A member of the House of Representatives representing Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola/Iwajowa Federal Constituency in Oyo State, Hon. Shina Peller, was yesterday honoured in Ethiopia with Distinguished Personality Award by the Jet Age Nation Builders.
Hon. Peller, who was honoured in Addis-Ababa alongside other prominent African personalities like Dr. Akinwunmi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, H.E Kiwutha Kibwana, Governor Makieni County (Kenya), Dr. Abdul B. Kamara (Ethiopia), Country Manager, African Development Bank, Ms. Aya Chebbi, African Union Special Convoy on Youth (Tunisia) and others, also delivered a paper on a topic – Defining Africa’s Future.
While delivering his paper, Hon. Peller emphasized on the pivotal roles of the youth in building and consolidating on sustainable and transformational legacies for African continent, and added that in achieving this, African youths must be ready to deviate from all manners of entitlement to meaningful engagement.
Similarly, the Iseyin-born federal legislator stated that youths are very vital to the survival and progress of Africa in all aspects and urged them to get involved in political processes by joining political parties to enable them have largest stake in governance.
Parts of his speech read:
“We are all familiar with the indices showing Africa’s enormous natural and human resources, though it presents a promise that is yet to be fulfilled. Regardless of these endowments, there are numerous challenges to positioning Africa in its rightful place, some of which include leadership, racism, xenophobia, institutional corruption etc.
“These socio-cultural elements have contributed to the slow turn of the African wheel of progress within and across her regions, requiring a rethink in our approach to governance and the outcomes which cascade from it. Due to this critical nature of government to nationhood and nation building, we must then guide and guard principles of leadership at all levels, as well as the dynamics of politics and politicking. This is because the effects of these activities have real and sometimes unexpected results. This underscores the importance of viable political participation and engagement by society’s most dominant groups.
“Youth therefore, holding the greater percentage of our population, are critical to the survival and progress of the African continent in all respects. Even the seeming “inexperience” of the youth provides an opportunity to free oneself from the boundaries of previous thinking in the pursuit of the future, charted by those with imagination, courage and relevant knowledge.
“This pivotal position requires a focus on the strategic importance of our “youth constituency” to build and consolidate on legacies that are sustainable and transformational. It then means that African Youths must deviate from all manners of entitlement to meaningful engagement.
“If you do not take anything away from what has been said here today, please note this down: As young Africans, joining a political party should be your top priority. And I will advise that you join the big political parties. I say this because power is not served a la carte. Yes, we are young people but that in itself is not a criterion to become a leader. We have to get involved in political processes. With our numbers, we should have the largest stake in governance.
“According to the African Leadership Institute report, we possess an abundance of Young African Leaders but no Seat at the Table. Approximately 700,000 young Africans have already been exposed to some form of selective leadership initiative. What we should focus on is how we can tap into this pool of creative young leaders.
“I say all this to make a simple but critical point: Whenever young people assume the position of influence, we should focus on building strong institutions for accountability, sustainability and educate people about the importance of broad engagements for success.”
Hon. Peller is the Chairman, Board of Trustees of Lead Generation Initiative (LGI), a non-governmental, non-partisan and non-profit organization committed to creating opportunities for young Africans to channel their creativity, energy and the aspirations to adding values to their countries right from their immediate communities. The organization develops the interest of youth in governance, social inclusion and participation in the democratic and development process of their countries.