Aides to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, have begun collation of ideas from young professionals in Nigeria with the aim of designing a policy for the youth, which All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, is expected to implement when he becomes president.
The aides, under the aegis of the Gbaja Professionals Volunteer Network, said they have the commitment of Tinubu, through Gbajabiamila, that the policy would be implemented should the APC candidate win the 2023 election.
The GPVN made this known at the Youth, Economic and Social Development Summit and the unveiling of Gbaja Professionals Volunteer Network’s Digital Ideas Bank in Abuja on Friday.
According to the organisers, the event was in commemoration of the United Nations’ International Youth Day 2022 and “to support the Asiwaju presidency on youth, economic and social development policy document.”
Gbajabiamila, in his speech titled ‘Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for all Ages,’ which he delivered virtually at the event, noted that the International Youth Day was coming at a time in the nation’s history when Nigerians must make critical choices about the future they want and how to achieve it.
The Speaker said, “What happens in that election and the kind of nation we will consequently have will depend greatly on the choices young people make in the lead-up to that election and at the polling booth. It is unfortunate that the political conversations about the forthcoming elections have become dominated by the loud voices of division and derision for whom politics is a contact sport designed to inflict the greatest harm on the individuals and the body politic.
“These voices have elevated fake news over facts and the politics of grievance and victimhood over studied consideration of the policy questions and answers that will determine the fate of the young people who make up the majority of our population. You must resist this. It is time for the voices of reason and compromise, whose manifest desire is to be part of the solution, to seize the debate and make their voices heard.”
According to Gbajabiamila, the summit is part of the effort to refocus the public debate on matters of substance and consequence and he was honoured to be associated with it.
He noted, “Two important things are going to happen at this summit. First, the unveiling of a Digital Ideas Bank for Nigerians and friends of the country here and abroad to send in their ideas about the changes they wish to see and their recommendations on making those changes possible.
“Secondly, a Policy Faculty will be established to collate, review and cohere these ideas and suggestions into practical policy proposals.
“These proposals will be presented to guide the campaign and, hopefully, the Presidency of His Excellency Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. What an excellent example of active citizenship, of citizens coming together in a joint effort at nation building!”
The National Coordinator, Gbaja Professionals Volunteer Network, Lukman Lawal, said in addition to delivering their professional services to the Speaker as aides and by extension the country, the aides have successfully carried out direct interventions in education, healthcare, capacity building and welfare, impacting about 100,000 pupils, children, youth, women and households across the country in the last three years.
“The need for a deliberate, coordinated and multifaceted approach to solving youth unemployment, underemployment and negative orientation cannot be overemphasized and indeed cannot come at a better time than now,” he stated.
Lawal pointed out that all efforts must be directed “and seen to be directed” at creating a very robust window of support around the preparation and positive social inclusion of the youth population which, according to him, remains the greatest asset to an assured future for positive growth and development of the country.
“As the race towards the 2023 election of the next crop of leadership of the country thickens, we wish to bring to the fore the compelling need for a robust knowledge and intellectual resource pool that can holistically advance the cause of youth development via a deliberate, coordinated and multifaceted approach to solving youth unemployment, underemployment, misery and negative orientation, as well as the fact that this cannot come at a better time.”