LITTLE NOISE, LITTLE PUBLICITY, but no little content. No wonder, it is said that the pen is mightier than the sword.
Compared with the previous conferences, the 7th Emerging African Leaders Foundation Conference got the least of everything that makes a conference glamourous but not in the quality of its promise delivery. Earlier on, the founder promised participants a cut on fanfare, focusing more on impact based learning. It was a promise made and delivered.
Between 10th -12th of January, young aspiring leaders from across the nation gathered at Owerri, Imo State capital, Nigeria to learn and discuss with experienced leaders, issues bothering on Africa’s development and economic status. Resource persons at the conference included Mr. Jude Ilo of Open Society Initiative of West Africa, OSIWA, who took participants on the role of political leaders in development, emphasizing the necessity for political leaders to handle, with utmost wisdom, critical points in their tenure. In his words, “there is a critical point in every leadership, which is a point to allow for development, strengthen a political structure or do otherwise…When you restrain your power as a leader, you open the gate for development and strengthen structures”
Rev. Fr. Prof. Walter Ihejirika of Signis Africa, was in attendance to outline the role of media and religious leaders in development. He underscored the importance of the civic space in ensuring effective government. He said, “if our country is not developed, it is because we have not formed good citizenship.” Oh, truly! The people get the leader they deserve; one would conclude after his presentation. Emerging media and religious leaders were charged with the responsibility of building good citizenship through proper information dissemination and holding the leaders accountable. Prof. Mrs. Emenalo, former commissioner for education, Imo state, who gave the last presentation spoke on the role of business leaders in development, identifying how innovative educational policies can boost entrepreneurship. All resource persons stayed back to answer participants’ questions. Also, participants took part in the marshmallow challenge which illustrated a practical guide to leadership.
Supportively, some of the Centre’s board members were present to establish and reemphasize the vision of the Centre. Notable among them were Rev. Fr Dr. Jude who gave the welcoming lecture on the vision and mission of the organization, Mr. Victor Peters who administered the inauguration oath to the new Emerging Leaders, swore in new Effective African Leaders and the new leadership of the Network of Effective African Leaders (NEAL); Fr Vin Arisukwu, a mentor and Vice President that came in to join us from the United States. Other notable persons in attendance were Rev. Sr. Prof Dibwa, Rev Sr. Julia and Rev. Sr.
The lecture series was complemented with a glamourous dinner at which all tribes represented by Emerging Leaders were invited to make presentations in their culture. I was to learn firsthand, that a Yoruba man can communicate his marital status, interest or disinterest with just a hat. It was a rich, edifying and satisfying gathering we hoped could last long after the award of appreciation to speakers.
Our Founder, Rev. Fr. Dr. Godswill Agbagwa reiterated his commitment to a better Africa through building of competencies, character, and capacities. We are certain the Centre for Social Awareness, Advocacy and Ethics (CSAAE) has come to stay. A better Africa is close by.