By Job Osazuwa
Independent Pan – African Support Youth Parliament (IPAYP), a youth support forum, which spread across the continent, has renewed its commitment to empower and develop the continent’s young persons.
At a briefing in Lagos, heralding its forthcoming Africa Leadership Award ceremony, holding September 22 and 23 in Nairobi, Kenya, the President of the parliament, Mr.Obinna Sixtus Nwoke said the plethora of challenges African youths face gave birth to the forum.
He said IPAYP was poised at delivering young persons Africans from the shackles of poverty, unemployment and inequality, through constant orientation, mentorship and positive engagements with governments and other stakeholders in the continent.
When asked how more youths could be actively involved in governance, he lamented that it was a sort of culture in Africa to see the elderly occupying political positions. According to him, there was an urgent need to give the youths more opportunities to hold sensitive public offices, but quickly submitted that the forum was no formed to abuse or attack government, but to engage it constructively to do the needful.
The activist emphasised that the youths shouldn’t be referred to as leaders of tomorrow, but of today. There was the urgent need to infuse fresh ideas and innovation to today’s governance as obtainable in most developed countries, he maintained.
He said there were many youths out there with sound minds, capable of governing Nigeria and other African countries more than many today’s leaders with grey hair. He regretted that such youths were not given the platform to showcase their leadership acumen.
“Through its monitoring and evaluation of youth participation and engagement in development issues on the continent, IPAYP recognises people and institutions that seek to develop and empower the youth. In doing so, it introduced “the Africa Leadership Award” in 2015, where two Nigerians were recognised.
“Building on the success of the first edition, this edition will be preceeded with a workshop on September 22 with the theme: “Youth in Africa and Agenda 2063: Redeeming the Time”, Nwoke said.
He stated that the 13 persons and two institutions that would be honoured were chosen by external observers, who considered their immense contributions towards creating of jobs, entrepreneurship excellence, strong traditional institutions, mechanised agriculture and strengthening African institutions. The event, it was gathered, is in collaboration with African Youth Commission (AYC).
The president pledged that since Africa was one entity, the parliament would not relent in ensuring that it remains united in good governance, peace and security, borderless inter-trade, capacity building and entrepreneurship.