On the 1st of October, 2020, Raising New Voices Initiative brought together young leaders within its network for a convention focused on what needs to be done for the next 20 years if we must achieve the vision we have set for Nigeria in 2050 – to be the innovation capital of the world and one of the most prosperous countries.
Speakers were invited to speak to this topic and engage from a social, economic and political perspective. With the aim of identifying what needs to be done and activities we need to carry out and the approach our generation needs to take while carrying out these activities.
Below, we present a summary of the thoughts shared and our next steps for action.
KEYNOTE SPEAKER – IYINOLUWA ABOYEJI
Young people have had to perfect the errors of the older generation. We (young people) should not rewrite the errors of the past. The biggest thing our generation has to do is to struggle to make new things happen. We have to shrug off the permission culture and begin to accomplish things whether people like it or not by creating space for ourselves…
The power of ONE is key and our generation is lacking oneness in thought, beliefs and actions.
Conclusively, he highlighted his keynote speech in three sentences;
1) This generation needs to get rid of the victim mentality
2) We need to start the work now and set a clear direction for the future
3) How do we rise beyond and above scepticism?
OPENING ADDRESS BY JUDE FERANMI
The founding fathers who got Nigeria independence were not the ones who brought Nigeria into civilian rule.
This generation needs to define what our Nigeria would look like. Our next 20 years of celebrating Nigeria’s independence is very critical and crucial to our existence. He concluded by saying “I want to see the Nigeria of my dreams in my life and this next 20 year is very crucial to it”
1ST PANEL SESSION – THE ECONOMIC SESSION
Panellists – Oluseun Onigbinde, Aisha Augie. Moderator – Busolami Fadipe
Oluwaseun noted that the productivity structure of Nigeria is diverse with Agriculture having 23%, trade 15%, oil and gas 9% and services
His emphasis was that Nigeria’s level of productivity cannot continue this way. There is a need for massive diversification from an oil-based economy. We need to transcend to service and industrial based society
Aisha on the other hand claimed that Covid19 has given us a show for the remote and global world. Covid19 has given us a major opportunity for economic reforms by all stakeholder and government agencies.
On the issue of taxation, taxation is an important element of the social contract for social security (health care). Taxation is an important aspect of generating revenue for the government. It has to be part of our society. It is a contract between payees and the government. The digitalization of taxation processes for transparency and accountability purposes is highly essential.
Focus on growth in all sectors and the taxation on the working population would increase which accrues more funds for the government to provide better infrastructure for the populace.
Focus on MSME for government and infrastructure becomes robust
Move from an oil-based economy to a service-based society through export diversification – exportation of Cocoa, cashew and other cash crops
Implementation of visions drawn out (our vision 2020, vision 2050 and the likes). Shortsighted in the present alone needs to be eradicated.
More incorporation of public-private partnership by the continuity of existing projects by the incoming administration through the partnership.
CBN is giving money to everyone as palliatives, it cannot work that way in this information-driven society. Development does not happen that way. The government needs to invest in growth, infrastructures and give loans for business. This is the means through which development takes place.
Open governance of transparency. Transparency in government helps to build accountability and credibility
In conclusion, the panellist opined that this generation should ask more questions and be bold to make suggestions where necessary
2nd PANEL SESSION – THE POLITICAL SESSION
Panellists – Miracle Adenitan, Gbadebo Rhodes- Vivour, Rinsola Abiola, Samson Itodo, Moderator – Amina Yahaya
The political hem of affairs is basically responsible for the protection of lives and property of people. The people get the type of leader they choose. The power of the people to choose whoever as their leader is simply deciding their faith.
On the issue of Human Rights violation, Nigerians have had different instances of the violation of their right by the military but to a very large extent, it has been reduced in recent times. Presently, it is the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARs), an arm of the Nigerian police that is victimizing, terrorizing and violating the rights of the citizenry. There needs to be a permanent stop in the violation of human rights by all agencies of the government at all levels.
On the aspect of gender-based violence in the country, the female gender is seriously being undermined and their rights equally been trampled upon. We are having an increasing number of rape cases and gender-based violence in Nigeria. The number of women in politics is equally very low compared to the male gender. Abiola, one of the panellist concluded by saying “with sustained advocacy, we can get more women to participate in politics”
Enforcement issues are the major challenge of most governments and administration in this country. Samuel Itodo noted that “we need to demand freedom from our ruthless leaders because they are the major problems we have in Nigeria.”
International sanctions, such as visa bans, really helped in the peaceful conduct of the Edo state election. Going forward, this sanction should be kept in place for subsequent elections in the country.
The role of Nigerians in Diaspora is very limited and for quality growth and advancement, there needs to be a solid collaboration for proper growth to take place in Nigeria
Conclusively, when the people begin to take elections as their rights and see the process to the end, it will help make the elections better. This is about getting the ordinary Nigerian more involved in political affairs and issues.
3rd PANEL SESSION – THE SOCIAL SESSION
Panellists – Lois Auta, Faisal Umar Lawal, Chioma Agwuegbo; Moderator – Hassan Nurudeen Olanrewaju
Socialization is very important with culture in every human society and most especially in Nigeria. There is no need for tribalism, nepotism and favouritism in Nigeria.
Lois stated that we are still struggling, with no equal opportunities and that we are not going in the right direction and equally not doing well in Nigeria. We need to see equal rights being given to all vulnerable groups ranging from youth, people with disabilities and women in Nigeria”
Young people need to unite and ask the government questions. She opined that there should be a separate ministry of youth which is distinct from that of sport. Combining both the ministry of youth and sport is totally not acceptable.
When asked “If Nigeria is One”
Lois emphatically said, “Nigeria is one in the sense that we have one constitution and no matter the differences, we still remain one indivisible entity.”
Umar, another panellist stated that “Nigeria is one. He went further to say the reason some people think we are not one is because of our indoctrination and mindset. Our mindset has been programmed to that of division.” He concluded by asserting that if given the opportunity and rare privilege; he would increase the number of tribes in Nigeria.
Chioma stated that when we solve problems in Nigeria, we solve problems for the 1% perspective, not the majority. We need to ask ourselves which of the problems facing us can we solve in 2 years, 5 years, and 10 years from now.” This would help us draw both the short and long term goals for this country. We would get it right henceforth if these questions are asked and given appropriate answers.
The reason why we have pockets of skirmishes everywhere is, because people don’t feel like they belong. Umar opined that whatever you cannot win in the law court, you won’t win in violence. Looking beyond the fabrics of tribes and religion, Nigeria is ONE.
What young people (this generation) need to do?
Begin to look for a role model (not anyone anywhere but people with a unique history and passion of and for young people)
Right from the opening remarks, keynote address and panellist segments, a general emphasis was on the lips of all the speakers; “the need and desire that young people run for political offices with a passionate mindset and mentality to make landmark differences happen.
Furthermore, a desire for a true federal nation with patriotic young leaders who can bring into reality a Nigeria we can truly call our own.
At this juncture, the Raising New Voice Convention was able to drive home her point for the earnest desire for a new crop of young leaders with vision and strong mission statements to emerge and make reformation in spheres of Nigeria’s political, economic and social life.