The member representing Etinan/Nsit Ibom/Nsit Ubium Federal Constituency, Hon. Onofiok Luke has charged Nigerian youths on Personal development as a strategy for occupying leadership positions in the future.
He gave the charge at the Arthur Jarvis University Guest Talk Series on Youth Participation in Nation Building at the University Multiple Purpose Hall Akpabuyo, Calabar, on Monday, April 12, 2021.
Luke who took time to extol the leadership qualities inherent in youths, informed that there were so much the young minds could offer in the governance of various units of the society.
Taking into consideration the development of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from being a forsaken desert to a commercial hub of the world and destination of choice for citizens of the world, the federal Lawmaker noted that their leaders were conscious of the fact that the four core aspects of national development which include: education, economy, government and community cohesion were ingrained into the thoughts of custodians of innovation who happen to be the youths.
“This accounts for the Government’s inclusion of Youth in Governance and it might interest you to note that in 2017, Omar Al Olama, born in 1990 was appointed Minister for Artificial Intelligence at age 27… unlike what we see in many countries of the world including Nigeria, Sheik Muhammed Bin Rasheed Al Maktoum appointed a minister for youth affairs…22 year old Shamma Almazrui and he said ‘Youth represents some half of our Arab societies, so it is only logical to give them a voice and role in governing the nation’”, he said.
Recalling the good old days in Nigeria where youths were considered fit for leadership, Onofiok Luke noted that those youths performed creditably well.
“Anthony Enahoro moved the critical motion for self-rule of Nigeria in 1953 at 30 as a member of the Federal House of Assembly. General Yakubu Gowon, General Murtala Muhammed and General Olusegun Obasanjo all became heads of state at 31, 37 and 39 respectively.
These were the highest level of participation in nation building and the impact made was profound”, he stated.
While lauding the leadership acumen of some Nigerian youths today, the Lawmaker frowned at the neglect, marginalization and pupetting of the youths by the elderly which he said was an act of undermining their potentials.
“As of today, the Youths of Nigeria have made and are still making significant impact nationally and globally. In the IT World, very recently, Ezra Olubi and Shola Akinlade sold off a startup out of Lagos (Paystack) to stripe for a whopping $200million and a lot of other young persons are excelling in their trades and profession within the country and mostly abroad. One can only imagine to what extent we can get as a nation if we intentionally tap into these productive energies of our youth for nation building. With all the beauty in the strength and vigour of the youthful population, there is a palpable brain drain among them and our youths have become elephants with chicken feet consistently overlooked and undermined”, he lamented.
Attributing this anomaly to the unpreparedness of some youths at critical times of need, Barr. Luke stressed that it is impossible to participate when one is not prepared.
“While we cannot underrate the importance of youth participation in nation building, we should not also overlook the negative effects of having unprepared youths in the business of nation building. So, it is pertinent to do a level of self assessment to find out if you’re fit and prepared to participate in governmental processes”.
“This preparation involves a deep study on leadership and the various systems in civilized countries, compare them with the system here, seek for loopholes and have solutions handy, such that as you begin to participate, you become a solution to the problems of the country and not one of the problems of the country; this therefore means that youths must become readers, youths must develop keen interest on solution finding not just for their pockets but for the country. An era should come where we are not only interested on how to put food on our table but we also become interested in making our nation a better place, so that our brothers in other regions can also be able to put food on their own table”, he preached.
He therefore called on young Nigerians to wake up to the challenge of leadership through conscious personal development attempts, while advocating for their projection from the experienced and learned members of the society.
“We must be intentional about investing in the education of our youthful population in globally relevant fields, increase access to information, engage reorientation campaigns, offer strategic empowerment programmes and offer useful incentives to young people who return to the country to participate in nation building.
Offering political platforms is also a potent tool to increase youth participation in nation building. Beyond the letters of the Not-too-young to run bill, we must actively encourage and support innovative minded youths to get into positions where they can meaningfully contribute to nation building. A typical example of youths involvement in advocacies is the Not-Too-Young-To-Run campaign and the ENDSARS protest which led to necessary amendments which also pushed the government to finding solutions to the cries that were raised by the youths through advocacies”, he outlined.
Making an allusion to the former American President, John F. Kennedy, the Lawmaker tasked the youths to think of what to do for Nigeria to get better “Could it be that the nation is where it is today, because you have refused to participate in its building process, because you have refused to do what you can do for Nigeria?” he enquired.
In his final charge, the former Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly urged the youths to remain prepared for leadership opportunities in the future, adding that their tomorrow could be today if they begin to participate in the building process of the nation.
“Build and develop yourself. By so doing you build and develop the nation for a nation is a reflection of the people who live in it. This therefore means that we must all embrace personal development with all amount of seriousness as it has a direct effect on the development of the country”, he stated.