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 The importance of the leadership question is underlined by the continued institution of prizes to honour outstanding leadership all over the world.  From the Nobel Peace Prize to the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in Leadership in Africa, we find reputable platforms dedicated to the nurturing of this multi sectoral discipline. These recognition laurels consequently become facilities both for inspiring and reinforcing high standards in leadership.  
A narrow conception tends to view leadership mainly from the political prism. In the practical sense, leadership is about setting the pace; setting standards; and achieving milestones in diverse endeavours. The essence of leadership is to galvanise action toward desired ends. In the crux of social engineering, societal stability is built on the health of all segments.
With the return of democracy in 1999, the Zik Prize for Leadership has emerged as a leading national platform for recognition of inspiring performance in public office and civil society. This has happened for two principal reasons.
The late Azikiwe’s reputation has rubbed off on the award. Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe was not just Nigeria’s first Senate President and President of the Republic. He was the acclaimed Zik of Africa listed in every encyclopaedia of note.  In Penguin’s classic Dictionary of Politics, there is a slot on Zikism. Viewed as one of Nigeria’s greatest statesmen, Azikiwe is regarded for his inclusive national politics. There is presumed in this ‘philosophy’ an overriding concern for the stability of the country; which constructive engagement saw to the historic NPC/NCNC coalition and the NPP/NPN accord.
On the foundation of Zik’s legacy, the prize has been bolstered under the administration of the Public Policy Research and Analysis Centre. The PPRAC stands out for its continental composition and distinguished leadership. Professor Jubril Aminu took over the chairmanship of the body a few years ago from Professor Anya O. Anya. The respected Professor Pat Utomi is also a member of the Board. The Zik Prize then is not another prize.
Consequently, its choice of Chief Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano for the 2017 Humanitarian Service award could only have followed established criteria and scrutiny.
Some past winners of the Zik Prize include the legend Nelson Mandela; Jerry Rawlings; Julius Nyerere; Salim Ahmed Salim; Sam Nujoma; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and our own Willie Obiano in 2015.

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