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12th BAT Colloquium: Poverty, religious and ethnic conflicts fuel youth restiveness, says Yahya


The Resident Representative, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Mr. Mohammed Yahya, and panelist at this year Bola Tinubu Colloquium has said that geographical location which consists of preexisting marginalization, poverty, religious and ethnic conflicts has contributed to violent extremism by youth.

  Speaking on the theme of this year Bola Tinubu Colloquium “Our Common Bond, Our Common Wealth: The Imperative of National Cohesion and Prosperity” to mark the 69th Birthday of His Excellency, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu in Kano he reiterated that an in-depth research work on ‘Violent Extremism by Youths’ which he and his team had done with a scope of six African countries, Nigeria included, had shown that three factors contributed mostly to it:

“ Firstly, geographical location which consists of preexisting marginalization, poverty, religious and ethnic conflicts. Secondly, a significant proportion of the extremists do not have a secular and religious education. Lastly, it is a personal process majorly influenced by community (family, friends, or religious figures).

“ Aligned to these reasons are more of government actions such as abuse, unemployment, and others.”

  He emphasized that the story of violent extremism is a story of exclusion, while the consequence of extremism is an intolerable waste of talent.

 Mr. Yahaya provided some solutions to these problems which included seeing education, both religious as a safety net of the country.

He added that Nigeria must strive to raise people out of poverty; make it a top agenda.

 He went on to proffer strategies for post conflict recovery and national growth which were that everybody should have a stake in the development process where opportunities equally exist to support development.

“Conflict is a response to our society; conflict is a bases for development, thus solving conflicts further improves the society.”

 Prof. Funmi Olonisakin a Professor of Security, Leadership and Development at King’s College London stated that great thought should be given to the specificities of subnational entities. “Also, a national culture should be developed to give everyone a sense of belonging.”

 She encouraged Nigeria to have some introspection to properly interrogate the ‘Zones of Silence’ that have characterized our national entity; the voices that are not heard or represented.

 According to her violence is a core part of a conversable space.

“Protests should be paid rapt attention so as to find sustainable peace. Entertainment industry could be a powerful tool to promoting peace as a building block and should be harnessed.”

  Speaking from the angle of investments key indicators, Ms. Amaka Anku, the Practice Head, African Eurasia Group, stated that key indicators for investments involves, domestic investment confidence; communications and production of ideas; and tax mobilization and revenue. These factors have to be boosted to attract foreign investments into the country.   

Representative of the voice of young Nigerians, Ms. Nimdir Charity Nansoh, Founder/CEO, HoP Africa, Jos, Plateau State, said that the Nigerian youths must be perceived as important stakeholders to national development.

 She added that youths are an unavoidable index for measuring polices. She also canvassed a revisiting of the CONFAB resolutions so as to annex the strengths of various regions.

  Brief congratulatory remarks were given by the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on the remarkable person of H.E Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who happens to also be a former Governor of Lagos State. Another son of Lagos State in the person of Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, took the opportunity to inform Nigerians about the dogged commitment to developments that the celebrant posses which could cause him to have little to no sleep.

 The Governor of Yobe State and Caretaker Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), H.E, Mai Mala Buni on behalf of the organisers thanked everyone who had made it to celebrate H.E Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He also specially thanked the Presidency for all their support to the Colloquium.

 The man of the moment, popularly referred to as the ‘Jagaban of Africa’, who Celebrated his 69th Birthday on this day took the stage triumphantly to present his thoughts from this year’s insightful colloquium. This was only after he appreciated the many celebratory gestures and sacrifices made by everyone present physically and virtually on his birthday.

  He further stated that Nigeria requires a workable unity that reconstructs and recreates the economy. He lauded the countries capital projects progressing all over the country, he encouraged the leaders to not be deterred by the ones who try to discourage them from these great infrastructural strides.

 However, he advocated for more localization of industries which could create job opportunities. More job opportunities starve violent extremists’ recruiters more Nigerian youths. Finally, he reiterated the opinions that the social media space should be harnessed as an important communication tool.

 This 12th Bola Tinubu Colloquium established beyond reasonable doubts that the emergence of a new Nigeria championed by a new tribe of men, women, boys and girls with a common bond revealing our common wealth is absolutely possible through deliberate ideas-oriented actions and conversations across board.

  To discuss multiple dimensions of conflict on nation building and national growth, the 12th Bola Ahmed Tinubu colloquium had as a part of its panel, Dr. George Manneh Weah, the only African to win the highest individual player award in football in 1995 where he was named African, European, and World Player of the Year. He currently serves as the 25th President of Liberia and interestingly, was born 1st of October, 1966.

  It also had His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, Former President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Her Excellency, Madam Finda Koroma, Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Mohamed Yahya, the Resident Representative, United Nations Development Program5 (UNDP), Prof. Funmi Olonisakin, Professor of Security, Leadership and Developm. nt at King’s College London, Ms. Amaka Anku, Practice Head, Africa Eurasia Group Washington DC and Ms. Nimdir Nansoh, Founder/CEO, HoP Africa, Jos, Plateau State.

 Also in attendance were the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Secretary to the Government of the5 Federation,  Governors of Lagos, Yobe, Osun, Ogun, Ekiti, and members of the National Assembly, Leaders of International Organisations and, other distinguished guests.

Bola Tinubu Colloquium was initiated in 2009 as an intervention that provides a unique platform to discuss current pertinent issues influencing Nigeria’s political and economic outlook. This is done as part of the events celebrating His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s birthday.

By Debo Oladimeji

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