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Youth, leadership and governance, Dr. Thomas-Wilson Ikubese

Being the texts of the lecture delivered by Dr Thomas-Wilson Ikubese on 10th September 2021 at the Next Leadership & Entrepreneurship Conference 2021 at the Dome, Akure.

Protocols

By definition, youth is the period between childhood and adult age.

WHO defines ‘Adolescents’ as individuals in the 10-19 years age group and ‘Youth’ as the 15-24 year age group. While ‘Young People’ covers the age range 10-24 years.

Unfortunately in our clime, a man of 40 still considers himself a ‘youth’.

It’s a critical period in the life of an individual, because that’s when seeds of deeds and misdeeds are sown in the life of a person.

Since the Nigerian system has not put in place a clear cut deliberate provision for a systematic development of the youth for leadership and governance, the individual must of necessity key himself into a developmental scheme that will so equip him adequately.

Unfortunately, rather than embark on a deliberate, systematic schedule of self development, the majority of our youths go in pursuit of glamour, pornography, quick-wealth, drugs and social media cruise.

All of these provide immediate gratification which is short-lived.

This is why you may comb an institution of about five thousand youths and find it difficult to identify five persons therein with the necessary ingredients for leadership and governance.

There are three key components necessary for the preparation of our youths for leadership and governance

COMPONENT 1: PARENTAL ROLE

The influence of parents on their children is unquantifiable as they are the first persons the child is acquainted to.

Parents must therefore make deliberate plans to develop their children and wards for leadership and governance .

Parents should see themselves as role models for their children and conduct themselves as such, as these young ones watch them and readily key into the pace set at home.

However, if parental influence is weak at home, peer influence takes the fore and the youth is at the mercy of forces from without.

Parents must deliberately buy audiovisual materials, including books on leadership and governance for their children, read same with them and make time for discussion of the points therein at the close of work.

COMPONENT 2: THE ROLE OF THE INDIVIDUAL YOUTH

The youth must make individual efforts to develop himself for leadership and governance as this may not be taught directly in school.

He should regularly buy for himself books and tapes and invest time in listening and reading them.

At every point in time, he must be reading a particular book on leadership and governance.

He must make out time to attend seminars and workshops on leadership and governance.

He must seek out men and women of integrity in society and subscribe to mentorship under them.

Unfortunately, the majority of our youths would rather spend hours unend on social media catching fun, rather than read materials that will prepare them for leadership and governance.

This is why the very few who so invest in the place of study and mentorship, stand out from the pack.

COMPONENT 3: THE ROLE OF THE GOVERNMENT

When in 2018, I was campaigning for the office of the president of the federal republic of Nigeria, one of the core points in my manifesto was the inclusion of LEADERSHIP AND GOVERNANCE as a compulsory subject in our secondary schools.

I’d advocated that if voted into office as the President of the federal republic of Nigeria, just like English and Mathematics which are made compulsory, Leadership and Governance will be made into a subject and every student must have a credit pass in it at school certificate level.

This way, the generality of our youths will have a firm grasp of what leadership and governance is all about, as a prerequisite for admission into any institution of higher learning

I hereby use this medium to call on Mr President, to direct the Federal Ministry of Education to include Leadership and Governance in our secondary school curriculum and taught as a compulsory subject in which students must obtain credit pass, in the interest of our dear nation.

IN CONCLUSION

No doubt, parents have a big role to play in preparing their children and wards for leadership and governance.

In the same vein, the individual youth has a huge role to play in developing himself for leadership and governance

Where the parents have laid the foundation, it becomes easy for the youth to build on it.

However, the absence of a parental foundation should not be an excuse for the youth not to develop himself, as parents cannot give what they don’t have, unfortunately.

Because we run a unitary system where everything must flow from Abuja, state governors are not currently in a position to inculcate a subject into the curriculum of schools in their states. Were it not so, I would have advocated that state governors inculcate leadership and governance as a compulsory subject in their states’ secondary schools. I look forward to the day when Nigeria will run a true federal system, where the states will be at liberty to run at their pace.

For now, my appeal goes to Mr President, that he directs the Federal Ministry of Education to include Leadership and Governance in our secondary school curriculum and even as a course at the tertiary level in the interest of our polity

In all, one thing is certain. Leadership and Governance is not for everyone. It is for those who have deliberately prepared themselves over the years.

A person who is not prepared for leadership and governance that finds himself in a position of leadership, is akin to a person who has not been taught the rudiments of driving and takes the driver’s seat in an inter-state journey. There’s no need asking where the vehicle will end!

Unfortunately, this for us, has been our narrative over the years. People find themselves in leadership positions, unprepared and experiment with the concept of leadership.

It is this lacuna that the YesWeFit Movement seeks to fill, by catching our younger ones early and preparing them for leadership and governance, while re-orientating the minds of the older ones for altruistic and purposeful service in the polity

It is my humble submission that if we take these points into consideration, together we shall build a society that we shall all be proud of.

Thanks for listening.

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