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Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub Hosts Transformative GJF Democracy Dialogue 2024

On June 13, 2024, the Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub in Benin City, Nigeria, was buzzing with energy as it hosted the GJF Democracy Dialogue. This event brought together political leaders, dignitaries, policymakers, experts, and stakeholders from across Africa and beyond to discuss the pivotal role of functional education and effective political leadership in driving Africa's growth and development.

Guests at the event included Nigerian's Minister of Education; Mamman Tahir, former Vice President; Namadi Sambo, former President of Benin Republic; Boni Yayi, former President of Kenya; Uhuru Kenyatta, former Vice President of Zambia; Dr. Nevers Sekwila Mumbai, former Governor of Anambra State; Peter Obi, Deputy Governors of Bauchi and Bayelsa State and other dignitaries across Africa.

The hub was filled, with people from all walks of life eager to participate in this momentous occasion.

The GJF Democracy Dialogue aimed to explore how education and leadership can unlock Africa's vast potential, fostering sustainable development and societal progress. Against the backdrop of the vibrant and innovative Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub, participants engaged in meaningful discussions on how to overcome challenges and pave the way for a brighter future for the continent.

Renowned for fostering creativity and intellectual discourse, the Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub was a fitting venue, embodying the spirit of advancement and cultural richness that the GJF Democracy Dialogue aimed to promote. This dynamic setting provided an ideal platform for the keynote address by Prof. Olubayi Olubayi, who challenged attendees to consider why Africa has lagged in global progress over the past 500 years.

In his keynote address, Prof. Olubayi highlighted the necessity for universal education and specialized schools for gifted and talented children. He argued that the continent’s slow development is not due to a lack of resources or talent, but rather the absence of a functional education that helps Africans define their identity, aspirations, and leadership criteria. He advocated for the creation of specialized schools for gifted and talented children to harness their potential and drive innovation. He also warned of the dire consequences of failing to implement necessary reforms, quoting V.S. Naipaul: "The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it," underscoring the urgency of transformative change in education and leadership.

The panel discussion, coordinated by Prof. Adebayo Olukoshi, was interactive, interesting, and solution-oriented, featuring leaders, experts, and key stakeholders across Africa.

Building on this theme of educational reform, special recognition was given to Edo State for its exemplary initiatives. Edo State received special recognition for its exemplary education reforms, particularly the Edo Best 2.0 initiative led by Governor Godwin Obaseki. This initiative serves as a model of effective education reform in Nigeria, demonstrating the potential for scalable impact across the continent.

In line with these reform efforts, a highlight of the event was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation (GJF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The signing of the MOU symbolizes a collaborative commitment to advancing functional education and effective political leadership in Africa, aiming to implement strategic initiatives that address educational disparities and promote governance reforms.

As the event drew to a close, former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan expressed gratitude to all participants and attendees present.

In his closing remarks, former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan reaffirmed his commitment to advancing functional education and announced that copies of the keynote address would be disseminated to stakeholders to inspire collective efforts in shaping Africa's future.

The GJF Democracy Dialogue at the Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub was a compelling call to action, highlighting the need for education and leadership as catalysts for Africa's development.

As we look to the future, the Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub remains a focal point for progress and continues to inspire a new generation of leaders, thinkers, and innovators, shaping the continent's future with vision, exemplifying the blend of creativity and intellectual discourse needed to drive Africa forward.

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