It’s Time Nigerian Youths Came Together to Say No to Activities that Give Rise to Disunity -Princess Gloria Akobundu, NEPAD Nigeria CEO

Nigerian youths have been called upon to shun all actions and activities that tend to create division among the citizenry and to channel their energy into partnerships that will grow the Nigerian economy, deepen democracy and contribute to all-round development of the country in order to build upon the foundation laid by Nigerian founding fathers.

The National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer, NEPAD Nigeria, Princess Gloria Akobundu, made the call, Wednesday, in Abuja when members of the Northern Youths Initiative for Peace and Good Governance (NYPGG) converged on her office to confer on her the Sir Ahmadu Bello Platinum Leadership Award as ‘‘Icon of Hope to the Nigerian Youth’’.

Princess Akobundu, who extolled the virtues of the Nigerian youth as models and shining examples of wisdom, strength and creativity in Africa, also used the occasion to challenge the nation’s youth from the different parts of the country to bind themselves together and demonstrate to our leaders and the entire world that they have come of age and are, therefore, ready to take over the baton of leadership from the elders. While stressing that it was time youths came together to say no to things that divide the nation and invest time and energy in things that unite us, the NEPAD Nigeria CEO added that no nation of the world can afford to place its future in the hands of youths that sow seeds of disunity among the populace or those whose actions show that they are ill-prepared to lead.

Earlier, while presenting Princess Akobundu with an award of excellence in service to the country and to humanity, Vice President (Strategy and Documentation) of the Northern Youths Initiative for Peace and Good Governance (NYPGG), Hon. Ahmed Ibrahim lauded the private and public service credentials of the awardee, who, he described as a ‘‘socio- economic engine-house for nation-building and a bank of ideas’’ that has proven her mettle as a performer within the short period of time that she has spent in NEPAD Nigeria. While explaining that the award was in recognition of the many feats she has achieved, especially, in the areas of youth and women empowerment, gender activities and peace-building

initiatives even as a private Nigerian entrepreneur, Comrade Ibrahim added that, by the award, the NEPAD Nigeria boss has been adopted into the Group’s Hall of Fame.

Appreciating the award, Princess Akobundu said it was a call for greater service to her fatherland and to humanity in general. She also informed her guests that she was dedicating the award to the staff and Management of NEPAD Nigeria, who she said, had given her the necessary support to succeed at the Agency. She, also, used the occasion to call on members of the youth Organisation to be ambassadors of NEPAD in the area of peace-building through public advocacy, while enjoining them to use their wide contacts and knowledge to ensure that the high budget on security by the Buhari Administration was reduced and converted to youth empowerment spending in the next federal budget.

Concluding, the NEPAD Nigeria boss again informed the Group of the progresses her Agency has, in line with the pro-people vision of the Buhari Administration, achieved since she took over at NEPAD Nigeria. Some of the projects and programmes, the CEO said includes: The Trans Sahara Gas Pipeline that aims to generate more gas revenue for Nigeria and provide more employment opportunities for the youths; Skills Initiative for Africa, a German Government initiative to develop the potential and empower African youths; the Agro-Green Hub that will harness farming and achieve quality produce from across different States of the Federation; the African Indigenous Trade Fair; Smart Agriculture and Climate Change among many others.

The occasion ended with a plea by the NEPAD Nigeria CEO to the youths to leverage on the result-yielding fight against corruption of the Buhari Administration to cue into the programmes lined up for the youths by the Government. A Memorandum for Partnership and Collaboration between NEPAD Nigeria and the Northern Youth Initiative for Peace and Good Governance was also initiated at the event.

Nkem Anyata-Lafia

NEPAD, Nigeria

July 27, 2017.