by Chude Jideonwo
My attention has been drawn to a story in SaharaReporters, with respect to the ‘Youth Lunch with the President’, claiming that “The event’s arrowheads include Chude Jideonwo of the “Future Project”.
I make haste to say that I was not one of the “arrowheads” of this event. I was invited to speak on ‘corpers’ and corruption and I saw it as a grand opportunity to speak truth to power, which I am happy that I did (The speech can be found HERE) I feel saddened by allegations of money changing hands at the event. However, it is important to state that I left the venue at about 4pm and I was not aware of the exchange of cash.
I did not receive, have not received and will not be receiving money from any quarters for that event – my organization was not part of organizing and executing the event beyond nominating young people to attend. I did not even receive a standard Speaker’s Fee.
The minimum expectation is that SaharaReporters would have made an effort to cross-check or confirm these facts, especially since I am accessible to its key players.
I have worked with the federal government, state governments and international organizations in engaging with young people and have advised these organs on the best way to do it honestly and transparently – and I will continue to do so in line with global best practice and ethical standards. At the same time, the organizations that I am a part of will continue to ensure that governments at every level are held accountable: this imperative is non-negotiable.
Like I said to the president in the speech I delivered, “We will be watching. But we won’t just watch, we will demand (fundamental change), and we will work to make sure that we get it. We will hold you to every one of your promises.”