22 January 2013

Nigeria: African of the Year Award Postponed

Daily Trust's 2013 African of the year award ceremony/dinner earlier slated for today has been postponed.

The postponement followed confirmation by this year's African of the Year, former South African president, Thabo Mbeki, that the event has clashed with other engagements he has at the African Union, as such he will not be available to receive the award as scheduled.

Media Trust's General Manager Malam Aliu Akoshile who confirmed the postponement said a new date will be announced as soon as Mr Mbeki confirms that he will be available to receive the award.

Mr Mbeki was announced as this year's African of the year in Dakar, Senegal, in November 2012 by chairman of the Advisory Board, former president of Tanzania, Salim Ahmed Salim.

The award which was instituted in 2008 seeks to recognize and encourage an "ordinary and exemplary African who has made an outstanding contribution."

But Salim justified the choice of Mbeki, an already prominent African, for this year's award because of his "extraordinary" contribution to the Sudanese crisis.

"This year we have decided to choose an already prominent African and someone who, in the context of the Sudanese crisis, has made what we consider to be an extraordinary contribution," Salim said while announcing the winner in November.

Dr. Salim, who was Secretary General of the Organisation of African Unity (now African Union), said the former South African President was chosen "for his outstanding leadership of the AU Panel on Sudan, his persistent and consistent involvement in the peace process, and the success of the panel in bringing Sudan and South Sudan back from the brink of war".

The prize sum of US$50,000 is donated by UBA Plc, Africa's global bank, in support of winner's charity project.

Past winners of the Daily Trust African of the Year award include Dr. Denis Mukwege of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2008, the late pan-Africanist Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem of Nigeria in 2009, Mr. Danny Jordaan of South Africa in 2010 and the award last year was given to former Chief Justice Fatima Salifou Bazeye of Niger Republic.

Aside Dr. Salim, the award selection committee includes former member of ECOWAS Parliament and Cabinet Minister in Senegal, Professor Abdoulaye Bathily, and Chairman/CEO of Media Trust Limited (publishers of Daily Trust), Malam Kabiru Yusuf.

Other members are the Director of Development Research Institute, Johannesburg, Professor Tandeka Nkiwane, former Executive Secretary of Kenyan Human Rights Commission, Ms Muthoni Wanyeki, and Ugandan Political Scientist and author, Professor Okello Oculi.

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