In a press release on Monday by the organisers, Heritage Times, said the event was held to celebrate and honour African greats who have distinguished themselves in their various fields of endeavour and have made a sustainable global impact in pacifying the image of Africa.
According to the press release signed by Chairman, Heritage Times, Mr Moses Siasia, ex-President Jonathan appealed to African leaders, who are privileged to hold public offices to become servants of the people, and not turn themselves into the “bosses of the people.”
Jonathan said, “When you are called the executive president, our duty is to run our country properly, not to dehumanise human beings and make their lives difficult. What you should think is when you leave office, what will the world remember for? Will the world remember you for killing people? Will the world remember you for jailing people, or will the world remember you for destroying their systems?
“What people will remember you for is what should guide our decisions, and I believe if every leader should begin to think that when you leave office, one day you will be remembered one way or the other, positively or negatively.”
Similarly, Vice President of the Republic of Liberia, Chief Dr Jewel Howard-Taylor, who was conferred with the African Humanitarian Award, declared that honouring the best and brightest minds in Africa is crucial for navigating the future of the continent, especially as it concerns leadership.
She reminded African leaders that the dream of achieving a robust and sustainable Africa rests heavily on their shoulders. She added that celebrating Africans who have made impacts, will help change the negative narrative about Africa that is being propagated by the Western media.
The former President of Botswana, Dr Seretse Khama, who bagged the African Philanthropist Award, harped on the urgent need of African leaders to do the right thing and develop the continent.
While commending HT for organising the event, he also noted that the future of Africa remains bright and great despite seeming challenges.
On his part, Professor Patrick Lumumba, who was awarded the Africa Advancement Award, noted that he was worried that the African continent is in a crisis mode, and that if African leaders were not careful, the continent would be eaten for launch once again.
Lumumba said, “I am energised by this award. I dedicate this award to Africans of goodwill, from whose eyes, the scales of ignorance have been removed. Growing Africa is an inter-generational struggle.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Heritage Times, Mr Siasia, noted that the choice of Rwanda as the venue for the event was strategic, given the country’s front role is setting the pace for growth and sustainable development in Africa.
While retrospecting on the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, he advocated for unity and peace across Africa, adding that Africa has a prestigious place in the world stage.
He added that Africa lacks inspirational leaders, but expressed hope that the awards and special recognition are one of the surest ways in which mentors would be created.