In furtherance of efforts to ensure that youths learn to take charge of their future, young Nigerians, mostly entrepreneurs, development officers, researchers and public policy analysts from the six geo-political zones of Nigeria converged at the Elizade University, Ilaramokin, Ondo State recently 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 and collaboration from other agencies which includes the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), Trybe Media Company, PZ, Nestle Water and ADAMA Beverages amongst others.
The conference themed ‘paving way towards non-violent Nigeria,’ had five delegates each representing all the 36 states of the federation and several non-governmental peace and policy advocacy organizations were also represented.
The youths were grilled by several erudite scholars, tutors and policy makers on a wide range of topics which bordered on conflict management and resolution, youth leadership and education, good governance and economic growth, globalization and international human rights framework, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), climate change and effective mediation among others.
In his opening remarks, the President, International Youth Congress, Nigeria who is also the convener of the summit, Mr. Akinyemi Olowokere described the summit as a 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.
Also speaking, the Wife of Bauchi State governor and founder, Bauchi Sustainable Women Economic Empowerment and Peace Initiative (BSWEEP), 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 tranquillity. Boko Haram is now history in our state. This feat, we achieved with the unflinching support of the darling youths of Bauchi State,” she said.
She further appealed to the participating youths to shun violence, thuggery, gangsterism and hooliganism as nothing is unachievable on the surface of earth through dialogue, adding 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 youths of Nigeria, please demand for what belongs to you.”
In his presentation titled, ‘The loitering lettuces and the despotic drummers’, Samuel Fasanmi, an industrial and organisational psychologist from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye in Ogun State said there can never be peace in an environment characterized by injustice, massive hunger, poverty, youth unemployment and absolute inequality.
“The recent employment index in Nigeria which put the youth at an alarming 71 per cent 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,” he stated.
Other speakers include Eric Obuh,a motivational speaker, the chairman of Ogoni Council of Traditional Rulers, King (Mene) Suanu T.Y. Baridam (JP), who stated that from his direct and indirect observations, the youths of Nigeria do not understand their rights from their privilege. Other dignitaries who delivered key note address are Mr. Michael Tesseler, Founder, International Youth Congress Inc, Otunba Deji Osibogun, Convener, Yoruba Koya Movement and Chairman, Space FM, Ibadan, Ms. Jumoke Opeyemi, Former President, Black & Latino Health Caucus – New York University, New York, Ezlyn Olivia Barends, President, Dream Girls Academy, South Africa and Hon Farouq Adamu Aliyu, Chairman, Board of Trustee, Consolidated Change Ambassador of Nigeria (NCAN).
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