WELCOME ADDRESS BY THE COO, THE FUTURE PROJECT, BUKONLA ADEBAKIN

Good morning everybody, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
I am pleased to welcome you all to the fifth edition of The Nigeria Symposium for Young and Emerging Leaders. In just three months, our dear country will be 59 years old, or if we count from Nigeria’s amalgamation, we are set to celebrate 105 years in existence. And with this year’s election, we can all agree that we are once again at a history-defining chapter in our corporate journey.
While conceiving the theme of this event, we realized that as the continent’s youngest and most powerful generation, we need to recognize the position with which we have been blessed. Each and every one of us have to accept the call to play an important role for a true and sustainable national development. But more importantly, it is time for government to fashion a policy alignment that creates specific and realistic solutions to real issues, and not just ideas and actions for their own sake.
Our citizens, young or old, educated or otherwise, have collectively built their hopes, dreams and ambitions on the fight for a better Nigeria; on a struggle for a government that administers specifically for the benefit of its people; and an understanding that our strength, as the whole world knows, is built on the different voices, experiences and cultures, that have grown together for more than 59 years to become our reality.
Truth be told, our history demands better from us.
Our new direction definitely calls for social-political sobriety, where we all choose to ignore selfish frames of tribalism, political warfare, defeat corruption and insist on a citizen-government relationship to aid sustainable development.
The fifth edition of the Nigeria Symposium for Young and Emerging Leaders – appropriately themed ‘Turning The Curve: Aligning Government Policy to Our Realities’ is about reflecting the true nature of our current reality, while also ensuring that the new dispensation aligns its policies to fill socio-economic gaps and satisfy our future demands.
Current global development factors call for repositioning in government performance, with more emphasis on human development in assisting talents, improving skills, and providing insightful experiences that prepare the youth for industry-leading product for global competitiveness and market domination.
We all know what is right. Every young Nigerian knows what has hindered us – corruption, tribalism, insecurity, nepotism and many others – and we cannot afford to keep thinking in gray areas. So while leading countries are having a conversation about building a better world for the coming generation, we appear ill-equipped about improving the lives of our current ones.
Last year, the Symposium was focused on analyzing the place of the youth in ‘Shaping New Narratives’, a consequential conversation right after the passage of the ‘Not Too Young To Run’ Bill. So while the improvement in the last election do not appear massively groundbreaking, there have been many heart-warming changes, and we are strategically-positioned and fortunate to continue this push.
We thank you all for joining us this year. On behalf of The Future Project and our partner, National Endowment for Democracy, we certainly hope for fruitful conversations, and we hope that action continues – even after our robust engagement.
Once again, I say thank you all for coming.

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