A coalition of four concerned civic groups in the country is currently out to mobilize and sensitize Nigerian youths to shun social vices, and focus more as active players in governance and the ongoing political process.
The initiative is flagging-off in Eastern Nigeria with a ‘Nigeria Youth Conference and Debate Tournament’ scheduled for the coming March 23 through 26 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State. The theme for the conference is, Towards Increased Youth Participation in Governance.
Organisers of the youth conference are, Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN), The Nigeria Citizens Initiative (TNCI), Society for Women Mentoring and Advancement (SWOMAAD), and Southern & Middle-Belt Alliance (SAMBA) in collaboration with the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Debate Club (NAUDC), a Chapter of the Nigeria Debating Community (NDC).
Spokesman for Southern & Middle-Belt Alliance (SAMBA), Prince Rwang Pam Jnr, made this known in a statement stating that the four-day event will feature debate contests among 400 students from major Nigerian universities and award of prizes.
“There will also be seminars with guest speakers including politicians, community and religious leaders, captains of industry and the academic community. The aim of the conference is to transform our youths from being onlookers at the side-lines of politics to an enlightened and competent group of stakeholders prepared for leadership responsibilities”, the statement says.
Continuing, it points out, “youths, not oil, will be Nigeria’s greatest assets by 2030. So, the primary aim of this event is to uplift the Nigerian youth from the fringes of leadership to an educated and distinct social demographic of a competent body of young people prepared for leadership.
“We expect at least 1,000 youths from Nigeria’s tertiary institutions, drawn from the 36 States of the federation, to attend the event. Other issues to be explored include: Addressing the challenge of Youths and Political Apathy, Rotational presidency and Nigeria’s Democracy, Addressing Political Inequality and Imbalance through Zoning of Political Offices, Women Inclusiveness and Gender Balance in Governance and the Role of the Media in Ensuring Political Equity.’’
The conference organisers say they are serious about ensuring that the Nigerian youths participate actively in the next general elections because the future of Nigeria is indeed in their hands.
“We want the youths to understand that their future is in their hands so they must participate effectively as the country actively seeks to elect a president from the private sector with a proven track record of job and wealth creation”, they insist.