Young people will make difference in 2019 elections
Ambassador Prince Joshua Oyeniyi is the founder/President of the Ambassador Summit Group, which empowers youths with information and mentorship. He spoke with ELIZABETH USEN on the journey so far, its blueprint and the 2019 general elections.
What is the bottom-line of Ambassadors summit? Your mission and how you got here?
The ambassador’s summit is a product of inspiration and innovation. In 2013, when I started the show on Radio, the idea was to empower young people with information and also get them mentorship that will build them to become the kind of person they want to be. I wanted to do that because of my background. I was born to a taxi driver father in Lagos; my father drove taxi for about 20 years before he died when I was 15.
I was born in Ajegunle so you can imagine my upbringing; I was deprived of so many basic necessities of life. However, I decided to take my future in my own hands and get opportunities for myself. And through dint of hard work, in 2013 when I was still at the university of Lagos things began to take a new shape, when I started the show from a less than $1 capital, I mean in less than two month I have won a global award that took me to the U.S-four states in the U.S, Dubai and few other places.
The story is this, we want to create opportunities for Nigerians across board, it doesn’t matter if you have a godfather or not. That’s why the ambassador’s summit has come to stay; it goes beyond hearing them, we want to create an interaction. So we call it the 3E’s, one is Engagement. The engagement means meet with them, talk to them let them talk back to you, let them give you their blueprint how they succeeded or what they intend to do. After that, you get Enlightenment. While they are talking to you, you get enlightened about what you can also do; about how you can make your own progress. The last one is Empowerment; can they go beyond just engaging, enlightening and empowering you? They can empower you beyond just financial empowerment, they can give you empowerment with opportunities, they can give you empowerment with position, and they can give you empowerment with internship.
So those are the things we are trying to do; it has been amazing. Five years of doing this, we’ve been able to create opportunities for so many people, we have engaged close to 10,000 people and this event has been able to stream live to over 80 countries. So that’s what we are doing and we are sure that with consistency and persistency, we will be able to be on track or be able to liberate more Nigerian youths from the shackles of poverty.
We still have youths roaming the streets, who are blaming government for their misfortunes; do you think government has done enough to assist the youths?
It will be one of the biggest disasters for young people or Nigerian youths to expect that the older class or gerontocrats will give them opportunities on a platter of gold, it’s never done. In the song and lyrics of a popular musician Lagbaja, he said “nobody will give you leadership freely, you have to take it but you have to take it with sense”. The truth is we can never get anything from anyone freely; you have to get it through strategies. Our older class, politicians and leaders who are there now have been there since we were 10 years, eight years or before we were born. So, for us to take it from there, we have to show them we are capable and we must give them a run for their money. By that I mean we need to have a coalition of young people who believe in the future of this country, who are not just blinded by self-interest who wants to make that difference.
So if we come together, we put strategies together, come together and we follow through consistently and we don’t allow them to buy us with money, I’m very sure it’s only a matter of short time before we can take power in circles that matter and we will begin to de-emphasize godfatherism, moneybag and the rest. Then over time this nation will have a new breed of leaders that will begin to decide for our future and our unborn children. I don’t think our leaders are ready to hand over that kind of power yet, but we must take it by ourselves.
If the youths are given a chance in the presidential elections, do you think they will be able to deliver and use the power well with enlightenment you are trying to create?
I believe we are ready. I believe young people are ready to make a difference, we just need a platform and that platform is what many of us are creating. At the last count, we have over 30 aspirants for the presidential position and out of that, we have so many of them who are young people. Young between the category of 40 to 50 years or thereabout.
I’m very positive that if only we begin to look beyond what they will get for now and give one of them a chance in 2019, this country will grow in leaps and bounds in a short time. It has happened in different parts of the world like Australia, France, it’s happening all over the world. We don’t need what our people call experience, political experience to make a change, we just need people who have the blueprint and made the difference in their own fields of endeavor and transfer that experience into leadership as regards politics in Nigeria.
So I am firmly optimistic that our young people have what it takes, they are prepared and many of them have proven their mettle in different areas of calling; many have contributed immensely to the economy; contributed immensely to employment and entrepreneurship, many of them have done enough in the international scene. We just need to let them bring what they bear in 2019 when they become governors or whether one of them becomes the president. Our people need to see the possibilities beyond N5, 000 or N4, 000 the moneybags will give to them to buy their votes.
What I have learnt now, for everyone that gives you N5,000 to vote for him or her in 2019 elections, what they are doing is this; if you have the annual budget of Nigeria which is around N7tr and you multiply that by four, which is the four-year tenure they will spend in office and divide it by the number of persons who are up-to the voteable age or who actually go to the polls, what you have is one person getting a quota of N7b. Let’s assume it’s N10b, what that means is per head of person’s vote he’s supposed to get N10b from the national offers.
If somebody gives you N5,000 to vote for him or her and he/she is the wrong person, what that person has done is giving N5,000 in return for N10b that they are going to swindle or take from the national treasury, that’s what we don’t understand, they are seeing beyond what we see. So, N5, 000 to them is nothing they are buying our future and that of our unborn children, so we need to redefine that.
Can we stay hungry for a few weeks, a few months, to get this N10b for both our unborn children and ourselves? That’s what’s happening all over the world, go to Dubai, go to the U.S you see development because people have started believing in transparency and democracy beyond just what they will get for now. So I’m very sure that things will change and in 2019 things will change and we are looking forward to a better play of politics as it should be and we are looking forward to the emergence of a true democrat that will take Nigeria out of the dungeons of retrogression to prosperity.
What is your advice to the youths as regards the forthcoming elections?
Firstly, I would advise them to avoid political thuggery and stay away from money politics. No one should collect money from any politician. I would also say to young Nigerians and to every Nigerian not to give up on this country a bad name, as I believe Nigeria would emerge one of the best countries on earth.
Countries occupying the top hierarchy went through worse or the same phases we are going through now. I want to believe that if we do our own bits as a people and play democracy as it should be played and stay away from corruption even as followers, this nation is going to rise from doldrums and debris of corruption and impoverishment and become a strong nation that our children would be happy to be born into.
No comments yet