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‘Youth have the numbers to make positive changes in this country’


Donald Duke (second left) speaking at the event.

The former governor of Cross River, Donald Duke, has urged Nigerians, especially young people, to play a pivotal role in leadership and governance. Mr. Duke made this call at the Nigeria Symposium for Young and Emerging Leaders, which was held recently at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The Symposium, which brought together leaders in politics, business, media, and more, discussed issues and challenges of open government and active citizenship in the country.

Duke, who was among speakers at the symposium themed ‘Open Governance: Improving Transparency and Accountability in Government’, observed that Nigerians behave like tenants in their country, thereby leaving older politicians and godfathers to take decisions on their behalf.


Speaking during the panel session titled ‘Office of the Citizen’, Mr. Duke said Nigerian youths need to get involved to make a difference while in the prime of their lives, or suffer the consequences of not making the right demands from their government.

“Godfatherism grows out of mentorship… They are there to set you on a path, but do not let them enslave you. Right now, Nigerian youths have the numbers to make positive changes in this country, and they should use it,” he said.

“There is a lot of contempt in government now because there are no consequences to wrong actions by the government. The failure in the country is the youths’ inability to aspire for better lives and situations for themselves. They behave like tenants in their own country.”

Speaking at the event, Rinsola Abiola, a youth advocate and media aide to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, urged Nigerian youth to make use of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill in requesting for information in order to make decisions.

Other speakers at the event include Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra; Deji Adeyanju, former PDP social media director; Demola Olarewaju, political strategist/analyst; Japheth Omojuwa, founder and chief strategist, Alpha Reach; Dayo Isreal, youth advocate; Arit Okpo, award-winning TV/Radio presenter; and Seun Okinbaloye, political correspondent, Channels TV.

The third edition of the Nigeria Symposium for Young and Emerging Leaders was powered by The Future Project, in partnership with National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Y!/


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