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COMMENTS & OPINIONS  

The Oswald Hanciles Column : Agenda for Prosperity is Alive in Youth!!
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Feb 6, 2013, 17:06
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 .....Of course, memories and expectations do not fade, and the number of people who hope for better years and better things are daily increasing in number.  I am one of such people, and it is why I voted for the APC!!!.....Now, if the APC government (my government, to put it properly) is mute, that is its business; but some of us, long before now even, have earned the right to ask and talk about the things that affect us as a nation... Look, if this government succeeds, we who voted it in will feel good; but, if it doesnt succeed....?  We will feel bad, and I dont know whether some of us will have the audacity to own up about our lack of performance or whether we will be playing the blame game.... is the Agenda for Prosperity a dumb show or have they gone picnicking careless of whether Bumbana Hydro Dam has gone up or tuition fees in our tertiary institutions have multiplied...- Prosperity Agenda Nah Mumu?  By Elias Bangura (078 326 422) Concord Times, Page 5, January 31, 2013

 

Elias Bangura meet youth on Prosperity Coalition

When I read the article which I excerpt from above, I immediately telephoned the writer, Elias Bangura.  The former Editor of For di People newspaper  who told me he is now a law student at FBC, University of Sierra Leone,  graciously referred to me as his mentor; and he agreed to meet me in my  office at State House the next day.  Then, I called him again, kindly asking him to meet with me that same day at 3.00 p.m.  He agreed to do that.   The very day Elias article was published, I had a meeting planned in my office  with a youth group calling itself  Peoples Coalition for the Agenda for Prosperity.  I wanted Elias, the columnist/journalist,  to see that what he is griping about in the newspapers some youth are planning to do something about.   Two other youth groups had also asked to meet me.  I decided to meet all of them together, since to my mind, they were all involved in variables of President Ernest Bai Koromas Agenda for Prosperity.  They are largely Njala University College students who have formed a group they called National Students Coalition for Youth Activism; and, also in my office were branch executive members of  the youth group I am co-founder (and The Guru) for, Youth Arise!!!, also involved in programmes which touch on the  Agenda for Prosperity. 

 

The founder/CEO of the Peoples Coalition for the Agenda for Prosperity is Abdulai A. Sesay.   On Rogbanneh Road, Makeni City, Bombali District, was born  Abdulai on the 5th  January, 1980, through a father who is currently  an Imam in a mosque on Guard Street in Freetown.  Abdulai told me that his Prosperity Coalition has 30 youth groups under its umbrella.  They were formed in 2011 to firstly educate largely youth about the Agenda for Change so, now they are going to do the same for President Koromas Prosperity Agenda.  Among the groups are Youth for Total Development; Youth Action for Rural Development; Tangible Academic Youth; Youth Action for Democracy and Human Rights; Campaign for Peace and Non-Violence, etc.  Abdulais Prosperity Coalition said they are generally  displeased with the politicization of the National Youth Commission (NAYCOM), and they think that development for youth should be devoid of partisan politics.  Tall, athletic, passionate, Abdulai told me that the President has been inspired by God to promulgate the Agenda for Prosperity, but, the president can only succeed when people understand that they have to give the programme maximum support.  Already, there is a lot of misperception about the programme; as some people think that government is going to give out charity to all people to become automatically prosperous.  That is not the case.  We want to educate our people about the opportunities that government has opened up for people.  We also are going to be active in monitoring the public sector to ensure there is less corruption; and to monitor our mining companies, to make sure that the wealth of  our country gets to the majority of our  people. 

 

Ibrahim Bahs Students Coalition to Beautify Freetown

The Students Coalition group had been pestering me with telephone calls and texts messages.  Their leader is a light-skinned well-mannered youth, Ibrahim Bah.  

 

He was in my office with one of his executives, Alpha Umaru Barrie.  Other members of the group include Abu Kuyateh, Nyake Vamboi, Lahai Vandi, Joseph T.K. Kpakoi, Hawanatu Jalloh, Sahr James, Moseray Sesay, et. al. Ibrahims first idea in meeting me was to be given a contract to clean the wall outside of State House facing the Bank of Sierra Leone, Victoria Park end, which is being used like a dump site, and piss site disgraceful sight for  outside of the wall of buildings where the President has his office. He   has now extended this idea to cleaning and beautification of the entire down town area of Freetown.   He is hoping for Presidential, and Corporate, support.

 

Youth Arises RIGHT TO P LAY thrust

My Youth Arise boys are energizing a project they called Right to Play.    The Branch leaders present were Foday Koroma, a student in MMCET, who leads a branch in the Stadium area around Brookfields;  Sheku Sheriff, Information Technology student in NUC, leading a branch in Sojaton area; and Melvin Yankuba Caulker, Ahmadiyya Secondary School student, spearheading a branch  in Fourah Bay area  . The rationale of the programme launched by Youth Arise!!! is this: All over Sierra Leone, especially in densely populated Freetown, there is almost no space for children and youth to play, and almost no sporting equipment and materials available or affordable by children and youth.  Thus, children and youth, whether in educational institutions, or, in the neighbourhoods they live in, can be seen sitting down in tight corners, or, in crammed homes, on idle or non-productive talk, or, watching filmsThis is like putting nearly all our children and youth in a big prison yard.  Youth Arise!!! is resolute in calling all within the boundaries of Sierra Leone, and internationally, to  help FREE the children/youth from this OPEN PRISON YARD. 

 

Scientific research conducted recently by reputable institutions in the United States show that children perform better in classes, even in Mathematics, after vigorous exercises; this underline the connection between exercise and qualitative education.  Thus, the project that we are now promoting has a dual goal freedom for our children/youth to follow Gods natural law for children to play; and to spur youth to perform better in their educational quests. They have written letters to the Mayor of Freetown, the Inspector General of Police, asking them to  to demarcate certain streets in Freetown to be demarcated No Traffic Zone at select times/select days of the week so that children/youth would exercise their Human Right to Play and not risk being run over by vehicular traffic. They claim that this would be in  sync with the Presidents emphasis on youth.

 

President Koroma has pledged his life to uplift youth

I reminded the youth about that the President said during the campaign season last year that he would give his life for the youth; and, when he won the presidential elections, he has made it quite clear that his emphasis would be on youth.... opening more opportunities for youth; and, asking them to worker harder to achieve their dreams; and to study more to acquire knowledge and skills.....  Clearly, the youth believed him.  Believe him!!  And, by the action of the youth in my office that day, the Hope and Faith of the youth are brimming. 

 

With the number of youths in Africa set to double by 2045, countries across the continent should boost job creation and help young people acquire new skills, according to the African Economic Outlook 2012. Creating productive employment for Africas rapidly growing young population is an immense challenge but also the key to future prosperity, say the authors in the foreword. Co-written by the African Development Bank, the OECD Development Centre, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the report says youth are an opportunity for future economic growth. Between 2000 and 2008, despite world-topping economic growth rates, and a better educated youth, Africa created only 16 million jobs for young people aged between 15 and 24.  Today, youth represent 60 percent of the continents unemployed, and of these 40 million youths, 22 million have given up on finding a job, many of them women. The continent is experiencing jobless growth, said Mthuli Ncube, Chief Economist and Vice-President of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

 

Africas Youth: Golden Goose of Opportunity AND a Time Bomb!!

Former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, at The Time CEO Summit-Africa in London on March, 2012, called the youth unemployment problem in Africa a ticking time bomb; he just launched a  foundation  in London that would have the youth problem as one of its primary focus. 

 

There is absolute need by the governing elite to exercise mental flexibility, and imagination, and spiritual LOVE in addressing Africas youth problem paradoxically laden with great opportunities but fraught with grave dangers. The youth  and I discussed how they can use foot power to collect data on youth opportunities in neighbourhoods in Freetown those who are in the tailoring business, those making cane chairs, those making arts and crafts..... which can be enhanced to begin taking advantage of export to the U.S. under its AGOA programme.  We discussed how to make their activities always youth friendly with glitz and glamour, with drumming and dancing...We discussed continually learning by the youth, and striving for globally competitive excellence in all spheres by youth; and, never to giving up sure this time that they have the expressed and implicit support of  President Koroma  in all their law-abiding activities. 

 

The governing elite, the Christian and Islamic leaders, the leaders in civil society, the leaders in business and finance...CEOs in mining companies, etc. are challenged to give support to these youth. 

 

We have little choice really.  If we dont give support to these youth who have hope, faith, and love, are dynamic, we implicitly give support to the violent youth, those drugged youth who wielded AK 47 rifles and axes and meted out nightmarish scenarios on our people.    Elias Bangura, the Agenda for Prosperity is here, is moving forward, in the minds of the majority youth who are not sitting down waiting for things to be done for them, but, reaching out with their ideas, with their sweat power, their mind power.....


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