A former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, has urged Nigerian youths to mobilise themselves and channel some of their youthful enthusiasm and activism into clamouring for a restructuring of the country’s governance structure.
Anyaoku stated this at an event organised by Rise Networks in commemoration of the United Nations’ International Youth Day 2016 in Lagos.
While speaking on the theme, ‘The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Production and Consumption,’ Anyaoku said, “If the country wants to rid itself of poverty, there has to be essential national action in the areas of politics, social change and economic activities.”
According to him, the restructuring of Nigeria should pose no threat to her unity as there is need to realise that a truer federalism will give the country greater political stability and faster socio-economic development.
“It is the continuation of the ongoing agitations in different parts of the country which are encouraged by present governing structure,” he said.
The ex-Commonwealth chief explained that politics should be restructured by devolving more power to the federating units to provide more viable basis for economic planning and development.
Anyaoku emphasised that the Nigerian society in its present state was in great need of social change.
He explained, “Corruption permeates all levels of the society starting from examination malpractices in our schools and education institutions through primary and receiving of gratification before the performance of ones’ obligatory duties to outright embezzlement and stealing of public and private funds.”
He argued that hard work was no longer recognised as the only path to success in Nigeria but the society had placed the possession of wealth over and above the possession of good hard work, hence, the heavy presence of corruption.
“I urge our youths as powerful agents of quality change to be in the vanguard of a campaign for the restoration of the societal values and ethics that guided people’s behaviour in the past in the growing up of young people.”
While speaking about the massive poverty present in the country, Anyaoku said it was closely linked to the unacceptable level of youth unemployment.
According to him, to effectively address the challenge of youth unemployment, entrepreneurship must be embraced.
“I believe there are vast opportunities to be tapped in the spheres of agriculture, and agro-based industry and also the small and medium-scale manufacturing of things that will boost the economy of the country,” he said.
This past weekend, world leaders met at the United Nations General Assembly in New York and adopted new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an ambitious agenda that aims to end poverty, promote prosperity and to protect the environment over the next 15 years.
The SDGs replace the eight Millennium Development Goals, which were adopted in 2000 and expire this year.
The UN came up with a 17-point agenda of goals to build a better world. But some analysts have described the goals as too ambitious and unrealistic.
As I was going through the global goals over the weekend, I could not agree more that a number of them are highly ambitious. They qualify to be called BHAGs – Big Hairy Audacious Goals — a term coined by Jim Collins and Joe Perras in their book ‘Built To Last: Successful Habits of Successful Companies.’
Or what do you say about goals that seek to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere; end hunger, achieve food security…; ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages; ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all; achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”, among others?
I’m sure it was not for nothing that the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said: “We need action from everyone, everywhere. Seventeen sustainable development goals are our guide. They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success. To achieve these new global goals, we will need your high-level commitment. We need a renewed global partnership.”
As the UN SDGs are meant to guide development priorities around the globe over the next 15 years, I believe each one of us should have clear-cut written goals to guide our personal development.
I call them Self-Development Goals. These SDGs are as essential to your personal success as they are to the betterment of the society you live in.
If we all have SDGs to pursue and are determined to achieve them, then the accomplishment of the UN SDGs will not be a tall order.
To improve the world, we must begin by improving ourselves. To improve ourselves, we need to have goals, dreams and visions, and ensure they are big enough to inspire us to break out of our comfort zones and stretch ourselves. We only grow when we stretch.
You must dream big to do big things. When you aim high, it helps you to maximise your God-given potential.
Orison Swett Marden said, “All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible.”
The late personal development legend and American author, Jim Rohn, who passed away in 2009, defined success as the steady progress in reaching your own personal goals.
Do you have personal goals to achieve in the next one, three, five, or 10 years? How committed are you towards improving yourself?
Rohn said, “Unless you change how you are, you will always have what you’ve got. You can have more than you’ve got because you can become more than you are.
“Why not see how far you can go, how much you can earn, how much you can share and how much you can give? Why wouldn’t you want to discover all that you can become?”
It is true that too often people forfeit future success by not continuing to invest in their own development.
Some people reach a certain level and wrongly believe they’ve peaked. Success is a journey, not a destination. You can always become more, do more and share more.
As a stickler for personal development, I believe we can all achieve outstanding results in our lives by constantly seeking to improve our knowledge base and skills set through continuous learning.
Marie Curie, a two-time Nobel Prize winner, said: “You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for our own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.”
How much time are you investing in your personal development?