Sunday Dare, the Minister of Youth and Sport Development says Nigerian youths are leaders of today, not leaders of tomorrow.
Dare made this known at the maiden edition of the Nigerian Prize for Leadership, Ambassador Leadership Programme organised for youths on Monday in Abuja.
The youths are drawn from the six geopolitical zones and the training programme will last for a month.
He said that Nigerian youths should be supported with different opportunities to make them thrive to take leadership positions.
He said that Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Bola Ige, Nnamdi Azikiwe among others were role models with great leadership roles that youths should emulate.
Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, the Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) said that Nigeria had no problem with land, planet, air, water or anything else but “the only problem is leadership’’.
Bogoro made allusion to his recent presentation on access to education in northern Nigeria, pointing out that it was not compulsory but obligatory role of the northern elites to ensure that everyone had access to education.
He said that education was free for all in the past, adding that there should be access to education for all Nigerians.
“The current leaders of Nigeria had the privileged to benefit free education with token allowances in their secondary school days to travel home during holidays.
“It is the same we as leaders through our action that are denying most of the children of the less privileged access to education for too long.
“We love to blame the government as if they are gods but when we find ourselves in government, we are not making progress as elites or leaders, what an irony.’’
He called on Nigerian leaders to practise what they preach, adding that the young ones also should be taught leadership roles.
Prof. Anya Anya, the Chairman, Governing Board, Nigeria Prize for Leadership, said that critical role the youths play in nation building underscored the essence for initiating the Ambassador Leadership Programme.
Anya said that the programme was initiated to raise and groom a new generation of exceptional leaders from the six geopolitical zones.
According to him, it is designed to be impactful and imparting, leading to a complete transformation of participants over a period of time.
He said that the programme would require sustainable energy, commitment, discipline and creativity.
“The mission of the programme is to institute and project a truly Nigerian leadership prize that will inspire Nigerians to lead a life larger than self, for community, nation and humanity.
“It envisaged to be the highest, most reliable and prestigious single leadership prize in Nigeria, targeting Nigerians of all ages, who have demonstrated character, credibility, competence, creativity among others,’’ he said.
Prof. Vincent Anigbogu, the Chairman, Programmes Development Committee said the aim of the programme was to develop competent young leaders that could lead different sectors in our national life.