Over 6,000 youth have registered to participate in the forthcoming National Youth Conference slated to hold between October 12 and 15, the organisers have said.
The event is themed ‘Energizing the Youth for Development: Inclusiveness, Governance, Security and Employment.’
Nkechi Obi, the conference coordinator, told journalists in Lagos Wednesday that over 500 youth delegates would be hosted at Abuja between October 12 and 15, including 370 delegates sent by each state government and the FCT.
“Apart from the 370 delegates expected to physically participate in the National Youth Conference 2021, being organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, 6,000 youth have registered to participate virtually,” she added.
The conference is aimed at increasing youth participation in key national decisions like governance, economic development, and national security.
Ms Obi said the conference would explore five thematic areas namely Politics and Nation-building – Youth in the political space for nation-building and development; Education and Youth Development – Education for employment, job creation, economic contribution and personal development; Peace, Unity, and Security; Innovation and Technology; and Soft power – sports, entertainment, and creatives.
L-R: Senkem, an Ambassador for the National Youth Conference; Nkechi Obi, Conference Coordinator; Gbenga Olorunpomi, the Media Lead for Conference committee; and Elozonam, an Ambassador for the National Youth Conference
Ms Obi said a huge percentage of youths that have registered for the conference are interested in education and youth development, with others sparingly spread across other thematic areas.
According to Ms Obi, the National Youth Conference is a hybrid event, with the physical conference hosted at the FCT and a virtual event, where other youths can attend.
She said two weeks into the conference, the team is still recording significant registrations by youths on its website, www.nationalyouthconference.ng, to participate in the event.
Explaining the criteria for selecting youths that would physically attend the conference, Ms Obi said the governors of the 36 states of Nigeria were saddled with the responsibility of nominating 10 participants across different strata for the conference.
She said the selection was then extended to different youth groups, putting into consideration the areas of interest of the youths, gender, education levels, and disabilities.
“The registration data reveals interesting details on gender and topic preferences. 83.2 percent of those that have registered are male while only 16.8 percent are female. 62.3 percent of the respondents are between the ages of 18 and 30, while 36.2 percent are between 31 years and 40 years old.
“Of the five topics to be discussed, 41 percent of the youth showed interest in the issue of education and youth development. Another 40 percent said their main interest is politics and nation-building while 36.7 percent picked youth in peace and security as their preference.
“Technology and innovation were picked by 34.6 percent of the respondents and 23.6 percent said they want to join the conversations around sports, entertainment, and creative industries,” she said.
Ms Obi said the information gathered from the registration data, would dictate the tempo and depth of the conversations at the conference.
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“The enthusiasm with which young Nigerians are registering for the National Youth Conference is encouraging. There is genuine eagerness by the youth to have a front-row seat at the table and that is what this conference offers,” she said.
Also speaking at the media briefing, the Media Lead for the National Youth Conference committee, Gbenga Olorunpomi, said the conference will be declared open by Muhammadu Buhari, the President of Nigeria.
He said although the conference is hosted by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the bulk of the funding and support is from private companies, corporate organisations, and development agencies.
The team also unveiled the youth ambassadors for the event, which include Fisayo Ogunnowo, a social media influencer; Elozonam, an actor and music artiste; Seun Adigun, Winter Olympian; and others.
Mr Olorunpomi added that the conference will feature over 60 resource persons who would lead the discourse on the thematic areas and anchor plenary sessions.
The event will also feature MSME workshops, wellness centres, business exhibitions, and others.