By CHINELO OBOGO
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka has made history again by being the recipient of the Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership instituted by Obafemi Awolowo Foundation for people who have imbibed the core values that the late sage represented. Announcing Soyinka’s name yesterday, former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, who was the Chairman of the Selection Committee said Soyinka scored the highest mark for the criteria slated for the nominees.
“It gives me pleasure to announce that, after careful consideration, the Selection Committee came to unanimous conclusion that of all the nominees presented before it, the individual adjudged to possess the highest mark for the award is Professor Wole Soyinka,” Anyaoku declared. He further informed that appropriate citation of Soyinka would be given at the award ceremony, which was scheduled to hold in March next year to coincide with the late sage’s birthday anniversary. Anyaoku explained that the prize was relevant, going by the lack of good leadership that had become the lot of some countries on the continent regretting that, “dearth of quality leadership has been the major challenge facing Nigeria in particular and the continent of Africa in general.”
While explaining that the biennial prize was structured to follow a process of nomination and subsequent screening, Anyaoku spelt out some qualities expected of nominees. Nominees for the prize are expected to have demonstrated, to a substantial degree, the attributes considered to have characterized Chief Awolowo’s leadership style, which include integrity, credibility, discipline, courage, selflessness, accountability, tenacity of purpose, visionary and people-oriented leadership, as well as respect for the rule of law and press freedom,” stated the selection committee chairman.
The Foundation, which was set up in 1992, according to Anyaoku was to among other things, “serve as the custodian of the Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s intellectual legacy.”