Awolowo: Centennial Celebrations




March 6, 2009 will mark the centenary of the birth of Chief Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ who is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of modern Nigeria.

We consider it appropriate that a milestone such as this deserves to be celebrated and that the Foundation that was set up in his honour should be pivotal to the planning and co-ordination of the Celebrationss.

To this end, the Foundation has put together an exceptional team of accomplished Nigerians, who have enthusiastically embraced this project, to oversee the planning process and to co-ordinate the year-long programme of events.

The role of the Foundation in this regard includes reaching out to individuals, groups, governments, public and private sector agencies and bodies whose participation is considered relevant to the Celebrationss’ objectives.

The Lecture

The Celebrationss are expected to be flagged off with an agenda-setting lecture, to be delivered by Mr Kofi Annan on the proposed theme, ‘The Challenges of Africa in the 21st Century and Beyond’. The choice of theme is based on several reasons, including the following:

  • In recognition of Chief Awolọwọ’s historical role in the economic and political cooperation, as well as development efforts in Africa;
  • To review subsequent and current initiatives in this regard;
  • To explore the relevance of Chief  Awolọwọ’s  democratic and development-oriented vision, as well as the principles and values that underpinned his public service mission, to the prevailing circumstances in Africa;
  • To examine the dilemmas, constraints, as well as opportunities, that contemporary African leaders encounter as they attempt to move the development agenda, in its broadest sense, forward; and
  • To suggest viable strategies for ‘the way forward’ for Africa.


Mr Annan was nominated to deliver the lecture for obvious reasons, including his pre-eminent position as a foremost African and scholar. He is free to amend the title suggested above, and/or expand the theme, as he deems fit.

Incidentally, Chief Awolọwọ delivered a series of lectures in Ghana in 1977, which have been published under the title, ‘The Problems of Africa: Need for Ideological Re-appraisal’. I shall forward a copy of this publication by mail.

Date and Venue

The lecture is scheduled to hold in late January/early February 2009. Mr Annan could propose possible dates within this period. The venue is yet to be finalised but it will be either in Abuja or Lagos. We intend to invite Mr President and other top functionaries of government to the event.

Other events (highlights)

  • Conference on Chief Awolọwọ’s legacies (to be hosted by the Foundation, in collaboration with the Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ University)
  • Book presentation – a commemorative compilation of scholarly essays
  • Commissioned Drama Presentation – on Chief Awolọwọ’s life & times and legacies. To be hosted by the Foundation & the Association of Nigerian Authors
  • Celebrations of 50 years of Television in Africa
  • Closing Event: Conference & Celebrations of 55 years of Free Education in Nigeria


The Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ Foundation is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research and policy analysis centre dedicated to the promotion of a socially edifying interaction between policy and scholarship. It was founded in April 1992.

Dr O. Awolọwọ Dosumu
July 2008

© Obafemi Awolowo Foundation. All rights reserved. 2012.
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