From: Chukwudi Nweje
Senate President Bukola Saraki has said that the National Assembly, will in the next few days, convoke a youth development and empowerment public hearing on job creation and entrepreneurship aimed at opening the legislative process for greater responsiveness to the needs and voices of the youths.
Sen. Saraki said this, on Thursday, at the Second Segun Adeleye Foundation For Good Leadership in Africa (SAFFGLIA) African Leadership Lecture with the theme ‘The Youth and the Challenge of Bridging Credible Leadership Gap in Africa’, held at The Centre of Excellence Hall at the Mass Communications Department of the University of Lagos (UNILAG).
Represented by senator representing Lagos East, Gbenga Ashafa, the senate president noted that Nigeria’s greatest resource is not crude oil, which accounts for over ninety percent of the country’s revenue earnings but the human capital.
“Nigeria’s greatest resource is not crude oil, but the human capital of our burgeoning population whose hopes and desires are driven by the quest and aspirations of our youths. It is sobering therefore, that as a country, we do not seem to have sufficiently tapped into the promise of the younger generation . consequently, we have failed to unleash the enormous reserves of talentedvand leadership skills begging to be utilised.
“In Nigeria and across Africa, thrre is a yearning among the youths for more inclusion in governance, in economic activity and for a greater say in our collective future. The youth want to take the lead in prpoelling AFrican societies into a new age.
“In the eight National Assembly, our approach to leadership is to create the legislative framework for the the inclusion and greater participation of our youths. In the next few days I will be spearheading a youth development and empowerment programme in the senate, in collaboration with youth organisations, civil society organisations (CSOs) and other partners . it will be a special public hearing on youth,job creation and entrepreneurship, and it is intended to open up the legislative process for greater responsiveness to the needs and voices of the youths. By preparing the youths for leadership in this and many other ways , we are creating the space and helping to chart the direction for the next generation”, he said.
He said the future of Nigeria in a post oil economy depends on how well it develops the leadership qualities of the youth population.
“As we refocus strategies to move our country into a post oil economy, I see only opportunities everywhere. Our ability to make the transition will depend on how successful we are at developing the leadership qualities of our youths. I believe that working together we can make it happen”, Saraki said.
Speaking, the convener of the SAFFLIA lecture, Mr. Segun Adeleye said the entire citizens of the country, not just the leaders are responsible for rots in the system.
“Africa has lost yesterday and today while tomorrow is still left at the mercy of wishes. For Africa to ever have relevance at all in the future, the youths have to be deliberately pinched now to start having completely different understanding of themselves and the capacity required to transit to selflessness that is expected of any leader.
“It has to be a completely new understanding of the tragedy and unsustainability of the continuous measurement of our strength by our efforts and hard labour , and that our wealth as a nation and continent should no longer be measured by the volume of our oil reserves , gold deposit and foreign exchange reserves , but by the quality of the content of our thoughts.”
The chairman of the occasion, Prof Ralph Akinfeleye said the youths must be responsible to lead. He berated the Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who was supposed to be quest speaker , but neither attended nor sent a representative, describing his action of the governor was a disrespect to the youths.
He also berated the organiser for not keeping to time, which made some invited guests, including the representative of the British Ambassador leave in protest.
He, therefore, charged the organisers to write two letters, a letter of displeasure to the Ondo state governor for not to honouring the invitation and failing to send representation, and a second letter of appology to the British Ambassador for starting the lecture behind schedule.