• Friday, March 01, 2024
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Why Nigerian youths are pivotal in shaping country’s future – Owonikoko

Why Nigerian youths are pivotal in shaping country’s future – Owonikoko

Nigerian youths, which make up 70 percent of the population, is pivotal in shaping the future of Africa’s largest economy. This is according to Olusola Owonikoko, president of Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative (CYFI), who also urged these young persons to become the catalysts of change within Nigeria.

Owonikoko disclosed this while speaking at the third Ambassador Walter Carrington yearly symposium recently held in Lagos.

The symposium, which marked the culmination of a six-month student entrepreneurship training programme, aimed at fostering entrepreneurial skills among tertiary institution students in Lagos.

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Speaking further, he highlighted the significance of investing in the civic leadership and social entrepreneurship capacities of young people.

“Nigeria is predominantly composed of young individuals, and this demographic holds immense potential. We must empower our youth to lead change not only socially but also in business. They are the custodians of Nigeria’s future, and by investing in them, we prepare them to fulfill the nation’s aspirations,” he said.

Also at the event, Arese Carrington, a board member of the Carrington fellowship, echoed the sentiment that young people are not just the leaders of tomorrow but need to take charge today. “Being a boss does not make you a leader; true leadership is rooted in service to others, not personal gain. Actions speak louder than words, and our youth must embrace leadership through action,” she emphasised.

According to the United Nations (2010), Africa’s 2011 population was estimated at 1.05 billion and is expected to double by 2050. One of the greatest challenges facing governments and policymakers in Africa today is how to provide opportunities for the continent’s more than 200 million youths so that they can have decent lives and contribute to the economic development of their countries

Encouraging collaboration and innovation on a global scale as a means to an end, Will Stevens, Acting Charge d’ Affaires, U.S. Mission in Nigeria, stressed the importance of youth taking ownership of their country’s democratic future. “African solutions to global problems are crucial. The youth are the solutions to these challenges,” he said.

Adding her voice, Folashade Olushola, Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), underscored the institution’s commitment to reshaping youth mindsets toward job creation. “Not everyone can create jobs, but everyone can lead wherever they are. This leadership training aims to instill a sense of leadership and value addition,” she said.

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The symposium provided a platform for thought-provoking discussions, emphasizing the critical role of Nigerian youth in steering the nation towards positive change.