Thursday, July 27, 2017 7:46 am
Mrs Gloria Akobundu, the Chief Executive Officer, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Nigeria, has urged Nigerian youths to advocate for peace and national development for a unified Nigeria.
She made the call when an NGO known as Northern Youth Initiative for Peace and Good Governance conferred on her the `Ahmadu Bello Icon of Societal Transformation’ award on Wednesday in Abuja.
Receiving the award, Akobundu thanked the group for the laudable initiative and for recognising her efforts in repositioning NEPAD, especially in the area of youth empowerment.
She said that the award would spur her to do more in achieving the NEPAD mandate and making NEPAD Nigeria a pacesetter for other countries.
Akobundu charged youths to build on the legacies of peace and unity left by the founding fathers, who looked beyond religious and tribal differences.
She said that the growth of the nation’s economy lay in the hands of youths, adding that if the current anomalies were not corrected, the efforts of the founding fathers would have been in vain.
She said that beyond the award, NEPAD would foster partnership with the group through the signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
“We are adopting you as an organisation to advocate for peace and nation building to other youths across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
“We want a Nigeria where the Arewa youths will meet with the Oduduwa youths, the youths of the Niger Delta, the South-East and Middle belt, to draw a single communiqué for peace, economic and national development.
“The youths are the engine room for the development of the economy and are supposed to build on the foundation that had been laid by the nation’s founding fathers.
“NEPAD is for the people and the economy and we are driving so many programmes that cut across all MDAs, to boost economic development, poverty alleviation, youth and women empowerment and many more.”
Akobundu said that as future leaders, youths should not allow themselves to be used as tools for violence and destruction in the hands of some leaders and elders who do not mean well for the nation.
She said that violence and crises only lead to destruction of lives and property, which would further lead to retrogression as resources that should have been channelled for development, would be used in rebuilding destroyed infrastructures.
According to her, Nigeria remains a role model for other African countries and as such, youths in Nigeria should serve as role models to their counterparts in other African nations.
Earlier, Mr Abdulmalk Usman,the National Publicity Secretary of the group, said that the award was being conferred on Akobundu in recognition of her contributions to national and economic development.
He said that the award was a reputable one given to people who had distinguished themselves in their service to the nation and the people.
Usman explained that Akobundu’s nomination, scaled through the rigorous screening by the national Congress of the group, due to her present and previous contributions to the development of Nigeria.
“We are here today because you have done well and also due to your distinguished personality.
“We don’t just confer people with awards; we select the individuals and see how they have contributed positively to our national development.
“We have seen the positive impact of NEPAD through the CEO in the aspect of youth development, national integration and other values.”
Usman said that the group would continue to review Akobundu’s activities, to ensure that she maintained the tempo which made her to deserve the award.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Akobundu is the first female Nigerian to be conferred with the award.