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‘Young people must keep innovating, changing the narrative’

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Daniel Ogoloma

Daniel Ogoloma is a 24-year-old passionate and innovative young man, who is on a mission to re-engineer society and change the narrative for young people globally. With over five years of experience as a community leader and advocate for good governance in South and North London, he has become renowned for his ability to change the destinies of many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, making them social mobile and strong contributors to their society as a whole.

He recently gained admission to Oxford University to study Anthropology and relishes the opportunity to study mankind, cultures, and society in depth. Daniel is also an entrepreneur and runs a PR company based in London with a focus on building and representing business brands and individuals in the public space.

In this interview with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA, he spoke about his desire to see young people lead to social change in Nigeria.

One of your major aims is to connect Nigeria and London with individuals interested in entrenching representative politics, how do you intend to achieve that?
First of all, we start with interfacing with both systems and leaders, working with existing change agents already working towards this goal. Creating initiatives that showcase, expose the brightest Nigerian talents across both nations. I recently gained an unconditional offer to study at Oxford University, so, I will definitely be using that platform to further push this agenda.

With a lot of youth-led movements against repressive governments springing up, how effective do you think they have been in encouraging youths participation in governance?
I think young Nigerians are trying as hard as they can to participate and change the narrative. The likes of Adebola Williams, Bukunyi Olagbegi and many other new thinkers in Nigeria have not just created national change, but are also making global impact. But Nigeria will always have an issue; that issue is who can bring out the most cash needed to run for political office. Not Too Young To Run is great, but young Nigerians are just too poor to run, so, they end up submitting to a Godfather that ends up turning new thinkers into puppets. Nigeria needs a constitutional change and a wipeout of its current gerontocracy; Nigeria needs merit-based leadership.

What should young people be doing differently?
They must keep innovating, creating change and changing the narrative. However, I urge all young Nigerians to not just bark without any teeth; they must be qualified, they must have or be creating a credible track record for themselves to contend when the time is right.

What are you currently involved with?
Since millennials live in an age unique to them in a number of ways, from the explosion of the information super way – the internet – and its attendant benefits and pitfalls to widening economic inequality and the real-time effects of climate change, this is a generation that demands answers and accountability of its leaders and are vocal about it than others. Hence, for former Minister and Conservative MP Rory Stewart, an Eton College and Oxford University-educated British politician, he’s the one per cent elite class of this world; he’s been a conservative MP for years, Minister of International Development and Minister for Prisons. He contested for Prime Minister, but it didn’t quite work out, so, he’s now running for Mayor of London. London is the most multicultural city in the world. So, Rory must be relatable, he must listen and learn so he’s able to create solutions for London. That’s where I come in with a wealth of experience and knowledge of London as a community leader over the last six years, to take him into communities that he would never understand and bridge the gap for him to reach the unreachable and the unconventional voters. I have been campaigning across London via the #LondonSpeaks initiative, asking Londoners key questions and discovering new issues people face in the capital.

What drives you especially as a political maverick?
I grew up in a single-parent home as the youngest of five kids in lambeth and it was tough. I could see how my life would have turned out if not for mentorship at a young age. For the past five years, I have worked tirelessly to change the lives of hundreds of young Londoners growing up in pain, poverty, and obscurity; seeing lives change is what drives me. When I see a young man, who society dubs a misfit end up in a top bank, as a budding entrepreneur or fighting for a political office, it keeps me going. It reassures me that we don’t need politicians, we need leaders, who are shepherds; leaders that are willing to sacrifice for the lives of others.

How can young people drive the desired change in the political space?
Young people need to be actively involved in politics. Join a party or join hands with fellow youths to create a movement and continuously create platforms that cannot be ignored. There’s nothing more powerful than a committed group of people with an agenda for change.


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