by Oge Okonkwo
On 18th January 2014, 100,000 young Nigerians from across the nation will declare their stand for the future of their nation at the main bowl of Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos.
“100,000 Voices” as the event is being themed, will reach tens of thousands of attendees and then millions of Nigerians in the country and the Diaspora through a made-for-TV 3-hour live broadcast complete with live showings at viewing centres across 6 geo-political zones, and online live streaming.
“We’re ready to serve, and we’re ready to lead!” says Kola Oyeneyin, Entrepreneur and Founder of Sleeves Up Nigeria, one of the organisers of the historic “100,000 Voices” generational movement, as he announced the formal launch of the event.
“After months of engagements around the country and meetings with young and emerging leaders, this event will convene a dynamic group of generational stakeholders who are well-positioned to drive sustainable positive change in Nigeria,” said Salihu Tanko-Yakassai, a co-organiser. “It’s 100,000 voices of this generation defining the Nigeria they desire and deserve.”
He also announced a campaign to inspire young Nigerians to record their own dreams and aspirations for Nigeria through videos and graphics. The campaign will include advertorials across print, electronic and new media as well as videos by leading generational voices including Tuface, Kate Henshaw, Banky W, Sasha P, Timi Dakolo and many more.
“It’s not enough to say 60% of Nigerians are in the under-35 demographic,” said Reginald Bassey, one of the organisers. “It’s time to show those numbers; it’s time to say exactly what those numbers are going to do. In this coalition, we have organisations that put together West Africa’s first youth-centered presidential debate, organise Africa’s foremost youth awards and lead several African youth fora. It’s an amazing network of influence and numbers. It’s time for those numbers to begin to play an active role in policy, politics and leadership across regional, ethnic and ideological divides. ”
The100,000 Voices event will feature interactions and speeches from leaders in politics, business, and the social sector as well as a “Walk of Hope” that spotlights massive change projects and movements led by young Nigerians. It will also issue a communiqué articulating a 30-year political, economic, social and technological roadmap for Nigeria, as well as a post-event schedule of under-40 national dialogues.
The event calendar, full list of Speakers, Conveners and Ambassadors will be unveiled by the organisers later in November.
“It takes at least a generation to move a country from Third World to First and young leaders must be ready to make the sacrifices our nation needs. We must move young Nigerians from mere citizens to custodians of the Nigerian state,” said Oyeneyin. “In the words of Nelson Mandela – “Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great”. We are determined to be that generation. We are acting now!”