By Joseph Erunke
THE Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, His Grace Ignatius Kaigama, has said time has come for youths to take active part in governance.
Kaigama, who insisted that “it is the right time now to give our youths a chance to express their leadership skills”, tasked authorities to expand the political space to allow more youths involved in decision making.
Kaigama particularly advised Nigerian youths to seize the opportunity to bring to an end, decades of recycling political leaders by taking up leadership positions in the country.
Speaking Saturday, during the 9th convocation lecture of Veritas University, Abuja,where he is the Chancellor, Kaigama said:”Recent events in our country show that there is the urgent need to expand the political space and allow our youths to be more involved in decision making.”
“Of what use is education which after acquiring it, you cannot have the opportunity to participate and contribute in the governance of the society?” He asked.
“Over time, we have recycled the same personnel in government in Nigeria; it is the right time now to give our youths a chance to express their leadership skills, “he further said.
Speaking at the occasion as guest lecturer, the Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, solicited support for what he referred to as “knowledge-based economy” in the country.
Bogoro said Nigeria’s ranking as the largest economy in Africa would be meaningless unless the citizens feel the impact of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the inequality gap between the rich and poor was reduced to the barest minimum.
In his lecture, titiled:”Forging Partnerships in the Triple Helix Model and the Drive for the Institutionalisation of R&D for the Sustainability of Nigeria’s Knowledge Economy, “the TETFund boss lamented that despite being amongst the top 25 highest economies in the world, one big challenge Nigeria has was putting smiles on faces of the citizens.
He said: “As I talk to you now, Nigeria’s economy is among the top 25 (economies) in the world; we are getting there gradually. But more importantly, we know that Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa with the highest GDP. But somebody will say and so what?
“Unless the size of our GDP impacts on the citizens and gradually we lower the inequality gap between the rich and the poor and put smiles on the faces of every Nigerian going forward, the purpose of having the largest economy by size of GDP will be meaningless.
“The largest economy in the world is of course the United States, followed by China. It overtook Japan. Japan is number three now. We go down and of course we are talking of Germany, France, South Korea; in terms of investments and innovations, and research and development.”
The TETFund boss also urged educational institutions to harness their strengths through collaboration with government and industries through the various models of linkages and partnerships.
Vice Chancellor Veritas university, Prof. Hyacinth Ichoku, noted that the university was able to graduate its students despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic due to the readjustment of its academic calendar and transition to online learning.
“While other institutions grappled with the challenges of the lockdown; at Veritas, we were able to quickly migrate our academic activities online, and ensured that no student was left behind. We were able to conduct online classes as well as monitor the performance of our lecturers through the various online platforms available.”
Out of the 421 students were awarded with various degrees in the 2019/2020 academic session, 32 students graduated with First Class Honours.