In the past week weeks, series of activities took place that underscores the imperative of productive youths for our nation’s development. To begin with, a social commentator, Comrade Abdulkareem Bamigbade, has charged Nigerian youths to play their part in nation building and be conscious that leadership and governance is a process.
Bamigbade said that what the nation needs are youths, who are well informed and could make critical analysis of the country’s electioneering, adding that the last general elections had brought about better youth participation, which should be sustained and consolidated.
“The participation was borne out of frustration. The youths are tired and they should be commended for their participation in the last elections”, he said. The youth leader stressed that the elections were good, stating further that in the past, the country’s electoral process was characterised by thuggery where weapons such as machetes and guns were freely deployed, but argued that such was no longer common. Bamigbade, however, reiterated that for the country to achieve anything meaningful, the citizenry must be worked on, and that poverty remains a major hinderance to whatever we want to do; a dynamic administration must provide basic amenities, to alleviate poverty and make the country better, he added.
Similarly, the Founder, Aquatic Hub Afrique Network (AHAN), who spoke on “Your Time Starts Now”, is the had noted he wanted to become an engineering and he tried to pursue that, but he was admitted to study Aquaculture and Fisheries Management, which he said, he did not regret studying. Okeleji advised students to take ownership of their lives, and pursue their dreams.
He said, “This is a beautiful academic community where you can get to the pinnacle of your career. Pay attention to your lecturers, they know more than you, build a relationship with them. The future is right here, unfolding in front of you. You are in a good environment. Do not destroy the school. You will meet a lot of people. I paid attention to my studies while I was here, you must also be very studious. Try hard not to destroy your foundation. Take your studies seriously and do not waste your time.
“Education is a leveller, children of the rich and poor come together in the same environment. You have that opportunity to prove yourself. Here you will meet people that will take you to the next level. Take your relationship so seriously. We cannot all be entrepreneurs, it is important to find your strength and what you can do early in life and latch on it”, he added. Okeleji disclosed that he had tasted both failure and success in life, encouraged the students to embrace technology with whatever course of study they are studying.
He noted that “there is always an entrepreneur aspect of every course, discover that early. You can make money as young as you are, leverage on technology. Also, find a mentor, it enables you to move faster in life and to avoid so many pitfalls. They can advise you. The first set of mentors are your lecturers. I am also making myself as the first mentor, because I will not be far from the school. Our prayer is that you get better than us. Life is full of challenges, face them and your time starts now”, he stated.
A skills acquisition training programme was organised by Gender Issues and Youth Development (GIYD) programme of Agricultural Media Resources and Extension Centre, (AMREC), Abeokuta, Ogun State. Prof. Speaking at the occasion, Prof. Kolawole Adebayo had charged youths to use their educational qualification to uplift themselves while advising them to pay rapt attention to the training and take advantage of it to be self reliant, saying “Nigeria is facing a lot of challenges now and there would be more financial burden on their parents and guardians, reason why they need a training like this to be dependent, while stressing that time has come for everyone to look beyond one source of income if they want to achieve more”. On his part, Prof. Olalekan Olaoye had reiterated the commitment of GIYD for coming up with this kind of training at this crucial time when income earning capacities must be diversified to keep up with the high inflation rate and unemployment, particularly among youths.
He stressed the need to build skills and capacities for improved welfare so as to achieve sustainable development among youths and students with a view of reducing hunger and poverty, adding that the workshop serves as a means of additional income generating activities. Also, Mrs. Olubukola Idowu, who is one of the trainers said the programme “is set up for students to be able to earn income, be self depending and find themselves more useful” while Mrs. Oluwakemi Fashina said by training the students they are giving them the opportunity to earn a living through skills acquisition.
In a nutshell, a collaborative effort is what is really required to get the best from our youths by engaging them in activities and programmes that are inclusively driven by them.