Climate change: Be solution providers, U.S Consul General tells Nigerian youths - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Climate change: Be solution providers, U.S Consul General tells Nigerian youths

The United States' Consul General in Nigeria, Wills Stevens has charged Nigerian youths to rise up towards evolving solutions that will fix the mirage of challenges militating against the country from attaining the desired heights.

Stevens gave this charge on Wednesday at the launch of the U.S. Government supported “Recycling Waste to Wealth Challenge,” an enterprise competition for students in Vocational and Technical Colleges in Ogun State, held at Youth Development Centre, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) Abeokuta.

The project is supported through the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) Alumni Impact Award won by U.S. Government exchange alumnus, Ewajesu Fashina currently working as World Bank representative in the Ogun State Economic and Transformation Project.

Wills highlighted the importance of raising awareness on environmental issues among the youths and charged them to take the lead in providing necessary solution to preserving the environment, part of which is the recycling of plastic wastes to wealth.

He charged the youths to key into the vision of the Nigerian-Americans that have successfully established themselves in the USA and providing technological solutions to meet the world's needs.

"Today, we are talking about our youths; we are talking about giving people a chance to find the time inside them, bring them to the forefront to address the problems of recycling".

"We are looking at funding different projects at the same time, enabling them. Solving a problem and developing capacity is helping people to figure out what they can do on their own by identifying a problem, developing a solution and implementing it. This teaches you the skills which will help you address a lot of problems".

"I hope and feel that you can fix the problems and the problems are big. Is it climate change which leads to flooding, it is plastics pollution? Is it food insecurity? Is it the backsliding of democracy in the region?"

"Nigeria's diasporas in United States is over half a million Nigerian-Americans; they are the most successful diaspora group in the United States when it comes to income level and education level. They build connections back to Nigeria, they bring investments back, they bring academic connections back, they bring startup companies".

"When we talk about the tech sector in Nigeria, Africa has nine unicorns, a unicorn is a tech company that is worth over US$1 Billion. Out of these nine, five are in Nigeria and all the fives are incorporated in United States as well. This means that they built those connections with the US, they have succeeded together.

"And when we talk about whatever that they have succeeded in doing, they are identifying solutions to problems that you face. Companies like Flutterwaves, Andela are Fintech that we talked about are bringing banking to people who are previously not banked; they are bring financial solutions and fixing the problems you face and the problems you face are the same problems my kids face and I hope and feel that you can be part of that solution.

Speaking on democracy in Nigeria, Wills said the country is providing a path for other countries in Africa to follow particularly when it comes to sticking to the Constitution and ensuring successful transitions from one democratically elected government to another since over 24 years ago when the country returned to democracy.

He said "Obasanjo served two terms and left power, he set the precedent in Nigeria. If you serve and then you step aside for your successor. Nigeria has enjoyed almost 25years of presidential successions.

President Buhari just did the same thing, he served his two terms and then he stepped aside, that is a big deal on democracy, peaceful transitions of power, that is a huge thing to be proud of. It does not happen very often. There are Presidents of neighbouring countries in Africa that have been in office for a very very long time, 20, 30, 40 years, that leads to democratic instability. It leads to coups 

"Nigeria is the fourth largest democracy in the world, you just had a successful presidential transition, successful elections, this is something you should not take for granted. The idea that people can come into power, they can serve and then leave is really good and should be commended".

No fewer than 45 students, five teachers, with five facilitators participated at the “Recycling Waste to Wealth Challenge" programme; an impact award project sponsored by the US Department, designed to enable students of Technical Colleges in Ogun State write about their business ideas and turn such to wealth through essay competitions and is supported through the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP).

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