The President of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, has been awarded the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership.

The award which promotes the legacy and democratic ideals of the late Nigerian nationalist and federalist leader Chief Obafemi Awolowo, also “recognises and celebrates excellence in leadership.”

The Foundation’s Executive Director, Ambassador Dr Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosumu said, “Dr Adesina was the unanimous choice of the Foundation’s Selection Committee, which described Adesina as possessing the attributes for the award to the highest degree.”

According to Ambassador Awolowo-Dosunmu, “The attributes considered to have characterised Chief Awolowo’s excellent leadership, include integrity, credibility, discipline, courage, selflessness, accountability, tenacity of purpose, visionary and people-centred leadership.”

The former Nigerian President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was one of several world leaders who nominated Adesina. “He epitomises and combines qualities of extraordinary leadership that are often rare to find: great visionary, incredible courage, the ability to take on huge and difficult challenges, extraordinary dedication and commitment to deliver programmes and policies that transform the lives of millions of people,” Jonathan said.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair also praised Adesina’s leadership. “His contributions to the African continent and global leadership have been exceptional. Under his leadership the African Development Bank has delivered bold interventions to address some of the greatest challenges of our time,” he said.

Another globally renowned figure, Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, President Emeritus of the World Food Prize Foundation, saluted Adesina’s commitment to food security: “President Adesina has traversed the African continent evangelising his profound vision to end childhood stunting through enhanced nutrition; uplifting smallholder farmers, the great majority of them women; providing critical financing for a broad array of infrastructure projects so critical to development and modernisation.”

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Global Center on Adaptation CEO Prof. Dr Patrick Verkooijen, jointly said, “We can think of no person more highly qualified or deserving of this prestigious award. Dr Adesina is forged in the same mould as Chief Obafemi Awolowo, a shining example of leadership.”

Dr Akinwumi Adesina is the third recipient of the Award. Others include Nigerian writer and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka and the former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

An award ceremony is scheduled for 6 March 2024, and will include keynote lecture by the honouree.

The Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, founded in 1992, is a non-profit non-partisan organisation.

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