…As International Youth Congress Holds Peace Summit at Elizade University
…Bestows Champion of Peace Award on Bauchi First Lady
Just like the three weeks orientation camp preceding the one year National Youth Service where young graduates of Nigerian Universities and Polytechnics raised from different ethnic and ideological background across the 36 states converges to share ideas on peace and nation building, young Nigerians, mostly Entrepreneurs, Development Officers, Researchers and Public Policy Analysts from the six geo-political zones of the federation started arriving the campus of Elizade University, Ilaramokin, Ondo State on Sunday 7th October 2018 for a week-long maiden edition of National Youth Peace Summit (NYPS) powered by the United States of America’s based International Youth Congress (IYC) with the endorsement of the office of Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Enitan Adeyeye-Ogunwusi, Ogaja II, the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), Trybe Media Company, PZ, Nestle Water, TheElite Beskpoke Consulting, ADAMA Beverages amongst others with THEME: PAVING WAY TOWARDS NON-VIOLENT NIGERIA.
With five delegates representing all the 36 states of the federation and several non-governmental peace and policy advocacy organizations represented, the summit kicked off on Monday 8th October inside the main auditorium of the University embedded with many natural habitat such as lake, stream, hilly-rock, manicure grass, and behold, cool and elegant weather.
The youths were grilled by several erudite scholars, tutors and Policy Makers on degree of topics ranging from Conflict Management and Resolution, Youth Leadership and Education, Good Governance and Economic Growth, Globalization and International Human Rights Framework, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Climate Change, Effective Mediation among others.
In his opening remarks at the event, the President, International Youth Congress, Nigeria who is also the Convener of the Summit, Mr. Akinyemi Olowokere described the summit as one-time opportunity designed to expose youths to Conflict Management and Resolution, Effective Mediation, Conflict Prevention, Understanding Conflict and Perpetuating factors, Youth Leadership and Education, Civic awareness and Education in schools, Sustainability of Educational Institutions among others towards harnessing the Educative and Security consciousness of youths for global impact and the development of the National Peace Agenda focusing primarily on Social Change.
“For clarity purpose, this Summit shall be an amalgamation of a week of Inspirational Peace-talks, Creative Workshops, Cooperative Games, Action Based Activities, Volunteer Actions, Building Cross-Cultural Relationships, Cultural Festivities and Neighbourhood Walks” he said.
In her Keynote address, the Wife of Bauchi State Governor and Founder, Bauchi Sustainable Women Economic Empowerment and Peace Initiative (BSWEEP), Her Excellency, Hajiya Hadiza Mohammed Abubakar, represented by the State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Child Development, Barrister Ruqayya Ibrahim Kewa, called on Nigerian youths to rise up and demand for their rights and peaceful coexistence, warning that unless the youths speak with one voice this will not be possible.
“You should demand for your rights; access to quality education, good roads and health care services are your rights. It is your right to live under the condition of peace not in an atmosphere of tension, panicky and palpable fear that presently characterizes the polity.
“I urge all of you to be an agent of positive change. Through campaign for peace, we have returned Bauchi State to a land of peace and tranquility. Boko Haram is now history in our state. This feat, we achieved with the unflinching support of the darling Youth of Bauchi State.
“Today, we are taking young men and women out of the streets to school. Women of Bauchi are being oriented and re-oriented to embrace peace; we are training them to be self-reliance; we are empowering women to live a meaningful life and through these initiatives spearheaded by B-SWEEP, peace now reign supreme in Bauchi State” she said.
Abubakar, a trained Banker, who is the Chairperson of Nigeria Governor Wives Forum, appealed to the participating youths to shun violence, thuggery, gangsterism and hooliganism said nothing is unachievable on the surface of earth through dialogue, stressing that “Even when a country goes to war, they still return to negotiation table. Diplomacy is the best approach to a lasting peace. Once again, dear Youth of Nigeria, please demand for what belongs to you” She concluded
Ideologically, B-SWEEP is a Women Micro Entrepreneurship Support Scheme that seeks to boost the productive capacity of women through skills acquisition and financial literacy. It also complements government effort by providing maternal and child care delivery services, re-integrating women and girls into the formal school system, enhancing food security through women participation in agriculture and creating awareness and coordinating activities aimed at fostering peace.
In his poetry-riddled presentation entitled “The Loitering Lettuces and the DespoticDrummers”, Samuel Fasanmi, an Industrial and Organizational Psychologist from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State said there can never be peace in an environment characterized by injustice, massive hunger, poverty, youth unemployment and absolute inequality.
“Peace comes when the gentle streams maintain a weighed equilibrium with the floating lettuces. Any attempt for the swimmers to ruffle the water, the ripple effect on the rootless lettuce is usually violence, displacement, retrogression, and extinction. In our continent, the drummers who dictate the dancing steps of the lettuce are wont not just to swing the wavelength of our gentle streams, but also to pollute it and make living impossible for the plants.
“The recent employment index in Nigeria which put the youth at an alarming 71% risk is worth mentioning. An idle man is a workshop of the devil. An unemployed youth is an instrument of violence. An unemployed youth is a political urchin that can do anything to pick the falling crumbs of the rich and profligate politicians. An unemployed youth is an instrument to drug trafficking. An unemployed youth will not mind prostitution or other vices to conquer his or her lower order needs for survival. Despite our huge natural resources ranging from crude oil to Gold, the Sub-Saharan Africa seems not to have carved any niche in the management of these resources for the betterment of her populated youth.
“The index of unemployment presented above seems scary, but more worrisome is the minimum wage of the lucky youth who are employed. For almost a decade now, despite the skyrocketing price of commodities and services, the Nigeria Government seems to have pegged the living minimum wages to an abysmal 18,000 Naira per month. The pump price of petrol was jacked up to an astronomical 70 percent increase, school fees to about 100 percent increase, health bills jumped up, while food stuffs are becoming ostentatious.
“Despite this grotesque happenstance, more than 80 percent of States in Nigeria have tones of excuses on why workers salaries could not be paid not just as at when due, but not paying at all to the tune of one year in some cases! A hungry youth is an angry youth. Any economic equation that puts the good living of citizenry at a reduced constant is an invitation to terrible anarchy.
“It is a pure deceit to spend fortunes advertising for entrepreneurship policies or programmes either in schools or outside the schools when there is little or no electricity to make it work. The youth are also the major victims of this heinous situation. We spend years in schools or skill acquisition centers; we saved and borrowed to establish; but we are prone to lose all to the army of darkness that are shouldered with the responsibility of powering the business to fruition.
On the ways out of the quagmires plaguing the youths wallowing in joblessness and massive hunger in the midst of surplus, Fasanmi said despite the perilous environment mitigating against their future, Nigerian Youths should nurture their skills and commercialize their talent.
The renowned psycho-metrics who described Nigerian Youths as one of the most talented in the world, said “Talent, if nurtured, is more lucrative than certificate” he said.
A Motivational Speaker, Eric Obuh popularly known as Vocal Slender who through a video documentary shared his grass to grace story to the youths at the event said, it is only through persistence, determination and strength of mind that youth can triumph over poverty in Nigeria.
The Delta State Born Singer who was featured in a controversial documentary aired by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in year 2012 entitled: “WELCOME TO LAGOS”, said he worked for ten years at the Olokosun refuse dump site situated at Ojota, Lagos and lived there for seven years stressed that he kept on moving until God showered his mercy on him through the documentary which shut him into limelight amidst condemnation by the Government of Lagos State.
Also, in his goodwill message, the Chairman of Ogoni Council of Traditional Rulers, HRH King (Mene) Suanu T.Y. Baridam (JP) Gbenemene and KasimeneBangha VII said from his direct and indirect observations, the youths of Nigeria do not understand their rights from their privilege.
“Nigerian Youths are suffering because they don’t even know their rights. They believe their rights are privileges therefore they hero-worship their oppressors. Young men and women sitting here today, i urge you to take your destiny into your own hands. You are the future of Nigeria; take back Nigeria from the hands of men of yesteryears who have refused to leave the stardom” he admonished the participants.
Other dignitaries who delivered key note address during the one-week event are Mr. Michael Tesseler, Founder, International Youth Congress Inc who addressed the gathering through skype/video from his base in United States of America; Otunba Deji Osibogun, Convener, Yoruba Koya Movement and Chairman, Space FM, Ibadan, Ekiti State born Ms. Jumoke Opeyemi (Former President, Black & Latino Health Caucus – New York University, New York), Ezlyn Olivia Barends (President, Dream Girls Academy, South Africa), Hon Farouq Adamu Aliyu, Chairman, Board of Trustee, Consolidated Change Ambassador of Nigeria (NCAN) through the National Coordinator of the group Bar. Sunusi Musa Esq. corroborated other speakers who spoke at the summit, stating that the panacea to greatness in an environment where peace is a scared commodity is for people to embrace dialogue.
While agreeing that a nation that fails to develop her youths cannot grow, they urged the youths of Nigeria to start taking over leadership position, lead from the front, nurture their skills and talents and do something meaningful with their lives instead of engaging in acts of hooliganism, thuggery and cultism.
Exhibiting excitement, a participant, Miss Anne Obize who came all the way from Anambra State argued in tandem with all the guest speakers, stressing that unless his generation rise up to engage in intellectual war with the current crop of leaders, the much-sought freedom from unemployment and an end to environmental uproar bedeviling the peace and tranquility of the nation of Nigeria will be a dream dreamt to no avail.
“We must stand together and live in peace. Without peace, we cannot achieve anything. As a teenager, my dream was to do my NYSC in Maiduguri, Sokoto or Katsina but today, those places are no go area. Our nation has never been this divided. The south is scared of the east, the east is scared of the west, the west is sacred of the north, and the middle belt is in a stage of libido. In all these, the youths are the one at the receiving end. Enough is Enough!” Obize, an Event Planner and Public Speaker, said.
In his position, a participant, Adedeji Oso posited that the future of Nigeria is giving him serious concerns due to the current state of unemployment among Nigerians. Quoting the words of Plato, a Greek Scholar, Oso, a Lecturer at the Department of Political Science, Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti said while the world agrees that the intellectual sagacity and ideological dexterity of the youths determines the state of a nation, however, the political and economic bourgeoisies in Nigeria are daily frustrating Nigeria Youths emotionally and psychologically to make them derail from waging war against status quo.
“A young graduate that cannot afford two square meals per day cannot think of peace; the material condition of a man, as postulated by Karl Marx, determines its consciousness. The Elites who camp their children in best schools in the world are currently using the intellectually colonized Youths to fuel the ongoing guerilla warfare in North East. Why? Because they want to remain in power! I challenge my generation to act now!!!
Behold and beyond friendship made by participants, the just concluded National Youth Peace Summit was a breeding ground that inspired new ideas and i can say that bold statements were made.
The conference also featured creative workshops, Inspirational peace talk, action-based activities which helped to hone talents.
The National Youth Peace Summit (NYPS 2018) is a prelude to the National Youth Peace Conference coming up in January/February 2019 in the Six (6) Geo – Political Zones of Nigeria.
With the hi-tech grilling and degree of education unleashed unto the participants by the team of scholars led by Dr. Fasanmi, an Activist, Kunle Ajayi, Teacher, Victor Wanyanma and others who exhibited class, erudition, knowledge and wisdom, no doubt, the lucky youths who participated at the summit must have returned to their different states as “Certified Conflict Resolution Agents”.
The closing ceremony of the summit featured a presentation of an award of recognition bestowed on Her Excellency, Hajiya Hadiza M.A Abubakar by the National Organizing Committee of the National Youth Peace Summit as “Champion of Youth Peace Award” in recognition of her contribution towards youth development in Nigeria.
The Award was received by Barr. Rukayya Ibrahim Kewa and the BSWEEP Coordinator Alhaji Mohammed Kabir.
Hajiya Abubakar expressed gladness and appreciated the organizers of the Summit and urged the youths to be patriotic and proactive, also to take the centre stage in mainstream politics. She added that, young people are social actors of change and progress; they are a crucial segment of a nation’s development.
And before returning back to their various destinations, the Youths were taken by the organizer of the summit on a tour of the multi-million dollar Smoking Hills and Golf situated in Ilaramokin and owned by the Founder of Elizade University, Chief Michael Ade-Ojo.
The Golf Resort ranked by the Nigeria Golf Federation as the biggest and largest in Nigeria, is also, according to World Gold Federation, the third largest in Africa.