The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Deaconess Grace Isu Gekpe has said Pan-Africanism is one of the ways through which the African continent can correct the neglect of her contributions to the advancement of humanity.
Gekpe made this known in her address at the opening of the 2019 International Conference of the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC) held on Monday, June 17, 2019 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, FCT with the theme: “Pan-Africanism and the Forging of a New African Identity in the 21st Century.”
Represented by Mrs. Lizzy Ihezue Iwu Amadi, Gekpe expressed regrets that the notable progress made by the African continent in global affairs is consistently played down by the Western media.
Describing the negative reportage of the Western press about Africa as a dark continent, where poverty and hunger, sickness and disease, crises and conflicts hold sway, Gekpe said there is urgent need to correct the negative trend.
Speaking earlier, the Acting Director-General of CBAAC, Mrs Ndidi Francisca Aimienwauu, emphasized the need to deploy Pan-Africanism to better the fortunes and future of Africa. “For us in CBAAC, Pan-Africanism stands for racial co-existence, equality and respect for human person; it looks beyond the narrow confines of class, race, tribe and religion, and promotes equal opportunities for all irrespective of ideological differences”, she said.
She however maintained that in showcasing the relevance of Pan-Africanism, we must forge ahead through an invigorated Afrocentric and Pan-African vision that will give us a new identity in the absence of perennial conflicts, grinding poverty, hunger and disease, xenophobia, terrorism and all manner of social, cultural, economic and political challenges ravaging the continent.
On his part, the Chairman of CBAAC Governing Board, Mr. Abom Tony Esu commended the Centre for its role in redefining the place of Black and African people despite the forces of globalization and economic liberalization. According to him, the choice of theme for the conference offers an opportunity to interrogate the Black and African cultural experience vis-a-vis Africa’s historical trajectory from the Pan-African concept which seeks to unite Africans towards achieving the common goal of decolonization, self-government, democratization, economic growth and development.
Also expressing regrets over the daunting challenges bedevilling the African continent, despite its modest achievements in developmental strides, Esu further called for the review and re-examination of the concept of Pan-Africanism and the desirability of a ‘United States of Africa’ especially in view of the recent xenophobic and political conflicts ravaging the continent.
Dignitaries present at the event were; Her Excellency, Dr. (Mrs) Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman (Former Minister of Women Affairs); Hon. Abike Dabiri (Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs & Diaspora); Professor Mike Adikwu (Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja) who was represented by Professor Mohammed Sani Adan (Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration); Professor Aja Akpuru-Aja of the Political Science department, Abia State University, Uturu who was keynote speaker; and the Director-General, National Council for Arts & Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe amongst others.
The Acting Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mr. Louis Eriomala was accompanied to the event by Mr. Alex Omijie (Director, Orientation & Cultural Affairs); and Mr. Mike Ekoko (Acting Director, Research & Documentation) among other support staff.
Media Asst.-Ag. ES