First and foremost, I would like to congratulate our Youths generally on this special day of the International Youth Day celebrations, and also acknowledge their contributions towards the development of our dear country Nigeria. In particular I also want to commend the resourcefulness, creativity and quest for knowledge of our youths in the current age of 4th Industrial revolution which is technology and innovation.
This YEARS theme: “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health” is apt as it further drives home the point for our young citizens to remain at the forefront of the creativity and innovation that will transform food security and combat climate change in the new industrial age.
As we are all aware, the pandemic that took the world by storm in the year 2020 has no doubt permanently altered the course of history. Everything, from social interactions, modes of worship to commerce and access to finance have changed in conformity with the new normal. The dislocations occasioned by the raging pandemic put most business concerns and solutions in jeopardy whilst it also gave rays of hope to hitherto unthinkable options.
In other words, as many groaned over loss of businesses, the pandemic created unprecedented opportunities for others to boom. Facemasks, hand sanitizers, logistics, virtual meeting tools and applications became the fastest selling global products. Smart companies rather than agonizing over the plague, confronted an existential threat by aligning with what moves in the market.
Responsibly, our Youths have also risen up to these challenges as we see the rapid evolution of fintechs such as Flutterwave, Paystack etc in the Technology space which has attracted massive foreign direct investments into the economy.
As your representatives, we understand the need to provide THE shoulders for young people like you to stand ON. The minimum duty we owe you is to create an enabling environment and opportunities for you to thrive. This, we are taking seriously as the trustees of your mandate.
As your Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial district, I am also paying particular attention to this drive from 3 main angles: firstly, in concert with all major stakeholders, I am championing the repeal and reenactment of the Copyright Act. And as you know the critical underlying premise of the copyright law is to protect and reward creativity and innovation, from an economic point of view. The bill has passed 2nd reading and awaits public hearing when we resume in September 2021.
Secondly, I am also setting up a Community Innovation Space in conjunction with CCHub (a dedicated innovation group that makes use of social capital & technology to accelerate economic prosperity) for youths in the Lagos East Senatorial District. The centre will focus on tailored-made solutions that will solve scores of challenges facing us as a people. Our concept in this regard is the adoption of a Human Centred Design approach that will identify the real problems and challenges facing our youths and proffer solutions.
Thirdly, students in various Higher Institutions of Learning in the Senatorial District will benefit from our planned Bursary Scheme. About 500 of our young people across the 98 wards in the 16 Local Governments and the Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs have been shortlisted as beneficiaries and this will take off in the coming academic session this year.
As you are the leaders of today and tomorrow, my charge to you is to continue your quest for enhanced knowledge in the new age of technology and innovation in all that you do: Agriculture; the environment e.t.c. This is the cardinal reason why i am passionate about supporting the aspirations of the Youths by setting up the community innovation hub in partnership with CCHub, and also making my over 30 years of corporate experience available in exploring the various opportunities from our Development Financial Institutions (i.e. CBN, BOI etc) for our Youths.
Once again, I thank you for the opportunity to address you all today and I wish you all a Happy International Youth Day.
Senator Mukhail Adetokunbo Abiru, FCA