• Speaker launches legislative mentorship initiative
House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila has said Nigeria needs a leader who has the capacity and character to manage change.
He also stressed the need for youths to be included in governance in the country.
Gbajabiamila spoke on Monday in Abuja at the opening of the Legislative Mentorship Initiative (LMI) with the theme: Youth Leadership and the Future of Democracy: Harnessing the Power of Young People in Nigeria.
The LMI is a programme the speaker initiated to build the next generation of Nigeria’s public sector leaders.
This initiative is in line with his long-lasting vision of mentoring the younger generation from his over twenty years’ experience in public service.
The programme, which will last three weeks, draws young participants from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Gbajabiamila noted that achieving the Nigeria of everybody’s dreams must depend on producing leaders with the right capacity and character to manage change by taking advantage of the technology-advancing world.
The Speaker explained that this would require building people, particularly young people, with knowledge of governance.
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He said: “Whatever happens, Nigeria desperately needs leaders with the capacity and character to manage change. The consequences of the changes happening in our world today will depend on how we respond, the decisions we make, and the ideas we choose to invest in.
“The quality of our decision making in politics and governance will define the course of our country. Whether or not we achieve progress, prosperity, peace, and security for all our people depends entirely on the capacity and competence of our political leadership.
“The Legislative Mentorship Initiative (LMI) aims to identify and train the next generation of public sector leaders, particularly in legislature. The LMI mandate is to develop the leaders who will shape the future of our country and the world.“
“Many young people are eager to make a change; they cannot change anything if they don’t understand and participate in the political and governance process. We aim to involve more young people and direct their energies into tangible contributions to good governance and national development.”
Gbajabiamila stressed that investment must be made in building young people for leadership roles.
The Speaker noted that equipping youths and involving them in governance is the only way they would be committed to nation-building and sustain the development of democracy.
He recommended three actions to be taken immediately, including consistently including young people in the political and governance process.
“We do this by creating avenues for leadership development, as we are now trying to do with this Legislative Mentorship Initiative (LMI). It also requires creating opportunities for learning through actual practice in government policy-making and implementation.
“Nobody was born knowing how to manage a political party or run a government. You learn by being in the room, having a seat at the table and doing your best with every opportunity,” he said.