The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, reminded Nigerian youths on Friday that their decisions during the upcoming general elections will likely affect the results and ultimately the fate of the nation and its citizens.

This was said by the Speaker in a virtual address to attendees of the Youth and Social Development Summit held in Abuja by the Gbaja Professionals Volunteers Network (GPVN) to commemorate the 2022 International Youth Day.

In his speech, Gbajabiamila referred to the tone and divisive nature of political conversations prevailing in the social/media space in the run-up to the 2023 presidential election as “unfortunate,” adding that fact-based analysis and impartial evaluation and assessment of issues and people have fallen by the wayside.

The Speaker stated that “the choices young people make in the run-up to that election and at the polls will have a significant impact on what happens in that election and the kind of nation we will have as a result. It is regrettable that the loud voices of division and derision, for whom politics is a contact sport designed to inflict the greatest harm on people and the body politic, have come to dominate the political conversations about the upcoming elections.

The fate of the young people who make up the majority of our population will be decided by the policy questions and answers, according to him. “These voices have elevated fake news over facts and the politics of resentment and victimhood over careful consideration. You must fight off this. It is time for the voices of reason and compromise, who genuinely want to contribute to the solution, to take control of the conversation and be heard.

“I am honored to be associated with it,” he said. “This Summit is part of that effort to refocus the public debate on matters of substance and consequence.”

The Summit was intended to introduce the Digital Ideas Bank and establish a policy faculty, whose role it will be to compile the ideas generated by the summit and transform them into policy recommendations for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate.

“This Summit will result in two significant events. The first is the launch of a Digital Ideas Bank where Nigerians and friends of the nation from home and abroad can submit their suggestions for the changes they want to see and how to make them happen. Second, a Policy Faculty will be created to compile, examine, and integrate these concepts and recommendations into workable policy proposals.

These recommendations will be made to direct the election and, ideally, the presidency of His Excellency Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. What a fantastic illustration of engaged citizenship, of people working together for the common good of the country! All of you present today are urged to participate in this project. I implore you to tell your family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances about this. Tell them that they can help create a country that lives up to their highest hopes, the Speaker pleaded.

The group has developed a legacy project for “Nation Building,” according to Lukman Lawal, the GPVN’s national coordinator and an adviser to the Speaker on youth development.

As advocated by our Principal and Mentor Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, the group has developed a legacy project for “Nation Building” that we recognize as a “Joint Task.” The idea behind the Ideas Bank is to provide a financial empowerment window for young people with viable, doable, and realistic business plans while also creating a window of knowledge, ideas, and intellectual pool for all Nigeria Project stakeholders and international partners to contribute to. The range of capitals that can be accessed as grants through this platform is N150,000 to N200,000,” he said.

The Special Adviser to the Speaker on Media and Public Affairs, Lanre Lasisi, who commissioned the DIB, stated that the GPVN’s initiatives are designed to deter young people from crime and criminality by giving them modest but effective tools for economic empowerment.

He pledged that his team, which works under the Speaker’s direction, will push the GPVN’s ideas on Nigerians of all ages, with a focus on the younger generation. He also said that the team has a wide network of contacts to make the group’s operations known to the public outside of its website.

Musa Abdullahi Krishi, the Speaker’s Chief Press Secretary and Chairman of the Faculty, told journalists that although the group is not a part of the APC presidential campaign, the Speaker can still contribute to the success of the campaign and, hopefully, the presidency through its work because Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the candidate for the APC, has been a mentor to him.

He claimed that the BPVN was created because “the Speaker and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu stand for solving the problem of youths’ restiveness and vices. Since Tinubu is now known to be close to the Speaker and is running for president of the APC, fresh concepts that can improve youth development and leadership policies are required to be included in the roadmap for the future.

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