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Stakeholders Trace Nigeria’s Leadership, Youth Empowerment Crisis To Effects Of Colonialism At Advocate Newspaper’s 10th Anniversary

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Stakeholders and experts at the event held, on Wednesday





Experts and stakeholders have traced the flaws in Nigeria’s leadership recruitment and empowerment processes to the enduring effects of colonialism, entrenched political interests, and limited opportunities as major culprits.

This came to the fore at the Advocate Newspaper 10th anniversary public lecture series with the theme “Youth Empowerment and Leadership Evolution: Rethinking Nigeria’s Leadership Recruitment Process” held in Ughelli, Delta State.

Speakers upon speakers at the well attended event, maintained that leadership is not solely determined by birth, but also by the mindset characterized by vitality, creativity, innovation, and a relentless pursuit of progress.

Delivering the keynote address, Professor Enajite Ojaruega, an erudite scholar and Professor of African Literature at Delta State University, laid emphasis on the leadership problem bedeviling the wheel of progress in the country, stressing that it is a fusion of both inherent traits and external influences.

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She said, “Leadership as we perceive it is a fusion of nature and nurture. Some leaders are born, some are made.”

She also stressed the importance of youthfulness of mind, stating, “Rather, we should look at the essence of youth as transcending mere numerical boundaries, to embody a state of mind characterized by vitality, creativity, innovation, and a relentless pursuit of progress.”

Professor Ojaruega, drew attention to the untapped potential of Nigeria’s youth population, pointing out the obstacles of disempowerment, marginalization, and lack of opportunities that hinder their contribution to society.

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She expressed, “Under optimal circumstances, the composition of the country’s population should ordinarily hint at a wealth of untapped potential awaiting harnessing for groundbreaking and expansive endeavors.”

Panelists at the event

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Analysing the flaws in Nigeria’s leadership recruitment and empowerment processes, Professor Ojaruega identified the enduring effects of colonialism, entrenched political interests, and limited opportunities as major culprits.

She said, “This foundational failure of Nigeria’s leadership recruitment processes has led to social stratification, alienation, and marginalization, particularly among the youth.”

Discussing the lecture topic, Edewor Egedegbe, a prominent social commentator, stressed the need to distribute blame equally among the youth, leadership, and society.

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He remarked, “We should share the blame equally. Equally.” Egedegbe further highlighted the value drift in society as a root cause of the problem, stating, “For me, that’s the beginning of the problem. When people do not give up, they don’t give up. They give room for excellence. We now thrive in mediocrity. This is what you get.”

Egedegbe, urged the youth to change their approach and not rely solely on public sector participation, maintaining the need to empower the mind through programs like attending leadership school.

Dr. Harvey Igben, another panelist and removed economist, stressed the importance of collaboration between the private sector and the government to enable policies and their effective implementation.

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He stated, “The contribution must come from both the private sector and the government. But enabling the environment for the private sector to be able to do whatever it takes to do whatever it has to do.”

Dr. Igben also raised concerns about the reward system and policy implementation in Nigeria, questioning the extent of transformation that takes place within correctional institutions.

Speaking in the same vein, Ejiro Etaoghene Eqs., another discussant, echoed the sentiment of self-empowerment and emphasized the need for youth to take initiative.

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He encouraged youths to read and acquire knowledge, stating, “Don’t wait to be empowered. Empower yourself. Go and read books”.

Others who spoke at the event include, Senator Ede Dafinone, representing the Delta Central Senatorial District, represented by his Chief of Staff, Chief Adelabu Bodjor, Olorogun Fred Majemite, a renowned lawyer and former Commissioner in Delta State, Sir Elvis Oharisi, a prominent businessman, former Guardian’s newspaper Editor, Abraham Ogbodo who moderated the discussion among others.

In his remarks, Shedrack Onitsha, the Chief Executive Officer of Advocate Publications Limited, expressed gratitude for the challenging yet rewarding journey of the past decade.

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He acknowledged the support received from friends and associates, and highlighted the platform provided by the Advocate Newspaper to nurture young journalists who have now become renowned names in the field and announced plans for rebranding and enhancing their activities to make a more robust and engaging contribution to Nigeria and Africa.

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