Awo Symposium: Welcome Address


15 Lanre Awolokun Road, Gbagada Phase II, Lagos.

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Office of the Executive Director




MARCH 3, 2016


Theme: ‘AWO, Then and Now: Politics, Economics, and Education'


The Obafemi AwolowoFoundation, as the intellectual custodian of the legacy of the late sage, devotes its 2016 annual memorial to an examination of several aspects of the governance legacy of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The aspects to be examined by a body of experts are; politics, economics, and education.

We do this, as the title suggests with a view to teasing out important lessons from the governance record of the sage, in order to provide a compass for the nation's ongoing journey to political, economic and social transformation. It should be noted that this is in keeping with the Foundation's forte of generating ideas, as well as provoking conversation to jumpstart national development. The event, which will consist of a keynote address by a distinguished scholar will feature incisive brainstorming led by three eminent panellists on the political, economic, and educational aspects of Awo's legacy. The symposium will be moderated by a scholar of global renown. State governors across the political divide, will be invited as Guests of Honour, in what is billed as a high profile intellectual event.


Nigeria's Fourth Republic has witnessed important gains in the direction of democratic consolidation, not the least of which is the watershed elections of 2015 in which power was peacefully transferred from an incumbent President and party to the opposition for the first time. The new government led by General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) enjoys national and international goodwill, on account of a reformist program centred on the fight against corruption.

The gains notwithstanding, the country faces serious challenges related to the collapse of oil prices, the continuous downward slide of the naira, relative to the dollar, high unemployment rate, especially among the youths, as well as a perceived instability of economic policy. Other challenges include the resurgence of ethnic nationalism notably in the south-east geopolitical zone, the embers of an insurgent challenge to the state, the failure to revalidate an over-centralized federalism, as well as alleged violation of human rights.

These political and economic deficits are made worse by a social crisis whose main symptoms are an educational system once globally acknowledged, but now in shambles; deteriorating transportation network, as well as health institutions that operate below global standards. Considering that genuine political change must enlist the energies and talents of civil society who must own the process, the March 3 event will subject our gains, challenges, setbacks and prospects to detailed examination, in order to chart a way forward, using as template the seminal interventions in governance of the late sage. For example:

• Would Awolowo, a passionate federalist, have endorsed our current militarized and over centralized federalism in which the states and federating units have become helplessly dependent on the centre?

• What lessons can we draw from the innovative fiscal strategies embarked upon by Awolowoin the course of his seminal advent into politics at regional and national levels?

• One of Chief Awolowo's better known legacies centres around human development, in particular free and qualitative education. How can the nation draw upon his visionary example to revive a comatose educational sector?

• Are there any lessons to be drawn from the outstanding sacrificial example of the late sage in values, public morality, prudence, and the fight against corruption?

• To what extent can the social welfare state, which he called “The People's Republic” be replicated in today's Nigeria?



The symposium is intended, in keeping with the tradition of the foundation, as a public event with a notable element of public participation. As much as possible, the event will be interactive so that public opinion on the important issues to be discussed can be gauged and factored. As previously, a communique outlining the main suggestions and resolutions will be issued at the end of the event.

Key Participants

Chair: HE Malam Nasir el-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State

Host Governor: HE Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Governor of Ogun State

Guests of Honour: HE Dr Olu??gun Mimiko, Governor of Ondo State

HE Owelle Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State

HE Mr Akinwunmi Amb?de, Governor of Lagos State

Keynote Speaker: Professor ??gun Gbadeg??in

Discussants: Dr Oby Ezekwesili

Senator F?mi Okurounmu

Professor Alade Faw?le

Professor Ay? Oluk?tun

Moderator: Professor Ladip? Adam?l?kun

© Obafemi Awolowo Foundation. All rights reserved. 2012.
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