Increasing terror threats including the Boko Haram Menace and regular bomb-blast, Rising unemployment, Growing frustration amongst young people in Nigeria, epileptic power supply, bad roads, bad infrastructure, near collapse of the civil service, weak and non functional institutions, semi-functional post secondary institutions, half-baked graduates. If this is an essay on listing Nigeria’s myriad of problems, I would write a whole book without having to do much thinking.
Nigeria’s problems are well known, its solutions are few and those who are ready and determined to against all odds push through a new Nigeria are much fewer. I have big dreams about my role in a better Nigeria. The rosiest one is to follow the Okonjo-iweala part: build myself into a globally respected and highly sought after professional and get a please-do-not-turn-down request from the president of Nigeria to come back home and serve. While I nurse this dream, I have realized that creating a better Nigeria is an everyday effort best lived in my personal contribution on a daily basis.
My work in the last 6 years have centered around engaging governments in shaping policies that affect young people in Nigeria and internationally. I was deeply involved in developing the last National Youth Policy and I teamed up with 2 other colleagues in organizing free consultations and focus group discussions for Government to gather input into the policy. I also served as a member of the Youth Special Interest Group for the Vision2020 process where I worked with other young persons to draft the youth component of Nigeria’s vision2020 policy. My current attempt at shaping policy is a project I and my colleagues at Digital Peers International conceptualized, with funding from the World Bank to lead a process of collating inputs into the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) reforms process in Nigeria.
Beyond policy work, I get my hands dirty with my involvement in programs that build capacities of young people in different aspects especially around ICTs, life-skills, education and personal development and providing hope and inspiration for a better future. One of such programs is DIGITEST, an annual ICT camp for children and young people in Nigeria, now the largest of such camps in Africa.
In summary, my role in building a better Nigeria involves a conscious effort to being a better person, continuous advocacy for policy reforms especially ones affecting youth, involvement in on-the-ground project to show examples of what can be done to improve and empower youth in Nigeria and lastly, living a life that can be emulated as an example of an ideal Nigerian.
A new Nigeria is possible, we can, we would, we must!
Rotimi Olawale, co-founder of youthhubafrica.org is a youth development expert. For more than six years he has been involved in leading youth advocacy efforts mainly around the Millennium Development Goals. In 2006, he represented Nigeria as a youth ambassador at the United Nations Global Youth Leadership Summit held at the UN Headquarters in New York. Rotimi has held several global leadership positions including; member, UNFPA Global Youth Advisory Panel for 2 years; member, African Youth Panel. Rotimi is currently involved in shaping local, national and global policies to benefit youth and also leverage opportunities for young people. He was listed by the Nigerian government as one of 15 Nigerian youth on the world stage in 2008.
Latest posts by rotimi (see all)
- APPLY: Plural+ Youth Video Contest - April 7, 2016
- APPLY:UNESCO Poland Co-Sponsored Fellowships Program 2016 - April 7, 2016
- APPLY: Internet.org Innovation Challenge in Africa - April 6, 2016