Sunday, July 15, 2018

2019: The Year of the Youths to Decide The Future of Nigeria


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Last week I attended as one of the delegates, the #YouthDecide2019 National Conference organised by Chukwuma Ephraim Okenwa (CEO) at the International Conference Centre Abuja.
The conference was aimed at Mobilising Young Leaders, Entrepreneurs and professionals to discuss as a the process of changing the leadership narratives of this country in our selection and election of leaders in 2019 at all levels of government.

It was really an opportunity for young leaders to meet and brainstorm on the past,  the present, and future of this country and the need to be involved in the process of reforming and transforming the country to stand out in the comity of nations in the world. It was really packed with intensive look at the criteria needed to be part of the decision makers of this country as Youths, leveraging on our numbers and energy to move the country forward.

All the speakers from Hamza Lawal, the co-founder FOLLOW THE MONEY, who spoke on “Responsible citizenship; A Panacea For Accountable Leadership”
Ovo Otarigbo, coordinator YALI Face2Face Abuja who spoke on “Your Passport To The Future” (PVC)

Wali Ajani, The convener EMERGING POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC LEADERS SUMMIT who spoke on “The Emergence of Young Political and Economic Leaders”
To My Brother Samson Itodo, The Convener NOT TOO YOUNG TO RUN who spoke on “Youth participation in governance; Prospects/Challenges “

All of them spoke very well. it was a moment of TALKING TO OURSELVES. No bias, no sentiment, no religion, no tribe, no region. It was Nigerians speaking to Nigerians on the need to be involved in the formative part of the government of this country. It was a moment of truth. it was more like a family meeting

My observations:

1. I observed that those who came to the summit putting on Nigerian made native attires were given more attention and recognition than those of us who came dressed English wear. This happened when people were asked to  come to the executive seats and the opportunity was thrown to only people who came in native attires. It was done in the spirit of “walking the talk” by encouraging us to patronise and show case our own  Nigerian  products. It was a good push for us to see ours as unique and important too. I am somebody who always goes to such occasions dressed in my native attires fitted with Igala cap. But this time I failed my self, I went there in simple English wear thinking because it is a youths program it doesn’t really matter.

Lesson learnt, when next  I am going for such programme, I know what to do

2. Many Nigerian Youths are becoming very conscious of the fact that things are not well with this country and the onus lies on our collective bargaining for a positive change to really happen. it is now a general knowledge that ethnicity, religion, and regional sentiments and biases has left this country more polarise. This has resulted in poor leadership and poor output I the place of the citizens. We must COME TOGETHER 2019 and elected a leader that will be for the whole of Nigeria and not for some selfish individuals that will continue stealing from this country and leaving the country bleeding.

My moment of Shame:

This was when the convener of the program was making reference to states already having Youths in governance and Kogi state was mentioned. People were asked to rate Yahaya Bello government and he was rated 0/0. I felt so bad that I prayed I have the power to change the leadership narratives of Kogi state at that moment. You see the flops of Yahaya Bello and how he is nationally rated poor,  walahi it is giving those of  from Kogi State extra stress to convince our peers wherever we are that we can be better than him. I felt shamed and I am sure Itodo Samson and the other two persons from Kogi state at the event felt bad too.

My moment of pride:

This was when Itodo Samson was invited to the high table. The conference hall became lightetd with shouts, sheers, unending claps and a resounding standing ovation that took sometimes to calm. This was when I exclaimed, YES! I am from Kogi State. You see, a state that have Yahaya Bello who is being seen as an example of failed leadership can also have a Samson Itodo, who is an example of a progressive, energetic and a focused leadership.

The zenith of the occasion was when it was his turn to address the conference. He spoke on VALUE SYSTEM, where he opined that the root cause of the Nigeria political and economic woes today was when we missed our value system. A system where criminals are punished for their crimes, where good and committed  citizens are rewarded, where stealing is a sin, where the leaders are responsive  where the followers are responsible, where nation building is a collective bargain of every citizens. Until we retract our steps to getting this basic things right, we may still struggle to work at the same pace as the the developed countries of the world.
Summery of the conference:

Most of the speakers are realists who believe the Giant in the country called Nigeria today can only be showcased if and only if, we can come together as a unit and show strength, share ideas, forget about sentiments and go for the best hands that can lead this country to the next level.
Conclusion:

Everything is possible but it is a matter of STRATEGY and COMMITMENT. The younger generation can produce the next PRESIDENT if we work together as a team, work on building CAPACITY instead of running to make cool money and acquire power you do not have the capacity to control just for a mere reason of being a young person.

Power should be negotiated on the bases of POWER SHARING instead of power SHIFTING in order to create a synergy between the older generation and the younger generation. Leadership is not about age, it should be more about capacity to deliver.

– Comrade Maji Isah writes from Kogi State

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