In order to address the country’s development challenges, a network of young business leaders, aspiring entrepreneurs in Africa, and under 40 CEOs have urged Nigerian youths to play a more active role in politics and governance.
Familusi Babajide, Founder and Executive Director of the group while speaking recently at a forum organised by the group themed 'Dinner with Needle Movers' was quoted in a statement as saying, “By current estimates, up to 70 per cent of sub-Saharan Africa’s population is under the age of 30, representing about 806 million of the 1.151 billion people in this region.
"This demographic projection has significant implications for economic activity, public service provision, and state stability.”
“As the group with the most at stake, young African leaders deserve to be part of the policy discussions that seek to find solutions to the challenges confronting the continent.
"More qualified youths must be drafted into leadership positions in presidencies and state governments, parliaments, corporate boardrooms, as well as civil society and faith-based organisations to assist in conceptualising and driving critical development initiatives.”
Tonye Cole, the guest speaker at the event, said that the lack of visionary leadership and accountability remain the biggest challenges to development in Nigeria and, indeed, all of Africa, adding that active youth participation in politics is critical to the continent’s development.
“The truth is that African leaders have not always responded effectively to the needs of the continent and the respective countries.
"But there is hope in the rising generation of young people who can play a critical role in building accountability for successful economic transformation, representation, and public service.
"The urgency of these efforts cannot be overemphasised, as the youths have the most to lose if solutions are not enacted.
“If we succeed in what we’re doing, the price of success far outweighs the cost of failure. The price of success is building an economy that will move our youths from the streets to express their talents and their gifts.
"Oftentimes, a lot of us get frustrated by the system and just want to pack up and go.
“But Nigeria isn’t a lost cause. What we need are more young people with the audacity to stay and make a difference. Please don’t give up; you are the drivers of a new Nigeria.”