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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is seen ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump introducing his Supreme Court nominee in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 9, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

The Annual Seminar of the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Alumni Association held in Lagos, US Ambassador to Nigeria, W. Stuart Symingon, and other professionals in various fields, made clear that for Nigeria to produce a transformational leadership that would enshrine free, fair and credible elections, it must take a step further to invest in youth empowerment and leadership iinitiatives.

US Ambassador to Nigeria, W. Stuart Symingon, flanked right by President, Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Alumni Association, Mojisola Onifade, followed by Taraba State First Lady, Mrs Anna Ishaku ; US envoy in the group photo and left end is Vice-Chairman, IbadanSchool of Government & Pubic Policy and other dignitaries during the annual seminar of the above mentioned association in Lagos. It was said also that such step in addition, would enthrone national unity and development. Symington said that free, fair and credible elections, as well as transformational leadership is crucial to national unity and development.

Continuing he said, “As we approach the election it is essential that it should be about freedom, fairness credibility, transparency and peaceful activities. It should be about something more which is the future of Nigeria.

Nigeria needs leaders with integrity, transparent character, faithfulness and other good values to overcome current challenges.” Stop acting like PR firm of the PDP, Christian group tells CAN In addition, President of the Association, Mojisola Onifade, stressed the need to invest in youth empowerment and leadership initiatives from an early age.

“The nation will develop faster in all areas of our democracy and political sphere if appropriate policies are initiated to empower youths and the populace to become champions of change from a young age at grassroots levels.”

Onifade further said, “It is important to harness and galvanise the vitality of Nigerian youths, who constitute a critical mass of the population, in order to transform them into change agents for national cohesion and progress, from the cradle.”

Similarly, the US envoy said Nigeria’s greatest asset was its youths, hence the need to provide them with critical resources and trainings that will enable them to become positive change agents in the nation’s economic and political growth. He described the country’s population, as the biggest resource in determining the kind of democracy the populace wants, hence “youths should actively participate in politics, be keen about reading and stay abreast of development.”

In his presentation on ‘The Nigerian Youth and the Structural Imperatives of Leadership Development ‘, Prof. Tunji Olaopa said that the success of governance in any organized political system is determined by the quality of leadership in the government.

He said after 58 years of independence, Nigeria still battles with leadership and governance problems, due to poor and visionless leadership.

Olaopa, a retired Federal Permanent Secretary and Executive Vice-Chairman, Ibadan School of Government & Public Policy (ISGPP), opined that most political leaders were involved in corruption and mismanagement of public resources, leading to numerous social economic and political problems across the nation.

“Nigeria needs more than ordinary managers of national affairs. Good governance is inherent in good leadership. Without transformational leadership, Nigeria may continue to lag while other societies continue to speed to success and in some cases using Nigeria’s resources.” 850 PDP, PRP members defect to APC in Zaria He said despite huge resources spent on policies for good governance, there have not been visible changes in the living standard of the citizens and national development.

Nigeria, he argued, “has potentials to enter into a redefining era depending on how it harnesses its demographics to create the fundamentals for a reinforcing cycle that combines economic growth, investment in human capital, good governance and bold policies to resolve the youth challenge.”

“Youths should be given a voice and be heard, through a shift in state-leadership-youth engagement from traditional platform that explores the crevices of youth exuberance and deviance for constructive inter-generational dialogue,” he added.

The program, which was attended by distinguished personalities including wife of Taraba State Governor, Mrs Anna Ishaku and many distinguished Humphrey fellows, also featured a panel session which was moderated by ‘Dapo Oyewole, a public policy expert, with presentations by Samson Itodo, convener of the Not Too Young To Run Movement and a democracy activist, and Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin, a social impact entrepreneur and a 2018 CNN Heroes nominee.

 

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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