As Obasanjo, Governors, Royalty Gather to Mark Pat Utomi at 68

As Obasanjo, Governors, Royalty Gather to Mark Pat Utomi at 68

Oluchi Chibuzor

To the de Great leadership matters because it creates a set of behaviour that help a people to align their collective direction. In that way leaders inspire members of society to pursue their dreams.

In recognition of the central role of effective leadership in shaping culture, Professor Pat Utomi, a renowned scholar, on March 10, 2004 set up the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) as a not-for-profit organisation to equip generations of young people with values and leadership skills which, will make them become effective, values-driven leaders that will serve as catalysts for improvement of the quality of life in our society.

The overall goal of the Centre is “to be a global centre of excellence for leadership development.”

In the pursuit of its goals and vision, CVL has over the years been in the fore to determine, through research, influence and advocacy, the way leaders are shaped, for the next generation.

One of the programmes it uses to drive this objective is its flagship, the Annual International Leadership Symposium, a veritable platform for great intellectual discourse and a think point for national issues.

So, consistent with the commitment to assemble noted thought leaders across the nation and the globe to strengthen democracy and advance good governance, Prof. Pat Utomi, announced former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, six serving governors, eminent royal fathers, captains of industry, and international scholars, as part of the key participants in this year’s two-day international symposia to celebrate CVL at 20, Patitos Gang TV at 25 and his 68th birthday. The two-day events are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, February 5 and 6, 2024, respectively.

The day one of the event, Entrepreneurship Symposium, scheduled to hold at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, has as its theme, “Skills Driven Entrepreneurship.” The keynote speaker is Dr. Adiele Nwankwo, an innovator in planning applications, who initiated and completed the first Geographic Information System Transportation application in the state of Michigan, USA and is credited with the development and implementation of a methodology for integrating traffic safety with regional transportation plans. The co-speaker is Dr. Henrietta Onwuegbuzie, Director, Business Innovation Accelerator and an associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Lagos Business School.

The Panel of Practice include Mustapha Njie, a Gambian, regarded as one of Africa’s most successful property developers. Mr. Njie’s Group, TAF Africa Homes, is present in eight African countries; Engr. Alfred Okoigun, founder and Group Managing Director of ARCO Group Plc, a diversified company with operations spanning maintenance engineering support services, Marine Logistics, Pipelines & facilities Inspection, property development, and consumer power generation; Dr. Leemon Ikpea, chairman/Chief Executive Officer, LEE Engineering and Construction Company Limited; and Dr. Cosmos Maduka, founder, President and CEO of Coscharis Group, an indigenous conglomerate with diverse interest in Manufacturing, Petrochemical, Auto care, Auto Components, Automobile Sales and Services.

The day two event scheduled for Tuesday, February 6, 2024 at Shell Hall, MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos, will be the Leadership Symposium and Launch of Professor Utomi’s New Book: ‘Power, Politics, Public Policy Process and Performance.’ The theme of the symposium is, “Democracy, Governance and National Performance: The Mutual Relationship.”

The keyote Speaker is Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, a globally acclaimed authority on democratisation in Africa, and Senior Associate for Africa at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Washington DC, USA.

The National Democratic Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nongovernmental organisation working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.

Since its founding in 1983, NDI has worked with local partners in 156 countries and territories, bringing together individuals and groups to share ideas, knowledge, experiences and expertise. Partners receive broad exposure to best practices in international democratic development that can be adapted to the needs of their own countries. NDI’s multinational approach reinforces the message that while there is no single democratic model, certain core principles are shared by all democracies.

Today, as senior associate and regional director at NDI, Fomunyoh has organised and advised international election observation missions, designed and supervised country specific democracy support programs in partnership with civic organisations, political parties and legislative bodies across Africa.

In the course of his work, Fomunyoh interacts regularly with heads of state and government, cabinet ministers, elected officials, political and civic leaders. He recently designed and helped launch the African Statesmen Initiative a program aimed at facilitating political transitions in Africa by encouraging former democratic Heads of State to stay engaged in humanitarian issues, conflict mediation, public health and other key sectors of political economic and human development on the continent.

As an authority on democratisation in Africa, Fomunyoh is highly solicited by news organisations and makes frequent guest appearances on major mainstream media.

Also, early last year, Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh was appointed by Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky as one of the first ambassadors of grain from Ukraine initiative for the African continent as part of the expansion of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Grain from Ukraine initiative and the involvement of international experts familiar with the issues of the African continent in its implementation. According to the Head of the President’s Office, since the launch of the Grain from Ukraine Initiative in November 2022, more than 30 donor countries have joined the program. These are the EU countries, Qatar, Turkey, Japan, Norway, Korea, Canada and the United States. So far, participants have pledged nearly $200 million.

Fomunyoh is an adjunct faculty at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies and a former adjunct professor of African politics and government at Georgetown University, USA. He also is the founder of a nonprofit organisation that supports democracy and humanitarian causes in Cameroon. Dr. Fomunyoh holds a Master’s degree in International Law from Harvard Law School, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Boston University.

The Co-Speakers are Professor Peter Lewis, the Warren Weinstein Chair of African Studies at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies; and Professor Attahiru Muhammadu Jega, former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)

The Panel of Discussants are His Excellencies, Dr. Alex Otti, Governor of Abia State; Professor Chukwuma Soludo, Governor of Anambra State; Mr. Peter Mbah, Governor of Enugu State; Engr. Sule Abdullahi, Governor of Nasarawa State; Prince Dapo Abiodun, Governor of Ogun State; and Engr. Seyi Makinde, Governor of Oyo State

According Utomi, the two-day international event is in keeping with the established tradition of CVL since 2004 to provide a “veritable platform for great intellectual discourse and a think point for national issues, to promote and encourage good leadership in Nigeria and Africa.”

The CVL Annual Lecture and International Leadership Symposium which started in 2004 assembles noted thought leaders and renowned experts from around the world to discuss and analyse topical issues relevant to Nigeria’s economic and socio-political development with the overall goal to strengthen democracy, good governance, rule of law, and sustainable leadership.

The first edition of the CVL Annual lecture took place in 2004 at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) with Mr. Tom Isegohi, a Nigerian Investment banker in the USA as the first speaker. Since then, CVL has consistently hosted thought provoking editions, featuring brilliant minds from around the world as speakers with discussions on various issues ranging from education, leadership, employment, cities development, democracy, economy, youth, values, agriculture, entrepreneurship, and development, amongst others.

Also eminent and inspirational speakers have graced the annual lecture series such as Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former President, Federal Republic of Nigeria; Professor Yemi Osinbajo, former Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria; Mr. Paul Kagame, President, Republic of Rwanda; Mr. Peter Obi, Presidential Candidate of Labour Party in the 2023 Presidential election; Most Reverend Matthew Hasan Kukah, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese; and Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank.

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