2022 FALA: Obasanjo, Leymah Gbowee, Pastor Chris charges African youths
As the world journeyed into the New Year 2023 from December 31 2022, 10 young Africans between the ages of 16-23 from Zambia, Morocco, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, South Sudan, Malawi, Benin Republic, Uganda and Ghana were introduced to the world at the 10th Future Africa Leaders Award Ceremony; celebrated and meritoriously awarded for their awe-inspiring achievements in agriculture, health, technology, community education, advocacy and much more.
Every year since inception, the Future Africa Leaders Foundation, a sub-organisation of the Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International (COFI) awards 10 youths after a series of selection processes, 10,000 USD each, and an eventual star winner amongst them with an additional 25,000 USD to support their work in developing Africa from their locality.
Princess Mayamiko Zulu (Zambia), Hidaya Benouda Tlemçani (Morocco), Lebsey Petmia Lebaga (Cameroon), Gracious Mazivanhanga (Zimbabwe), Victor Eyo (Nigeria), Elizabeth Aguil (South Sudan), Azaria Tendayi Chidzungu (Malawi), Grace Lekwuwa (Benin Republic), Bakaki Yusuf (Uganda) and Portia Manyaya (Ghana) all emerged as winners winning 10,000 usd, with Lebsey Lebaga emerging as the eventual winner of the star prize $25,000.
Since it was founded 10 years ago, the Future Africa Leaders Foundation has contributed significantly to identifying, celebrating, supporting and mentoring young brimming Africans who have intrinsically answered the call to leadership in their local communities, and have excellently pioneered diverse inventive grassroot projects, poised to provide home grown solutions to combat Africa’s challenges in today’s world.
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In his opening address, the founder and host of the Future Award Leaders Award, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, D.Sc, D.D explained the emphasis on Africa by the foundation;
“Our work is global, but we are aware of the peculiar situation in African countries where leadership is much needed, and this initiative is our contribution to building leaders from their youths; it’s the reason for this Award. In the past few years, we have witnessed very inspiring feats achieved by our young people; we keep looking out for more across African countries and quite frankly, there’s so much to see. When you get to review their work, you’d be amazed that most of it is unheard. Africa is not in the bad and terrible situation that’s painted, no; it’s a hopeful place, full of hope, strength and courage.
The occasion was chaired by Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, his Excellency, President Olusegun Obasanjo, and had in attendance, a special guest of honour, her Excellency, 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate, Leymah Roberta Gbowee.
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In his keynote address titled ‘The Imperishable of life, here and there, his Excellency, President Olusegun Obasanjo explained the importance of walking in wisdom in the short time we have on earth. He took his opening text from Ps.90.12 KJV- “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”, and explained that wisdom is the quality of having experience, knowledge understanding and good and sound judgement and that we were made to serve humanity and God.
The special guest of honor, Nobel Laureate Leymah Roberta in her address, share a riveting story of her humble backstory which saw her from the brink of suicide; a refugee with no self-esteem, no money but had the courage to stand up for something, and contributed significantly to bringing peace to her country and was instrumental to installing a first female President in Africa and eventually wining a Nobel Laureate. She said,
“I stand here to tell you that the promise is in Africa. Sometimes we look outside for what we think we can get, but if you look around you and under your feet, you will see the promise. I encourage the young people, strive for what you want. Don’t always look outside, try to be the change you wish to see..Pastor Chris has shown us the way by mentoring and helping the next generation of African leaders, and I’m saying to you all, let us join hands together. In the diaspora there is no Liberian, no Nigerian, no South African; we are all called Africans.. Ladies and gentlemen, this is our continent. God has given it to us, therefore let us go out there and make the Africa that we want to see.”
As the Foundation celebrates her 10th year of impact, having supported 110 young African leaders from 28 African countries with over 1.35m USD, these young leaders, now FALA Ambassadors are vitally involved in playing active roles in nation building at different levels in their various Countries. Their notable successes are being celebrated by governments and institutions locally and globally with promises of even greater impact in the coming years.