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DVC calls for youth-led entrepreneurship to unlock sustainable development in Nigeria

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, Research, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships (ARISP), Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, (ABUAD), Professor Damilola S. Olawuyi (SAN), has called for increased…

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, Research, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships (ARISP), Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, (ABUAD), Professor Damilola S. Olawuyi (SAN), has called for increased youth engagement and representation in social entrepreneurship and leadership if the nation sincerely wants to attain sustainable development.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who is also President of the International Law Association (Nigeria), spoke in Ikere-Ekiti, headquarters of Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State, during a symposium marking the third edition of the Young Lawyers’ Forum of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Ikere-Ekiti branch organized in his honour with the theme, ‘Enhancing Access to Justice, Rule of Law and Human Rights: The Role of Young Lawyers.”

The Forum was organised to recognise Olawuyi’s trailblazing achievements as the youngest academic Senior Advocate of Nigeria and his enormous contributions to youth empowerment, mentoring and legal education in Nigeria and beyond.

Specifically, Olawuyi called on the youth to focus on big and transformative ideas that can deliver major social objectives for Nigeria, including employment creation, poverty reduction, food security, access to justice, and national cohesion.

He said: “About fifty percent of social entrepreneurs in Australia, the United States and Western Europe are below the age of 40. These are young people who are leveraging their creativity and talents as digital natives to solve the wicked problems of our time, including insecurity, food poverty, climate change and clean energy transition.

“I want to encourage the younger generation to reject the toga being called the leaders of tomorrow, as tomorrow is now. The best time for you to contribute to nation building is now. Governments at all levels should also dismantle barriers to active youth participation in social entrepreneurship and leadership through targeted mentoring, venture financing, and enhanced visiblity for youth-led social enterprises.”

While reflecting on the pivotal support that he has received from his mentor, the Founder and Chancellor of ABUAD, Aare Afe Babalola, SAN, Olawuyi encouraged the younger generation to look for mentors who believe in them and inspire them to do better.

“I also want to encourage the young generation to look for mentors that will inspire you and provide you the platform to translate your big ideas into reality. Big ideas without mentoring are like arrows without a target.

“May God help you to find supportive mentors like Aare Afe Babalola, SAN who would bring out the best in you, steer you in the right direction, support you, and invest in your dreams and goals.” Olawuyi stated.

The event was moderated by a mix of current and past leaders of NBA, and featured insightful presentations from senior lawyers, including the Chairman of the occasion Hon. Barr, Iyabode Fakunle Okieimen, member of the Ekiti State House of Assembly and Chairman, House Committee on Environment; Chairman of the Ikere Ekiti Branch of the NBA, Dr. Michael Sunday Afolayan; and keynote speaker, Dr. Adenike Akinsemolu, who is the Founder of the Green Institute and a honorary professor at the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Others are the Honorable Justice Oyinkansola Oluboyede, Judge of the Ekiti State High Court, and distinguished panelists, namely Barr. Oyinade Temitope Olatunbosun, Chairperson, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Ekiti State, Rev. Father Emmanual Akingbade, Dr. Oriola Oyewole, Senior Lecturer, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Barrister Temitayo Akeredolu and the panel moderator, Tosin Ayo of the Faculty of Law, Ekiti State University.

In her keynote lecture, Dr. Adenike Akinsemolu emphasized the need for active engagement of youth and women in sustainability initiatives in order to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria.

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