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Professionals, educationists and industry experts at the silver jubilee anniversary lecture of Olashore International School, Osun State have called for a more robust youth empowerment engagement to serve as catalyse to improve Nigeria’s global competitiveness.
Christopher Kolade, former Nigeria High Commissioner to the United Kingdom called for Nigerian youths to be given the capacity to learn effectively adding that this represents a strategic process to bring up successful leaders and ensure a better society.
Kolade, in his chairman speech at the event held in Lagos opines that unless youths are trained to apply the things that they learn, they may not be able to change our society the way it ought to be.
According to him, “One of our problems in this country is leadership. We lack the capacity to learn effectively and we keep doing the same thing year after year with an expectation that things would change. Our role is to see what we can do to solve the existing problem through a capacity to learn.”
Fred Swaniker, founder, African Leadership Academy in his keynote address, ‘Leadership and Social Change: Developing 21st Century Leaders for Africa said he believes that every society needs good leaders and that the difference they will make will go a long way.
Swaniker is worried that Africa does not have strong institution as a result of bad leadership, adding that Rwanda has gone ahead of other African countries despite its genocide issue and was able to surmount its challenges in 25 years because of good leadership.
“In this continent, we must not lose hope despite all the challenges that we see. We need a sense of urgency in Nigeria which has taken over from India that has the highest number of people in extreme poverty in the world”, he said.
He further said a nation could create conditions for young people to grow as leaders and drive change rather than wait for institutions to do so.
“The role of an institution like Olashore to develop good leadership cannot be overestimated, it is a necessity. Our perspective is that leadership is not something you can teach, but can be learnt. We need to instill in the youths the confidence and sense of service that will make them to serve others rather than enriching themselves,” he said.
Swaniker in his lecture outlined some traits that make a good leader to include having passion to solve problems; having an imagination and inspiring people; being guided by values, as well as having courage and resilience.
“Transforming Africa cannot be achieved overnight; it starts by transforming the youths. We cannot continue to do things in the conventional way, but through innovation. Leaders need to be put in challenging circumstance so that they can be relevant.”
On his part, Oye Ibidapo-Obe, former Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, insists that Nigeria has the responsibility to change the narrative through reorientation of the youths.
Speaking as a guest lecturer on the ‘Role of Education in Philanthropy and Community Development’, Ibidapo-Obe said creating confidence in the minds of young people, giving our time and sharing knowledge with them are some of the requirement needed to support philanthropic gesture.
He further described the 25th anniversary as a call to total restoration of values, while stressing the need to teach young people to be innovative by using humanities to transform the society.
In her remarks, the Chairperson of the foundation, Olapeju Sofowora recalled the school’s achievements in the last 25 years, saying that it has been able to produce a dynamic group of leaders who are transforming the country.