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Harnessing Potentials of Youths Towards Achieving Sustainable Peace, Development in Nigeria

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Being text of a speech delivered by the Executive Director of  Beyond Boundaries Legacy Leadership Initiative, Comrade Omaga E. Daniel on the occasion of the Diversity for Peace and Development (DPDP) Ambassadors Recognition on August 12, 2018 in Keffi, Nasarawa State.

Al Protocols Duly Observed.

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, invited guests, BBLLI team members and volunteers, I welcome you to today’s epoch making event!

In the last three years, the BBLLI has in line with its core mandate consistently sought partnerships with relevant organizations be they government, educational, religious, security and even international that share in our belief that mass literacy is an effective tool for fighting and conquering diverse social ills, economic imbalance and social injustice.

Within the same period, our sense of unity as Nigerians came under severe attacks by series of avoidable events which attempted to distort our sense of oneness as a people. Whereas some of these events failed; others recorded a measure of success.

It is clear that every incidence of restiveness in the world over thrives on the tripods of illiteracy, high unemployment ratio and little or no access to civil orientation – the Nigerian scenario is therefore not an exception.

There is however a social school of thought which clearly suggests that for any society to enjoy peace, such a society must build the peace it wants to enjoy. It is in recognition of this statement of fact that the BBLLI with sponsorship from the NIWANO Peace Foundation has promoted peaceful coexistence among Nigerians in Nasarawa state through the Diversity for Peace and Development Project (DPDP) which we commenced in December, 2017.

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This synergy was geared towards complementing efforts of the Nigerian government and her agents towards achieving peaceful co-existence among Nigerians irrespective of their ethnic or religious beliefs. On the strength of this partnership, our organization, the Beyond Boundaries Legacy Leadership Initiative successfully trained fifteen (15) youth leaders and community influencers in Nasarawa State on the need for peace as a panacea for economic growth and development. The aim of the training was to equip these youth leaders with sufficient knowledge they require to retrain their subordinates at the grassroots along the same lines using the languages they best understand through the Participatory Infrastructure Development (PAID) programs which was sustained for a period of six months across communities in Nasarawa State.

Today, being the United Nation’s International Youth Day, we are here to celebrate those who have distinguished themselves in the course of executing their projects as Diversity for Peace and Development  Ambassadors.

It is our belief at BBLLI that the current government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria may have invested heavily on national security via purchase of hardware, training and retraining of security personnel, intelligence gathering, knowledge sharing and technology transfer.

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We however believe that there is room for more to be done especially as youths. We strongly believe that if the Federal Government and its agents in the security cycle forge more alliances with organizations which enjoy goodwill and have capacity to embark on civil orientation and education of Nigerians, a stronger peace will be achieved.

Pockets of incidences of unrests have been recorded in recent times across the country. Notwithstanding the fact that there are various forms of contradicting information on the media space, there is a common denominator which suggests that the government must reach out to the people of the affected communities, local farmers and cattle breeders because they hold the ace to build and achieve sustainable peace in Nigeria.

We want to use this opportunity to call on all parties to show restraint and work towards achieving lasting peace within already laid down legal frameworks. We equally call on natives and indeed youth of the affected communities to refrain from embarking on any form of reprisal attacks. While commending security agents for their intervention so far, we urge them to be prepared and willing to do more because no price is too high to be paid for the peace and stability of Nigeria.

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2018 is a significant year for Nigeria in view of the forthcoming general elections in 2019. This is therefore the best time to take the message of peace and national unity to Nigerians at their various door steps. We at the BBLLI are ready, available and will build alliances with individuals, groups, agencies, communities and organizations that share these ideals. The youth are our core assets as a people. They hold the ace for the future. All hands must therefore be on deck to ensure they are heard.

We thank our DPDP Ambassadors for agreeing to avail themselves as agents of peace and we encourage them to further imbibe the various attributes expected of them as genuine advocates of peaceful coexistence along religious and tribal lines in Nasarawa State.

We express our deepest appreciation to the NIWANO PEACE FOUNDATION for their support and the Emir of Keffi, HRH Alh. Dr. Shehu Chindo Yamusa III for his fatherly role. To the various religious bodies, government agencies, media partners, consultants, facilitators, BBLLI team members, volunteers and community groups which have partnered with us in the course of this project, we say THANK YOU!

Long Live BBLLI!

Long Live NIWANO PEACE FOUNDATION!!

Long Live NASARAWA STATE!!!

Long Live NIGERIA!!!!

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Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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