The International Award For Young People, Nigeria, Also Known As Duke Of Edinburgh Awards
REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE INTERNATIONAL AWARD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE NIGERIA AWARD, ALSO THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH AWARDS AT THE OLD BANQUET HALL, PRESIDENTIAL VILLA ON THE 13TH OF JANUARY, 2022
Mr. Olawale Edun, the Chair, Board of Trustees of the International Award for Young People, thank you very much for the kind invitation to be with you this evening at the Gold Award Presentation Ceremony of the International Award for Young People in Nigeria.
The International Award for Young People in Nigeria as we have heard is the Nigerian version of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards. In the last 60 years, the award has impacted more than one million young people and galvanised more than 180,000 adult volunteers all over the world, including mobilizing young people to respond to the disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe.
The award is a long-running initiative of His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh of blessed memory. His Highness has been described as one who lived a life of service to his nation, the Commonwealth and to the world at large.
His personal values of service above self shines through the conception and execution of the programme. We in Nigeria remember him with great fondness, his sense of humour, his common touch, and his keenness to learn about other peoples and cultures remain evergreen in our memories of him.
The Duke visited Nigeria four times – clearly demonstrating how important Nigeria was to His Royal Highness and his philanthropic programmes, especially in the area of conservation.
Tonight’s ceremony is an occasion for recognizing the achievements of young people who have completed the Gold Standard of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. It provides an opportunity not only to showcase the resourcefulness of young Nigerians, but to also honour the values that the Duke represented in his lifetime.
The achievements that are being celebrated today are of young people who despite the challenges imposed on them, have challenged themselves to make a big difference to themselves and their communities.
The recipients have learnt how to be responsible to their society through participating in various voluntary service activities, including community, environmental sanitation, promoting awareness on climate change, advocacy on mental health and drug abuse issues, especially amongst young people.
As part of their award activities, a recipient Musab Muazu was engaged in educating out-of-school ‘almajiri’ children inspiring them to seek education and helping them to learn to read and write.
Another recipient Odikpo Emmanuel, having lost one of his friends to suicide, was involved in promoting advocacy against suicide and promoting mental health awareness amongst young people within his community through organizing workshops, symposiums, and various advocacy programmes.
I am told that they also learnt to develop self-confidence, perseverance, a spirit of adventure and teamwork as they embarked on an adventurous journey to the Karshi village, hiking through the Marian Hills in Dutse, and journeying to the Kubwa train station while navigating themselves using a compass and a map.
As part of the requirements for achieving the Gold Award, they undertook a shared, purposeful experience with people who are not their usual companions in a residential setting.
They undertook their residential projects in various locations including engaging in wildlife conservation at the National Children’s Park Zoo, Abuja, athletics training at sports camps, undertaking leadership training at various youth events, volunteering at various orphanages and hospitals.
A recipient, Faithwins Iwuh for her Gold residential project, volunteered at the Renaissance Hospital in Enugu State having observed that the hospital was experiencing a shortage of staff. She had to reside in the hospital for a month volunteering as a health worker and support staff to the hospital.
Meeting with you all today is a reminder of the many achievements of young people across Nigeria. Daily, we have young Nigerians in our armed forces leaving behind family and friends to serve our country in various internal security operations across the country. We have seen how young Nigerians rallied in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and designed various technology solutions to support the government.
We have seen Nigerian youths break new ground and earn global acclaim in innovation, technology, sports, the arts and entertainment. Clearly, our young people are our most valuable assets, and the Federal Government believes that they must be encouraged and supported in every way.
To this end, we are currently raising $500million to support the technology and creativity ecosystem. The project is led by the African Development Bank which has committed $170million and will also be supported by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Islamic Development Bank and the French Development Agency.
Last year, Mr President launched the Nigeria Jubilee Fellowship Programme, supported by the UNDP, the EU and many people in the private sector. It will run for 5 years and will give well-paid work experience opportunities to 20,000 young Nigerians every year in select private sector and public sector organisations.
The idea is that these interns will gain relevant career and life skills that will enable them to transition seamlessly into the professional, business, or public sector, while also earning good pay during the period of the internship. I hope that many of you, gold award winners will participate in that programme and experience all of the benefits of the programme.
Currently, the International Award for Young People in Nigeria is working with the Lagos State Ministry of Education and the FCT Ministry of Education to incorporate the Award into the public school curriculum. This is one of the ways of ensuring sustainability and also achieve the right scale for inculcating the values of the award into many Nigerians from a young age.
So let me congratulate the awardees for their outstanding achievements, we are all extremely proud of you. Well done indeed. But I must specially mention for commendation, the teachers, volunteers, instructors and award leaders whose selfless commitment to the success of these young people is a priceless part of their achievement, thank you for your service.
Let me also commend the proud parents of the awardees, you certainly ought to be exceptionally proud that of millions of young Nigerian children, yours are amongst the 42 gold award winners. Congratulations also!
Finally let me commend the trustees of International Awards for Young People in Nigeria, including the board chairman Mr. Olawale Edun, Mr. Sambo Abdulrahman, and Mr. Oshoke Bello, the National Director. We appreciate all of your efforts to sustain this initiative in Nigeria and we look forward to working with you in the next year and years to come.
Thank you for listening, God bless you.