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Generation Voices a.k.a. GenVoices

Over the next 14 months, our country will witness a lot of activities in its political climate. Ostensibly, the 2015 general elections and the ambitions of politicians will drive most of the activities. It is perhaps one of the reasons nation’s prophets have told us at the beginning of the year that 2014 will either make or mar Nigeria. Of course, it is not something to be dismissed; we have seen several handwritings on the walls already, especially in Rivers State and most recently in Ogun State. I know that it is only a matter of days, before Kwara State will implode and the real flashpoint states will emerge before October, if history is there to guide us. But that certainly is not the focus for today. I am enamored of the event that happened over the weekend. As I watched the live coverage of Generation Voices event last Saturday on Channels Television and the inspirations offered by those behind it, my courage returned to me. In recent times I have been thinking a lot about how many young leaders in this country have misled their followers. I have given thought to how the voices of a few compromised young people have drowned the voices of the genuine ones.

So my message to the young people across the country on twitter on the first day of this year was instructive. I twitted the following messages from my twitter [email protected] Adeola_Akinremi: “Young people everywhere must be determined to make Nigeria great in 2014. A morsel of bread from the politicians won’t make it happen. We must respond to issues with a deep sense of patriotism in 2014, if Nigeria must go forward. Those young people who will play hide and seek game will not help the course of our country in 2014. We trust that young people everywhere in the country will live up to expectations in 2014.”

I have become concerned because as the pace of political maneuvers has picked up in the country I began to look out for how young people will respond. Will they compromise or stick to those principles that make a nation great? Those core values that include generousity, selflessness, idealism, courage, compassion, unity, enterprise, spirituality and many more, which have now been compromised. True, in the past year we have seen a lot of compromises coming from young people who helped terrible politicians win elections. Yes, that demography cannot be ignored anymore in our polity, but when young people take advantage of it to compromise based on promises for positions and funding of projects by these politicians they are negotiating the future of the country away and we cannot turn around to blame those terrible politicians for not doing anything to build Nigeria.

During the 2011 elections, a lot of youth groups and projects sprang up in the country, just for the purpose of courting the attention of politicians for personal gains. I know a few of those behind them personally and they will even tell me ‘we are entrepreneurs.’ Unfortunately for others who are in the same congregation with them without that knowledge, they were just in a civil rights movement. I was privileged to know how much money some ‘youth leaders’ got into their accounts through this means and how after the elections those organisations died natural death. “The projects have accomplished their purpose,” they would say.

And now with the trend in social media activities, you can imagine what will happen as 2015 approaches. Take no thought for the time and day when that will happen. We are beginning to see that appearances of evil already. Just look at Rivers State.

Now, over the past several years, I have had innumerable discussions about great leaders and the qualities that make them singularly qualified to be at the helm. I’ve had these discussions with colleagues, academics, mentors, friends and family throughout the world. All of these treasured experiences have shaped and influenced my own convictions about leadership. I’ve had time to reflect on my childhood, growing up in Ogun State where I was born and raised for three decades and a few years that I’ve lived in Nigeria, during which I have had the privilege and honour to travel to nearly 60 countries in the world. I have met and learned from so many accomplished and gifted individuals to understand that we, the young people are the answer to this country, because in part we are the problem.

So when I heard that a group of young Nigerians have started a movement that seeks to ensure that Nigerians under the age of 40 who make up a large percentage of the Nigerian population take over the leadership of the country, I was encouraged. I took more time to research about them, where they are from and how they will achieve their mission and what I found showed a group with genuine interest. Although, I must say that I found a few names in the fold that I personally have reservations for based on their past activities, but change they say is a constant thing.

I must say that I found the speech made by Ambassador Christopher Kolade very inspiring during the Generational Voices Telethon held in Lagos. Kolade encouraged young people to stand up and not be compromised. He charged them to go forward and take over. He said it so simply, “You, young people don’t know how to appreciate your own capacity in this nation, you allow yourselves to be led into thinking that if you are going to make it, someone has to let you in. Nobody who is sitting in a position of influence today is going to let you do it.The power of transformation is vested in your palms, and the young people are the generation for transformation.” Oh! What a charge. I hope that sinks.

And of course for me, the speech that came next was that of the Convener, Kola Oyeneyin who built on the words of late Nelson Mandela to help moved young people to action during that Telethon . “We are gathered today for one reason only and that is change. A new Nigeria begins today. Today is the day that Nigeria has been expecting; for it has fallen upon a generation to be great and you are that generation. No single man is responsible for where Nigeria is today, we all are as a collective. And we know, that if Nigeria works, Africa will work.”
I have also had a look into the charter of Generation Voices to also understand the development plan of the group and I can immediately say there is that need to strengthen some areas of the policy document, perhaps it is the reason they call it draft document, a phrase I am familiar with in my days in Geneva.

And while I share in the vision of Generation Voices, a group that has been described as non-partisan, I do hope there is no Daniel Kanu somewhere getting ready to convene ‘Good Generation Voices.’ Those who were old enough during the Abacha days will understand. Best wishes, Generation Voices!

Source: Thisday Live

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