By Demola Akinyemi, Ilorin
Some youths, comprising of young professionals in Kwara state under the aegis of Kwara Emerging Leaders(KEL) who claim to have the capacity and competence have begun aggressive move to take over the leadership of the state in the very nearest future.
The convener, Mr Seun Awogbenle flanked by other members of the executives among the teaming members at a press conference in Ilorin yesterday said though they knew the task would not be easy, capable hands have been identified across the wards in the 16 local government areas of the state to start mobilisation of more members.
He said, “the Kwara Emerging Leaders, as a group of conscientious and result-oriented young people, is only out to protect the interest of Kwara’s young people. All our actions and engagements, and even relationship with political parties and politicians, will be guided by this vision. We consider as many people who are committed to youth emancipation and total inclusion in the politics and governance of Kwara State as friends and allies.”
He also noted that “It is within the understanding of our role as pioneers and avatars that we have come together as a group of young professionals who are deeply passionate about politics, public service, policy and governance.
“As young people, we have a conscious awareness that our lives are only as good as the quality of political leadership.
He stressed, “Our objectives would include the evaluation of government policies in order to offer compelling policy suggestions, engage political leadership, build leadership capacity and grassroots mobilisation.
” It is quite important to add that the most important aspect of our work is that of mobilisation. We have already commenced work and have started the recruitment of young people to form a strong political network that can demand and support candidates who have the capacity, character and competence to lead the way to the glorious future we envisage, both for ourselves and the generations to come.
“We would build structures in all the 16-local government areas, 193 wards and over 1000 polling units in Kwara State. This is going to be a youth-led mobilisation.
Seun also said,” There is strength in numbers, Nigerian youths have the numbers to cause real change and progress, it is time to organize, mobilize and rally ourselves for progress. We can be the generation that ends poverty, hunger, hardship, injustice, corruption, failed leadership, modern-day slavery, failed promises and recycled leadership!”
He said, “Estimated at over 60 million people, Nigerian youths represent more than one-third of the country’s population. It is, therefore, normal and expected that young people be mainstreamed into political party processes and decision making.
He noted that ” Aside from our population, every decision of government affect young people directly. We are the ones that will be around longer to benefit or suffer from all the actions of the government. We, therefore, consider it a necessity that we are given fair and equitable representation in matters that concern our future.
He said, “The old political order must understand the need for us to work together so that we can jointly lay the foundation for a brighter economic future.
“By advocating for youth inclusion, we do not claim that it is a magic wand or that suddenly all our problems will disappear once we achieve inclusion. Rather, what we are saying is that a greater population of young people who have the capacity, competence and ability should be provided a seat at the table.
” As young people, we believe it is time to evolve a new political order, with young people as the driver and key architect. Nigeria can no longer serve the interest of only a select few, it must serve the interest of everyone, particularly its young people.”
Seun said, “This is the reason we continuously remind young Nigerians that we can not give up on our country. If we give up on Nigeria, we give up on our destiny, future and patrimony. Nigerian youths must now become the avatar of a better Nigeria and pioneer a new political order.
“While we acknowledge and, indeed, appraise the efforts of the current government to aid the people out of poverty, especially through the Kwara State Social Investment Programme, we, however, feels that KWASSIP as a whole appears lofty on the surface, but a critical interrogation will reveal that it is nothing but a lazy attempt at poverty reduction.
In his remark about the social investment programme of the government, he said it will rather make the people poorer, and therefore urged the government to review it.
He said, “Taking people out of poverty requires a vibrant and prosperous economic policy and programs, not through a mere handing over of the “handouts” to the selected few. This few are not only constitute just a little in the society but also the sustainability of such programs is not visible in the view of the economic realities. Rather than, the “hand out”, provision of enabling environment with right support would lead to more economics activities which would eventually stimulate the state’s economy for a better result, reach and outcome.
” We believe that the Programme, especially “Owo Mekunu” is a wasteful spending binge that won’t achieve anything other than for sensational news headlines. The situation of our people cannot change with the N3000, N4000, and sometimes, N5000 cash donation. They are even likely to remain poorer than they were before receiving the donation because in many cases, the money will go into consumption.
“The Programme, we believe, is also not sustainable and we encourage the government to review it. It has been said over time that the only investment in our people that will yield the desired result is one that is tailored towards raising their living standards and subsequently lift the bulk of our population out of poverty in the long-term.
“The government is still barely two years in power, so we believe that improvement can happen along the way. We acknowledge the efforts of the present government to manage its lean resources. We, however, hope the government would take our suggestions with the broad-mindedness that is required.
“The government is still barely two years in power, so we believe that improvement can happen along the way. We acknowledge the efforts of the present government to manage its lean resources. We, however, hope the government would take our suggestions with the broad-mindedness that is required. ”