The Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ Prize for Leadership is instituted by the Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ Foundation on the basis of one of the major recommendations of its Special Dialogue on “Transformational Leadership and Good Governance: Lessons from the Awolọwọ Example”, held in July 2011. The national Prize is instituted in the name of Chief Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ to reward leadership and good governance.


Chief Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ, a Nigerian and Pan-African nationalist of global repute, was the First Premier of Nigeria’s Western region and, later, Leader of Opposition in the Federal Parliament. He was also, inter alia, Nigeria’s Federal Commissioner (now known as Minister) of Finance and Vice Chairman, Federal Executive Council. He played crucial roles in Nigeria’s constitutional and political developments in the country’s colonial and postcolonial history.

A highly revered Nigerian federalist, Chief Awolọwọ was variously described by Nigerian leaders, upon his transition, as “the issue in Nigerian politics” and “the best president Nigeria never had” in recognition of his indomitable role as a leader in Nigerian politics and policies. Of particular relevance is Chief Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ’s leadership bent, well acknowledged as people-centred, visionary, integrity-laden and underlined by enviable discipline. His grassroots friendly policies and transformational approach to leadership are still evident in the various legacies of the late sage.

It has been generally recognized that one of the greatest challenges facing Nigeria, and, indeed, African countries today, is the dearth of good leadership. The Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ Prize for Leadership is therefore established to encourage, recognize, reward and celebrate excellence in leadership.

The Prize
The Prize is awarded to an individual who has demonstrated excellence in leadership and good governance. The recipient must be a person who has made relevant vital contributions within the country or abroad in the private or public spheres.

The Awolọwọ Prize for Leadership consists of a medal, a certificate and a plaque. The emphasis is on the intrinsic value of the award, which, itself, confers honour and recognition on the recipient as a strong incentive for the pursuit of excellence in leadership and good governance.

The Prize is awarded every two years.

Indices (Criteria) for Selection

In selecting candidates, emphasis is laid on characteristics of leadership and good governance that are in tandem with Chief Awolọwọ’s values. These characteristics include:
⦁ Integrity: Candidate must be an honest person, possessing strong moral principles.

⦁ Credibility: Candidate must be a person in whom people believe and repose trust.

⦁ Discipline: Candidate must be a person who demonstrates controlled behavior and way of life and who steers such control to a socially acceptable direction.

⦁ Selflessness: Candidate must be a person who gives priority to the general interest over personal interest. S/he should be a public spirited person.

⦁ Visionary leadership: Candidate must subscribe to leadership that focuses on, and plans for the future in an intelligent and productive way. This includes taking decisions that have positive implications for the future.

⦁ People-centred leadership: Candidate must be a person whose leadership is rooted in the people and works to promote their interest.

⦁ Grassroots-friendly policies: Candidate must be a person who promotes policies that are beneficial to the generality of the people.

⦁ Positive policy intervention (in education, health, economy, etc.): Where appropriate, candidate must have demonstrated articulation and implementation of programmes leading to positive improvement in various segments of the society such as education, health and economy. Indicators of improvement in education could include literacy rate, primary school enrolment, relative cost of education, construction of new schools, state of educational infrastructure, facilities and equipment. Indicators of economic improvement include job creation, unemployment rate, general standard of living, per capita income. Indicators of performance in the health sector include mortality rate, access to health care facilities, relative affordability of health care, life expectancy.

⦁ Impact on poverty reduction/increased welfare: Implementation of programmes leading to a reduction in poverty level. Providing economic empowerment for the poor.

⦁ Respect for rule of law: Candidate must be a person who has demonstrated respect for the rule of law and has eschewed arbitrariness and human rights abuse.

⦁ Accountability: Candidate must be a person with demonstrated willingness to subject his/her actions to scrutiny by the people.

⦁ Corruption perception: Candidate must have demonstrated aversion to corruption in words and deeds. The person must not be seen to be corrupt.

⦁ Guarantee of press freedom: Candidate must not be seen to have been in support of muzzling the press.

⦁ Courage: Candidate must have demonstrated ability to chart the right and honourable path, defend the right cause, without fear even in the face of opposition and/or persecution.

⦁ Tenacity of purpose: Candidate must demonstrate the ability to sustain his/her commitment to the above-listed ideals.

The selection criteria are as stated above. Kindly note that leadership qualities could be demonstrated in any or all of the following four categories:

1. Leadership in Politics & Governance
This relates to political leadership and, generally, performance of government functionaries in the three organs, namely the executive, legislature and judiciary. It also embraces bureaucratic leadership as component of public sector governance.

2. Leadership in Corporate Governance & Social Responsibility
This focuses on actors in the private sector with relevance for social responsibility and organizational performance. It also includes the leadership of state owned corporations and the leadership of the regulatory organs of the state, which supervises the private and public sector.

3. Leadership in Educational Transformation
This is targeted at individuals who have provided outstanding leadership in education. It is recognized that this could be in the public or private sector, in view of the special place of education in Chief Awolọwọ’s scheme of things.

4. Leadership in People-Centred Advocacy and Support for the Underprivileged
Encapsulated in this category are individuals with demonstrated outstanding leadership in agitating for a just, equitable and progressive society as well as promoting the cause of the poor in the society. It also includes outstanding leadership in community service (that may be provided by traditional rulers, activists, philanthropists and other individuals)
The call for nomination for the 2018 award is between August and November. Deadline for the return of completed forms is November 2, 2018. Such forms shall be vetted and information on candidates verified by the Selection Committee. The Committee may seek additional independent information as may be necessary to enable it make informed decisions and recommendations.

Announcement and Award of the Prize

Announcement of the award will be made in December 2018 while the actual date of award of the Prize will be March 6, 2019, to coincide with the birthday of Chief Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ. The recipient of the award will give a Lecture on the date of the award of the Prize, or as soon thereafter as practicable.

The Prize is awarded once in two years. Where no suitable candidate is found in the year of award, the selection will take place in the immediate successive year.

Time Chart

03 AUGUST 2018: Call for Nominations.

02 NOVEMBER 2018: Nomination closes. (Completed Forms must have been returned by this date, along with relevant documents).

05 OCTOBER 2018 – 04 DECEMBER 2018: Vetting of Forms, background checks and screening of candidates.

DECEMBER 2018: Announcement of the Award.

6 MARCH 2019: Award of the Prize and Lecture by the recipient.

For further information please contact:

Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ Prize for Leadership Secretariat, Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ Foundation,

15 Lanre Awolokun Road, Gbagada Phase 2, Lagos, Nigeria;

Tel: +234-810-264-5136;

Email: or or


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