The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows, in collaboration with the Public Affairs Section, US Consulate General, Lagos, recently tasked Nigerian youths on non-violent transformation in the country, reminding them of late Martin Luther King Jr. that led a peaceful protest on racial equality.
Speaking at the Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day Lecture held at Caleb University, Imota, Lagos, President of Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows, Mojisola Onifade, said that youths should use technology to influence the desired change at every level in Nigeria, emulating the character of late Martin Luther King Jr. who dared to dream change and had a dogged faith in that dream and in his ability to influence change.
According to her, Nigeria today needs men and women who will not sit by and watch injustice go unchallenged. “We need a generation of youths who are able to believe that change is possible and who strongly believe they have the capacity to make that change happen. I believe Caleb University by design is the place where such youths are raised and I hope the management of this great institution remains committed to continue raising them”, she said.
She said further that the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Alumni Association is committed to motivating a generation of socially conscious and responsible young adults. She explained that the association does this through its School Outreach programme which targets secondary school students, the MLK Day Lecture which targets university students and a number of other initiatives which are designed to inspire and engage young people towards transforming Nigeria.
Onifade thanked the United States government in Nigeria for its commitment to developing competencies in Nigerians and empowering many to dream change and make it happen. She stated that the US Embassy in Nigeria has a number of programmes particularly targeting young people in the 18 – 35 year old age bracket. These include the Young African Leaders Initiative, YALI Network and its flagship, the Mandela Washington Fellowship; the TechWomen program, targeting young women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and many others. She urged young people to harness available resources to develop their potential, so they can be empowered to transform Nigeria
On her part, the Public Affairs Officer, United States Consulate General, Lagos, Darcy Zotter, said if youths must achieve transformation in any setting, they must be courageous to work together, assume responsibility to serve, take action, speak out and listen to fellow participants. She emphasized that in order to be good leaders, young people must be bold and responsible followers who are unafraid to hold their leaders accountable. She also noted that while not everyone can occupy leadership positions, everyone has a responsibility to be good followers who actively participate in the process of transforming Nigeria.
The Hubert H. Humphrey (HHH) Fellowship is a Fulbright exchange programme funded by the US Department of State to provide selected Fellows, ten months of non-degree, graduate-level study, leadership development, professional affiliations and related opportunities in the United States. The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Alumni Association in Nigeria is a platform for alumni of the programme to share ideas and join efforts to bring social change.