By Henry Ojelu
ILARAMOKIN—THE adage that evil thrives when good men and women do nothing rang a bell recently when scores of youths across the six geo-political zones of the country gathered in Ilaramokin, Ondo State and spoke with one voice against the rising spate of violence in the country.
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The event was the maiden edition of National Youth Peace Summit, NYPS, powered by the United States of America based International Youth Congress, IYC, with the endorsement of the office of Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye-Ogunwusi, Ojaja II.With a central theme: ‘Paving way towards non-violent Nigeria’, the youths were grilled by several erudite scholars, tutors and policymakers on topics such as Conflict Management and Resolution, Youth Leadership and Education, Good Governance and Economic Growth, Globalization and International Human Rights Framework, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Climate Change, Effective Mediation among others.
In his opening remarks, at the weeklong event held at Elizade University in Ondo State, President, International Youth Congress, Nigeria, Mr. Akinyemi Olowokere described the summit as a one-time opportunity designed to expose youths to key issues in governance and help them take holistic position especially in the areas that affects them directly. He stated that the event was carefully planned to inspire youths to shun violence and toe the path of peaceful co-existence.
In her Keynote address, the wife of Bauchi State governor, Hajiya Hadiza Mohammed Abubakar, represented by the State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Child Development, Barrister Ruqayya Ibrahim Kewa, called on Nigerian youths to rise up and demand their rights and peaceful coexistence, warning that unless they speak with one voice this will not be possible.
Abubakar, who is Founder, Bauchi Sustainable Women Economic Empowerment and Peace initiative, BSWEEP, said: “You should demand your rights; access to quality education, good roads and health care services are your rights. It is your right to live under the condition of peace not in an atmosphere of tension, panicky and palpable fear that presently characterizes the polity.
”I urge all of you to be agents of positive change. Through campaign for peace, we have returned Bauchi State to a land of peace and tranquility. Boko Haram is now history in our state. This feat, we achieved with the unflinching support of youths of Bauchi State.” In his presentation, an Industrial and Organizational Psychologist from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Samuel Fasanmi said there can never be peace in an environment characterized by injustice, massive hunger, poverty, youth unemployment and absolute inequality.