By Aminu Aliyu
If our youth arise and act, they have the strength and dynamism to generate a huge transformation in society.
I have seen and read of economies that grew from having little, and I have also seen and read of economies that plummeted despite being blessed with so much.
And I can tell you this; all was dependent on the involvement of citizens of such countries and the policies they collectively made. The fact that they succeeded or they failed was entirely a function of its’ people’s contribution or nonchalance. It counted on them, just as it counts on you.
Today’s Speak-a-thon theme is tagged “Shift” with the purpose of reenergizing motivation and spurring the next level of achievers. This next level of achievers is the youth. Life’s change agent is such that it clears out the old to make way for the new. This is inevitable, and right now, the new is you. But someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true. The question hence becomes, “Are Youths Really Ready for Sensitive Leadership Positions?” This is what I will be addressing today.
It’s good to remind every single especially the Youths. On this critical question to know in either ways are ready to assume leaders of the country’s dream. You may wonder. In every gathering are seated right there, at whatever time in the midst of people are future presidents, governors, ministers, and legislatures. But then again, who says we can’t be those things now?
Leadership is about energizing and creating a sense of direction and purpose for those who entrust their lives in your hands. Sometimes people fail at leading, at other times they succeed at it, but what matters most is being a part of the process that leads you. Be involved in the leadership process. Don’t just be docile and be comfortable watching from the sidelines saying to yourself “Oh! Someday in the future, my time will come”. No no no, the young people of this country are ready. Get involved in this emerging process please, I beg of you. We are not leaders of yesterday; we are not leaders of tomorrow, we are leaders of today.
The strength of the nation depends on the strength of its citizens. This is why youths must take charge of their lives.
Young people, a time has come that we grab the bull by the horn and guide it. The Government of Nigeria must understand that for every misguided policy made, we suffer for it. For every sanction not checkmated, tyranny brews. It is our duty as a youth to start leading. A famous quote from Ronald Reagan says, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” We must lead today. We are not leaders of yesterday; we are not leaders of tomorrow, we are leaders of today.
Countries like Finland and many others are showing this to the world. Prime minister Sanna Mirella Marin is 34 years of age and running the affairs of Finland. Prior to her present position, she served in the capacity of Minister of Transport and Communications. In the Uk the youngest MP in parliament, Nadia Whittome is 23 years old.
New Zealand’s youngest MP in more than 40 years, Swarbrick serves as the Green Party’s spokesperson on issues ranging from mental health to drug reform. The 24-year-old’s impact following her 2017 election was immediate – triggering a dramatic rise in the number of young people pursuing positions in local government.
The most famous I assume a lot of us know is the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, who began to lead the country at the age of 39. What is most amazing is that these young leaders, thus far, all have beautiful track records and are leading right.
In our continent of Africa, Africa has the youngest population in the world, with 200 million people between the ages of 15 and 24. According to the World Bank. The young account for about 60% of all unemployed people on the continent. Regardless of this, many have chosen not to succumb to fear of these statistics. Many young people have taken the entrepreneurship route, turning problems that they encounter in their communities into solution-orientated businesses. While this is commendable, there is need for more young people to be part and parcel of the present-day government, because as I said in my opening speech, if our youth arise and act, they have the strength and dynamism to generate a huge transformation in society. Thirty-three years old Bogolo Kenewendo of Botswana is doing this. As minister of investment, trade and industry, Kenewendo the youngest-ever minister in Botswana, has passed bills for the protection of children’s rights, including setting up a sex offenders’ registry and co-founded a mentorship programme for the country’s young women.
Coming home to Nigeria, the youngest house speaker has been produced in Oyo state. Hon. Debo Ogundoyin is currently the speaker of the Ninth Oyo State House of Assembly. He is 33 years old and doing a great job of leading the house.
Today in our dear state, I make bold to say that i am the youngest appointee of the Fintiri Led administration, my performance index are there for you to rate and lead me appropriately.
Needless to say, in Nigeria, youth are, broadly speaking, exempted from leadership positions.We have had the same set of people ruling us for the longest of time. Many have chosen to wait patiently, and hope that someday, somehow a change will come.
No, do not wait for a leader. Look in the mirror, it’s you! You are ready, we are ready.
In the words of President Obama, “change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek.” The youth of today are making changes in different leadership capacities, and we need more youth. Yes, you and I, being government and influencing decisions that we give our old age security and our children a future.
“Youths are leaders of tomorrow,” they say. But I say that tomorrow is now. Act! Take your destinies in your hands. Take it in your hands by taking up leadership roles through innovative ideas and contribute your quota to the development of the world. It begins with you. You are the ordinary heroes. Today, about 70% of the world is below 40 years of age, according to UNESCO. This is the largest generation of young people in history. This means the world is ours, so let’s set the stage. We all are the ordinary heroes of our time.
As I bring my time to a close, I have to say this – if you do not take anything from here today, take just this one thing; and that is, “we are not leaders of yesterday, we are not leaders of tomorrow, we are leaders of today.”