Thursday, April 09, 2009


Every young person who says, “I want to be like President Barack Obama”, most likely means that he or she wants to be audacious and bring about a resounding change against all odds. The name Barack Obama is now synonymous to change.

Barack Obama: Can it happen in Nigeria ? This was the question youths in Lagos sought to answer when they gathered at the Green Vanguard open discussion initiated by the Legacy Youths of The Latter Rain Assembly. Mr. Gbenga Sesan, Mr. Fela Durotoye and Mr. Dare Babarinsa were some of the selected Panelists to chair the event. One would have expected these renowned men to mount the podium and analyze the concept of change in professional terminology to incite the youths. But there was no such thing, and that in itself was a change, a paradigm shift from the norm.

“ Nigeria is not poor, we are only conscious of our poverty” said Babarinsa in his opening remark. And proceeded to encourage the youths to make conscious effort like an Army in securing the future. He pointed out that the three types of Army needed to enforce change include intellectuals, workers and educated Christians willing to participate in politics. Elucidating on the factors that contribute to ignorance in Nigeria , he pointed out that Lecturers give handouts instead of teaching and the students cram these handouts instead of researching. “A country where people do not think for themselves is doom!”

He encouraged the youths to break through the jinx of cultural dislocation and invest in themselves to be competent enough to effect the Obama kind of Change. “You are competing across the Continent, no more borders, start reading….” Mr. Babarinsa gave his take home assignment by asking them to start the change process by improving their knowledge in current affairs such as knowing who their local Government Chairman is. “Decide how you will become part of decision-makers in Nigeria to move things forward.” In a nutshell, the Obama kind of change is not one person standing on the pedestal and shouting for change but about self-development, keen interest and active participation.

Meanwhile, most young people who are obsessed with the “connection” syndrome were orientated on the need to build a Net worth instead of limiting themselves to having connections. “Connections and influence are two different things” said Fela Durotoye. “While connections points out who you know, Influence (net worth) points out who know you and is willing to do anything for you”. He urged the youths to stop being pursuers and begin to develop themselves into a sort after brand. Thus, the Obama kind of change is not about boasting of one's connections but the ability to influence others to make impact. After all, Obama had no connection, just a big dream and powerful influence. Gbenga Sesan, in his brief but refined presentation reminded the youths that change is not comfortable. “Are you willing to invest time in yourself?” Obama did!

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