by Willfred Okiche
Newly appointed Osun State Commissioner for Youth, Sports & Social Needs, Stephen Kola Balogun speaks briefly to YNaija on his mission, hopes and plans for the youth of the state.
Why are you in the youth ministry?
I believe I have a lot to offer to the youth. I am interested in their welfare and passionate about sports.
What experience do you have to qualify you for your current office?
Coincidentally, I used to be the PA to Goarth Crooks who is a sports icon at the BBC so I have wide experience in sports which is a key part of the youth ministry. I am also a youth myself and my past experiences will come to play in my administration’s priority for improve vocational skills. Presently there are too much attention on white collar jobs while there are vast opportunities if we can only standardize vocational skills.
What plans do you have to engage the priority?
We are working on the plans, it’s only been 6weeks.
What comes to mind when you think youth?
Young matters of the society who need guidance to actualize their dreams.
There’s is this argument that only a young person can understand the youth, what is your take here?
That’s not correct. Young or old, you were once young so the experience comes to bare. What the older person would do is to mix his youthful experience, the ‘archaic’ ideas and modernization and you have fine result. I am in my early 50s and just passed the age of being a youth but I’m still very young and bubbly at heart. Once you’re below 50, you are a youth.
What youth groups or young people are you working with?
Ogun State Youth Empowerment scheme and they are all young. My secretary is young too. This is civil service, difficult to bring young people in or reorganize the office. That’s beyond my power.
What would you term as success in your assignment when all is done?
When all is done, if the youth are able to say they are satisfied with my assignment in Osun state, I will say it was successful. Hopefully I am able to bring the true spirit of Osun, ‘Ipinle omoluabi’ out through values and resourcefulness.
What does Nigeria mean to you?
In our anthem, a part of it says “…labours of our heroes past”; my father was one of the founding fathers of Nigeria and I know his expectations for this country so I’d hope and wish that this generation will live up to the expectations of our fathers to make the country more meaningful.