On Saturday, May 30, friends, associates and labour comrades virtually gathered to honour Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem and Abubakar Momoh both of whom stood for true Pan-Africanism.
Tajudeen, a writer and general secretary of the Pan-African Movement died on May 29, 2009, while Momoh passed on on the same day in 2017.
Celebrating the third and seventeenth anniversary of both icons, the governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, said this is a moment of reflection and also for the celebration of the two comrades.
Describing both Tajudeen and Momoh as people who did not just see Africa as a geographic location, Kayode said, the duo always saw solutions and possibilities amid challenges and difficulties.
The governor said that there is need for Africans to re-engage and connect with each other with the Pan-African ideology.
“COVID-19 is an opportunity for Africa more than it is adversity, it is an opportunity to reject the insularity and protectionism. We must reconnect in Pan-African politics,” Kayode said.
In her contribution, Dr Awino Okech, an academic, based at the University of London’s School of Oriental and Africa Studies (SOAS) said Africans need to be able to create multiple leaders and chiefs who would help the younger generation find focus.
According to Awino, the Coronavirus pandemic is not just an incidence but it has made the continent aware of challenges of Africa’s declining economies, health systems and poor leadership.
Further describing Tajudeen and Momoh as connectors who opened their doors to the younger ones, Professor Awino said Africans need to reconnect new social movements to progressive African academics.
“Some movements have been captured by the deep state and power merchants, we need to create political parties and structures that would reflect and project the Pan-Africanism dream, ” Dr Awino said.
In her address, Professor Funmi Olonosakin, the founder and former Director of the African Leadership Centre (ALC) said at a time like this, certain things are key.
She said these include; new ways of working, new models of leadership, organisation of the state and solidarity with the next generation.
Professor Funmi said: “Two things stand out namely: the relative silence of the African Union and the question of the leadership of the future.”
“How do we mobilise together to transform Africa?” She queried.
In addition, Horace Campbell, a professor of African-America studies and political science at the Syracuse University, New York called for the transformation of realities facing the continent including environmental justice and building shared infrastructure to transform lives across Africa.
Professor Campbell said the COVID-19 has sharpened the question of peace, development and the need tor organisation among the African people.
Professor Campbell: “There is a clear limit of military management of the international system. We are moving into the era of a multi-polar currency world. Social justice is key.”
He called for support and upliftment of the dignity of Africans and Afro-descendants’ struggle to be human and strengthen the spirit of the people.
Also, a former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission and the senior team manager for the Africa Program of Open Society Justice Initiative, Chidi Odinkalu, said Tajudeen’s anthem was “one struggle, many fronts”.
According to Odinkalu, this implies that Pan-Africanists should never think of anyone as too irrelevant as what everyone brings to the table must be respected.
Also, decrying the state of election processes in Africa, Odinkalu said beyond intergenerational dialogue, there is a need for Pan-Africanists to consciously and deliberately work towards replacing themselves on earth.
“The silence from African Union is quite deafening; more needs to be done and we need to demand accountability from our governments in Africa, ” he said.
Odinkalu added: “COVID-19 has surfaced a crisis of regionalism and regional integration. Question is, how do we work better with AU, Regional institutions and African governments?”