The Parliament Diary


Youths have been encouraged to have value reorientation and mindset change toward politics and participate actively in governance so as to change the narrative.

The Commissioner for Youth Development, Comrade Ifeanyi Egwunyenga, gave the advice at a 2-day capacity building workshop with the theme “Understanding Legislative Procedures and Youth Engagement” for Delta State Youth Parliamentarians in Asaba.

Comrade Egwunyenga charged the parliamentarians to take whatever knowledge they acquire at the workshop seriously, stating that youth in the country generally, were lagging behind in politics because they do not participate actively.

“The workshop was to expose you to what it takes to be a parliamentarian and to give you the much needed fundamental knowledge of what it takes for you to add value to your communities and the state in general.”

“Today I want you to see this capacity building as a school where you can learn new exposures that will add to your knowledge not just as young parliamentarians but as one in the future,” Egwunyenga said.

In his opening remark, the member representing Warri North Constituency, Hon. Fred Martins, shared his personal experience when he was the House Leader of the Legislative Arm in his Council in 1991 at a young age, advising participants that the best time to begin participatory governance was now.

He enjoined the participants to maximize opportunities of the program to build capacity for leadership by being innovative, productive and strategic.

Martin, who is also the Chairman of the House Committee on Youth and Sports Development, was represented by Hon. Ferguson Onwo, member representing Isoko South II Constituency.

He reminded the youth that legislation was a feature of democracy and an instrument used by representatives to speak on behalf of other persons who elected them.

One of the resource persons, Hon. Efe Ofobruku, a two-time member of the Delta State House of Assembly, who represented Uvwie Constituency, spoke on ”Participatory Governance and Rural Appraisal -Social Mobilization Mindset Change and Value Reorientation”.

He stated that the greatest enemies of youth participation in governance were the youth themselves, saying that they hardly support their own but would rather look for a money-bag for piecemeal gratification.

Ofobruku, presently the Special Adviser to the state governor on Legislative Matters, stated that when youth support their own, the narrative would change for popular participatory politics where youths would be in majority in Nigeria.

”Participation in governance is not demanding for construction of roads, building of schools or health centers – though these are good, but it should start from getting your voters card, register to vote and be voted for, that is your first assignment.

”You must join a political party and be actively involved to be a candidate for election either at Ward, Local Government or at State level, put yourself for election and create platform for choices,” Ofobruku stated.

Another resource person, Comrade Angela Onwaeze, who spoke on Advocacy and Community Engagement Strategies, called on participants to see ideas as the best weapon in the hands of the youths, especially the youth parliamentarians to make a change. “Advocacy is the active support of an idea or cause expressed through strategies and methods that influence the opinions and decisions of people and organizations,” she said.

Speaking further, Comrade Onwaeze asserted that every advocacy must have clarity of purpose, safeguarded, maintain confidentiality, equality, diversity and lead to the empowerment of the people.

The Speaker of the Delta State Youth Parliament, Hon. George Owhoekevwo on behalf of other youth parliamentarians expressed gratitude to the commissioner for putting together the workshop.

He remarked that the workshop had enriched their knowledge of legislation, preparing them for future endeavour in politics.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Development, Ms Ngozi Mogbolu, in her vote of thanks, commended the commissioner for his proactive leadership style, and urged the youth parliamentarians to key into all they had been taught.


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