SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, AMUWO ODOFIN LOCAL GOVERNMENT, COMRADE AYODELE ADEWALE, ON THE OCCASION OF INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY ON AUGUST 12, 2013 AT GOLDEN TULIPS HOTEL
BEING A TEXT OF A SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, AMUWO ODOFIN LOCAL GOVERNMENT, COMRADE AYODELE ADEWALE, ON THE OCCASION OF INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY ON AUGUST 12, 2013 AT GOLDEN TULIPS HOTEL, AMUWO ODOFIN.
THEME: YOUTHS AND MIGRATION: MOVING DEVELOPMENT FORWARD
Permit me to start this address with a quote from Edmund Burke, “Tell me the prevailing sentiments that occupy the minds of young men, and I will tell you what is to the character of the next generation”
Distinguished, I welcome everyone to the celebration of the International youth day, 2013 on the theme: Youth Migration,Moving Development forward.
We are here gathered to celebrate our leaders of today, which often times people referred to as leaders of tomorrow, to encourage and show them the right way and direction that lead to fulfilling of their dreams.
It is indeed a great honour to stand before you and discuss an issue as germane in our contemporary society as this forum’s subject matter.
Youths and Migration. These are two phenomenal perpetually concocted together by the inevitable generational succession nature of life.
The mention of the former will always spontaneously generate genuine considerations for the latter.
In defining youth, the oxford dictionary of current English (3rd edition) puts it as: the qualities of energy, freshness, immaturity, etc, associated with being young. By implication, to be youthful means to be within the age group with most vibrancy and dexterity.
Personally, I see the youthful age as a planning stage. The formative stage for future manifestation(s), as our today is a testimony of tomorrow.
From a deeper perspective, youth is not merely a time of life; it is a state of mind. It is a freshness of the deep spring of life; it is a wonderful thing, yet a time so short. What a crime then to waste it.
At every point in life, the youths of any era stand at a vantage position to learn from the mistakes, and right the wrongs of the generation before them. But to successfully do so, the same youths must properly be positioned in terms of re–orientation, improved value system, right perspectives to life, and living a purposeful life founded on clear vision and self belief and mastery.
Surprisingly, young people account for nearly one third of international migrants today. Migration is changing the world map and the face of modern society.
It has enormous potential for bringing people together, intercultural dialogue and development. However, illegal migration raises challenges, in terms of exclusion, poverty, exploitation and discrimination.
Over the past few decades, political, economic and social change in many parts of the world has stimulated migration of people to cities within and across countries. Other emerging issue includes climate change, amongst others.
According to a UN report, young people represent a major proportion of those migrating annually given that in many cases, the age range 18 to 29 accounts for between 36 percent and 57 percent of international migrants.
Todays youths have access to information about opportunities beyond their borders, and are more likely than ever to migrate for reasons ranging from family reunification to the desire for better education and employment opportunities to the need to escape from bad leadership, war or conflicts. Some might say for greener pastures and exposure, and be amongst others.
But even at this, do the youths in Nigeria need to migrate to get the aforementioned? Do we need to develop other countries at the expense of this great country, Nigeria?
But as far as the discernible mind is concerned, the blame can be placed on no other than the youths themselves, who have either wittingly or inadvertently out played themselves in the scheme of things.
I will suggest that for the youths to get to the Eldorado, we must begin with re-orientation, going by the long time of absence of youths in mainstream politics.
We must begin to change our perception about politics and governance. Our thinking today should see us as change agents.
The befitting lexicon for our generation should be active participation in politics and governance for the general good of our society and people.
As a matter of exigency, the youths of this country must individually and collectively engage themselves constructively in the singular business of deciding what, where, when and how of Nigeria.
It is instructive to state here that, in the face of decadence ravaging every sector in our polity, the youths empowering programmes remain the top priority of this administration since assumption of office on October 30, 2008.
In our bid to empower the youths, this administration has focused on the sponsorship of indigent students in Amuwo Odofin by given them free JAMB forms, as well as GCE forms supported with free lectures for the fulfillment of the youths at the educational pursuit. To date, this administration since inception has given out 2,000 GCE forms and 2,750 JAMB forms.
Recently, 420,000 note books was freely given to our pupils and 7,000 life jackets, all aimed at empowering the youths to learning in conducive environment.
Our vocational Training center at Abule Ado has been upgraded to meet the demands of our teeming youths. This is targeted towards empowering the youths in different disciplines.
We have also encourage the youths to live together as one. In my cabinet the youths, who are of different nationalities, makes up 96% of my cabinet members, and are working together to bring development to the local government, Lagos and by extension Nigeria.
We have also engage the youths as members of green club and street managers, all in the bid to maintain our environment and make it safe, green and habitable for all.
In spite of this, it is important to recognize the efforts of some political structures and personalities that have, over time, considered and practically acknowledged the youths as foundation of developments in Nigeria, by throwing open the political space for youths to explore.
Worthy of mention is the most visible progressive political party in West Africa, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), now All Progressives Congress (APC) and its indefatigable leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the Jargaban Borgu.
The recent political revolution in Southwest Nigeria, which saw the emergence of youths assuming key elected offices, was the handy work of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and is a pointer to the fact that there could be a new dawn, only if the youths are ready to work it through the dusk.
Furthermore, it is germane to reiterate the fact that it is a grave error, punishable by posterity, for any generation to undermine the peculiar opportunities of its youths.
The youths must commence a genuine re-orientation to instigate a renaissance of our lost social values where we recognize dignity in hard work to bring about the maximum benefit for the general good.
Distinguished, let us begin to walk the talk; and the time is now. Permit me to end my speech with the statement of another philosopher, Richard Nixon; “nothing matters more to the future of this nation than ensuring that our young men and women learn to believe in themselves and believe in their dreams, and that they develop this capacity, so that they keep it all of their lives”
Thank you and God bless.
Eko oni baaje o!
Comrade Ayodele Adewale
Executive Chairman, Amuwo Odofin L.G.A.