By Kembet Bolton

There are very few media sources who have been so committed to making sure Africa’s true story is told. This is what African leadership magazine has been consistently doing in over a decade.

Every year in the past nine years, African Leadership Magazine, in keeping to its mandate of celebrating outstanding achievements and achievers in Africa, puts out a call for nomination and voting where Africans chose for themselves distinguished persons who have excelled in different spheres as winners of the persons of the year who will be honoured on the global platform of the magazine.

The 2020 edition held virtually on the 26th of February, 2021. The colourful ceremony had in attendance distinguished African statesmen both as winners and respectful observers.

The event was declared open by the chairman and publisher of the African Leadership Group, Dr Ken Giami. He heartily welcomed all and reiterated the mandate of the publication to continue celebrating African leaders and institutions and some unsung leaders on a global platform. Dr Giami informed all that the 9th edition of the ALM persons of the year attracted more than twenty thousand votes on the African Leadership website and over seven million active online engagements by Africans who wanted to lend their voice in what they believed in. He went further to describe the honorees as “truly the people’s choice, and the African Leadership Magazine continues to position these ones not just as agents of change but also as enablers who inspire and make society move forward. We continue to promote our most distinguished leaders for other credible recognitions and third-party endorsements, which have, of course, led some of our alumni to win Nobel prizes, the publisher of the magazine added.

Besides celebrating Africans and Africa as a continent, Dr. Giami noted that the day was also an occasion to renew our commitments to making Africa truly great individually.

The event progressed. The first keynote on the theme -Promoting sustainable peace and security in Africa-Lessons for political leaders was presented by His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, former president of the Republic of Nigeria. Dr Jonathan, who also emerged winner of the African Peace and security leader of the year, started by thanking the publisher and the entire organizing committee for finding him worthy of the honour.   Contrary to some popular opinion which sees awards as mere fanfare, Dr Jonathan emphasized the importance of awards and recognitions as in his words, “it assures the recipients that their little contributions to the growth of the society are not unnoticed” it also comes with a sense of responsibility which jolts the awardees to the fact that they can no longer go below a certain threshold in the conduct of human affairs. Dr Jonathan praised the choice of topic for the keynote as there is a dire need to bring an end to most countries’ insecurity and instability in the continent. Drawing from his experience in and out of office, Dr Jonathan categorically stated that peacebuilding is one of the most significant challenges facing our world today. He further stated that leadership commands a great influence in men’s affairs such that the fate of a nation is directly linked to its choice of leaders, adding that there is a clear link in a nation’s socio and economic standing and its position in the global conflict index. Dr Jonathan said this background knowledge made him spend his time pursuing democracy and a peaceful transition of power during his tenure as president of Nigeria. He concluded his keynote address by stating that the pathway to stabilizing our policy is to improve our governance quality by sanitizing the electoral processes in our continent. For peace to reign, those who wield power should always respect the rule of law.

After his keynote address, the former president of Sierra Leone, His Excellency, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, an Alumni of the African Leadership Awards himself, commended the choice of Dr Jonathan for the choice of this award category before presenting the award of Peace and Security Leader of the Year to him.

Watch the full video of the presentation ceremony HERE.