The special guest of honour for the 18th edition of the ThisDay award is none other than the 42nd President of the United States of America, Mr. William 'Bill' Clinton, who would be making his third appearance as a special guest of ThisDay.
This particular edition of the prestigious award is 'celebrating the best and brightest teachers'. It is in recognition of the critical role they play in human capital development, socio-cultural and economic advancement of Nigeria. Over the months ThisDay readers had sent in nominations of their favourite teachers numbering a total of 750.
A shortlist of those to be awarded would be provided by a distinguished panel headed by former director at the World Bank, Mrs Oby Ezelwesili and the panel includes the likes of Mr. Fola Adeola, former MD/CEO of Gtbank & Mallam Haruna Adamu, a veteran journalist.
I was informed that several factors made for the choice of the ancient town of Abeokuta, Ogun State. A town where many distinguished Nigerians hail from. Apart from the fact that the current Governor of the state, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, is said to be taking giant strides in transforming the education sector in his domain, there are several historical factors that tilted the choice Abeokuta way.
The 1st secondary school in Nigeria, Abeokuta Grammar School, was established in 1908 in Abeokuta. The town is also known for many other 1sts.
- 1st Bible to come to Nigeria, was received in Abeokuta.
- 1st Church in Nigeria, was established in Ake, Abeokuta.
- 1st Newspaper in Nigeria, was established in Abeokuta.
- 1st Nobel laureate for Africa, Professor Wole Soyinka is from Abeokuta.
- 1st Chief Justice of the Federation, Sir Adetokunbo Ademola, was from Abeokuta.
- 1st Nigerian Lawyer- Sir Alexander Akintola Sapara Williams, was from Abeokuta.
- 1st Permanent Secretary & Head of Service in Nigeria- Chief Simon Adebo.
- 1st Woman to drive a car in the Country-Mrs Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was from Abeokuta.
So come Tuesday, February 26, 2013, Abeokuta, Ogun State would agog as top digniatries converge for the ThisDay award 2013.