Emperor Chris Baywood Ibe, founder of Africa’s leading charity foundation, Baywood Foundation has called for the adaptation of the ‘Affirmative Action’ for African youths with a view to empowering and giving opportunities to youths to participate in politics.
Emperor Ibe made the call during the launch of a book published by the Baywood Foundation, ‘Beyond Rhetoric’. Ibe who mentioned that opportunities should be given to youths to take leadership positions added that except youths are given opportunities to take responsibilities and tasks, they cannot be accused to have failed their generation.
Emperor Ibe who described Nigeria as a talking nation yet no action explained that the title of the book, ‘Beyond Rhetoric’ is meant to proffer solutions to the challenges faced by youth instead of just talking and not doing anything.
He added that “Beyond Rhetoric is offering solutions beyond the talk shows, the problems cannot be challenged based on mere rhetoric, solutions lie in the affirmative action. We need to act and stop talking or complaining.”
The founder of Baywood foundation explained that the book which is Youth Empowerment and Political Voice in Nigeria is part of his contribution to the development of youths.
He buttressed that, “My role model, Nelson Mandela once said it’s not how long you’ve lived on earth but how much impact you’ve made – this is what I live on, dream of, think of and work for. Some may call it politics, some may call it activism but I call it Ministry of help, giving back to the society, putting smiles on the faces of the people especially the youth.”
He stressed that the focus of the Baywood foundation is the regenerating of the African youths adding that, “youths should not be seen as liabilities but as assets, not until then can we forge ahead in this nation”.
On a contrary view, the Chairman of the occasion, Emmanuel Ijewere believed the youths need to grab power and should not expect affirmative action or that power would be handed over to them willingly.
Ijewere explained that “Affirmative action is a deliberate action by the government or society to involve a section in power, no one would do that deliberately. The only way to get is to grab it. If you want to have a proper representation, don’t sit down, these people will never give up.”
He charged the youth to make themselves viable and capable for leadership positions, “understand the initiative of those beyond you, learn from their mistakes and change Nigeria.”
On his part, the keynote speaker, a development expert and global justice activist, Dr Hussaini Abdu believes there is a meeting point between affirmative action and direct action. He applauded the Not Too Young To Run Act which gives an opportunity for youths to be involved in politics but stressed that more needed to be done.
Abdu said, “we need to go beyond the Not Too Young To Run, we need to develop a strong youth policy that is connected to our national youth development plan. We need to build a strong generational identity and strengthen youth’s policies.”
He added that the private sector and civil society organizations have a role to play in advancing the course of the youths but noted that the government must play its part so that interventions from other parties can be recognized.
The book ‘Beyond Rhetoric’ was officially launched after the review was done by Prof Patricia Duli from the University of Maiduguri.