The Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ Leadership Prize 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 or even (near) absence of good leadership. The Awolọwọ Prize for Leadership is therefore established to encourage, recognize, reward and celebrate excellence in Nigerian leadership.
The Prize is awarded to a Nigerian who has demonstrated excellence in leadership and good governance. The recipient must be a Nigerian who has made relevant vital contributions within the country or abroad. The recipient could be a former or current Head of Government (at various tiers of government viz. federal, state or local government), cabinet member (minister/commissioner), Head of Government Parastatal/Agency, Vice Chancellor of University, Community Leader, and a contributor to good governance and leadership through advocacy such as a human rights activist.
The Awolọwọ Prize 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 in Nigeria.
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 repose trust and believe in.
Discipline: Candidate must be a person of controlled behavior and way of life, and steers such to 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 plan 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 work 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 have demonstrated respect for the rule of law and must eschew 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.
There shall be call for nomination between July and August 2012. Deadline for the return of completed forms will be August 31, 2012. Such forms shall be vetted and information on candidates verified by the Selection Review 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
The date of the announcement of the award shall be December 2012 while the actual date of award of the Prize shall be March 6, 2013, to coincide with the birthday of Chief Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ. The recipient of the award shall give a Lecture on the date of the award of the Prize, or as soon thereafter as practicable.
The Prize will be 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.
1 JULY 2012: Call for Nominations.
31 AUGUST 2012: End of Nomination (Completed Forms must have been returned by this date, along with relevant documents.
1 SEPTEMBER 2012 -
30 NOVEMBER 2012: Vetting of Forms, background checks and screening of candidates.
DECEMBER 2012: Announcement of the Award.
6 MARCH 2013: Award of the Prize and Lecture by the recipient.
For further information please contact:
Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ Leadership Prize Secretariat, Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ Foundation, 15 Lanre Awolokun Road, Gbagada Phase 2, Lagos, Nigeria; Tel: +234-810-264-5136;