Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli and His Excellency Peter Obi speaks at The Bridge Leadership Foundation 10th Annual Career Day
Headlining The Bridge Leadership Foundation’s 10th Career Day were Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli, His Excellency Peter Obi, Alibaba, Fela Durotoye and 11 other industry leaders speaking to the theme The Global Economy: Adapting to the New Normal.
The Bridge Leadership Foundation (TBLF) on Saturday 25th July 2020 held its tenth (10th) Annual Career Day Conference albeit virtually on the theme “The Global Economy: Adapting to the New Normal”. Occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference which usually gathers over 6,000 young people annually from across Nigeria in Calabar, Cross River State for a transforming experience held ONLINE. This 10th edition was attended LIVE by over 8,929 participants in real-time exclusive of millions of listeners on 3 radio stations that broadcast the event live. The Career Day, over the last 9 years has had over 61 speakers from across Africa and 31,300 participants addressing issues that bother on leadership, education, youth unemployment, community development, innovation and sustainable development.
The 10th Career Day was graciously supported by NorthWest Petroleum and Gas Company, Dangote, Lilleker, Levene Energy, Stanbic IBTC, and Ben Akak Foundation. Media partners at the event were Business Day Nigeria, HIT 95.9 FM Calabar, FAD 93.1 FM Calabar, and Inspiration 92.3 FM Lagos.
The conversations at the 10th annual career day bordered on the need for a global transformation and mind shift required for nations, businesses and individuals to function sustainably in a Post COVID-19 world. Ranging from economy, policy and politics, education, agriculture, and business growth; to finance, technology, global markets, health and the creative industry; an array of renowned thought leaders and industry experts took turns to shed light on the theme of the event, helping the online audience make sense of it all.
The lead speaker at the event, Mrs Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli, Managing Partner, Sahel Consulting and Founder, LEAP Africa speaking on the theme of the conference hinted that our challenges are majorly health, economic, social and emotional related. She said that while COVID-19 had pushed us into the 4th economic revolution, Nigerian youths are credible and resilient and can be more productive if given the right support and accountability matrix to function. As part of her recommendations, she recommended that adult literacy training should be fast incorporated into our religious communities. Mrs Nwuneli also called for a broad-based collaboration to empower children to read, appreciate life, have hope, and create community centres where young people can learn and get equipped.
Other speakers at the event included His Excellency Peter Obi, Mitchel Elegbe, Tonye Cole, Alibaba, Ubong King, Thelma Ekiyor, Saudat Salami, Babajide Ipaye, Bukky Asehinde, Naadiya Moosaje, Hamzat Lawal, Yomi Williams, and J.J. Omojuwa who in honouring the foundation on her 10th Career Day celebration returned as speakers and made valuable contributions on the role of governments, businesses, youths, religious institutions, and individuals on leveraging the opportunities and gains of the COVID-19 crisis to improve the social and economic wellbeing of people.
Former governor of Anambra State, His Excellency Peter Obi, called for a change of processes by individuals and businesses if they are to make progress post-COVID-19. Mr Obi called for an urgent shift in the process of selection of leaders in the political space, adding that more than ever before, Nigerians need to have elected political officers who are competent and qualified to lead in this period. Speaking on how to build with courage and resilience during the Covid-19 period, Obi, said Covid-19 offered Nigerians an opportunity to see the cumulative effects of leadership failure over the years in the health, infrastructure, education and economy.
According to him, “A situation where we have people in leadership who are incapable of learning new things has to change. Nigeria doesn’t need leaders who are trapped in the processes of yesterday, we want those who have something to offer for tomorrow”. The former governor of Anambra State further said that from the political point of view, if Nigerian entrepreneurs, SMEs, businesses were to get their plans and processes right and fail to correct the political equation, then everything is wrong. “In all our doing as a country, it is important we get our politics right. It is critical that the right people are in governance. “In a society where people have excelled, they have achieved such because they have been given an opportunity. When we are talking about the new normal, we also have to look at our environment. We need to start thinking differently about those that govern us also,” he said.
Also, Fela Durotoye, CEO, Gemstone Group spoke on the topic leading in uncertainty. He mentioned that there is a need to find the courage to do what is necessary and build the resilience that is required to get the desired results in spite of any challenge or crisis. He also encouraged career professionals to build their capacity and possess the right work attitude that will increase the chances of keeping their jobs or work.
Discussing on the topic “New Decade, New Economy, New Solutions were Naadiya Moosaje – co-founder of Women in Engineering based in South Africa, Hamzat Lawal- founder of Connected Development and Yomi Williams – founder of Gartner Callaway Group of Companies all made remarkable contributions on skills development, policy and women inclusion, good governance and politics, and sustainable agricultural growth along the value chain respectively. The panel discussion was moderated by J.J. Omojuwa who remarked that COVID-19 is fast-tracking us into the future.
Speaking at the event, the founder of The Bridge Leadership Foundation, His Excellency, Senator Liyel Imoke, remarked on the importance of the foundation’s work as it continues to evolve and provide the platform for young people to actualize their potentials irrespective of the challenges, times or seasons by adapting and adjusting accordingly to the challenges of the time. He said, those who will survive this revolution are those who can adapt, adjust, rethink and redesign their approaches and ideas to the problems faced on a day-to-day basis.
Prior to the founder’s remarks, Mrs Yvonne Fasinro representing the members of the Board of Trustees of the foundation in welcoming everyone to the conference, nuanced the importance of leaders to continue to build bridges that will help young people make the transition to creating better opportunities and outcomes for their lives.
The foundation’s commitment to tackle the challenges of the next decade as it continues to build generations of Transformational Leaders was made known in its plans to establish The Bridge Leadership Institute which when completed will serve as an equipped establishment with the right mix of resources to groom a cadre of young people that are ethical, equipped and competent to lead themselves and others. The Foundation called on all concerned individuals, organizations and partners to join the quest to realize this goal.
The founder further remarked that his utmost desire would be to see youths who have participated in this 10th Career Day Conference which held online return at the next edition with innovations, work opportunities, social impact, and skills that are a testament to the deliberations we are having today on The Global Economy – Adapting To The New Normal. He is hopeful that beyond the conference, with the goodwill of the guest speakers and their organizations, partners, sponsors and government agencies, the next one year will be a practical realization for youths who seek to leverage the opportunities and gains of the COVID-19 crisis to improve on their social and economic wellbeing, and to impact their communities.