It was indeed a new dawn of political life, just as Plato, said in one of his great philosophical writings, that “A political life, is life in the polity” which means that all politicking is about the people and the society, this was the case at the first day session of the London Political Summit and Awards 2023, parliamentary sessions hosted by Hon. paul Bristow MP for Peterborough, with Hon. Jonathan Ashworth MP for Leicester South.

The Summit was also Chaired by Prof. Kishan Devani, with His Excellency, Dr. Morie Manyeh the High Commissioner of Sierria Leono representing the The country President, as Special Guest, while we had the Special Guest Keynote Speaker, HE. Udom Emmanuel, immediate past governor of Akwa Ibom state, ably supported by the Special Guest of Honour HE. Past. Umo Eno, the current Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, who showed so much respect to his immediate predecessor at the meeting, which was well noticed and highly commended by everyone in the room, with the summit Chair, Prof. Kishan echoing the observation, by saying that in his entire political career he has not been privileged at any political meetings in the UK, either with UK politicians or from other countries, seen a mutual relationship flowing between a predecessor and his successor in the spirit of peace, continuity and sustainable progress. He went on to say that the act is a historic achievement, for Akwa Ibom people, Nigeria and Africa at large, he went on to say that, he hopes many politicians would follow the lead from this extraordinary achievement for the greater good of the polity.

In his paper presentation as keynote speaker, HE. Mr. Udom Emmanuel, emphasised the need for peace in the polity, which can transcend to prosperity, when people trade freely across internal and external borders, he used the opportunity to call for a stronger AU cooperation and sub-national unity. The parliamentary session ended on a good note, with the presentation of certificates of awards to outstanding UK MPs, community and business leaders, for their outstanding contributions to socio-political and economic growth in the UK, bridging the gap between public and private sectors engagements.

The summit activities continued on the second day with the Mayoral session, hosted by the Worshipful Mayor of Southwark, Clir Michael Situ who is the civic leader and first citizen of the London Borough of Southwark, this borough has one the largest population of British-Africans, especially Nigerians, with over 8% of its over 20% registered businesses owned by Nigerians in the borough, the borough generates over £21B in annual revenue.

It was indeed a great privilege for the Mayor to host the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, HE. Past. Umo. Eno to a civic and business opportunities meeting in the borough council house, and his Mayoral chamber, where key issues of interest, in terms of establishing mutual relationship and cooperation between the Borough leadership and the city of Uyo in Akwa Ibom state, this relationship and cooperation, as agreed would be focused on three key areas, Educational and Cultural Exchanges, Tourism and Investment in Waste to Energy opportunities, the structure and strategic planning for an effective follow up with this intercity engagement would be implemented in the coming weeks.

The Worshipful Mayor , inline with the Mayor’s duties, presented the London Borough of Southwark Plaque of Honour for friendship with the people of Akwa Ibom to HE. Past. Umo Eno. This new found friendship and relationship with the London Borough of Southwark is going to be the beginning of greater opportunities in the socio-economic development of Akwa Ibom. Also at the meeting, there was a presentation by Mr. Niskan Etuk and Dorren, on the power of Community engagement and community policing strategy, they tend to use their new initiative to help advance the development of Community engagement and police relations in Akwa Ibom State.

The second day session came to an end with a private business meeting hosted by ByAfrica at their One Canada Square office, in Canary Wharf, this meeting captured the investment interests of the Gov. HE. Past. Umo. Eno, for Akwa Ibom state, especially on Agriculture and Ibom Sea Port development, with ByAfrica ready and willing to support the Governor to bring in investment funding capital of $500M-$1B within his first one year in office.

The day ended on a positive note with great enthusiasm for all parties at the two high level meetings. This year’s London Political Summit and Awards, came to an end on Friday 20th October, with the Awards Dinner Gala Night, at the Copthorne Tara Hotel, in Kensington. This evening event was well attended by cross nationalities, from British to Asians, and Afro -Caribbean countries, which gave it a global reputation and recognition.

The evening was moderated by a renowned British-Nigeria broadcaster and media personality based in the UK, Ms. Priscilla Nwikpo. In his welcome speech, the Co-Convener of the annual summit, Mazi Godson Azu, extended his gratitude to all the political, diplomatic, business, community leaders, and invited guests for gracing the award dinner night. He went on to assure everyone of a wonderful evening of celebration and resounding networking. The Chair of the Summit, Prof. Kishan Devani BEM, in his opening speech equally thanked all invited guests for coming, he mentioned that the summit awards ceremony is obviously getting better with an improved representation of political, diplomatic and community leaders, which reflects on the true purpose of the summit’s goals and expectations. The summit Chair, went on to present the first award of the night, to the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, H.E. President Julius Maada Bio, as LPSA’s African President of the Year 2023. The award was received on behalf of the President, by the High Commissioner of Sierra Leone to the United Kingdom, HE. Amb. Dr. Morie Manyah.

In accepting the “African President of the Year 2023” award on behalf of H.E. President Julius Maada Bio, Dr. Morie Manyeh expressed gratitude to the LPSA conveners for recognizing a President who has re-established Sierra Leone on the global map of education, given greater confidence and more hope to Sierra Leonean women in society, and removed historical legal barriers to democracy and good governance, such as the elimination of the Libel Laws and the Death Penalty.

Ambassador Manyeh pointed out that after the successful implementation of the Free Quality Education policy, H.E. President Julius Maada Bio is now embarking on another significant component of his Human Capital Development Agenda—a revolutionary agricultural undertaking set to collaborate with citizens in producing enough food for the nation as well as for export.

Despite facing its own battles with global challenges, Sierra Leone, under President Bio’s leadership, has maintained peace and cohesion through commendable inclusive policy choices and insightful leadership. In its 2023 Global Peace Index, the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), the world’s leading measure of global peacefulness, placed Sierra Leone as the 3rd most peaceful country in sub-Saharan Africa and the 47th most peaceful country globally.

Dr. Manyeh encouraged political and business leaders to explore the investor-friendly environment and outstanding business opportunities in Sierra Leone. It is worthy to point out that this marks the second time H.E. President Bio has been honored by the LPSA. In 2021, he received the “West African President of the Year 2021” award.

Since its establishment in 2016, the LPSA has served as a vital platform for addressing contemporary social and political issues, and for recognizing the positive works of the business community and political leaders’ engagements across borders within and between the United Kingdom and the African continent, as well as in the diaspora community.

This is in sync with the primary objective of the London Political Summit, which endeavours to advance political order, promote peace, and good governance through dialogue and cooperation, facilitate meaningful investment, and strengthen international partnerships.

Participants at these annual summits include Presidents/Heads of Governments, Community and Business Leaders, Academics, Thought Leaders, and Civil Society Organizations.

Some of the past recipients of the political leadership category comprise of, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, former President of Kenya; His Excellency the Rt Hon. Raila Amoo Odinga, former Prime Minister of Kenya; His Excellency Dr. Prof. Peter Arthur Mutharika, former President of Malawi; and His Excellency Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, the current President of Malawi.

This year’s LPSA recipients in other categories include the Rt Hon. Jonathan Michael Graham Ashworth MP, Labour Shadow Minister, as (UK Parliamentarian of the Year 2023), Cllr. Michael Situ, The Worshipful Mayor of London Borough of Southwark as, (London Borough Mayor of the Year 2023). This year’s special award recognition as ‘LPSA Global Ambassador’ went to HE. Mr. Udom Emmanuel, the immediate past Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, South-South, Nigeria, the award was received on his behalf by the Hon. Commissioner for Information and Strategies, Hon. Barr. Ini Ememobong. The African Diplomatic Ambassador of the Year, went to the Acting High Commissioner of the Republic of Togo to the United Kingdom, and several other businesses and community leaders who have made a positive impact in the Asian, Afro-Caribbean diaspora engagement in the UK.

The evening came to a successful ending with a warm vote of thanks by Dr. Joy Opara, the Nigerian Country Director of Cater and Merger Consult, the facilitators of the Summit. Cater and Merger Consult UK, are highly delighted to powering this year’s summit activity. The London Political Summit and Awards remains a social enterprise, independent of any external influence, but persuaded by the desire to promote and bridge the gap between politics and business relations in our society, in the quest to advance the need for democratic peace.