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Discussants at Advocate 10th Anniversary
Speaker, Organizer and Discussants at Advocate 10th Anniversary and Inaugural Lecture

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Advocate Newspaper at 10: Stakeholders Proffer Solutions to Nigeria’s Leadership Challenges


Concerned stakeholders in the Niger Delta region, from the academic, thought leaders, experts in different fields and policy makers on Wednesday met at a public lecture series hosted by Advocate Newspaper to x-rayed and proffered solutions Nigeria’s leadership challenges.

In commemoration of its 10th anniversary, the management of Advocate Publication Limited, Publishers of Advocate Newspaper organized a public lecture with the theme “Youth Empowerment and Leadership Evolution: Rethinking Nigeria’s Leadership Recruitment Process.”

The event, held at Wetland Hotel in Ughelli attracted distinguished personalities from various sectors of society. Senator Ede Dafinone, representing the Delta Central Senatorial District, was the Special Guest of Honour, was represented by his Chief of Staff, Chief Adelabu Bodjor. Olorogun Fred Majemite, a renowned lawyer and former Commissioner in Delta State, graced the occasion as the Guest of Honour. The event was chaired by Sir Elvis Oharisi, a prominent businessman.

Professor Enajite Ojaruega

Professor Enajite Ojaruega speaking at Advocate Newspaper 10th Anniversary

The highlight of the evening was the keynote address delivered by Professor Enajite Ojaruega, an erudite scholar and Professor of African Literature in the Department of English and Literary Studies at Delta State University, Abraka. Professor Ojaruega shed light on the complexities of leadership, emphasizing that it is a fusion of both inherent traits and external influences. He remarked, “Leadership as we perceive it is a fusion of nature and nurture. Some leaders are born, some are made.” She also stressed the importance of youthfulness of mind, stating, “Rather, we should look at the essence of youth as transcending mere numerical boundaries, to embody a state of mind characterized by vitality, creativity, innovation, and a relentless pursuit of progress.”

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Drawing attention to the untapped potential of Nigeria’s youth population, Professor Ojaruega highlighted the obstacles of disempowerment, marginalization, and lack of opportunities that hinder their contribution to society. She expressed, “Under optimal circumstances, the composition of the country’s population should ordinarily hint at a wealth of untapped potential awaiting harnessing for groundbreaking and expansive endeavors.”

Participants at Advocate Newspaper First Lecture Series

In her analysis of the flaws in Nigeria’s leadership recruitment and empowerment processes, Professor Ojaruega identified the enduring effects of colonialism, entrenched political interests, and limited opportunities as major culprits. He stated, “This foundational failure of Nigeria’s leadership recruitment processes has led to social stratification, alienation, and marginalization, particularly among the youth.”

The discussion panel featured three additional experts who shared their insights on the topic. Edewor Egedegbe, a prominent social commentator, stressed the need to distribute blame equally among the youth, leadership, and society. He remarked, “We should share the blame equally. Equally.” Egedegbe further highlighted the value drift in society as a root cause of the problem, stating, “For me, that’s the beginning of the problem. When people do not give up, they don’t give up. They give room for excellence. We now thrive in mediocrity. This is what you get.”

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Participants at Advocate Newspaper 10th Anniversary

Dr. Harvey Igben, another panelist and esteemed economist, emphasized the importance of collaboration between the private sector and the government to enable policies and their effective implementation. He stated, “The contribution must come from both the private sector and the government. But enabling the environment for the private sector to be able to do whatever it takes to do whatever it has to do.” Dr. Igben also raised concerns about the reward system and policy implementation in Nigeria, questioning the extent of transformation that takes place within correctional institutions.

Edewor Egedegbe, a youth empowerment advocate, urged the youth to change their approach and not rely solely on public sector participation. He emphasized the significance of empowering the mind through programs like his leadership school. Egedegbe stated, “It will only end when the youth change her approach.” He further highlighted the importance of acquiring knowledge through reading and emphasized the values of hard work and humility.

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Barrister Ejiro Etaoghene, another discussants, echoed the sentiment of self-empowerment and emphasized the need for youth to take initiative. He encouraged them to read and acquire knowledge, stating, “Don’t wait to be empowered. Empower yourself. Go and read books.” Barrister Etaoghene emphasized the importance of hard work and humility as key factors for success, urging the youth to be obedient and diligent.

Onitsha Shedrack

Mr Onitsha Shedrack

Professor Rukevwe Ugwumba, also a discussants, a professor of family medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Canad, and a politician of note in her submission said that for Nigeria to get it’s leadership right, there must be a deliberate policy to enthrone meritocracy above nepotism, tribalism sexism, elitism and corruption in our electoral system which undermines our leadership recruitment process.

Speaking to Newsmen, Mr. Shedrack Onitsha, the Chief Executive Officer of Advocate Publications Limited, expressed gratitude for the challenging yet rewarding journey of the past decade. He acknowledged the support received from friends and associates, and highlighted the platform provided by the Advocate Newspaper to nurture young journalists who have now become renowned names in the field.

Mr. Onitsha revealed plans for rebranding and enhancing their activities, promising a more robust and engaging contribution to Nigeria and Africa.


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