By Olawale Jokotoye
Ikenne (Ogun) – The Obafemi Awolowo Foundation is to hold a memorial public lecture on March 6 in place of its cancelled annual leadership award earlier fixed for the same date.
The Executive Director of the Foundation, Dr Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu, stated this at a press conference in Ikenne, Ogun.
Awolowo-Dosunmu said that the lecture entitled, “The Awolowo Legacy and its Message for Nigerian Youths, ” would hold at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) , Lagos.
She explained that the lecture was organised as part of efforts to sustain the legacies of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
“The purpose of the lecture is not only to refresh our memory about late Awolowo’s outstanding legacy in the sphere of leadership.
“It is particularly to fire the imagination of Nigerian youths about the immense possibilities for their individual and collective progress and development if they will understand and strive to restore the leadership model of the likes of Chief Awolowo,” she said.
She urged the youths to attend the programme, saying it would be chaired by a former Head of State and Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Foundation, retired Gen. Yakubu Gowon.
The lecture, she added, would be delivered by Prof. Banji Akintoye, a former Director of the Institute of African Studies at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
She said the choice of Akintoye was informed by the advice of the selection committee of the Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership that the speaker should be a seasoned academic and a mentee of late Awolowo.
Awolowo-Dosunmu recalled that the 2017 edition of the leadership award could not hold because there were no suitable candidates from the list of nominees.
“The prize is not being awarded this year, not because the nominees were not eminently accomplished individuals in their various fields of endeavour.
“It is because the award is based on demonstrable evidence of substantial achievement across board as laid out in the criteria of the selection committee,” she said.
Awolowo-Dosunmu, however, said that the selection committee would receive fresh nominations between July and September
She expressed optimism that suitable candidates would emerge from the new nominees for the award in 2018.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Prof. Wole Soyinka, a nobel laureate, won the maiden edition of the award in 2013 while Thabo Mbeki,a former president of South Africa, won the second edition in 2015.