By Alex Enebeli
Enugu, Dec. 1, 2023
Former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi and former Information Minister, Mr. Frank Nweke Jr., have urged Nigerian youths to take positive actions to actualize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
They noted that the action youths take today would help in actualising and achieving the United Nations SDGs in 2030.
They gave the advice during the “Shaping the Future Conference” organised by Boys Champion (BC) Foundation in Enugu.
The theme of the conference was “Accelerating Actions to Achieving Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria Through Entrepreneurship and Civic Engagement.”
Speaking at the event, Obi said that government must empower youths by providing necessary opportunities that would make them thrive.
The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 General Elections, also said that youths must stand up and question those that stole their future.
Obi said that few people held the youths to ransom and succeeded because young people pretended as if nothing was happening.
He advised them to hold their leaders accountable, noting that they continued to steal because youths allowed it and “no matter how you train a thief, he will remain a thief until the youth stand up and say no, and they will stop.”
Obi, whose speech was centred on “Inculcating Entrepreneurial Spirit in Youths,” said entrepreneurship was the future for the Nigerian youths, adding that government had to create entrepreneurs to achieve SDGs.
“What makes a society is the entrepreneurship and those countries that are doing well today is because their system invested on entrepreneurship.
“Businesses and services will boom but government must drive the process. Nigeria is not working because it is a consumption country instead of production.
“We cannot continue like this because all the money they are stealing and sharing belongs to your future and there must be a change,” Obi said.
He said that God gave Nigeria everything except leadership, adding that states like Kogi, Niger and Borno could turn around Nigeria if they engaged in production through entrepreneurship.
In a speech titled “Responsibility of Hope”, the former Minister of Information, Mr. Frank Nweke Jr, said youths must take responsibility by getting involved in the happenings around them.
He said, “The greatest skill is the shared responsibility.
“The action you take today will determine the responsibility of hope for tomorrow, if you give up on things happening around you, you will have yourselves to blame.”
Dr Innocent Kasarachi, a lecturer from the University of Port Harcourt and a motivational speaker, who took time to explain how he suffered before becoming what he was, said Nigerians only judge the container while leaving the content.
Kasarachi, who took pride in his disability, urged youths to discover whom they were and never allow anything to derail them.
“First, you must work on your mind, make positive decisions and stand on the right side. Select your areas of interest and do something. I believe that the needed change is coming,” he said.
Speaking also, founder of Boys Champion, Nelson Alumona, said the gathering was aimed at opening up a conversation on how far the country had gone in achieving SDGs and how far they had continued to make effort towards it.
According to him, the discussion became necessary as the world is very close to 2030 in achieving 2015 United Nations SDGs.
He added that right now, countries were half way into the 2030 agenda.
“We are trying to see how we can accelerate the achievement of SDGs by looking critically at entrepreneurship, being the driving force and those young leaders in communities who have taken civic action in their communities to solve global problems.
“We chose the likes of Peter Obi, Kasarachi, Nweke and others because of their pedigree and backgrounds given the theme of the conference.
He said, “Dr Kasarachi is working with young people at the University of Port Harcourt as a professor and has been moving round the world advocating total inclusion of people with disability.
“Somebody like Peter Obi is an entrepreneur that is known worldwide, while Frank Nweke is sitting on the board of a lot companies and Organisations and so are others,” he said.
Alumona explained that he initiated a ‘Change Mega Challenge’ in this year’s conference aimed at supporting youths who were taking entrepreneurial and civic actions in solving problems in their communities financially.
He said that they received 632 applications, which they narrowed to 13 and from the number six finalists were selected.
“Three winners will go home with N1 million each today.
“Our expectations after this conference is that participants will continue to accelerate actions to achieve SDGs through entrepreneurship and taken actions in their communities,” Alumona said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that BC is a non-profit organisation that leverages mentorship, sports, education, peace building and empathy to empower boys.