Stakeholders at the African Union Day celebration in Ibadan, Oyo State, have called for collaboration and integration among African countries to overcome various challenges facing the continent. They made the call on Thursday at an event to mark the African Union Day organised by the Pan African University of Life and Earth Sciences (PAULESI) in Ibadan. […]
Stakeholders at the African Union Day celebration in Ibadan, Oyo State, have called for collaboration and integration among African countries to overcome various challenges facing the continent.
They made the call on Thursday at an event to mark the African Union Day organised by the Pan African University of Life and Earth Sciences (PAULESI) in Ibadan.
The Director, PAULESI, Prof. Titilayo Akinlabi, said that African Union Day celebrated every Sept. 9 has its focus on some landmark achievements of the African Union (AU) toward its goals of vision 2063.
Akinlabi said that theme of the 2021 celebration: “The Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want” was a commitment to achieve the aspirations of Africa’s development as set out in the AU’s vision of a better Africa.
She, however, sought for collaboration and integration among African countries to overcome the myriad of challenges facing the continent, including COVID-19.
“From the African Union perspective, there are lots of policies that AU tries to implement which are communicated through the President of member countries, Ambassadors and Ministers of Foreign Affairs to try and implement those policies.
“Because it is political, many of those policies we see are not being implemented; the African Union Commission does not come with a force, it is voluntary participation so countries see it as optional, so they buy into it, if they feel comfortable or opt out.
“Another issue is on finance, AU recommends so many good things to be done such as free education, health, food and security and so on; but many countries don’t have the funds to carry out the dream of the Africa we want.
“For me, I am still optimistic that through awareness creation and advocacy, we will definitely get there and reap the fruits of all the AU’s initiatives,” Akinlabi said.
Also, the Deputy Director, PAULESI, Dr Michael Oladunjoye, said on the sidelines that the celebration was apt.
Oladunjoye said students of the university cut across various African countries, adding that coming together would foster brainstorming to solve the challenges of Africa.
“Their coming together is a great opportunity for us to see how we can proffer solutions to some challenges facing Africa.
“The university ensured that most of the projects the students embarked upon are geared toward addressing African problems, so that we can collectively move Africa forward,” he said.
Oladunjoye said the pandemic had impacted, both positively and negatively, on learning.
According to him, the university has been maximising the potential it brought to create a robust learning environment leveraging technology.
Also, Dr Oluwaseyi Bamisaye, a visiting academic from Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) to PAULESI, said achieving unity to propel Africa forward required love for other African countries and the elimination of competitions.
“Everybody feels he can do it better than the other one, but once we are able to put aside our religious and ethnic differences and face the facts, then, we can achieve unity.
“Just like the developed countries, we should have a well established structure and put some policies in place that are fundamental, that cannot be easily changed, which will drive governance and economic development,” Bamisaye said.
One of the students of PAULESI, Stephen Cooper II from Liberia, said it was difficult adjusting to virtual learning having been used to physical interaction with his lecturers.
Cooper II highlighted internet connectivity and distortion as major challenges to online learning.
According to him, this is capable of slowing down learning activities, but was optimistic that the university has helped to make learning easy in spite of the pandemic.
He enjoined Africans to see themselves as one and shun any bias to achieve unity.
Supreme reports that highlights of the event included performance by various dance troupes from the Central, Southern and Eastern Africa region.