Like Davos, Like LBS

Abiola Temitayo-Afolabi Written by Abiola Temitayo-Afolabi · 2 min read >

There is this seminar, symposium or event usually organized whereby panellists discuss certain topics. It is sometimes done with a live audience but with covid-19 changing the way we do everything, it is now held online via zoom. It is very similar to the annual Davos conference where heads of state and businessmen show up to talk on climate change, gender equality, or income inequality. This time it was ethics in politics hosted by Lagos business school.

I got the mail to indicate interest and register to get an invite to the zoom discussion. I registered to attend because I would be free at the time and it would allow me to finally attend one of those meetings where people talk about stuff that I am interested. Another reason I registered to attend was that I read in the mail that Christopher Kolade will be speaking or so I thought. Christopher Kolade is a man in his 90s, an intellectual and well-respected fellow amongst the elite. Not because of his age but because of his contribution to nation-building for his lifetime. Just so you understand why I jumped to attend. It would be an honour to listen to such an amazing fellow.

When the zoom meeting finally commenced, Christopher Kolade wasn’t in attendance. It turns out that Christopher Kolade owns the forum or something like that. It is like an organization where knowledge sharing is encouraged and promoted. There were four panellists, two women and two men. At the start of the meeting, each panellist was asked to say an opening remark and they each did. Each speaker focused on different aspects of politics and occasionally, one speaker agreed with the other speaker’s assertion. As for those of us listening in, we were allowed to type in our questions, comments and opinions but we did not have the liberty to unmute and speak. The speakers were made to respond to the questions posed at them and after all, was said, the meeting wrapped as quickly as it started.

After the meeting ended, I was like, that is it? Is this what happens at those meetings, seminars and what have you? I don’t get it. I don’t get it that we sat at a meeting, air our opinions and went back home. What was the purpose of the meeting? What do the organizers hope to achieve? How much worth is the opinions shared? There were no actionable points and no suggestions that could potentially leave that room to cause a change in the right direction. So it begs to ask the question again, why are these meetings organized? I am very much in favour of ‘keeping the conversation going’ but a conversation that seemingly has no impact, and does not involve the people who need to hear it or effect the change needed, is a pure waste of time.

It reminded me of Elon Musk’s challenge to the United Nations to show him in a detailed plan of how $6billion of his money could solve world hunger. It prompted the United Nations to produce a detailed plan. Elon Musk was spurred on by the repeated claim by the United Nations and world leaders at Davos or any other event to quickly remark that income inequality is the root cause of poverty and world hunger. It took Elon Musk’s challenge for the UN to produce a detailed plan. Like LBS seminar, like Davos, where is the plan to execute?

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