Civic Innovation Lab, an innovation hub in Abuja, hosted the Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette on the 29th of October during her diplomatic visit to Nigeria. The visit which was also a closed networking event followed a long meeting with the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Rtd Gen Mohammadu Buhari on bilateral relations between Canada and Nigeria.

The event, which also had heads of the Canadian consulate in attendance served the delegates an opportunity to interact with entrepreneurs, artists, and poets in the Nigerian climate. Right Honorable was treated to a poem by Deji and Ruth while seven different artists presented their artworks.  It was an interactive meetup with young entrepreneurs and creatives.

The official Canadian delegation consisted of Her Excellency, RH Julie Payette, Lieutenant General (retired) the Honourable Andrew Leslie, P.C, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Amy Galigan, Acting High Commissioner of Canada to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mr. Francis Drouin, Member of Parliament for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, Ms. Sylvie Boucher, Member of Parliament for Beauport-Côte-de-Beaupré-Île d’Orléans-Charlevoix, Ms. Linda Duncan, Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Strathcona, Mr. Roy Norton, Chief of Protocol of Canada, Ms. Marie-Geneviève Mounier, Associate Secretary to the Governor General of Canada and Ms. Jennifer Goosen Director General, West and Central Africa, Global Affairs Canada.

Other accompanying delegates were Mr. Pierre Boivin, Partner, McCarthy Tétrault LLP and Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Council on Africa, Dr.  Jan Christilaw, C.M., Special Advisor, Women’s Health, British Columbia Women’s Hospital and Clinical Professor, University of British Columbia, Ms. Anne Gaboury (Côte d’Ivoire/Nigeria), President and Chief Executive Officer, Développement international Desjardins, Mr. Francois Lalonde, Engineer and international business development consultant, Mr. Pierre Lassonde, Chairman of the Board, Franco-Nevada Corporation and Chairman of the Board, Canada Council for the Arts, Mr. Jean Lebel, President, International Development Research Centre, Ms. Ellen McAteer, Soprano singer, Dr. Chidi Oguamanam, Professor, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, Ms. Lili-Anna Pereša, C.Q., President and Executive Director, Centraide of Greater Montreal, Ms. Mariam Sy Diawara, Founding President, Maison de l’Afrique Montréal and Africa Web Festival and Mr. Daniel Taylor, Conductor/Countertenor, Head of Historical Performance and Associate Professor of Voice, Early Music and Opera, University of Toronto.

Indigenous entrepreneurs and national development figures present were Mrs Rose Keffas, Special Adviser to the OSSAP SDG Nigeria, Lucky Musonda, Communication Officer UNDP Nigeria, Bamigbola Ayodeji    Managing Partner, Praxis and Gnosis, Dr. Adejobi Adeloye, Founder, Amba, Olaolu Osinbajo, Special Assistant to the Vice President, Mosope Olaosebikan, Founder Civic Innovation Lab, Hamza Lawal, Founder, CODE, Ribeiro Valentin,         Hub Manager Civic Innovation Lab, Gabriel Yadua, Business Development Manager Farm Crowdy, Archibong Ibok, Cryptocurrency Limited and Mrs Lolade Osibanjo Government and Client relations, Softcom.

In his remarks, Nigerian Professor and member of the Canadian delegation, Dr. Chidi Oguamanam of the University Of Ottawa Faculty Of Law stated that we are in the best times to push the boundaries of innovation and the RH Julie Payette has actively done that. He also mentioned that the youthfulness of the African population is the greatest resource and tool for development.

“Africa is the youngest continent in the whole world. I have worked on the Open African innovation research project. The power of Africa lies in its youths. I was pleased with the putting together of this opportunity for interaction. We are the most hopeful people any country can have. Her Excellency has pushed the boundaries of innovation.

Our tools to reshape our continent are in our hands. Like she (Julie Payette) said, 10 years ago we did not have the technological tools we have now. Any civilization that downplays the power of women is not going to survive. I appreciate the international NGOs that have their core business in the areas of our problems.

We are living at a time where possibilities are limitless with the help of technology and knowledge.”

The founder, Civic Innovation Lab, expressed his gratitude to the Canadian Governor General and her team for the visit and for hosting the dinner event at the hub. According to him, one of the driving principles of the hub is boundary-breaking networking. Collaborating with social innovators across the country and beyond paves the way for idea modification and synergy for development of such ideas.

The Civic hub manager, Mr. Valentin also took out time to thank everyone that made the event possible. He emphasized the hub’s commitment to building productive bilateral relationships with relevant organizations and governments.