Participants at a Town Hall session are asking Nigeria’s leaders to take ground-breaking steps to address youth issues and include youth in governance, writes Timi Olagunju, 29, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Lagos in Nigeria, who was a panelist at the event.
Young leaders from six states in Nigeria gathered to brainstorm on the subject of good governance, democracy, and the youth agenda. The Good Governance Town Hall was held at the American Corner in Ibadan on June 4, 2015, under the auspices of the Nigerian Youths in Motion (NYM) and the Presidential Precinct, Virginia.
Panelists and speakers at the event included Neal Piper, Managing Director at the Presidential Precinct; Douglas Smith, Vice President, Robert. H. Smith Centre for the Rule of Law; Timi Olagunju, Team Leader, Nigerian Youths in Motion (NYM) and a Presidential Precinct Mandela Washington Fellow; Akin Rotimi, a Strategic Communications, Diplomacy, and Public Policy Professional; Dr. Tunde Oseni, Managing Partner, BAO Consulting; Femi Malachi, a Transformation Strategist; as well as Eyitayo Ogunmola and Gbemisola Osadua of TieNigeria and CampusGOV.
Participants and the panelists raised issues on youth complacency, constitutional problems, youth reorientation process and lastly, the problems of equality and justice. Solutions proffered for these issues include:
- An urgent need for President Buhari and the National Assembly to institute Fellowships and Internships in the functioning bodies of the Federal Government for the first time. For example, using the White House Fellowship and Internship as a structural guide, the Federal Government under President Buhari and the current National Assembly under Senator Saraki and Hon. Dogara, could institute the ‘AsoRock Fellowship’, ‘AsoRock Internship’, and ‘National Assembly Internships’, for young leaders and change-makers from different communities across Nigeria, to be well integrated in the workings of the Nigerian government. There is no such thing at the moment.
- A need to develop a truly national non-partisan and structured national youth body that serves as a think-tank and national voice that advocates for the youth agenda. Also, participants at the Town Hall recommended that the Alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship in Nigeria have a more structured and registered Forum with a secretariat and a Director General, which will provide recommendations to the Government and serve as a non-partisan think-tank for young people at all levels to promote the ‘youth agenda’ only.
- Amending the constitution so as to address many issues that hinder good governance, for example, reducing the age for those eligible to hold elected positions to 18 years, as against 30 years.
- Infiltration of local associations and forming a strong integration with them for access to drive sociopolitical reorientation and change. Young professionals and literate youths should be ready to volunteer their skills to associations and structures, involving illiterate and semi-literate groups. This will help create a nexus from which the educated youths could engage and influence the illiterate and semi-literate youths in positive and informed sociopolitical change. For example, a lawyer decided to volunteer her legal skills on occasion with the local Community Association of Barbers and the Meat Sellers Union. Another example raised was by an Agricultural Economist, Femi Aderinto, who after listening to this recommendation, decided he was going to partner with a micro-finance bank to teach simple financial and auditing skills to the Association of Market Women into agricultural supplies in his community, in order to help them organize their personal finances and business properly, as well as gain access to small loans.
- The participants recommended that ‘The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA)’ should partner with ‘the National Union of Teachers (NUT)’ and the ‘National Youth Service Corps (NYSC)’ in creating a curriculum that teaches the rule of law and its practicability as it concerns Nigeria in primary and secondary schools in Nigeria.
For a full report of the Town Hall, read: Full report of the #GoodGovernanceTownHall
Photo courtesy of Timi Olagunju
About me: I give leverage to your voice in the Courts of Law and in the Courts of Public Opinion. I do this as a Legal Practitioner, Public Policy analyst and as an author, majoring in human rights, public policy and information technology law.
I am a graduate of the University of and the Nigerian Law School. An avid public policy analyst and advocate of change, I speak and write about legal and socio-economic topics, entrepreneurship and IT law. LinkedIn: Timi Olagunju e: firstname.lastname@example.org t: @timithelaw #TACTS
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
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