President Goodluck Jonathan Wednesday in Lagos called on Nigerian leaders to embrace the character of accountability, which the late Premier of defunct Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, exhibited in his life time.
He also described Awolowo as a foremost leader, who can never be forgotten, adding that he was a rare nationalist who worked tirelessly for Nigeria’s independence.
Jonathan, who was represented by his Vice, Namadi Sambo, said this at the inaugural Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership Award 2012, which was won by Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka.
Dignitaries at the event include Vice President Namadi Sambo, a former military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon; former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; Governors of Ondo, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti and Niger states respectively, Messrs Olusegun Mimiko, Ibikunle Amosun, Abiola Ajimobi, Rauf Aregbesola, Kayode Fayemi and Babangida Aliyu.
Others are: National chairman of Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Chief Bisi Akande; former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku; chairman of the Patriots, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Odia Ofeimun, Chief Jimi Agbaje, Fedrick Fasheun, Chief Gani Adams, Gen. Alani Akinrinade, Bolanle Gbonigi, Sen. Biyi Durojaiye, Sen. Iyabo Obasanjo, Chief Demola Seriki, Yinka Odumakin, Sen. Adeyeye, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Sen. Femi Okunrounmu, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, Prof Tunde Adeniran, Prof Pat Utomi, Senators Daisy Danjuma and Anthony Adefuye.
According to him: “Awolowo was an embodiment of intellect, he left a legacy for Nigeria’s development and he worked for his people. He was a central force in Nigeria politics and demonstrated uncommon leadership style. Today, many politicians try to follow his leadership style because we all have a lot of lesson to learn from Awolowo’s visionary style which is mainly based on rare leadership accountability.”
He further said, “It is our collective responsibility to learn from his leadership style and what he stood for which was driven by passion for development of Nigeria. Wole Soyinka is an embodiment of perfect leadership and his achievement qualifies him for the award because he has helped in strengthening democracy in Nigeria and he demonstrates a rare quality which Chief Awolowo stood for in his days”
In his speech, chairman of the selection Committee of the award, Chief Anyaoku, said the Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership was named after the late sage, who was Nigeria’s foremost leader.
Anyaoku said: ”Integrity, credibility, discipline, selflessness, visionary leadership, people centred leadership, positive policy intervention, respect for Rule of Law, Accountability, Corruption perception, Courage and Tenacity of purpose are among the criteria used in selecting the bearer of the Award.’’