Sen. Mamora, Samson Itodo, others speak at the Nigeria Symposium for Young and Emerging Leaders

The Future Project in partnership with Rubbin’ Minds yesterday held the 5th edition of The Nigeria Symposium for Young and Emerging Leaders themed ‘Leaping the Bounds: Making Government Work’.

Hosted by youth advocate and media personality, Seyi Awolowo, the annual Symposium avails Nigerian youth the opportunity to engage in thought-provoking conversations with public office holders and heads of parastatals on specific challenges facing the nation.

The program which aired live on Channels TV kicked off with an interview session featuring the Honourable Minister of State for Health, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, who spoke about the state of the Nigerian health sector saying, “the current state of medical teaching in the country is abysmal, due to funding and lack of commitment on the part of current lecturers compared to what obtained in the past”. According to the Minister, the pandemic has brought to the fore the extant need to massively invest in the health sector, the absence of which has made the sector unattractive and susceptible to brain drain. He also stated that, “in every seemingly bad situation, some good can come out of it as the global pandemic has brought with it, a call to revamp the Nigerian health sector as structures are currently being built and the welfare of health care workers is currently being looked into in terms of salaries, and insurance scheme”.

The first session themed, ‘No Flight Out: Fixing the Nigerian Health Sector’, focused on Nigeria’s ailing healthcare system and emphasised how leaders and key players in the health sector need to provide answers to why swift measures were not taken to curb the pandemic given the inadequacy of health structures.

The second session titled, “Conversations on Hunger Virus’, circled in on poverty and its place as the principal cause of hunger in the country.

Speaking on the conversations on hunger virus, Vice President, Care for Heroes, Aisha Salis, stated that, “Until the government, business owners, and entrepreneurs start taking agriculture seriously, we will still keep coming back to the problem of hunger in Nigeria”.

Honourable Onofiok Luke highlighted poor transportation systems for conveying food products from the farm to market places, and little or no provision of storage facilities for perishable food items as a major reason for starvation within the masses.

From leadership crises to high maternal mortality rates, the third session, ‘Clocking 60: Business as Usual’, focused on the slow growth of Nigeria post-independence as well as specifics required for the much-needed transformation.

Speaking on the event, Lead, The Future Project, Bukonla Adebakin said, “The Future Project is proud to return again this year — as we have for the past five years, to shed light on matters of importance on the national level. These conversations will drive us towards tough and highly needed answers. Our symposia have been important points of national and cultural discourse and we are hoping that in this time of so much uncertainty and structural mistrust that we can get answers and enrich our perspectives”.

Speakers at the Symposium include Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora; Members of the House of Representatives, Hon. Luke Onofiok; Hon. Kabir Ibrahim Tukura; Hon. Babajide Balogun; Hon. Najibullah Tafida; and Honourable Hafiz Kawu; Executive Director, YIAGA, Samson Itodo; Social advocate, Maryam Laushi; and VP, Care for Heroes, Aisha Salis.