Not one to let disruptive circumstances slow him down, Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo and Eminent Fellow of the African Youth and Governance Convergence (AYGC) graced what has been termed as the Biggest Convergence of Africa’s Youth with words of wisdom. As the Keynote Speaker for this year’s AYGC, an event he had previously hosted at his Presidential Library in Abeokuta, Nigeria, the Former President addressed African Youth from over 32 countries in Africa and the Diaspora, with a message of hope that transcends the effects of the COVID 19 Pandemic.
Initiated and convened by Youth Bridge Foundation (YBF), the African Youth and Governance Convergence (AYGC), since 2009 has served as an important platform for grooming young people in Africa and beyond the continent in the areas of Leadership grooming, Cascade of mentorship, Community Impact and Networking & Exchanges.
This year’s Virtual Convergence brought together over a 100 African Youth from over 30 Anglophone, Francophone and for the first time Lusophone countries. Delegates participated in Plenary Sessions, Committee work and Deliberations as well as the General Assembly made possible through the long-standing relationship between YBF and the Youth Development Center of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPLYC).
At the just ended 12th, but First Virtual Edition of the Convergence, under the theme: ‘Covid19 Recovery: Building Partnerships for Youth Led Community Development in Africa’, Obasanjo began by recognizing the key role of History in humanity’s evolution. He emphasized that History is the memory or repository of any human organization. In his assessment therefore, Africa is in need of a historical perspective since according to his deduction, it is in losing this, that we are losing our way.
“I cannot fathom whose terrible idea it was to remove history from our school curriculum. I can only hope that, this woeful mistake will eventually be rectified because they that do not value History, will not only fail to learn from it but are essentially like a people without a compass. To accomplish permanent solutions to our continent’s problems, we, Africans would have to unite in the interest of one another.
Taking a historical perspective on Covid19, the Former President, in closing reminded the delegates that just as Spanish flu never really went away, so too we must not live with the attitude of waiting for Covid19 to cease before intervening to implement recovery plans.
The Former President of Nigeria and Eminent Fellow, looked very much at home at a virtual gathering of youths from around the continent and beyond and with his words of encouragement, marked the Official Opening of a three-day virtual gathering of Youths under the aegis of this pan African initiative.
This year’s AYGC was supported by the Open Society Foundations (Support for the participation of Lusophone countries) and partners; Youth Bridge Foundation, Youth Development Center of OOPL, USAID Ghana (Office of Economic Growth), Dalhousie University, University of South Carolina, Xlive, Magichands, Empowerment Squared and International Decade of the people of African Descent.