From Tony John, Port Harcourt
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) have identified capacity-building as a vital tool to grooming future leaders.
The two bodies noted this at the just concluded enlightenment campaign on “Civic Space” for secondary schools students organised by a non-governmental organisation, Connected Development (CODE), held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Director, NOA, Rivers State, Ayotamuno Young, in his remarks, stressed the need to inculcate integrity and good moral values in school children so that they would grow and be good future leaders.
Young said students nowadays do not have in-depth knowledge of good governance, saying that ‘catching them young’ would impact positively on the society.
‘The civic space is very important in society. We are talking about citizens’ engagement in politics, in the economy and it also embraces social injunction.
‘Basically at secondary school level, it is very important that we begin to bring them up within the concept of “catching them young”. Whether we like it or not, there appears to be an intergenerational exchange. It is the generation that is outgoing. It is the generation that actually came in; they have seen military administrations and the generation transited to a civilian administration.
‘We are talking about 22 years of democracy. Many of them (students) that are here, their perception of governance is what they have seen so far. So, we need to actually build their capacity.’
Similarly, the National Chairperson for NLC Youth Committee, Tolulope Fadamepe, said there was a need for youths to be actively involved in governance.
Fadamepe noted: ‘Civic space provides a platform for youths to be actively involved in the country for quality education, empowerment and things that can help them grow and be useful for the country.”
Speaking, Projects Coordinator, Oxfam Novid (financier of the advocacy), Mr Henry Ushie, said areas of target included accountability, in the extractive industry, budget, fair taxation, among others.
Ushie said: ‘We want to create the consciousness and build their capacities around these issues, so that, once they come of age, they can hit the ground running by picking up critical campaigns that will bring the needed change in their communities.
‘The campaign is basically to catch young people to look at the injustices around them, to make advocacy against it and also add value to the society.’