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‘Youths Must Strive for Excellence, Eschew Vices’

Funmi Ogundare

A lecturer at the Department of Guidance and Counselling, University of Lagos, Mrs. Ronke Asiwaju, has appealed to the youths to strive towards excellence in their academic pursuit; this she said can be achieved if they are not carried away by social vices.

Asiwaju, who made this known recently at a youth leadership conference, organised by the Lagos State Ministry of Education with the theme ‘Empowerment to Overcome Societal Challenges’ said irrespective of their background, they should remain focused on their goals, shun distractions and crime and manage their time effectively.

“How do you strive towards excellence? You have to desire it and be determined to excel. You have to set smart and specific goals which are measurable, realistic and time-bound. You also have to be dedicated in your strive towards excellence with due diligence.”
She said when youths strive towards excellence, they will feel accomplished and stand to be counted, adding that the applause will make them strive for recognition.

In his paper, ‘Say No to Drug/Sexual Abuse/Cultism’, a retired director in the ministry, Mr. RajiAkinola, highlighted the implications of getting involved in social vices, while enjoining parents to bring up their children properly by teaching them to fear and obey God.
He argued that the issue of drug abuse among youths has become so troubling that if nothing is done urgently about it, the future of the country may be reduced to rubbles because the youths of today are leaders of tomorrow.

On sexual abuse, he quoted the United Nations (UN) reports as saying that about 120 million girls around the world, slightly more than one in 10 per cent, has been raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 20.

“Sexual abuse can occur in places teenagers think are safe like their homes, schools and communities even in religious places. It can also happen over the internet and it is perpetuated by family members, teachers, neighbours, strangers, religious leaders and other children.”
Akinola stressed the need for stringent law prohibiting sexual assault to be enacted, adding that children and teenagers should be taught lessons on self-affirmation.

“The action should be in tune with the voice ‘no, zip-up, speak out’. Good dressing code that is not suggestive should be emphasised. Girls should not ask for or take gift from the opposite sex; they should also avoid isolated areas as it is difficult to get air if no one is around.”
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Mr. AdesinaOdeyemi, said the choice of the theme was apt given the prevalence of youths in social vices like robbery, kidnapping, human trafficking, child abuse, drug abuse, rape, prostitution, among others. These he said are mostly a result of unnecessary peer influence, indiscretion and haste at seeking riches.
“As the popular saying goes that youths are the leaders of tomorrow, it implies that you are agents of change. You can make the difference depending on the kind of difference you want to bring to bear on the society. You can by your action or inaction bring positive or negative change to the society but note also that each one has its consequences.

“You must have heard about educated youths who constituted different pressure groups, mobilised the people and drummed support for independence from the British colonialist. The likes of Obafemi Awolowo, Aminu Kano, LadokeAkintola, Samuel Akinsanya, Ernest Okoli, Anthony Enahoro, Dr. NnamdiAzikwe, Tafawa Balewa, to mention but a few, were youths when they led the struggle that rid our nation of colonialism. Although, they are all gone, history remains kind to their memories.”

Odeyemi stressed that as there are positive change agents, there are also negative ones, whose actions have impacted negatively on the society. “Will you join those who have their eyes on to top seats and are desirous to work their ways diligently to success or will you rather prefer to engage in drug abuse, trafficking and luring colleagues into drug abuse?

“Will you apply your ICT knowledge to hacking or developing apps that will make life easy? Will you join those applying their knowledge of chemical reactions acquired in the study of chemistry to wreck the life of others or grow into renowned scientist, medical doctor or pharmacist? Will you grow to be lawyers that will deploy knowledge to get justice for the oppressed or pervert justice? Will you be an accountant or auditor who will aid and abet fraud?”

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