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"Youth Factor Nigeria hosts International Youth Day"
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"Youth Factor Nigeria hosts International Youth Day"

Timi OlagunjuTimi Olagunju, 28, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Lagos in Nigeria, was among the guest speakers at a one-day summit celebrating International Youth Day. Academics and decision-makers talked with students about post-2015 goals and the role for Nigeria’s youth. 

International Youth Day in Nigeria had as its theme ‘The Role of Youths in Advancing Development Goals and the Post 2015 Development Agenda’.

Youth Factor, with its team members headed by Mr. Gbenga Omisore (Founder/Executive Director, Youth Factor Nigeria), organized a one day special summit in commemoration of the United Nations International Youth Day, at the International Conference Centre, Lead City University, Ibadan on Tuesday, August 12, 2014.

The event had in attendance policy makers, academics, business moguls, young professionals, the Student Representative Council of the University Of Ibadan (led by its speaker, Mr Yemi Sarumi) , the Lead City Voices, and delegates representing different institutions.

The welcome address was given by a seasoned academic and cleric, Professor Femi Onabajo, the Vice Chancellor, Lead City University. Mr. David Kole Ojo, the Director, Center for Practical Legal Training, invoked a new surge of energy into the event by using his own story to highlight the dichotomy between youth and old age.

The special guest speaker, Dr. Mrs. Alero Akerele, a senior lecturer of the Department of Law, University of Ibadan, emphasized the need for the social inclusion of youths with regards to mental health issues and wellbeing in socio-economic policies and plans. Other guest speakers were Ronke Giwa, Dr Tunde Oseni, Barrister Timi Olagunju, Adebayo Alonge, Seyi Gesinde, Isaac Oluyi, Femi Abiodun, and Ronke Ige.

Ms. Ronke Giwa, a motivational speaker and presenter on Splash FM spoke at the event and made a clarion call on the need to prioritize the welfare of young people in the Post 2015 development agenda.

Dr Tunde Oseni, a lecturer of the Department of Political Science and International Relations, and Founder, Youth Focus Initiative, Lagos, approached the subject scientifically. He clearly emphasized the three ‘Es’ strategic for youth development in Nigeria and Africa; these are Education, Engagement and Empowerment. He further stated that Education without Engagement would not and cannot qualify as Empowerment, and vice versa.

Barrister Timi Olagunjua development lawyer, communication scientist, and youth advocate elucidated on the need for Nigerian youths to be ‘problem solvers’ in all areas of corporate, political, and institutional governance. He stated that rather than ask ‘what is in it for me?’ we as young people should ask ‘what is in it for us?’ as Nigerians and as Africans.

Mr. Adebayo Alonge, Mandela Washington Fellow in Business (who studied at Yale University) and a millionaire entrepreneur, asked the question: “Will Nigerian youths stand up for women?” He clearly echoed the need to promote gender equality and empowerment at all levels; local, state, and national. He pledged half a million naira to this cause, and pleaded for each person to take up the education of one girl child at a time.

The Nigerian Tribune’s online editor, Mr. Seyi Gesinde, spoke on the critical role of the media in advancing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) beyond 2015 by young people; especially emphasizing the place of youths in the new media.

Mr. Isaac Oluyi, a change agent, administrator and social entrepreneur, addressed the issue of unemployment. He emphasized the need to tackle unemployment in Nigeria through entrepreneurship and education.

Mr. Femi Abiodun, the Principal Consultant, Alphasage Consulting, spoke on the need for transformational leadership in advancing the MDGs beyond 2015. And Ms. Ronke Ige, programme director, Justice, Development & Peace Commission, made a call to the young people of Nigeria to embrace the paths not trodden. She underscored the need for young people to invest in self-development, as a man can only give what he has.

The event was well moderated by Mr. Seyi Bamigboye, the president of the Law Student Society, University Of Ibadan and Mr. Abayomi  Adedara, President Esthlos Explorer, and ended with a fine mix of fun and laughter as the participants and speakers made the best use of the event to learn, unlearn, and re-learn together.

photo: undesadspd.org United Nations

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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 etimithelaw@gmail.com t: @timithelaw  #TACTS

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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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