress and development if they would understand and strive to restore the leadership model of the likes of Chief Awolowo.”

Awolowo Dosumu explained further that the lecturer a former Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 1979 to 1983 remained one of the few surviving men and women who worked closely with the Sage.