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"Putting Nigeria on the map for a good reason"
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"Putting Nigeria on the map for a good reason"

Prince Joshua OyeniyiTragic news has put Nigeria in the headlines recently, but Prince Joshua Oyeniyi, 26, a Correspondent from Nigeria, reports that young leaders are placing the country on the map for positive reasons.

These days, the rate at which information is spread to the rest of the world from one little village can be shocking. Now is the easiest time for the various media to gather content and thus make tons of profit as well as get massive audiences.

Turbulent moments from Iran to Sudan to Ukraine and then Nigeria keep the bad news filing in and we cannot but be made to hear them. Even when we decide that we are done with the negative news and switch over to entertainment, we find out to our bewilderment that entertainment, too, has become fused with negativity that now permeates every part of our daily life. Whether we want to agree with the Christians’ Holy Book that we are in the end-times – a period characterized by wars, pestilences, strange diseases, hunger and all forms of crime – or we play to the gallery that these things have always been there, one thing is sure: Bad things are happening in greater dimensions than we have seen in recent years.

Nigeria is no better. Before this time, we have always basked in the absence of serious social unrest or civil violence. When we heard of wars in other nations we secretly thanked God that Nigeria was relatively safe and peaceful. But that has since changed. First it was the Niger-Delta militants that had our attention with their kidnappings of local and foreign oil company representatives and vandalisation of oil pipelines. Their umbrage stemmed from the government’s neglect of the region’s development, an action, they declared, tantamount to killing the hen which lays the golden egg, since over ninety per cent of the country’s revenue came from the area’s crude oil.

Though there are better ways to resolve such issues than a resort to violence and wanton destruction, our government has, over the years, proved to respond faster to violence and force than to dialogue. This sabotage caught the attention of a government that eventually granted amnesty as well as generously doled out billions to pacify the furious youths in the name of rehabilitation. The region now experiences relative calm but how much of that can be sustained without commensurately addressing the factors that culminated in the turmoil in the first place?

But a thorn in our flesh that has torn us far too much is the current Northern crisis. The Islamic extremists known as the Boko Haram have once again put Nigeria on the map for a very sad reason. With a founding philosophy (of abolishing western education) that receives no welcome from most of the population, the heartless group has continued to wreak grievous havoc on innocent citizens since 2011. Several thousands of lives and property worth millions of dollars have been lost to this madness. This writer was only a few kilometres away from the Abuja  mall bomb blast that claimed over twenty lives and left dozens injured.  To cap it all, we still have over 200 of our school girls held hostage by this group.

More sadly, an economic report predicts it will take twenty years to return the Northern economy to its previous state. What that simply implies is that in another sixty years, travelling from Lagos to Borno might be akin to travelling from New York to Liberia in terms of economic and infrastructural development. For the umpteenth time, Nigeria has been on the map for the wrong reason and with the intervention of the Western nations, we might just only have dug our own grave.

However, Nigeria got a good enough reason to smile when it was on the map for a laudable actions in October, 2014. Four Nigerians leaders were selected to stand a chance of being on a global stage before an audience similar to that of the United Nations General Assembly, to talk about the good things happening back at home. One Young World, United Kingdom, selected Joshua Oyeniyi (a writer and radio presenter), Moyosore Eleso (a passionate youth leader),  Adeosun Temitope (a public speaker) and Owolabi Ibrahim(a youth parliament member ) to be Nigeria’s delegates to the One Young World Global Annual Summit in Dublin, Ireland from 15-19, October 2014.

One Young World ‘s Summit gathers together the brightest young people from 190 countries, empowering them to make lasting connections to create positive change. Unlike any other event, the Summit gives young people the kind of media platform and forum ordinarily afforded only to the leaders of nations and corporations.

“These four Nigerians have been selected as outstanding candidates to attend the upcoming Summit on the basis of their capacity for leadership, concern about global issues, ability to generate and articulate impactful ideas, teamwork and evidenced commitment to volunteering or other extracurricular activities,”  said David Havas, president of One Young World

At the Summit, young talents from global and national companies, NGOs, and universities are joined by world leaders. Previous attendees are President Bill Clinton, Nobel laureate Kofi Annan, Sir Bob Geldof, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Sir Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, Jamie Oliver, Fatima Bhutto, Unilever CEO Paul Polman and Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins.

photo credit: Ghana 2008: Nigeria Vrs Cote d’Ivoire in Sekondi via photopin (license)

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About me: I am a youth advocate, a radio host, writer and social entrepreneur with a lot of energy for seeing and contributing to a better society. I take delight in using my skills and opportunities in making other young people around me discover their innate potentials and activate their creative ingenuities as well as their intellectual ascendancies. So, I say, “Be phenomenal or be forgotten”.   I can be reached via prince.oyeniyi@yahoo.com, @theambassadorpj or my bio-site @ Prince Oyeniyi (prince.oyeniyi) on about.me *

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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.
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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