Wives of Governors who are also known as First Ladies, have been urged to foster fruitful and productive dialogue with youths at home and in diaspora by building better relations with renowned diaspora youth organizations.
The Chairman/ CEO Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said this at a seminar organised by the African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM) in collaboration with the Office of the First Lady of Nigeria and CTP International (UK-Nigeria).
Dabiri-Erewa while speaking on the topic: “Engaging Diaspora Youth: Lessons from Recent Events and the Role of the First Lady”, implored the First Ladies to engage with Nigerian youths in diaspora anytime they find themselves on trips abroad.
She also charged them to relate with renowned diaspora youth organizations who were very influential in galvanizing support for the #NotTooYoungToRun movement and #EndSARS protest and were partly responsible for the viral status of the protests.
The NiDCOM boss further noted that the vision of these organisations to see to the empowerment of Nigeria youth through mentoring, career opportunities, apprenticeships, work experience, sports engagement, rising awareness of Nigeria culture, reduction of gang membership, violence and radicalization, are areas where any First Lady’s support would be invaluable.
According to her, “Reaching out to the youths of today to any meaningful degree entails reaching out to them in their world; the world of social media. This is the first generation raised by online campaigns and hashtags; therefore, this is the direction that humanity is headed.
“The #NotTooYoungToRun movement and the #EndSARS protests have proven that this is not an apolitical generation as previously thought; they can be mobilized to terrifying effectiveness if honed properly.
“First Ladies, as the foremost mothers of society concerned for their children’s well-being, could be the one doing the mobilization in the first place. The primary requirement for this is an increased social media presence across all platforms, one that directly engages the numerous issues that youths bring to light locally and internationally on the internet every day”, she said.
She urged First Ladies to use their role and status to challenge and encourage youth to participate in the running of the government as well as help convince youth in the diaspora to invest more in the country by positively engaging in dialogue with them any time they travel out of the country.
Such dialogue, she said, will foster a good relationship with the youth, adding that whenever the need arises, the First Ladies can advise, mediate and convince the youth when it comes to issues of development.
“You can therefore use your platform to engage the youth and through the various medium, provide a constant reminder to them that you understand their plight and you’re constantly with them, understanding that this significant force of youthful exuberance can be a powerful tool in your hands if they see you as an ally who understands them.
“As first ladies, I implore you to engage with Nigerian youths in diaspora anytime you find yourself on trips abroad. 33 States now have State Diaspora focal persons and NiDCOM will be willing to facilitate and work to make this happen”, she ended.
The theme of the seminar is, “The First Lady as Leader and Mobiliser of Women and Youth in the Post-COVID-19 Era”.