The Chancellor and Chairman, Board of Regents, Covenant University, Dr David O. Oyedepo, has urged Africans to use their God-given talent to create the right kind of education for raising the correct type of leaders that would facilitate the ultimate advancement the continent desires.
Dr Oyedepo made the recommendation on Thursday, September 24, 2020, while making his presentation at the 5th Covenant International Conference for African Development Issues (C-ICADI), with the theme: “Right Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Sustainable Development Solutions for the Africa We Want”.
Dr Oyedepo in his presentation titled ‘Right Education: Building a Strong Foundation for the Africa We Want’, said that education had proved to be a vehicle for national transformation in human history, such that no nation rose above her investment in education. Africa, he noted, once led the world in terms of civilization, but later lost her place.
“Black people built the first civilization, developed architecture, geometry, and archeology. We have not always been slaves; we were once custodians of our great history,” he noted.
The Chancellor asserted that people’s struggle to gain political power, rather than uplifting the socio-economic welfare of the populace, had been a significant loss to the country. He said the incontrovertible thing was that education had laid a foundation for real development and it was time for the people to lay a foundation for the nation’s recovery.
“There are plenty of ideas in Africa, but getting started is an issue. We’ve always had what we require to find a solution to the problems in Africa. God put us where we are; we should be able to find a solution to any problem there. It’s time to take responsibility,” Dr Oyedepo stated.
Covenant University, he said, had given education lots of prompting such that as soon as the institution set the pace in the country by getting into the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, other institutions in the country wanted to do the same. He stressed that Africans had the right to create the right kind of education they needed in the continent as it was courage that created the Total Man Concept, Entrepreneurial Development Studies, Leadership Studies, and the Towards a Total Graduate programmes in Covenant University.
In her address titled “Continental and Global Strategies Towards Improved Resilience and the Africa We Want”, the Chairperson of the Conference and Keynote Speaker, Ms Vera Songwe, said that immediate responses had been small concerning the economic and social cost incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to her, attempts at curtailing the scourge was restricted by inadequate resources and previous structural deficit.
She stated that the policy responses of African countries should review previous macroeconomic and social policies towards more resilience to expected future shocks. “The continental strategy, in particular the AFCFTA, would play a significant role in fostering the recovery process which can continue beyond the COVID-19 pandemic,” she averred.
Also, Ms Songhe enjoined the global community to support Africa in seeking redress from the economic fallout caused by COVID-19 through an improved international financial architecture.
Ms Songhe, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), was represented by Thokozile Ruzvidzo, the Director, Gender, Poverty and Social Policy Division (ECA).
The Ag. Vice-Chancellor, Covenant University, Professor Akan Williams, in his remarks, said the roles of education, innovation, and entrepreneurship were critical to the realization of the envisioned continent wanted by Africans. Education, he noted, promoted the development of the knowledge, understanding, skills, values, and actions required to create a sustainable society, which ensured environmental protection and conservation, promoted social equity, and encouraged economic sustainability.
He stated that the prevailing multifaceted challenges in Africa, called for critical thinking and collaboration to resolve, adding that it was in recognition of this fact that Covenant was hosting the 5th edition of the International Conference on African Development Issues. He explained that C-ICADI had brought together leaders, policymakers and key players in governments, the industry, academia, private sector, financial institutions, international agencies, and organizations to deliberate and proffer solutions to the multifaceted challenges confronting the African continent.
“This conference is one of our contributory platforms to encourage multidisciplinary partnerships in research efforts aimed at the realization of the African Union (AU) agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The recent ranking of Covenant University in the 401-600 bracket of the 2020 Impact Ranking of Times Higher Education (THE), attests to our contributions in this direction. Our doors are open to opportunities for research collaboration with universities, research institutes, and other stakeholders,” said Professor Williams.
The opening session of the conference, organised by the Professor Shalom Chinedu-led Local Organising Committee, was well attended by participants from far and wide.