(OPINION ): Dear Egghead, I (we) believe in your clear-sightedness By Basheer Luqman Olarewaju

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At his apartment at the photogenic purlieu of Tanke, Ilorin, I paid Ibraheem Abdullateef a first time friendly visitation. His hospitality, sense of reasoning and tactfulness attracted us beyond imagination. At a point, during discussion centered on leadership, lifestyle and personal development; he said, “I am not saying that our fathers and our uncles were not doing well, but what I mean is that it is high time we injected young persons with energy, clear-sightedness, liberality, vibrancy, courage and modern ideas into the system for the state and country to be able to compete favorably with the community of states and nations”.

Ibraheem Abdullateef’s journey to the both highly competitive and attractive youth based parliament is not complete without having the stages he passed through with other contenders (whom I am part of) in his diary. He, like others, had wonderful experiences in writing exams, defending his thoughts through viva, and stakeholders observations through the lens of objectivity.

It is unsurprising that whatever has political closeness would be criticized differently, for different reasons. The thought of; ‘anointed candidate’ spurred the airwaves during the examination and observation period, which undoubtedly, the reliable source revealed Egghead had a stellar performance above others — so, no need to digest hatred for one’s love due to political ideologies filled with immeasurable bitterness.

I do tell, accountable leadership remains one of the biggest challenges to development in our state and country at large. Leaders in the state and country have not always responded effectively to the needs of the people, but there is hope in the rising generation of youth who could play a critical role in building accountability for successful economic transformation, representation, and public service. The urgency of these efforts is not lost on the youth, as they have the most to lose if solutions are not enacted.

As Egghead put, in my first visit, “the youth need to take more places in presidencies, councils of ministers, parliaments, national committees, corporate boardrooms, and civil society organizational teams. Several programs exist already for youth inclusion in decisionmaking bodies, including the United Nations Population Fund Global Youth Advisory Panel and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. But beyond symbolic memberships and flagship roles, youth should be fully vested with effective and executive responsibilities”.

Like our Honourable Ibraheem Abdullateef at the 5th Assembly of the country’s most celebrated youth Forum, Nigerian Youth Parliament, young leaders must have the courage to apply for official positions, and current officials should be willing to cede important tasks to young people’s innovative ideas and influence. The number of young leaders must be higher considering the demographics of the continent.

When young leaders reach positions of influence, they should focus on building strong institutions for accountability and educate people about the importance of broad accountability for a successful continent. Countries with higher levels of accountability collectively outperform those with lower levels. Youth leaders can advance civil society growth, poverty reduction, economic expansion, and innovation throughout the continent by strengthening the participation of women and youth, promoting human rights, facilitating access to justice, and ensuring inclusion of all communities.

On this note, I, however, commend the visionary leader, His Excellency, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, for the giant stride taken to nominate one of us to represent all of us for the interest of all of us through which he can contribute his ideas to the leadership of the country for empowering the citizens, especially, the Youth. The choice of Abdullateef is a round peg in a round hole: Egghead is critically cerebral, creatively personified, socially acceptable and he is a development advocate.

Lastly, the predecessors from Kwara Central, Honourable Haleemah Gegele and Honourable Abdulkareem Abdulkareem, did greatly to give the Nigerian Youth Parliament better facelift, no doubt, the reason behind the competitiveness during 5th Assembly nomination period. Egghead’s assessment process, at the chamber, should creatively identify opportunities to improve policymaking structures to respond to the time-sensitive needs of all Kwarans and Nigerian people. Effective and accountable leadership at all levels of society is the key to unlocking the potential of Nigerian youth to create economic, political, and social policies for their bright futures.

Just like many of us, I believe in your clear-sightedness. Congratulations! I believe you will represent the interest of all of us.

Basheer is a Media Strategist. He writes from Ilorin.

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