From Taiwo Oluwadare, Ibadan
Students of University of Ibadan have inaugurated a platform called ‘Building Nation Initiative’, as a common front to involve youths in political affairs in the society.
The launch of the platform was also to commemorate 8th years of existence of the group, Building Nations Initiative (BNI) and to commissioned her pioneer Community Youth Centre at the University.
BNI is a youth-led, youth work and community development organisation that is committed to strengthening communities through the education, empowerment and engagement of young people as change agents in their respective communities.
Established in 2009 as a students’ association at the University of Ibadan, BNI later restructured into a youth-led association of young development practitioners that are committed to empowering young people as nation builders.
While giving her Opening address, the Dean Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan, Prof. Oluwatoyin Odeku commends BNI youth work and community development activities especially the establishment of a Youth Centre. She encouraged the leadership of BNI to document their activities and success stories from the values education and skills development programs to be offered at the Centre.
According to her: “Youths are the future of our nation and therefore, the initiative is a way forward of developing virtuous leaders of tomorrow. Because when youths are positively engaged, they will be able to contribute well to the nation building.
“Therefore, the initiative is a good common front to launch the youths to politics through leadership training offered by the group to make youths to be better empowered and ready to take over from the present aged politicians in power”, she stated.
Mr. Bayo Adeyinka, SouthWest Regional Manager for Fidelity Bank who was the Keynote Speaker at the event said in his keynote address titled: ‘You don’t need too much salt to cook a bag of rice’ that ‘not all Nigerians will rise up to the responsibility of building a better Nigeria, however the few that God has placed the passion on their heart will definitely bring the purpose into fruition.
While introducing the Centre, the President/CEO of BNI, Pharm John Oluwadero explained that the community youth centre named Nation Builders Centre is envisioned to be a values learning and skills development platform for young people with the ultimate goal of raising responsible young leaders that will be the builder of a better society.
Oluwadero added that the group was inaugurated to save youths from the perpetual denial of right to position of authority.
He added that the group which is also commissioning Nation Builders’ Centre was established to create a platform for positive engagement of youths in the society.
According to him, the platform will expose youths to learning opportunities and ensuring them to have sustainable livelihoods that will make them contribute to value in education and provide means for them to be actively involved with the society.
Oluwadero who observed that unemployment is not the youths’ problem but unengagement observed that, trainings available in the centre will eschew youths from illegitimate activities and make them positively engaged and productive in the society.
He said: “that is why this platform is inaugurated to make sure youths have access to learning opportunities to make them productive and have better future.
“This is our eight years of existence when we started as a group called ‘Better Nigeria Initiative’. But we realized we need to reorganize into a proper youth organization, a reason we restructure into the new name, ‘Building Nation Initiative’.
“We are presently extending our presence to other countries by affiliating with international partners like Commonwealth Youth Council and United Nation’s youth group.
“Actually part of our aim is to produce formidable leaders for political positions but our orientation is majorly on good governance not just politics. We are concerned with what impacts they are going to make with the position of authority and this is a reason we prepare them ahead of whatever position they want to occupy in the future”, Oluwadero said.
In his Commendation Speech, the Chair, BNI Board of Trustees Mr. Tolulope Adebayo promised that BNI shall harness the Centre as a platform for creating opportunities for creative citizenship and youth civic engagement, while ensuring that the best of our national values are transmitted across generations.
The Commissioning event also featured the launch of two Commencement programs at the centre which are the Nation Builders Teens Club and Certificate Program in Language for Humanitarian Diplomacy (LAHD).
The Commissioning of the Youth Centre also received commendation from other Youth organisations such as Commonwealth Youth Council, The Nigerian Youth Parliament, West Africa Youth Exchange Council and YoungBreeds Foundation.
Other dignitaries at the event are the Sub Dean Students’ Affairs at UNIOSUN Dr. Ebenezer Ajayi; One President of the University of Ibadan Students’ Union Mr. Tokunbo Salako, and 53 young people that attended the event.