Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said that he would not give up on his belief in the young people, pledging that the government would collaborate with them for greater Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu said this on Tuesday in Ikeja during the Lagos Youth Symposium organised by the Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development.
The symposium with the theme: “Rebuilding for Greatness: Peaceful Conflict Resolution” is aimed at brokering reconciliation with youths in the state.
According to him, the moment for true reconciliation has begun and Lagos can now undergo a total healing process after Year 2020’s coordinated attacks on assets which also resulted in loss of lives and livelihoods.
“Today is a day of reconciliation and it is about our teeming youths. This is the moment to create a common ground and take ownership of our future.
“We have indeed assessed what we have passed through as a people; it’s now the moment to come together and build our lives together.
“All of us have agreed that when we work together, we can build a resilient society we will truly be proud of. We will continue to build, engage and work with our young people.
“I certainly will not give up on you as partners in progress and your ability to bring about positive changes,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that with the youths there was need for inter-generational dialogue to proactively address issues that might lead to conflict.
He said that the youth must not only be granted a stakeholder status in the state’s project, but also be given prime seats at places where decisions were taken.
Sanwo-Olu also promised to increase the state’s investment in human capital development and equip the youths with requisite 21st skills that would empower them economically.
The Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr Segun Dawodu, said that the state government recognised the youth as stakeholders in peace building and violence prevention.
Represented by Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Oluwagbemiga Aina, Dawodu said that the aftermath of negative conflicts would never be beneficial to any society and its people.
“Rebuilding Lagos for greatness is a multifaceted task that involves constructing a formidable identity using the power of the state to unify people of common interests for a common goal.
“Together we will rebuild, recover and Lagos will emerge stronger. The aftermath of the past crisis will not determine the destiny of the state.
“We can find solution to our conflict in our unique education and value system, in our creativity and innovation, in our hard work and resilience.
“As we foster relationships with our youths, it is a charge on all of us to take responsibility for our today and uphold human dignity, equity, social justice, human rights and inclusiveness,” he said.
The keynote speaker at the event, Prof. Wahab Elias, said that the theme of the event connoted a resilient city, noting that conflict remained endemic and part of the society’s makeup.
Elias, who is the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Lagos State University (LASU), said that constructive engagement and peaceful dialogue were key to settling all conflicts, irrespective of their nature.
“Clashes of ideas among the social classes and cultural differences are part of the reasons why conflicts arise. There is nothing bad in conflict, but a conflict that is not progressive in nature is bad and inimical to the peace in the society,” the Professor of Sociology said.
The don appealed to the government to keep its promise of raising investment in human capital which remained a key factor in preventing conflict.
The Youth Ambassador, Miss Halimat Akanni-Shelle, thanked the governor for giving the youth a listening ear and the privilege to rub minds with decision makers.
“We are ready to join hands and take action in building a Lagos that is safe and functional for all of us,” Akanni-Shelle said.
A transformational leadership trainee, Miss Mary Makinde, described the Gov. Sanwo-Olu as a progressive leader, defining progressive leadership to be selfless act driven towards purpose, vision and motivation.
Makinde said that Sanwo-Olu was not just leading by action but showing examples that could be emulated.
“Despite the ugly circumstances that befell Lagos in the past year, the governor has remained focused on the situation and focused on things that matter,” she said.
Leader of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in Lagos, Rasheed Ogunsanya, said that the youths were the engine room of Lagos’ resilience.
Ogunsanya thanked Sanwo-Olu for identifying with the young people. (NAN)