Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, yesterday emerged recipient of the maiden edition of the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership.
Speaking during the ceremony in Lagos, the former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, said: "Although an impressive number of nominations were received, Soyinka was adjudged to possess the highest degree of attributes considered for the award by the selection committee.
"The selection committee came to the unanimous conclusion that of all the nominees presented before it, the individual adjudged to possess to the highest degree, the attributes for the award and thus, the first ever recipient of the Obafemi Awolowo Prize for leadership, was Prof. Wole Soyinka."
He stated further that the prestigious biennial national prize was structured to follow a rigorous process of nomination and subsequent screening of many outstanding Nigerians.
"The nominees for the prize were expected to be men of character who had demonstrated to a substantial degree, the attributes considered to have characterised Awolowo's leadership style, which includes integrity, credibility, discipline, accountability, courage, selflessness, tenacity of purpose, visionary, people-centred leadership as well as respect of the rule of law and press freedom," he said.
While noting that an appropriate citation of Professor Soyinka will be given at the actual award ceremony scheduled to come up in March 2013, which coincides with Awolowo's birthday anniversary, Anyaoku said Awolowo was "a highly revered Nigerian federalist, who was variously described by Nigerians" as "the best president Nigeria never had", whose qualities were worth emulating.