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Abdulazeez Olayinka Oniyangi who is also one of the leading Kwara gubernatorial aspirant in a lecture delivered at the first edition Ilorin Emirate Youth Submit organized by Ilorin Emirates Students Union University of Ilorin talks about Leadership and youth development of Ilorin Emirates.

Here is the lecture;


Distinguished, ladies and gentlemen, it is a pleasure to join you for this year’s Ilorin Emirate Students Union Summit. Let me thank you all for inviting me to this important event.

Standing here in front of so many young citizens from Ilorin, I truly feel the positive energy and spirit of optimism in this auditorium. And we will need your youthful energy, creativity and passion to set the Emirates on course to a more sustainable future.

We live in troubled times

Violent conflict, Poverty, Cultism, political polarization, economic inequality, and many other challenges are testing our state and our societies. Looming above all of this is Insecurity, an existential threat for humanity. Finding solutions to these complex global problems is the difficult inheritance we have been left with. But I remain optimistic about the future.

Today, we have the largest global youth population in history and the large majority of young people around the world are committed to peace, sustainable development, and human rights. Throughout my career, I met with numerous youth groups, students associations, and young leaders, and their talent, knowledge, and ambition to create a better world have always struck me. With new forms of technology and interaction, your generation is also more open, cosmopolitan, and connected than any previous generation. For these reasons, I am confident that you will be able to do what older generation has not been able to accomplish.

So allow me to share with you a few thoughts on how your skills and energy can help make the world a better place

First, I believe that we need your active engagement around peace, reconciliation and human rights. Across the world, armed conflicts rage, killing thousands, displacing millions, and challenging our collective conscience. Conflict robs people of their lives and tears apart entire societies. Young people are particularly vulnerable and are disproportionately affected by violence and conflict. They are caught up in and victimized by violence as child soldiers, gang members or as refugees or migrants. Yet young people are also among the most determined peacemakers. You realize that we are all in the same boat and that you cannot have peace, nor prosper, at the expense of ‘the other’. You understand that peace building is conflict prevention and that reconciling grievances is an investment in your future. You have an array of tools such as social media that help you shine a light on human rights abuses and help bring justice to the victims.

Second, I encourage you to stand up for a more equal and just society that provides opportunity and prosperity for all of us. While globalization has created unprecedented wealth, inequalities have also grown tremendously. In the developed and developing world, polarization and fragmentation in society are rising while trust in institutions is eroding. As the first truly global generation, you know better than anyone that cultural, religious and ethnic diversity can be a source of strength, rather than a source of division. Your generation is my hope. You speak out against injustice, poverty, extremism and bad leadership.

We also have to remove the barriers to quality education, multiple forms of discrimination, and limited employment prospects of young women and men. Policy-makers have to provide opportunities for youth to participate in decision-making processes and in political life in general.

Third, Civil society and youth movements are at the forefront of creating a more sustainable future. They are launching worldwide campaigns for justice and putting pressure on businesses and governments to meet their responsibilities.

My dear friends, I am confident that positive change is possible if we act together and act now. The problems we face are global but they demand local solutions as well as international cooperation. The initiatives you undertake in your own community, from the classroom to the family dinner table, are indispensable.

Background and context: Addressing new challenges facing young people

Young people today are growing up with ideals, expectations, ambitions and talents, which are unprecedented, driven by new technology, affluence and globalization. However, young people face new kinds of social challenges in a more complex world – a world that is more diverse, with increased pressures on families, greater caring responsibilities (including for the young), more intense pressure from markets, and employability and skills challenges. It is also a time when millions of young people are aware as never before of the scale of the leadership challenges we now face at a global scale.

Many of these challenges and pressures are predicted to increase in scale and intensity as a consequence of the economic downturn. For our state to succeed, we need to invest in young people’s skills and capabilities to act as powerful advocates and agents of change to help society meet these challenges.

Yet, in many communities, talent continues to go to waste: thousands of young people face acute difficulties in making the transition to adulthood, and public perceptions of young people can often be negative, reinforced by unfavorable media portrayals, with young people often being perceived as part of the problem rather than the solution and, at worst, viewed with fear and suspicion.

Understanding what kinds of activities and programs can inspire, motivate and mobilize a new generation of young people to engage in the democratic process and contribute to their community is vital to sustaining a healthy democracy.

Educational qualifications tend now to be the most important determinant of attainment later in life, while the role of judgment and life experience are nowadays given less weight relative to paper qualifications and professionalism. Party politics, aligned as it is to this set of values, has ceased to engage a broad range of young people in its activities, and party leadership has become increasingly less representative – particularly of low-income groups without affluent or politically engaged family and community networks, educational opportunities and political power. The routes that once helped to find and nurture leaders from different backgrounds – such as the trade unions and religious institutions alongside mass political parties – are no longer working. Building the skills and capacities of young people to take up leadership roles in their communities is vital for democracy.

There is also strong evidence supporting the notion of a ‘democratic deficit’ among young people: notably, young people display low levels of trust in politicians and political institutions and evidence little inclination to join formal political organizations or to get involved in local politics. While young people remain attached to voting as a civic right and responsibility, voting levels among young people are
 low and are projected to remain so.
Beyond the political arena, further pressing challenges are affecting young people.

“Sustained unemployment while young, especially of long duration, is especially damaging. Unemployment while young creates permanent scars rather than temporary blemishes.”
Not only this, but poor employment outcomes are related to increased criminal activity, reduced health outcomes and lower educational outcomes among offspring.

Youth Leadership: What it is and why it matters?

The concept of ‘youth leadership’ is difficult to pin down. Leadership literature includes a host of theories investigating leaders, their roles and essential qualities, and whether they are ‘made’ or ‘born’ – and if they are ‘made’, then how to ‘make’ them. Examining youth leadership, specifically, adds another layer of complexity, tied as it is in popular conception to other ideas such as youth development, citizenship, youth action and engagement, and participation. We will argue that the skills, which enable effective leadership, have broader significance beyond their potential to prepare young people to take on formal leadership roles. Youth leadership development can thus serve multiple purposes: “It is simultaneously an end in itself, by promoting healthy youth development, and a means to an end, as youth make contributions through their participation.”

While recognizing that one specific definition may not be ideal in the context of practice, building a conceptual framework of what leadership means and can offer young people is important if we are to be able to assess and inform practice in this area.

Conceptualizing leadership

There is considerable debate about the nature and meaning of leadership, and about what skills and attributes are needed in todays, and future, leaders. In particular, there is a growing shift away from top-down, hierarchical styles of leadership, towards participatory and inclusive leadership styles, 
which emphasize social and emotional competencies, including self-awareness, collaboration, empathy and relationship building and the ability to lead through authenticity rather than by authority. Additionally, there is recognition that leaders need a repertoire of different leadership styles for different circumstances.

Leadership is an inherently collaborative, social and relational activity: Leadership is increasingly understood as a collective capacity, rather than an individual trait:
“Leadership is defined not as what the leader does but rather a process that engenders and is the result of relationships – relationships that focus on the interactions of both leaders and collaborators instead of focusing on only the competencies of leaders.

Leadership is situational: An emerging focus in leadership-development literature is the successful leader’s ability to ‘read’ situations accurately. This requires self-awareness and self-discipline, both needed for leaders to engage effectively with others in a variety of contexts and environments.

Emotional intelligence and emotional resonance with others are key capabilities of successful leaders: There is increasing recognition that leaders must be self-aware and aware of the reactions and needs of others. New focus has been placed on the nature and strength of leaders’ emotional impact on others. Research has shown, for example, that a leader’s emotional resonance with others is a better predictor of effective executive leadership than is general intelligence.

Why youth leadership matters

Youth leadership has benefits for the individual young person, their peer group and society more broadly. By investing in young people’s personal development, wider economic opportunities could be created, especially for those in disadvantaged communities. Youth leadership development therefore serves multiple purposes: “It is simultaneously an end in itself, by promoting healthy youth development, and a means to an end, as youth make contributions through their participation.

Issues and debates on youth leadership
Providing young people with opportunities to develop and exercise leadership can potentially have benefits on multiple levels; however, there are some ongoing and emerging issues, debates and caveats on youth leadership that warrant acknowledgement. These include: ‘Authority confers leadership’ versus ‘Leadership comes from within’: Many accepted theories of leadership, including the trait approach, the situational approach, contingency theory and
 the transactional approach all conflate ‘authority’ with ‘leadership’49. They believe that leaders need followers and that positional authority is required for leadership to be exercised. However, newer theories, like those of Ronald Heifetz, separate leadership from authority and self from role, using as an example people like Mohandas Gandhi and Rosa Parks, both of who exhibited generation-changing leadership without any initial formal authority. As young people rarely have formal authority in society, these conceptions of leadership as centered in the individual rather than the role are vital in youth leadership development opportunities.

It is also important to distinguish between the development of young people’s capacity to be self- motivated and manage themselves, on the one hand, and the development of the capacity to inspire 
and motivate others, on the other. Young people are capable of exercising leadership even without a ‘followership’, and where young people are leading change in the context of a group, this is often a process of creating a sense of identification, shared membership and belonging. It is important to note that “showing responsibility for oneself and demonstrating the ability to make personal change is often as critical as leading a group of individuals or altering the larger community”.

How do we promote and develop youth leadership?

Developing young leaders has positive impacts for young people themselves and for their communities. How, then, should organizational leaders, educators, government and communities focus their efforts?

Nonetheless, there are some characteristics that are common to effective leadership programs. Effective youth development programs embody some of these characteristics in general, while others relate specifically to youth leadership opportunities.

Developing and nurturing young leaders: Facilitating young people’s leadership journeys
This section focuses on how to develop and nurture young leaders, exploring three key stages of the youth leadership journey:

1.Getting young people involved: This investigates issues relating to access and engagement. To get young people involved in leadership programs means making opportunities accessible and appealing to them.

Additionally, we highlight challenges relating to each of these three aspects of young people’s leadership journeys.

Gaps and challenges

There are a number of gaps and challenges to getting young people involved in leadership programs:

Practical constraints to access: Practical constraints can include a lack of accessible facilities; lack of information about opportunities; a lack of access to transportation or childcare; the cost of programs or materials; and the time commitments programs require.
Elitism of access: Often, the young people selected as participants reflect the adults working to ‘empower’ them and are culled from the more educated and included groups of society, rather than being included for talent or ability. This ‘elitism of access’ has the potential to put off young people who do not feel the current programs are relevant to their lives. Young people may at times feel that leadership is not open to people of their faith, ethnicity, gender or socioeconomic backgrounds. The key is to make it accessible to them, and convince them effectively that they too can be leaders in their field.

Low aspirations and expectations: Low aspirations and expectations are a key barrier to engaging certain groups of young people. Many young people may feel that programs are not ‘for them’ or feel they lack the talent or ability to be leaders.

2. Developing leadership

There are five key components that form the basis of effective youth leadership opportunities: These components give us a useful framework for considering youth leadership opportunities:

a. Authentic opportunities

Adult leaders often teach young people how to be a certain type of person, rather than equipping them with the tools and presenting them with the guided experiences through which to discover their potential and engage with the community. Indeed, it is by containing youth in the role of consumer rather than actor that youth leadership often fails to inspire true advocates.

b. Meeting needs

Youth leadership programs that reflect their participants’ concerns, fears and hopes about the future are those best placed to help young people develop a positive psychology,

c. Challenge

Providing young people with challenges and the correct amount of support and guidance to meet those challenges can help them grow and develop.

d. Support

Research, experience and intuition all support the value to young people of a strong, long-term relationship with a caring, competent adult they can talk to about plans, problems, decisions and their future. Young people need to be in contact with people who have “made it” and exposed to a lot of different perspectives and stories of people who have succeeded.

e. Reflection

Another aspect of youth leadership development that is often overlooked, but hugely important, is allowing for real-time and post-programme reflection – which brings us back to how youth leadership fits within the context of youth development. Addressing the situational barriers and the ‘rules of the game’ in a safe space can help young people, and especially those who are disadvantaged or marginalized, to articulate how the experience of leadership fits with who they are and what they want to become.

3. Sustaining the leadership journey

 Leading change, stresses that leadership activities and opportunities should be sustainable to ensure that young people can carry their leadership skills into adulthood, 
and should include clear progression routes and appropriate support at all stages. This can mean providing routes that allow young people to move from local to regional, national and even international opportunities. Alternatively, even when contained on the local community level, there are innovative ways to ensure that young people keep growing and developing.
Leadership programs, for both adults and young people alike, should encourage participants to take on leadership roles in their communities on completion of the programme, and/or should encourage them to participate in further leadership development.

Facilitating young people’s leadership journeys: key lessons
While there is no single model for effective practice, we have identified a number of common ingredients to successful leadership programs. Effective practice is espoused within opportunities that engage young people in challenging action, around issues that reflect their genuine needs and offer authentic opportunities to make decisions and effect change, in an environment of support in which young people can reflect on their experiences. Opportunities should be sustainable to ensure that young people can carry their leadership skills into adulthood, and should include clear progression routes and appropriate support at all stages.


Developing leadership skills in young people is a challenging, complex but important task. Successful youth leadership programs provide pathways for young people to get involved in shaping their world with a wider geography in mind, away from issues that affect them solely as individuals of a particular race, class, faith or gender and onto issues that affect young people more generally as citizens.

Challenges still exist, including the need to make leadership a more accessible and engaging concept for young people. The definition and understanding of leadership must be broadened to include the support work that young people do in their personal lives. This is especially true for disadvantaged
and marginalized young people, who often grow up supporting their families and communities.

Looking ahead, it will be important to consider how to encourage more young people to be drivers of innovation and entrepreneurship. While the recession poses serious problems for young people in the short term, it also provides a great opportunity for them to shape the future in a substantial way, towards more flexible ways of working, with a greater emphasis on open democracy that utilizes technologies of change to inspire wider participation.

The example of President Obama and his campaign has shown how influential and powerful young people can be. Youth leadership provision needs to capitalize on that excitement in order to inspire and encourage the next generations to build up their skills and capabilities to make a positive contribution to their communities and societies.

Over the next few months, you will connect with other young people and discuss some of the most important issues of our time, including leadership. A good leader is a good listener and a good leader is also a good follower. You must remember this as you assume a position of leadership. And as I have said before – you are never too young to lead and never too old to learn.

You have the opportunity to become the leaders we need you to be. So put your remarkable energy, vision, and passion in the service of our people and planet. Let’s put the planet first. I count on you to build a more sustainable future for all of humanity. Now is the time to put our destiny into our hands. Bad Leadership only exists when quality chooses to remain anonymous.

No government can long endure that fails to guarantee to its people the right to live as human beings.

We've been hit just as hard with manmade problems. No one knows better than the people of this State. Times are tough, but Kwarans have never been ones to sit back and merely suffer change. Our state has always attracted people with the grit and determination to shape their own future. That's what we must do today. We must lead the change; we must shape the future;

Government can give people in need a hand up in life, but it shouldn't give them a hand out. In fact, this is punishing people who chose the dignity of work over the dependence of the dole. We will change that. Work pays better then welfare.

The pundits would say it would be a test of Will, I'm proud to say we will meet the test, we will make the grade.

Dear All, a Leader must be many things -- a crisis manager when the earth shakes or the forest burns, a booster for jobs across, a person of conviction who can stand up for what's right no matter what the consequences or who's opposed. But today, above all, the Leader of Kwara State must be one thing -- a leader, a leader who can bring Kwarans through these tough times to a future of new hope and opportunity.

For me, I learned about leadership by example and by experience. I learned leadership from a Grandfather I never knew, because he gave his life walking the beat on a city street. I learned it from a father who raised a family, taught his children they had better give something back to the community that gave them so much.

Guaranteeing health care, education and welfare for the families isn't just wrong; it's the right thing to do.

We need leadership to stand up to the special interests to fight for jobs and reform our schools.

We need leadership to make the tough choices necessary to make Kwara State shine again.

Kwara State will have a great tomorrow, if we make the right choices today.

Now let me part with you by going politically analytical. I do hope this will change your mindset in choosing leaders going forward.

What is the real Value of money you receive on Election Day, in order to cast your vote for a candidate?

Note that the money you receive is all you will be paid in the next 4 years the candidate will be in office. He has paid you in advance for 4 years service.

365 Days X 4Years = 1460 days

1000Naira Divided by 1460 = 68Kobo per day
That is the value of the vote you sold over 4 years

Now if you receive 500Naira
500 Divided by 1460 = 34 kobo per day
And you receive 200 Naira
200 Divided by 1460= 13 Kobo per day

The question is how much do you value yourself?  Is that what you are worth? They have bought your silence so that they and their children can live well.
Can you live on 13Kobo per day or even 68Kobo per day? Tom Tom sweet is 10 Naira, Think twice before you decide.

God Bless

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