The maiden edition of a youth exchange and dialogue summit known as YX Assembly Nigeria, ended in Abuja on Tuesday, with participants expressing firm support for the “Not too Young to Run” bill currently in the National Assembly and demanding a re-structuring towards greater inclusion of youths in governance.
The participants also endorsed the quest and call for more young Nigerians to be entrepreneurs and private business owners, pointing out that the private sector largely driven by small and medium scale businesses are the engine rooms of most thriving economies around the world today.
Describing the current ratio of Young Nigerians in governance at all levels of government as unbalanced, unjust, unfair, non-inclusive, anti-development, unsustainable and therefore unacceptable, the participants accordingly adopted “Not too Young to Lead” as their advocacy tool for engagement.
The summit was convened by the Initiative for Dialogue and Development (IDD), a non-governmental, non-partisan and non-religious organisation that seeks to create a groundswell of positive citizen engagement, with emphasis on promoting and strengthening inclusive governance, national cohesion and nation building.
The youth dialogue summit is one of the many platforms created by the IDD in an effort to deepen the democratic process through civic education, citizen engagement, volunteerism and youth participation in the governance process.
In a communique issued at the end of the dialogue summit, held at the Aquarian Consult Auditorium, Asokoro, Abuja, the participants noted that “the youths are in need of requisite skills, information and knowledge to participate in greater numbers in nation building efforts,” adding that a “Replacement Generation” with the competitive edge that would make the nation relevant in the 21st Century needed the right platforms for informed decision- making and participation in the political process.
“This prime population and essential population in Nigeria would also require leadership training, value re-orientation and responsible mentorship from credible, patriotic and visionary leaders in the private and public sectors. Nigerian Youths need steadfastness and commitment to new and inclusive political paradigms and a cross cultural perspective that seeks unity and not uniformity; working towards ONE Nation under GOD,” they stated.
They also identified the need for new models and strategies for greater participation of young people in civic activities such as voting, volunteering, community, holding public officials accountable and being active participants in the governance process.
“We wish to affirm “Nigeria First” as our guiding principle, as nation building predicated on the guidance and experiences of the older generation working together and synergizng with the energies, creativty and industry of the her young population will progressive lead to the path of growth.”
The participants who further identified ideas, technology and innovation as key growth drivers in today’s digital economy, affirmed the use of social media as a productive and positive platforms to foster growth, development, citizens mobilization and credible information exchange.
The summit recognized social media platforms as tools to be used for creating cross pollination of progressive ideas by the Nigerian youth and indeed all users of this fast growing personal broadcasting space, of click it, like it and share it digital world.
The one-day event put together under the auspices of “Y|X Assembly Nigeria” on the theme “Nigeria Tomorrow,” afforded young Nigerians the opportunity to interact and engage one another on issues of youth opportunities and national development.
The event was held under the chairmanship of Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the Chief of Staff to the Senate President, while the Managing Director of African Independent Television (AIT), Mrs. Tosin Dokpesi was the Special Guest of Honour.
Among the presentations were: Nigeria Tomorrow, Dr. Okey Ikechukwu; Entrepreneurship and Self Reliance, by Mr. Martin Lawrence; Citizenship and Patriotism by Jamila Kabiru Fagge; Community Services and Volunteerism by Ms bukky Shonibare; Social Media Optimization in the 21st Century by Emdeee Tiamiyu.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees of IDD, Dr. Ike Neliaku, and notable members, including Mallam Nasir Zahradeen, Barr. Hauwa Shekarau, Mallam Abubakar Boboyi Jijiwa and Mrs. Oge Neliaku, were on hand to add fillip to the Programme, Co-ordinated by Rukayya Ibrahim and Aledare Shola.