By Olubusuyi Adenipekun
The launch of the fourth edition of the inspirational yearbook otherwise known as â€œWe Are the Future of Our Nationâ€ which took place yesterday in Lagos had in attendance about 1,200 graduating secondary school students.
In this yearbook compiled by EDUMARK, an education consulting firm, these school leavers from across the country left no one in doubt of their usefulness as important agents of change as they articulated very useful ideas of how to move the nation forward.
Guided in their writings by the topic for the 4th edition of the yearbook tagged â€œMy Blueprint forÂ a Greater Nigeria,â€ the graduating secondary school students generally express optimism that the task of transforming Nigeria squarely rests on their shoulders, revealing their love for the culture, climate, food and people of their country.
Generally, their essays touch on issues like youth and women empowerment, education, poverty eradication, industrialization, electricity, agriculture, good leadership and politics.
The young school leavers believe that youths should be empowered to partake in decision making process in the country, adding that as the future of the nation, they should be given a voice in the governance of the country.
They call for the subsidization of education at all levels with adequate infrastructure put in place to ensure quality, explaining that teachers should be well remunerated as a way of motivating them.
The need for poverty eradication is seen as important if crime is to be reduced, reiterating that government should provide basic necessities for the unemployed.
The graduating students also urge government to take the issue of industrialization serious as the establishment of industries will lead to job creation, thereby eradicate poverty.
In order to boost the nationâ€™s economy, the students want government to focus on power generation, urging the resuscitation of agriculture as the mainstay of the nationâ€™s economy with less dependence on oil.
They also call for good leadership, calling for punishment of corrupt government officials.
We Are the Future of Our Nation is a project designed to inspire patriotism and positive values in students in top secondary schools nationwide.
According to a statement issued by the Managing Director of EDUMARK, Mrs Yinka Ogunde, the project operates three core values which include: celebrating role models, inspiring patriotism and promoting unity, adding that the entire focus of the yearbook is the attainment of national development.
â€œWithin the scope of the first objective which is aimed at inspiring patriotism among the students, the students, essays focus on nation building and offering solutions to the myraids of problems in the country.
The second objective, which is celebrating role models, affords the students the privilege of talking to industrial heavyweights, outstanding entrepreneurs and people who have the charisma of inspiring uncommon vision and enduring determination in youths,â€ says the EDUMARK statement.
In the yearbook, the role models delve into their life experiences, thoughts and challenges, using the opportunity of the launch to interract with the youths.
The last objective, which is promoting unity, says the statement, helps students to behold the cultural dynamism of other parts of the country and the facts that they are not alone in the pursuit of their dreams to make Nigeria a better place.
Since 2007 when the first edition of the yearbook was launched, an elder statesman usually grace the occasion. For example, Sir Gamaliel Onosode was the chairman in 2007. In 2008, Gen Yakubu Gowon chaired the presentation of the inspirational compendium while the lot fell on Sir Emeka Anyaoku in 2009, supported by Brig. Gen. Ike Nwachukwu. The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs Sarah Adebisi Sosan is always present every year with the role models to inspire the youths as theÂ future leaders of the nation.
Apart from the youths from top secondary schools from across the country, present at the presentation yesterday were the role models for thisÂ year.
They include: Chima Onyekwere, Managing Director of Linkserve; Folusho Philips, MD of Philips Consulting; Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), PrincipalÂ Partner, Tayo Oyetibo & Co; Bamidele George, Founder, Strong Tower Mission; Hassan Usman, MD, Aso Savings and Loans; Amaka Igwe, MD, Amaka Igwe Studios/BOB TV and many other dignitaries from the public and private sectors.