Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Guest columnist: Youth forum still in progress!

When Lady Jenny, a good, patriotic YOUNG Nigerian sent me a text to ask of my interest to be guest columnist on her page for 2 weeks. I was like waoh! What a privilege to write about the progress of Nigerian Youth E-Forum on the pages of newspaper known for truth in defense of freedom. “The Nation... the Nigerian youth newspaper.”

Last week on this page you read about the introduction of NYF (Nigerian Youth E – Forum) initiated by Youngstars Foundation, since the E-Forum started, to date over 500 Nigerian youth have registered contributed to 6 out of point agent to transform Nigeria and 460 total post as at (February 18) on Topics for discussion.

We shall examine week 1 & 2 report of contributions. NYF began in earnest with the 2 core topics for week 1 which was power & Energy and Food security both received a total 101 contributions and week 2 Transport and wealth creation with 160 contributions respectively. Nigerian youths raised concerns over power & Energy which includes Misappropriation of fund in the sector and increases the rate of unemployment among youth due to power instability. Their suggestions ranging from improved accountability and transparency management to progressive technocrats.

On Food security, the concern was by global definition, Nigeria is yet to attain food sufficiency despite availability of large available land. Their main suggestion that if considering agriculture will bring opportunities to young people, in Nigeria, then why not translate the NYSC scheme into an agricultural and entrepreneurship program for young graduates wholly the land is green!

On transport and wealth creation, youth argued that an educational curriculum that promotes “white collar” job should be discouraged while on transport youths concerns was absence of civil society organization, vandalization of road networks by communication companies and over dependences on road transportation against other transport system.

Their suggestions respectively on transport and wealth creation were; general reform in the transport sector on monitoring and evaluation on road construction vis-à-vis standard organization of Nigeria, while on wealth creation, a youth bank or fund for building entrepreneurs with collateral free. NAPEP and SMEDAN among other wealth creation agencies should introduce a quality standard curriculum and conduct intergenerational catalogues for young people.

Indeed young citizens of Nigeria understand how best to contribute to national issues and effective youth development. At the end of the youth E-forum a stakeholder meeting involving youth from all states of Nigeria will convene in Abuja to continue the process of engagement.

Nigeria Youth Forum is situating young people in policy and good governance. Someone has to listen to us!

Mayowa Adeniran
Guest Columnist

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The 7-point Agenda to Transform Nigeria…

“Are you young? Are you Nigerian? Do Government policies affect you? Everyday provides ample opportunities to add value to our lives and the society for development and positive change”, this is one of the values which Youngstars Foundation thrives on to continually initiate programmes to engage young Nigerians positively. One of such programme is The Nigerian Youth E-forum which is designed to provide a nationwide platform for young people to understand government policies and articulate youths to engage effectively in policy making processes and good governance.
When I first got an online invitation to participate in the on-going debate on the 7-point agenda of President Yar’Adua, I literarily deleted it from my inbox because I mistook it for one of those “talk and waka pass” discussion forum (there are too many of them I must confess!). The E-forum has indeed proven to be different overtime, with about 100 members registering at the end of the first day (January 28th). The forum hopefully will run for 4 weeks to popularize the 7-point agenda of the present administration among young citizens who need to understand how best to influence policy makers towards more effective youth development.
The Agenda points:
1. Power and Energy.
2. Food Security and Agriculture
3. Wealth Creation and Employment
4. Mass Transportation
5. Land Reform
6. Security
7. Qualitative and Functional Education
Indeed, the 7-point agenda is not another acronym for political mediocrity, it is a set blue print of what the present government hopes to achieve during its tenure and beyond. It is their believe that the implementation of this 7-point agenda will help catapult Nigeria to become one of the 20 biggest economies by the year 2020. Do you support this Vision or do you believe it is a mere fallacy? How are young people being integrated into the process of its achievement? Since it is all about the future, is the “future” being carried along?
Whether you are a youth activist looking for an intellectual exercise, a policy maker or a young person just being but seeking to belong and make a change, a pedestal has been created on the E-forum for like-minded youths passionately strategizing to protect the future of Nigerian Youths! is the website that will give you a more elaborate account of how you can participate- find your space, take a stand, speak out and be heard- they are listening!

You too can Discount Nigeria!

Why do people often insinuate that students are one of the richest group of people in the society, when in actual fact most students suffer acute panic attack while putting one and one together to get an eleven, in a country where inflation is a norm? “Na students dey get money now o” a sales-woman once exclaimed to my chagrin when I tried bargaining/asking for a discount on the basis of being a student.

Since when has students who rely solely on their parents for survival become money-making machines? Well that is what most traders claim especially when they do not want to give a discount! Yes! Getting a good bargain on the premises of being a student use to be so difficult until International Student Identity Card (ISIC) stormed Nigeria!

If you have never heard about ISIC, it is with great pleasure that I announce the introduction of a world-wide recognized student identity card that officially allows students get a guilt-free, embarrassment-free and stress-free discount in Nigeria. Phew! Why did it take us so long to learn about ISIC's existence in Nigeria?

Well, the international student card is a unique identity card that has been in existence with the aim of rescuing us from exorbitant prices of goods! It allows students all over the world enjoy certain benefits both locally and internationally. Doesn't that sound very cool? The card allows students get good discounts on travel tickets, fast-food, stores, boutiques etc. It is a win-win deal for both parties. For instance, a store that recognizes ISIC holders will definitely attract their friends and parents who are not ISIC holders, thus increasing their patronage and loyalty.

Since the card is just gaining ground in Nigeria, do not be surprise if it sounds alien to some people. Thus, there is need for all students (awoof lovers or not) to maximize the opportunity by embracing the culture so as to make the trend more popular. However, some organizations already giving discount in Nigeria includes Virgin Nigeria Airways, British Airways, Emirate Airlines, Bellview Airlines, Silverbird Cinema, City Mall Cinema, Ground Air Travel, Alpha Christian bookshop and many others who are equally committed to make life easy and less expensive for students! Indeed we can now agree that “na students dey enjoy now o!” for more details, visit your nearest student travel center or click on

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Goof

Being young strengthens you and causes the energy to burst forth in you but being young also makes you feel invisible especially when you flunk or do not meet up to a certain set standard. Every now and then, we all get a bit of that failure in big or small packages at different levels of our lives. Failure does not respect anyone, irrespective of how intelligent one is, if you are not conscientious and fail to apply yourself appropriately, failure is inevitable.
Barrack Obama , US senator, who is passionately flagging the Democratic Presidential hopeful, during one of his campaign visits to Manchester Central High School, revealed that some aspect of his life as a youngster did not actually turn out to be a straight “T” as most people will like to think. “You know, I made some bad decisions that I’ve actually written about…I got into drinking, I experimented with drugs” he said. “There was a whole stretch of time that I didn’t really apply myself a lot!” Even though he did well in school, it was not until he got out that he realized he has wasted a lot of time on frivolities.
Well, that was the youth in Senator Obama in retrospect. How about you? Are you ready to give up on the “Goofer dust” (Cocaine) or will you rather give up your dreams? Maybe, the drug thing is not an issue for you but other weaknesses in academics, relationship with parents/peers or achieving your set goals, it does not matter how far you have failed, learning from that experience and focusing on your strengths is a positive way of expressing yourself. It is easy to sometimes think there is still time because we are young, however, goofing around now will only fill us with later regrets.
Many adults look at today’s young person with admiration/envy because we have a lot of things at our disposal that they never had at our age- technology advancement, good education etc. However, they also cringe in disgust each time they see a youth wasting such opportunities that would have improved their lives in many ways than one! At this juncture, I will like to implore every adult out there not to write-off any young person for goofing around, perhaps it is because he or she does not know better. It will be great if there is a better youth-adult relationship in our society to facilitate an effective mentoring structure that will guide us youths from wasting away and make positive contributions now and in the future- after all, Sen. Obama turned out better than some expected.