President Bio Inspires Graduands at National Defence College

President Bio Inspires Graduands at National Defence College

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Abuja, Nigeria, Tuesday 30th July 2019. His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio has delivered an inspirational lecture at the National Defence College to Graduands of Course 27 on the theme “Youth Inclusiveness and Good Governance: Imperatives for Regional Security and Development.
Addressing Graduands, Staff of the National Defence College, Senior Military Officials, Diplomats and Government Officials, His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio started by narrating his personal story of how at the age 4 he lost his father and had a mother who was illiterate but believed in the power of education and was determined to make him a better person through education.

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“But I could have easily dropped out of school, worked menial jobs, and lived rough on urban streets. I could have adopted a life of drugs and crime and embraced violence in order to survive. I could have joined a violent anti-government insurrection as a rebel. My story would have been different. As a young military officer, I hearkened the call of duty in the bushy borderlands interdicting smugglers and providing aviation security. From a baptism of heavy withering fire on the beaches of civil war Monrovia, I was to spend several more years with my comrades, fighting in the jungles of Sierra Leone to protect my compatriots,” His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio explained.

He also said that the topic for the Lecture on youth revolved around how African countries have grappled with the youth question, integrated youth in policy-making and implementation, and what are the implications for national and regional security and development. He highlighted some of the factors that lead to lack of opportunity for young people, exclusion and youth disillusionment in African countries which include corruption, nepotism, governance deficits and inefficiencies, uneven state resource distribution and management and lack of social services and infrastructure.

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More specifically, His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio also examined some of the barriers to youth participation in good governance which include narrow political space for young people in state governance and political parties; lack of access to quality education, vocational training and economic opportunities; limited civic spaces and civic participation because young people are either not well organised in civic organisations or their interests are not fully represented in existing organisations; and lack of youth engagement in national policy and planning dialogue. He also spoke about some of the policy and structural interventions that have been implemented in Sierra Leone to enhance youth inclusiveness in governance since the end of the war.

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Proffering solutions to addressing the lack of youth inclusiveness in good governance, His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio submitted that young people should be given leadership roles in governance and added “Those roles should be central to setting a forward-looking agenda within government and should be at the heart of policy and decision-making.” He also suggested that creating viable forums for dialogue with youth at all levels of governance will align government and youth policy choices and strategies. His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio further stated that government should promote access to quality education and skills training for young people to improve livelihood opportunities. Youth entrepreneurship and encouraging young people on their social responsibilities are also part of what His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio submitted would enhance youth inclusiveness in governance.

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His Excellency President Bio concluded his inspiring Lecture with some words of optimism in the college auditorium “Building the capacity of young people is not an option, it is at the heart of good governance and sustainable development. It fosters healthier, more educated, more peaceful, and more prosperous nations.”

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As he concluded, His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio received a sustained standing ovation from Graduands, Staff of the College, Senior Military Officials, Members of the Diplomatic Corps and Senior Government Officials in Nigeria. The National Defence College later presented gifts to the President and First Lady. After the gifts presentation, His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio and Her Excellency Madam Fatima Bio were led for the traditional photo with the Graduands of Course 27 and Staff of the College. A reception was also held by the College in honour of His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio. The Commandant of the College is Rear Admiral Makanju Mackson Kadiri.

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Culled:

State House Media and Communications Unit

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