In a vibrant display of passion and intellect, the Yewa Youth Leadership Conference ended yesterday, leaving attendees inspired and invigorated. The 3-day event, held at ASUP Hall, Federal Polytechnic Ilaro, brought together young leaders, activists, and changemakers from across Yewa communities with diverse backgrounds to delve into critical discussions on leadership, civic duty, and citizen participation. The event, organized by Yewa Youth Association, proved to be a resounding success, leaving attendees inspired and motivated.
In his welcome address, Com. Abduljabar Ayelaagbe, President of Yewa Youth Association, welcomed all participants and urged them to “connect, collaborate and build lasting relationships.” He also threw a spotlight on the activities of the association since its inauguration on 7th August, 2022.
Declaring the conference open, Ogun State Governor, His Excellency, Prince Dapo Abiodun, ably represented by Mr. Olaolu Olabimtan, Special Adviser to the Governor on Budget and Planning and Commissioner Designate, urged participants to create a balance between education (career) and entrepreneurship. Citing a personal example and advising that one should not overshadow the other, he submitted that this balance is necessary to stay ahead in life.
The vision of the conference was brilliantly echoed in two captivating keynote addresses, which set the stage for meaningful discussions and constructive exchange. Delivering a paper on “Building Youth Capacity for Effective Participation in Local Governance and Community Development,” Dr. Funmilayo Oyefusi, Managing Partner, FTI Consulting, urged attendees to embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and emphasized the importance of innovation and collaboration in shaping a better future. With charisma and wisdom, Dr Oyefusi advocated for youth-led initiatives, skills development, mentorship and intergenerational dialogue. “This exchange creates a platform for mutual learning, where elders can impart traditional knowledge and values, while youths share innovative perspectives and technological skills across the globe,” she submitted.
Dr. Olawunmi Adekunle, in an engaging keynote address on border security, advocated for border dialogue as a solution to security concerns arising in the border towns of Yewaland. These concerns, according to the Ex-Defence Chief, are the results of historical factors and shifting demographics. “Border dialogue is a powerful tool for building bridges, transforming conflicts, and fostering lasting peace,” he submitted.
The conference also featured three engaging panel sessions, each focusing on crucial aspects of leadership, business and border security.
Panel Session on Leadership: Opportunities and Prospects for Community Development Through Active Citizenship
With issues of community development and why Yewa youths must get involved at the forefront of discourse, a resolution was reached once again that Yewa youths hold the keys to unlocking the potential of the region. Panelists were Prof. S.O.A Fakorede of the University of Lagos, Barr. Jibola Orisadare, Managing Partner, Pleasant Advocates and Solicitors; and Dr. (Mrs) Bunmi Olakanmi Banjo of the Department of Mass Communication, Federal Polytechnic Ilaro.
Panel Session on Business: Building Resilient Businesses: Strategies for Overcoming Challenges
This panel session was a shot at triggering a entrepreneurial zeal among participants. Mrs Funmilayo Adetayo, CEO of Funmcy Catering Service, shared her story spotlighting the challenges and benefits of starting a business. Joining in virtually, Dr. Tunde Allinson submitted a 13-page presentation that focused on different ways to build business resilience and strategies to overcome business challenges. Mr Agboyinnu, Deputy Director, Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Trade and Investment, Ogun State, clarified different opportunities available for small and medium enterprises and proceeded to urged participants to those opportunities.
Panel Session on Security: Border Dialogue for Peace and Youth Empowerment in Yewaland
Perhaps the highlight of the conference, this panel session was an opportunity for Yewa youths to discuss and table a series of challenges faced by the region as a result of her natural location. Featured as panelists were ACC Ibrahim Babangida Badaru, Assistant Comptroller, Nigeria Customs Service; CSP Olayinka Kuye, Divisional Officer, Nigeria Police Force, Ilaro Command; Nafiu Abimbola and Com. Mawutin Imoleayo Deji.
Rightly described as hot, issues ranging from the indiscriminate use of firearms by Customs officers, pursuance and seizure of bags of rice beyond immediate border towns, and improper dressing of Customs officers among many others were tabled. The Paramount Ruler, Oba Kehinde Gbadewole Olugbenle, described the session as one of the best he has ever listened to.
Paramount Ruler Remark
Oba Kehinde Gbadewole Olugbenle ascended the stage with grace, his every movement exuding a sense of triumph and satisfaction. He stood before the assembled participants, looked out with eyes filled with pride and surveyed the sea of eager faces that awaited his words.
The Paramount Ruler submitted that since his ascension, the Yewa Youth Leadership Conference is the first time Yewa youths will come together as one to discuss their future. He noted his admiration for the newfound sense of purpose and spoke of a bright future.
Amidst an atmosphere of triumph and vitality that echoed the success of the leadership conference, Oba Kehinde Gbadewole Olugbenle revisited the border discourse sharing his own personal experience. While appreciating the Yewa Youth Association for organizing the conference, he noted his optimism for a future shared by the remarkable potential of its young leaders.
Remark by Professor Rahmon Bello, Chairman, Yewa People’s Development Council – YPDC
Professor Rahmon Bello, represented by the Secretary-General of Yewa People’s Development Council, Mr Bamidele Obafemi Akinola, recognized the poor regional economy and infra-structural deprivation faced by Yewaland. This deprivation, he noted, has led to “innovated means of survival contrary to accepted institutional means in the Nigerian society.” He concluded by identifying education and skills acquisition as way out and noted the commitment of YPDC to this goal.
In attendance were Royal Fathers from across Yewaland: HRM Alayeluwa Oba Kehinde Gbadewole Olugbenle, Olu Ilaro Yewa and Paramount Ruler of Yewaland; HRH Oba Benjamin Olanite, Onimeko of Imeko-Yewa; HRH Oba Lukmon Olalekan Kuoye, Olu of Imasayi-Yewa; HRH Oba Gabriel Ogunji, Onijoun of Ijoun-Yewa; HRH Oba Buhari Makinde, Oniwoye of Iwoye-Yewa; HRH Oba Oyebanji Olowobese, Oloja of Oja-Odan Yewa; His Majesty, Oba A. I Akinola, Alaye of Ayetoro-Yewa ably represented by Elder Israel Adeogun Chairman, Yewa People Development Council (YPDC), Yewa North LGA
Other distinguished guests include Excellency, Prince (Dr.) Dapo Abiodun, Governor of Ogun State ably represented by Mr. Olaolu Olabimtan, Special Adviser to the Governor on Budget and Planning and Commissioner Designate; Dr. Isiak Kunle Salako, Hon. Minister of State, Environment Federal Republic of Nigeria (participated Virtually); Hon. (Mrs.) Lateefat Ajayi, Deputy Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly ably represented by Dr. Seun Abati, HOD Mass Communication FPI; Mr. Peter Kolawole Fagbohun, Head of Civil Service of Ogun State ably represented by Mr. H. M Ojo, Permanent Secretary, Service Matters; Dr. Mukail Akinde, Rector, Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro ably represented by Dr. Wasiu Akinleke, Dean School of Management Studies, FPI; Professor Rahman Bello Chairman, Yewa People Development Council (YPDC) ably represented by Pastor Bamidele Akinola Secretary-General, YPDC; Dr. Akeem Taiwo, Chairman, Academic Staff of the Polytechnic (ASUP) FPI among others.
The success of Yewa Youth Leadership Conference with almost a thousand participants from across Yewa communities stands as a testament to the power and potential of the next generation. The energy, passion, and dedication displayed by each attendee was truly inspiring. As we reflect on the myriad of ideas, collaborations, and initiatives sparked during these transformative days, it is clear that our collective future is in capable hands. The discourse and connections made here will undoubtedly lead to lasting impact and positive change in communities across Yewaland. Let us carry this momentum forward, embracing the challenges and opportunities ahead with the same vigor and determination that defined this conference. Together, we are poised to shape a brighter and more inclusive tomorrow for Yewaland.