Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Obafemi Awolowo Foundation Honours AfDB President, Dr. Adesina

….Even As His Pioneering Concept “Lighten-Up, Power Africa” Is Illuminating Nigeria through NEP

By Enyi Ejike-Umunnabuike and Maryam Nwachukwu 

Dr Akinwumi Ayode Adesina, the current President and Chairman of Council of the 20-member Board of the African Development Bank { AfDB } is an urbane man of all seasons. He is an intellectually over-achieving personality, with a high affinity for creativity, uncommon value-addition, skilled corporate governance competencies, rounded-knowledge base, experience, brilliance, and intelligence.
Before 2015, he was Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development.
During his period of development administrative stewardship, under President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Federal administration, Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, left a highly enthralling scorecard as a political appointee of government, who was able to manage the positive gains of the electoral successes of that administration, achieving lots of feats, amidst very compelling and challenging circumstances.
Perhaps, the successes and lasting impressions that he left behind as Nigeria’s Honourable  Minister of Agriculture  &  Rural Development, provided a very unbiased career-premised evaluative template that found him worthy of selection and eventual endorsement as the most competent of all the candidates that vied for the exalted position.
This well-cultured, disciplined, and humble balanced personality, listed, known addressed, and called Dr. Akinwumi  Ayodeji  Adesina, will by March 6th,2024, be honoured with the OBAFEMI AWOLOWO FOUNDATION in Lagos with the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership.
The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, will be formally honoured and presented with the distinguished Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership 2023.
As a tie-back to history, it will be recalled that the Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership,  was first announced in December 2012, with the official award ceremony held on March 6, 2013.
Before Dr Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina was announced as its fourth recipient, three other distinguished personalities had been conferred with the same award.
These include the Noble Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; former South African President, Dr. Thabo Mbeki; and the founder of the Afe Babalola University, Aare Afe Babalola, respectively.
A very significant aspect of this event is that it also coincides with the birth anniversary of the late foremost nationalist and stateman in whose memory the award was instituted.
The award is an initiative of the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, set up in April 1992 to serve as the custodian of Chief Awolowo’s intellectual property and leadership legacy values and norms. Established as an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organisation dedicated to immortalizing the democratic and development-oriented ideals of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the organizers of the event, say the award is a “prestigious, biennial, international prize structured to follow a rigorous process of nomination and subsequent screening by a Selection Committee consisting of some of the most outstanding Nigerians”.
They further said that the prize serves as a strong motivational incentive for persons to pursue excellence in leadership and good governance. The award confers considerable honour and recognition to the recipient.
Speaking on the selection process that led to the choice of Adesina as the 2023 recipient, the foundation Spokesperson Dr. Mrs. Tokumbo Awolowo-Dosunmu, said the call for nomination for the award was published for several months in 2023 and at the close of entries, many nominations of eminent persons were received, with Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, emerging as a unanimous candidate for the 2023 award.
Expressing his delight about the award and being in the company of previous eminent recipients, Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, who has a FIVE POINT BLUEPRINT for repositioning the African Development Bank { AfDB } said, “I am delighted to have been selected as a recipient of the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership.
Said he, “Joining Nobel Prize laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, as well as Aree Afe Babalola as prior winners of the prize, is such a great honour.”
Adesina, who simply describes himself as a ”Kenyan”,  is the eighth elected President of the AfDB and the first Nigerian to be so elected to that exalted Executive position, having been elected to the position on May 28, 2015, for the first by the Bank’s Board of Governors at its Annual Meetings held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
He was re-elected for a second term in 2020 following an excellent performance acknowledged by supporters and critics alike.
The High Five-point agenda of Adesina’s presidency at the AfDB with the ambition to Feed Africa, Light Up Africa, Industrialise Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the Quality of Life in Africa, was particularly lauded by the organisers as capable of putting the development of the continent directly in the hands of its people.
As Nigeria’s President, His Excellency, Distinguished Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, attends the occasion, topical energy issues and Policy concepts, are expected to come up for mention.
President Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania, Nigeria,’s second military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, GCFR, one of Nigeria’s foremost University students Union activists, who was the footsoldier of the famous 1977 Col Ali Must Go NUNS nationwide students demonstration, Chief Wole Olaoye, a Director of Academy Press  Limited Lagos  & CEO Diametrics Ltd, amongst others.
Issues, values, and norms of clean, sustainable, and affordable renewable projections, through off-grid, solar mini-grid as well as the interconnected hybrid mini-grid, in all underserved and unserved rural communities In Nigeria.
Happily, the Lightening Up & Power Africa initiative introduced by the President of the African Development Bank { AfDB } as one of his FIVE-POINT Development Administration AGENDA to turn around the fortunes of the African continent through massive rural electrification projects, would certainly be of immense benefits to Nigeria, given the huge fiscal instruments investments, ploughed in by the Nigerian Government.
Interestingly, the AfDB Lightening Up & Power Africa Concept falls within the global expectations of UNIVERSAL ACCESS to electricity.
The fact that this well-deserved and prestigious award on Dr Akinwumi Ayodeji Adlesina, is coming at a time the energy challenges in Africa, are getting increasingly multifaceted, attempting to cripple credible efforts by more than 54  African nations, at food security and feeding their various populations, industrializing and integrating their nations as well as improving the quality of life of the citizenry, shows that this biennial event is not only timely, highly strategic but one developing economies in Africa, including Nigeria, would benefit from to reflect on the five-point agenda of Dr Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina’s tenure as the President of the African Development Bank.
Universal access to electricity aims at recording the following scorecard, (1) No fewer than 162 GM of generated electricity  (2) 130 million on-grid connections. (3) 75 million off-grid connections.
The above figures show some level of worrisomeness when we consider that well over 640 million Africans, including Nigerians, have no access to electrical energy sources, offering an electricity access rate for African nations, at just 40%, making it the lowest globally.

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