The speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has charged all youths to take full advantage of the ” Not too young to run” Bill, explaining that the National Assembly passed the popular bill with the objective of lowering the age requirement for elective offices in line with its commitment to youth participation in governance.
He also added that House of Representatives is committed to the enactment of youth friendly legislations that will aid the total development of our youths into productive citizens, encourage them to imbibe and sustain the spirit of commitment to civic obligations,
Delivering a lecture as the guest speaker at the 31st annual All Rotaract Multi-District conference in Abuja, he also added that the National Assembly is dedicated to ensuring the observance and appropriation of fundamental human rights of youths and full participation in governance though all the available opportunities under the law.
The Speaker, who expressed delight at double honours conferred on him by Rotaract by giving him the role of guest speaker and also conferring the prestigious merit award of Exemplary Leadership & Humanitarian Services on him, also expressed confidence in them to restore the fast depleting values among the younger generation.
“In a nation with fast depleting values among the younger generation, which in my opinion, is a consequence of uninspiring leadership, I am persuaded that occasions such as this provide fertile environment for inspirational interaction with youth who have, by choice, dedicated themselves to the promotion of the enthronement of critical human values and possess the potential to massively replicate same.
“Rotary International , of which Rotaract is an affiliate, remains one of the social organisations with the most noble objectives as well as operational culture. The Rotary 4-Way Test, which is the scale for the determination of the integrity of human thought and action indeed constitutes a master key to a majority, if not all, of our existential conundrum. In all human thoughts and actions , if the answers to these 4-Way test questions ,namely: i. Is it the truth? ii. Is it fair to all concerned? iii. Will it build goodwill and better friendships? and iv. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?, are in the affirmative, the risk of wrong is negligibly minimal,” he stated.
While admonishing the young members to take full advantage of the invaluable leadership education Rotaract offers them, he praised Rotaract for creating reality through the practice of sound character development and the inculcation of the spirit of service and friendship, adding that he has no doubt that Rotaract , and indeed its sister minors club, the Rotary Interact ( for persons between ages 12 – 18), if well promoted, should become the Leadership bank of communities, nations and indeed the global community.
Hon Dogara said, “Rotaract provides for you in experiential form, the rudiments of ethical living in your prime and as you grow with this specialized knowledge and experience , you are sure to end up as dependable citizens with high ethical standard. I charge you therefore that the time to learn Leadership is now; the time to learn patriotism is now, the time to learn nationalism is now; the time to learn commitment to community service is now and the time to set objective life goals towards national development is now.
“As you render service in the home community or the university environment you must not take for granted the lessons learned on the workings of organisations. Similarly in the student community participation in student unionism and other clubs that promote ethical conduct is worth your engagement and I need not remind you that the Rotary 4-Way Test should be your guide at all times and in all circumstances. When you imbibe Leadership qualities at this level, it can only get better with age, education and experience.”
“In the local community the basic needs, aspirations, concerns, anxieties and idiosyncrasies of the community must be fully appreciated before they be genuinely addressed. As the national level, Rotractors must acquaint themselves with the basic constitutional principles of citizenship contained in chapter 3 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, the Fundamental Human Rights provisions in Chapter 4 and perhaps more importantly the Fundamental objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy contained in chapter 2 thereof. It is with this comprehensive knowledge of the environment that a rotractor will fully appreciate his rights, obligations and civic responsibilities.”
The Speaker also lectured and advised them on the need to participate in governance as the true essence of democracy is that power belongs to the people and not officials who exercise governmental power, be it in elective or appointive capacity and urged them to shun violence and thuggery while always exercise their voting rights.
“They are mere trustees, representatives or agents of the people” Section 14 subsection 2 (b) of the Constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria captures this succinctly when it states ” sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this Constitution derives all its powers and authority” and 2(c) ” the participation by the people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
“ A good Rotaractor should be an active citizen through the observation of civic responsibilities, he must recognise that power belong to the people which he is a part of and therefore he must monitor to ensure that those he has delegated to exercise this power on his behalf do not run away with it.
“A good Rotaractor should cast his vote to elect persons of his choice into office and also contest elections to positions of his interest. A good Rotaractor should in collaboration with colleagues, peers form or join election monitoring groups to promote free, fair and credible elections through which good leaders can be recruited for service at different levels of government. I should like to caution that thuggery does not form a part of the citizens participation being canvassed here. Indeed thuggery is totally alien to the objectives of Rotaract and cannot be contemplated by a true Rotaractor except for purposes of mobilizing against it. I should perhaps wish to add that thuggery is criminalised under the Electoral Act of Nigeria.”
Special Adviser (Media & Public Affairs)