Only Time Can Define the Decisions of a True Leader – Tinubu

President Asiwaju Bola Tinubu
President Asiwaju Bola TinubuGoogle Photos

President Bola Tinubu has commended the virtues of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the first premier of the western region, highlighting that his principles have remained steadfast across time and geography.

Similar to the late sage, the President acknowledged time as a reliable judge, highlighting its role in defining the tough decisions, character, and sacrifices necessary for a leader to create an impact.

President Tinubu, during the 2024 Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership held at Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, described the late Awo as a compass and guiding light for several generations of leaders.

Following a rigorous process of nomination and subsequent screening by a selection committee, the Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership, a prestigious, biennial, international prize, celebrates the democratic and development-oriented ideals of Chief Awolowo, a foremost Pan-African nationalist.

President Tinubu, through his deputy Vice President Kashim Shettima, pointed out that comprehending Chief Awolowo’s teachings involves recognizing the obscured reality of leadership, and emphasized that overcoming challenges from mischief-makers, sceptics, and saboteurs is a critical test for every true leader.

The President, in his delivery of the address titled “Leadership: An Alliance with Time,” discussed Chief Awolowo's confrontation with forces within and outside his political party, pointing out that the great sage's ambition to bring about change resulted in him being incarcerated by a hostile opposition.

With time passing, even the toughest critics of Awo eventually recognized the uselessness of underestimating a man who stood out, even in death, for his unwavering commitment to his principles.

Awolowo's commitment to defending democracy in Nigeria until his very last days is what distinguishes him as a hero of the nation, and history has been kind to him, the president said.

He also extended his congratulations to Dr Akinwunmi Adeṣina, the President of African Development Bank (AfDB), for winning the 2023 Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership, hailing the former Nigerian Minister of Agriculture as a “maverick change-maker" who has not only represented our nation globally but has impressed the world with the innovation of his thoughts, importance of his ideas, and dynamism of his actions.

Adesina emerged as the fourth recipient of the 2023 prize, succeeding Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka and others who had all received the award meant to promote, acknowledge, reward, and commemorate excellence in leadership.

Comparing the AfDB President to a Prophet they have chosen to honour in his hometown, President Tinubu highlighted that Adesina, like Awolowo, has demonstrated the values that influenced the course of history in all the institutions and offices he has led.

Also speaking at the event, Dr Adesina brought up the visionary leadership and legacies of the late sage, Awolowo, which, he believes, cover education, healthcare, and infrastructure development.

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