Former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan pipped Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the African Leadership Magazine Person of the Year, 2015. Jonathan also defeated Strive Masiyiwa, founder, ECONET Wireless; Tony Elumulelu, chairman of Heirs Holding; Akinwumi Adesina, president, African Development Bank and Koffi Anan, former UN secretary general.
This was disclosed by Cletus Wortoson, former, Pro Tempore president of the Liberian senate and chairman of the 2015 African Leadership Person of the Year selection committee.
In a letter to the former president, Wortoson said: “there is no one best suited at the moment than your excellency, to advise the continent’s leaders on the merits of good governance and enduring democracy”.
“Your popular mantra of ‘one man one vote’ and ‘my ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian,’ is a message that must be preached loud and clear on the continent, hence our endorsement.
“It is with great pleasure that I bring you the news of your selection as the African Leadership Magazine Person of the Year, 2015.” The committee applauded Jonathan for his “uncommon characteristics” in deepening democracy in Africa.
“In adopting you as our choice, we placed a very high premium on your commitment towards deepening democracy on the continent – a characteristic which is uncommon among most African leaders at the highest level today.
“Chief among the many factors we considered was your efforts towards promoting good governance in Africa through the promotion of free and fair elections across the continent.
“Your recent assignment to Tanzania received accolades and international acclaim, because you discharged the responsibility most creditably. “We resolved that there is no one best suited at the moment than Your Excellency, to advise the continent’s leaders on the merits of good governance and enduring democracy.
“The board is fully persuaded that you have served your country, Nigeria, meritoriously, conducted a free and fair election, in which you lost and yet conceded defeat, a development seeing by many in the continent as historical.
“Your popular mantra of ‘one man one vote’ and ‘my ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian,’ is a message that must be preached loud and clear on the continent, hence our endorsement.”
The award has been previously won by Liberian president and Nobel prize winner, Johnson Sirleaf; former president John Kuffour of Ghana; Mo Ibrahim of the Mo Ibrahim foundation, Oba Otudeko, chairman Honeywell Group, and lawn tennis goddess, Serena Williams. Jonathan also became the first African leader to win the Martin Luther King human rights award.