The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25, 2023 election, Mr. Peter Obi, has charged the Nigerian youths not to cower in their resolve for a new Nigeria no matter the weight of the challenges.
Obi, who made the charge in a keynote address at an international youth conference in Enugu at the weekend, reminded them that Nigeria belongs to them.
“You must not cower in the face of difficult challenges and bad governance that pervade the nation but must raise your voices and demand good governance.
“We all must persevere and work together to dismantle the criminality and corruption that has festered through different levels of government in our nation,” Obi explained.
He commended the organisers of the programme for the wonderful initiative aimed at empowering our youths with the right knowledge and leadership skills to make positive change.
“We will, all together, build the New Nigeria of our dreams,” Obi added.
Reminiscing on the theme of the conference attended by notable youth mentors, which is on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Obi interacted with a cross-section of young entrepreneurs, youth advocates, and change agents.
The event was aimed at discussing how to ‘Accelerate Actions to Achieve the SDGs in Nigeria Through Entrepreneurship and Civic Engagement,’ a topic of critical importance to the nation, especially the youths, whose future must be secured.
“As a keynote speaker, I pointed out to them that the SDGs are a follow-up of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (2000 – 2015), which before it ended in 2015, none was ever achieved in Nigeria because they were not mainstreamed into the development agenda of the government, as other countries, like China, India, and Vietnam, did.
“I also related to the enterprising youths how the number one goal of the MDGs was to fight extreme poverty but unfortunately, within the period of trying to implement the MDGs, more Nigerians became poorer, while other nations who mainstreamed their MDGs into their development agenda and followed it, like China and India, in the said period, pulled 439 million and 271 million people out of poverty, respectively.
In the area of education, Obi noted that countries like China and India improved tremendously in the Human Development Index (HDI), while the opposite was the case in sub-Saharan Africa, especially Nigeria, which he said, has not only failed to meet up with the MDG goals but has the highest number of out-of-school children. This, he said, shows how almost impossible it is to achieve the SDGs of eradicating poverty and ensuring, at least, basic education for every child by 2030.
Obi encouraged the youths to take on entrepreneurship, no matter the difficulties they face in the country.
“It’s only through entrepreneurship that we will be able to build a strong small business sector that will catalyse the economy, foster productivity, and help in moving the country from consumption to production,” he added.
The convener of the yearly ‘Shaping the Future Conference’ is a young Nigerian international award winner, Noel Ifeanyi Alumona, of Vanderbilt University in the United States.