'No Longer at Ease!!!' The Way Forward as Proposed by Nigerian Youths!

By Cynthia Asoegwu

When 'leaders' fail in their duty to provide wisdom on how to slay the 'Dreaded Dragon', the onus lies upon the 'youths' of the land to rise up to the occasion in unity; to seek counsel, deliberate and take strategic actions towards protecting their existence because in their hands lie the future.

The problems that plague us as a nation and as a people is evident for all to see; the media is agog with tales of woe, insecurity and evidence of poor leadership; younger and weaker members of the society whom are meant to be protected are now easy prey for serial acts of terror. Need I go on about the problems that so blatantly stare us in the face or the pending doom that will ensue if the status quo is not changed? Our youths are like crackling dry wood, due to high level of un/under-employment and with the slightest strike of a match (provocation or negative inducement), can start an inferno that may take all that we have as a nation to contain, that is not without gross damages and leaving chars in its wake..

In an environment driven by 'spirituality and religion', where the phrase 'may God help us' has become a mantra when stories of terror and corruption are being told, it is only necessary to drive home this point! - God has put us here for a reason, our problems are physical and man-made, He can only intervene and whatever change that will occur through His intervention will occur through the use of ready and willing men (male and female)!!!

In all of these on-going terror and surrounding problems, there is hope!, there is hope because there is life, there is hope because there is a God, there is hope because good and brave people exist who are willing to do what is necessary to protect their freedom at all cost, there is hope because there are youths and we have a voice and the ability.

It is in the light of the above statement that the Pioneer Visionaries Hub Hangout was developed and recently held with a sizeable number of patriotic passion driven youths and elders of moral fiber and vision, who are committed to 'The Nigerian Project' gathered with the objective of charting a course for the future through solution-oriented deliberations.

The Visionaries Hub Hangout tagged 'Social networking for youth development and nation building', which was anchored by young multi-talented political science undergraduate/ MC / writer/Radio-OAP Mr. Chuks Asoegwu, who addressed the audience on the objectives and goals of the Hangout in order to create the needed 'mindset' for the day's agenda; was precisely enlightening as the speakers shared categorically on the state of the nation and the way forward, stirring up the patriotic spirit and responsibility in the hearts of those present.

The welcome address was presented by Mr. Abidemi 'Babaolowo' Oderinlo a young Social Activist, Media Expert and writer who currently serves as the Icon (President) of Read2Lead Africa, who set the mood for the forum with his thought provoking piece.

The forum kicked off with Ms Yemisi Ransome-Kuti, (Founder, Nigerian Network of Non-Governmental Organization), who expertly shared on leadership and citizenship, as well as development opportunities as regards job/wealth creation, clearly defining the qualities of a leader and a citizen, enjoining those present on their responsibilities as citizens and future leaders. She went on to give a synopsis on the youth economic development opportunities, leveraging on her role as a member of the Job Creation Committee of the Ministry of Finance, Federal Government of Nigeria, she shared some of the identified areas/industries that have the capacity to provide job opportunities as well as wealth creation for potential entrepreneurs. (complete summary of her lecture is in the report)

Her lecture was immediately followed by that of Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, (President, Women Arise for Change Initiative) who spoke on the topic: Gender Inclusion and Nation Building, before her speech the audience was given the privilege to preview a 5minutes video clip of her struggles and international commendation from the President of the United States of America, Barrack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama, alongside other international delegates present.

The video clip in itself stirred a mixture of feelings of which patriotism, courage and passion where key in the hearts of those present. She went on to speak on her various exploits and activities as an activist, berating the spate of lawlessness in Nigeria and calling for the youths to do more of acting and less of talking. She noted to the participants on how the constitution has succeeded in trampling on the down trodden and why the women and children are always at the receiving end in most cases. She called for a re-awakening among the youths, telling them that it is their duty to put the government to work and not the other way round.

She recommended that our constitution should be amended to be a civilized civilian-driven document that allows inclusion of the people in the process of leadership. She expressed her desire to inspire more youths into action and prayed that more minds like those present at the hangout will step out to demand a new Nigeria like she's been doing for the last 20 years without relenting. (complete summary of her lecture is in the report)

Mr. Durotimi Adeboye (Project director/CEO, Global Education Media) who was the Keynote speaker for the day took to the podium to address the audience on the Role of Education in Nation Building. He spoke on the existing perception of youths as regards education and the high level of youth unemployment.

He went on to establish the fact that going to school and graduating is not an automatic entitlement to a job, he opined that graduating is only a proof that you are trainable and not a license for employers to put you in an air conditioned office and pay you huge salary. He encouraged everyone to see education as a form of empowerment to attain a better life and future and not a guarantee. He stated that being educated does not automatically transform to being employable and that youths must exchange the 'I must get a job' mentality, with 'I must create or add value'

He ended his speech by admonishing participants to see education as an opportunity and to create value out of the wealth of knowledge acquired through the educational system. (Complete summary of her lecture is in the report)

The lecture segment was rounded-off by Mr. Adedayo Thomas, (Executive Director, African Liberty), with a brief but expository talk on Youth and government policies and categorically stated that the place of the government is to develop policies that favor the citizens and set-up structures for sustainable development.

He called on the youths present to actively challenge unreasonable policies as it is their right to do so, he went on to speak on the need for free markets and creation of room for private sector involvement in key areas of the economy, stating that no government owned company is in existence till date showing that government alone lacks the capacity to indulge in business structures and hence should focus on establishing policies and laws that are favorable to economic and social development as this is the key to our becoming a nation of repute.

He closed by noting that it is our right as youths to hold our leaders accountable to their policies and laws; and be proactive and responsible to make educated demands of those in leadership rather than acting in complacency.

The hangout as it was designed to be featured musical performance by young artist and ICT enthusiast Somto Alpachino, networking opportunity, and a talk-show segment to showcase the endeavors of enterprising youths who are leveraging on existing opportunities against all odds because of their believe in the nation's potential.

The talk-show featured Ms Adetoun Akitoye, Founder of Mademoiselle(an NGO focused on the development of female teenagers), Mr. Ebuka Mbaegbu, CEO Kraftweez International, (a design and art oriented enterprise), Mr. Afam Asoegwu, an environmental management consultant and contractor (CEO, Environsafe Nigeria) and was anchored by talk-show host/ Compere / Mc/ Humorist Mr. Nnaemeka Chukwuma.

The hangout which was sponsored by Mr John Asoegwu of Kings Group of Companies and Mrs Lisa Walsh (CEO, Prinatan International, Chief editor/Publisher Ella Fashion Magazine) received tremendous support from key individuals and media outfits such as Radio Continental 102.3 FM, Romancemeetslife.com, Bellanaija.com, Losbeauty.com, Isyberry's Blog, Africanismcosmopolitan.com, Thenigerianvoice.com, Forcoloredgurls.com, amongst many others.

The proposed solution based on the lectures, dialogue, answers and participant's feedback has been compiled into a summary report and features solution in the following key areas; business and economic development, education, youth development and leadership; highlighting the role of youths towards driving the needed societal reforms. The report can be downloaded online http://tinyurl.com/summaryreport07 or from the organizers by sending in your email to +2348130977877 or [email protected]

The hangout rounded off with closing remarks from Mr. Ojo Madueke, Politics writer, This Day Newspaper and a speech from Ms Cynthia Asoegwu (President, Visionary Impact Netwox) on 'The way forward'. The program came to an end with the recital of the 2nd stanza of the national anthem and pledge.

As originally designed the report from the forum is being circulated to key organizations and individuals, and initiatives are being developed by the network based on the hangout's feedback to drive the needed capacity development that will ensure sustainability of the aspired reforms as a complement to the effort and activities of other existing organizations and bodies.

We would like to say a big THANK YOU to all that contributed to the success of the event and those that attended, as it is a constant reminder that there is hope and we can do more.


Ms Cynthia Asoegwu
For Visionary Impact Netwox
[email protected]