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Tinubu Praises Awolowo’s Virtues



Tinubu Praises Awolowo's Virtues

President Bola Tinubu has extolled the virtues of the late first premier of the western region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

This is contained in a statement by Mr Stanley Nkwocha, Senior Special Assistant to The President on Media & Communications, Office of The Vice President, on Wednesday in Abuja.

Tinubu, who during the 2024 Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership held in Lagos, noted that the principles of Awolowo have withstood the tests of time and geography.

Represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, the President described the late Awolowo as a compass and guiding light for several generations of leaders.

Tinubu, who identified the power of time to judge fairly, noted that it was only time that defines the tough decisions, character and sacrifices a leader has to take to make a difference.

He observed that understanding Chief Awolowo’s teachings requires coming to terms with “the obscured reality of leadership.

“Overcoming the conspiracies of mischief-makers, sceptics and saboteurs is the very first test every true leader must undergo.

“For the great sage from Ikenne, his enduring impact persisted despite revisionist efforts.

“Time sifts through biases and lies, and through hidden agendas and propaganda.

“Time delivers to us the naked truth that defines the tough decisions and sacrifices every sincere leader must make to create a difference.

“But, in all we do, we must always find strength in the belief of those who trust the process, those who give us the benefit of the doubt.”

He noted that there was no greater honour than the privilege to lead one’s people.

Tinubu said that assuming a position of leadership during times of turbulence is the ultimate test of the mettle of leadership.

“It is in these moments of uncertainty that true character and capability come to the forefront.

While the immediate judgment may be rendered by the people we either impress or displease, the long-term verdict is carved by time, the passage of time.”

He recalled how Awolowo contended with forces both within and outside his political party.

The President stated that the great sage was a victim of his ambition to make a difference and was dragged by a hostile opposition until he found himself behind bars.

He, however, noted that with time, even the harshest of Awo’s critics came to realize the futility of taking a man who stood out, even in death, because he refused to compromise his convictions for granted.

“He (Awolowo) fought until his very last days in defence of democracy in Nigeria, and these are the examples that make him a hero of the nation.

“There is no doubt that time has been Chief Awolowo’s ally. Time has revealed the enduring impact of his ideas and actions,” Tinubu said.

He congratulated the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwunmi Adeṣina, for clinching the 2023 Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership.

He described Adesina as a “maverick change-maker who has not only flown our flag all over the world but has dazzled the world with the novelty of his thoughts, indispensability of his ideas, and dynamism of his actions”.

Earlier, Dr Adesina recalled the visionary leadership and legacies of the late sage, Awolowo, which, according to him, spreads across education, healthcare and infrastructure development.

He said the award is humbling, inspiring and motivating, even as he pledged to support initiatives that will transform more lives and livelihoods across Africa.

The Chairperson of the occasion and President of Tanzania, Samia Hassan, commended the foresight of the eminent team of judges in selecting Adesina for the 2024 Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership.