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It was just three hours, but the impact reverberated beyond the 36 states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and for a longer period. The 3-hour telethon organised by Generational Voices, a youth movement that advocates increased roles for the Nigerian youth in nation development, is gradually setting the pace for the changing of the guard. During the live broadcast, which was beamed on Channels Television, several eminent Nigerians such as Dr. Christopher Kolade, former Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, a Vice-President of World Bank and a former minister in Nigeria, and others spoke on the need and how young Nigerians need to be more proactive in steering the nation in a positive direction. Oscar Oyinsan, head of programmes at CITY 105.1 fm, introduced Dr. Kolade to the audience with the lines: “One of the speakers mentioned earlier that leadership and being in position of leadership are two totally different things. Because you are the head of something or the local government chairman does not mean you are a leader.” Dr. Kolade opened his speech with a banter aimed at amusing the audience; “I’ll have you remember that this young man is about to speak to you… “…But I’m here because I have lived a life of genuine respect for young people. In everything that I have been privileged to do in this nation, I have not achieved as much success in anything as when I recruit and mobilise the efforts of young people. You probably remember that there was a time when I was the chairman of the board of a company. When I was the chairman on that board, the closest other director to me in age was twenty years younger. It was the young people who did the work; not the old ones. Today, which are the sectors that are making the greatest and fastest progress? Telecommunications, IT, Oil and Gas, Banking…go and look at the people doing the work there; you’ll discover it’s young people. “My problem with young people is that you don’t appear to know or to appreciate your own capacity in this nation. You allow yourself to be led into thinking that somebody has to let you if you are going to make it. Please remember, nobody who is sitting in a position of influence today is going to let you do it. They are not going to vacate it for you. You have to seize the initiative and do it yourselves. And you know what encourages me? What encourages me is that in this country today, it is the young ones that are achieving things. Watch the video here:

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This article was first published on 20th January 2014

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