National Director of Actionaid Nigeria, Ene Obi, and founding member of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Omotoye Olorode, were among prominent Nigerians who suggested strategies for ensuring responsible leadership in Nigeria through a active engagement and mobilization of the young generation. .
The duo made their suggestions during the second edition of a series of conversations to assess the End of protests against SARS of October 2020, and organized by a non-governmental group – SING Nigeria.
Tagged the Independence Day edition and on the theme “Beyond Rhetoric: Transition from Activism to Sustainable Political Engagement”, the event also brought together young panelists, including Director of Yiaga Africa for Governance and Development, İbrahim Faruk; a communications specialist, Maryam Laushi, and was moderated by a broadcast journalist, Femi Amele, known as Femi-D.
In her presentation, Ms Obi, former president of a student union at the University of Jos in Plateau State, said young Nigerians must stop agonizing for reasons of agony and advised to s ” involve in the electoral system through active participation.
According to her, allowing the status quo ante to be maintained would only advance the current system of retraining leadership in the country and complaints alone cannot provide solutions.
“Like the Black Lives Matters movement in the United States of America, Nigeria Lives matters too; we are not just agonizing, we are organizing to hold our government to account. We must encourage young people to protest; these young people would take control at some point. The lack of investment in young people is the reason why young people take to the streets to protest against the system.
“The ENDSARS protest shows that young people are everywhere and that mass voter registration must begin in all states. The youth must stand up, and stand up through elections is the way to go. We have allowed politicians, through our political apathy, to continue playing with our lives, and unless we are ready to vote, we can continue in this cycle, ”she said.
But for his part, Olorede issued a warning, saying that participating in the elections alone without solid ideologies and principles would only breed a new wave of confusion.
The former vice-chairman of the now-active Joint Action Committee of Nigeria (JACON) denounced what he described as the militarization of security agencies by the ruling class, as well as widespread hunger and poverty.
He said: “It is not enough to join a new party to win an election; the goal must be properly defined if we are to be able to change the system.
Meanwhile, Ms. Laushi insisted that young people should also devote their energy to politics.
“While the desire for change is among many young people, we must go beyond protest to actively participate in the political process, we must transfer the same energy from protest to politics; at the community level, young people need to engage and mobilize their peers and elders, and we need to be able to communicate our ideas well, ”she said.
Likewise, Mr. Faruk urged young people to build on the positive energy of the last event in the future.
“Beyond protesting, there must be a deliberate political commitment to follow through on protest demands. Although social media was effective at the last protest, we were unable to maintain our commitment. The energy of the protest has not been transferred to highlight judicial inquiry commissions for example, “Faruk said, adding that” the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and we must all vote and apply the change we want. . “
Objectives of the engagement series
Organizers of the event in a statement signed by its communications manager, Victor Agi, said the series of pledges aimed to advance conversations around the EndSARS protests one year on, and that the second edition, in particular, which coincided with the country’s 61st birthday, was intended to commemorate the celebration.
He said that as an organization populated by young men and women, SING Nigeria encourages young people to take their destiny into their own hands by engaging in active political activities in order to see the change they desire.
The statement reads in part: “These realities underscore the need for the country to have the right leaders who would put the nation’s rich potential to resourceful use, and the role of young people in moving from the old order to a new one. visionary collection. who have the key to unlocking the potential of the nation cannot be overstated.
The statement further noted that power is not given but taken through the political process.
The online dialogue series began with the first edition on September 23, with the first edition focusing on questioning and reflecting on regrets and lessons learned from the #ENDSARS movement with the aim of developing a new strategy for the #ENDSARS movement. organization and mobilization of young people in a shrinking civic space.
The Independence Edition is the second edition which, according to the group, has focused on questioning the link between activism and enduring political engagement in light of meaningful participation in the electoral process by citizens. youth.
The first edition featured panelists such as Antonia Ally from The How Foundation, Mojeed Alabi, Head of Development at PREMIUM TIMES; Jaye-Gaskia, researcher and human rights activist; Leo Dasilva, social influencer and entrepreneur; Obianuju Iloanya, social activist; Edward Zabee, social activist and entrepreneur.
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