The sun was going down on a long and inspiring day as the ten Nigerian participants at the Africans Rising conference gathered under an ancient Jacaranda tree on the grounds of MS-TCDC in Arusha, Tanzania.
Coming from different backgrounds including academia, NGOs and trade unions, young and old, women and men had all listened intently and participated actively in the shaping of the Africans Rising movement over the past two days.
After exchanging pleasantries and talking about the days events, they finally came to the objective of the meeting: What does Africans Rising mean to them as Nigerians?
Several contributions were made, but the group all agreed that it is time Nigerians all worked together to realise justice, peace and sustainable development. They all agreed that as soon as they returned to Nigeria, they would meet again to continue to build on the momentum from that meeting as well as craft strategies to popularise Africans Rising in Nigeria. They also set up an interim committee and agreed on its leadership.
Barely 10 days later in early September, these inspired Nigerians had their inaugural meeting in Abuja, the country’s capital city as they had planned. Due to the geographical location of some of the participants, some participated virtually. The thrust of the meeting was to deliberate towards mobilising more Nigerians to join African Risings as well as work towards the #25May2017 mass mobilisation (marking the African Liberation Day). Everyone agreed that to make the launch successful, they would have to mobilise Nigerian activists and encourage them to read and sign up to the Kilimanjaro Declaration.
With the Kilimanjaro Declaration as the rallying call and driven by volunteers, a nation-wide mobilisation has started.
The launch will bring together about 300 activists from different parts of the country. The committee immediately set up sub committees for membership, mobilisation, communication, fundraising and budgets. The group has started mobilising Nigerians immediately to join the movement alongside planning for the local chapter launch on the 24th November 2016.
Africans Rising Launch Director, Kumi Naidoo joined the meeting virtually and was “delighted that Nigerians have decided to own the process and domesticate the objectives of the movement in Nigeria”.
He acknowledged that building on the momentum from the August meeting in Arusha was very astute. He expressed the support of the Africans Rising Launch Team for the #25May2017 mass mobilisation and the November launch event.
Moses Isooba, Deputy Director of Africans Rising also joined the Skype call and, urged the group to “work to make sure that all constituencies of civil society especially the trade unions and academia” are engaged and join the #25May2017 mass mobilisation.
Africans Rising Nigeria
Olusola Folyan, Prof. Gabriel Umoh