By JOSEPHINE IGBINOVIA & UGOECHI AGBARAKWE
Rev.(Mrs.)Anuli Ausbeth Ajagu is the Founder/Executive Director of Youth & Gender Network-YGN, a youth-oriented non-governmental organization established over four years ago with a vision to eradicate the susceptibility of Nigerian youths and women to vices , crime, abuse and diseases.
Recently, YGN held its 4th annual national youth summit in Lagos state with the theme â€˜Excellent Orientationâ€™, and later after the summit, Mrs.Ausbeth Ajagu spoke on the relevance of the theme to Nigerian youths.
â€˜AT YGN, we believe that our youths need to have the attribute,Â mind-set and the orientation of excellence to achieve all their God-given goals and dreams in life, and become the true leaders par excellence that we want them to be.
Many a time, things are done shoddily, and thereâ€™s a lot of mediocrity in our society; the standard of doing things generally appears to be ordinarily mediocre. Therefore, YGN believes that the youths who are the future leaders should start now to learn that excellence is a life style; it is not something you do once and forget.
According to Aristotle, the great philosopher,â€œ Excellence is not an act, it is a habit.â€ So when you form a habit from your youth to do whatever you do well; from your academic work and pursuit to the relationship you keep, you are conscious.
The people young people move with, either affect them positively or negatively, so, they should mind the company they keep. They should go for a company/association that can give them an excellent orientation to every thing about their character, behaviour, demeanor and what have you.
We just want young people to know that excellence is achievable ifÂ Â they can start now and make it a habit to grow with. This way, mediocrity and shoddiness in the delivery of their work and performance wherever they find themselves, will be minimal.
The truth remains that a vision such as ours needs a lot of support to be able to reach a large spectrum of the society. So, itâ€™s still one step at a time. We have not been outside Lagos yet, but we hope that in future, as things improve in terms of support from other organizations, we would be able to reach youths in other parts of Nigeria.
We also intend working with youths in the universities and various institutions outside Lagos, but all these canâ€™t be achieved without the necessary resources. For five years now also, Iâ€™ve been communicating through articles in some print media, and I think weâ€™re affecting lives through these publications.
Weâ€™ve never got any support from the government, but we hope they will key into our vision if they so wish because we always invite them. Many of them are busy politicizing. They have forgotten to invest in human development; particularly the younger generation which should be their priority.
Many of our leaders are hypocritical and not true to their calling as leaders. They donâ€™t have the youthsâ€™ interests at heart; many are shallow minded, greedy, and are only looking for money to line their pockets. They are not ready to truly sow into the lives/human capital of our youths. Many of them are not ready to do that now. Maybe in the future, they will change. But as an organization, we have committed ourselves to this cause and Iâ€™m sure God will help us achieve that.
Forty-nine years after independence, our leaders have not been able to move this nation forward due to the facts that the value system has been so eroded that many people only think about material gains. They no longer look for excellence in servic and thereâ€™s a lack of mentoring system. We reward mediocrity in this country, and that is why most times, when people want to give awards, they attach monetary condition to emerging as an awardee.
I mustnâ€™t forget to commend those who credibly give awards. But the main thing is that Nigeria is where it is today because our leaders have not committed themselves to human resource development. Again, there is so much greed; people have sealed their conscience.
They have no conscience towards their fellow human beings as long as they are comfortable and rich. They donâ€™t care if people are dying of poverty. The resources we have in this country is not to be compared with what other countries have. Take a look at Ghana.
Their light doesnâ€™t even blink, yet we supply it, how come?Â We have more resources than they have, but because of corruption in our system of leadership, we suffer power failure consistently.
YGN is planning to take some Nigerian youths to Ghana by December to organize a programme on leadership and development, and we intend inviting Ghanaians to talk on how they have achieved these things.
It is really a shame to our government that in 49 years of existence, we have not been able to show anything because of our greed, tribalism, religious bigotry and all.
Until there is a revolution in this country, I donâ€™t think we would move forward. I have almost given up on the adult
population; my hope is on our youths. They are the ones to render that service we need, and if we donâ€™t arrest them now, Iâ€™m sorry, in 50 years, we would be back in a worse situation.
The amnesty move is good, but I hope that our government would be able to manage what it involves. All those ex-militants that have given up their arms need to be re-orientated.
Government has to commit a lot of resources towards their mind-set reorientation first, then capacity building and skill investment should follow to make them independent and useful to themselves. Without empowerment, they would go back to their old lives.
It has to be a holistic package, and even when the resources are released, it should be used and managed solely for them.