The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that grooming the nation’s youth and managing their frustrations remains the defining task of leadership in this age.
Gbajabiamila stated that doing so was the surest way to channel their energy, drive, innovation, and courage into endeavours that would enrich the economy and accelerate our national development.
“If we fail, this abundance of vigour will become the fuel for a carnage this nation may not survive”, the speaker said.
Gbajabiamila spoke in Abuja on Thursday as he formally handed over the Legislative Initiative (LMI) he initiated to groom young Nigerians for political leadership to the National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS). This was done to ensure the sustainability of the programme beyond his tenure as speaker.
The LMI was launched in June 2022, and in October of the same year, the first cohort of 74 participants, drawn from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, were trained and graduated.
Gbajabiamila, whose tenure as the Speaker of the 9th House will wind down in June, passed the programme over to NILDS, a legislative training institute, to keep its aims and objectives alive.
He spoke on the target of the LMI, “The mission of the Legislative Mentorship Initiative (LMI) is to identify, attract, and train dedicated and capable young people to participate and thrive in politics, governance, and public service, particularly in the legislature.
“The programme was designed to demystify politics and government for a generation of young people who often don’t understand how government works, how decisions are made, and how they can participate in building a better society.
“This mission is more critical today than it was on the day we launched this initiative. With each new day, the LMI mandate becomes more urgent, more significant, and more pivotal to the cause of our nationhood.
“Therefore, it follows that sustaining the Legislative Mentorship Initiative (LMI), ensuring that this programme continues to engage, identify, and empower more young people to participate in the politics and governance of our country, is a responsibility from which we must not relent.”
On NILDS, Gbajabiamila noted that the institute did not only have the capacity to train people for roles in leadership but would also sustain the goals of the LMI, being a supportive partner from the planning stage.
“Under the leadership of the Director General, Professor Abubakar Sulaiman, the National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) has been a valuable partner from the beginning in planning and executing the vision of the Legislative Mentorship Initiative (LMI).
“I am confident that the initiative will be safe in his hands, with the support of the capable men and women of the NILDS”, he added.
Gbajabiamila promised to continue to support the LMI in whatever capacity he found himself, in or out of government.