Former Nigerian presidential candidate and founder of the Centre for Values in Leadership, Prof. Pat Utomi, has stressed the need for young Africans to hold their leaders accountable. By Femi Asu (pictured).
Speaking on a Panel Session last weekend at the 4th Biennial Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa (YALDA) Conference at Orchid Hotels, Lagos, Prof. Pat Utomi told the gathering of young African minds from different countries: “Young people must develop the culture of protests.”
The Professor of Political Economy and Management Expert said that the duty of every generation is to make its shoulders available for the next generation to stand upon, adding that the big challenge of Africa has been leadership.
“A lot of young people with great ideas think they don’t matter… Don’t buy that lie that you are leaders of tomorrow; you are leaders of right now,” he said with much emphasis. “I believe that the youth of Africa will save Africa, but they need to be more confident in themselves. Young people have to assert themselves for the system to recognise them.
“Leadership did not emerge as it should in Africa. Leadership is essentially other-centered behaviour. Knowledge and a sense of service (sacrificial giving of ourselves to others) are essential in leadership.”
Speaking on the impact of social media, Utomi said: “Young people have more power than they like to accept that they have.” He challenged African youths not to feel like orphans, saying: “you have got to convert your population to human capital.”
Also on the Panel was the former Nigerian Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Olu Otunla. He urged African youths to pursue knowledge instead of moaning. He said: “We Africans are weak in knowledge. The pursuit of knowledge is very important. Please pursue knowledge.
“I want you to know the dimension of the task you have. Acquire the capacity to understand what drives society… to transform our society into a knowledge-driven society… “There is nothing stopping you from being our (Mahatma) Gandhi or (Albert) Einstein. You need clear thinking. Don’t sit down here and moan. Do something. Come up with good-thinking idea.”
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