Interview: Damola Adejobi on inspiring leadership


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John Quincy Adams the sixth President of the United States of America said “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Today  on the blog, I am talking with Adedamola Adejobi, a psychologist and a youth advocate, who has made it his life goal to inspire youths. Adedamola is a co-founder of Inxpire.com and has attended youth leadership training courses in different parts of the of the world. He is currently a member of the Nigerian youth parliament, representing Osun East Senatorial District.

Hon. Adejobi it is a pleasure to have you talk to us on the blog today

Thanks very much for having me on your blog

First of all I would like to hear from the horse’s mouth about your work as a youth advocate and how you ventured in politics and became a member of the youth parliament .

As you said, I am Honourable Adedamola Adejobi, a member of the Nigerian Youth Parliament representing Osun East Senatorial District.  I have been involved in youth development programs since my days in the university, from being a co-founder of Inxpire.com, a non governmental organisation that trains students on leadership, entrepreneurship, academics and development, to being a freelance broadcaster on NTA, Ife and Orisun Fm, that anchors program that talks about youth development and welfare.
On my involvement in politics, it’s really about my drive to cause positive change in my immediate environment in particular and Nigeria in general, that led me into politics. I am not happy with the way things are been done in this part of the world, especially as I have been privileged to travel to other developed countries and seen the way things ought to be.
I started with my indigenous association called National Ife Descendants Student Association (NIDSA) , where I served as General Secretary for OAU Chapter and Editor In Chief for Starclass Magazine an annual publication of NIDSA at the national level.
More than that I have always contributed my quota to programs and events about youth development, within and outside the state of Osun. I served as Publicity Secretary, for the first ever Osun Youth Town Hall Meeting in 2009, I was also part of the first ever social media summit in Abuja at Shehu Musa Yardua Center in 2012 and other programs too numerous to mention.
I became a member of the Nigerian Youth Parliament through nomination from the office of Osun state Ministry of Youths, Sports and Special Needs to the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Abuja, to represent Osun East Senatorial District, based on my involvement in the area of youth development and engagement.

Can you give us a description of the Nigerian Youth Parliament, when and how it was formed, your powers and duties as a parliamentarian, and in what ways is the Youth parliament different from/Similar to the National Assembly.

The Nigerian Youth Parliament is a United Nation charter which was domesticated in Nigeria in 2008 by late president Umar Musa Yar Adua.
The Nigerian Youth Parliament serves a proper platform to raise and develop young minds that will readily imbibe the tenets of democracy, good governance and legislative proceedings. The ideology is premised on the resolve for early development of the young people for the higher responsibilities of leadership as a sure way of protecting the future of Nigeria and its developmental direction.
The Nigerian Youth Parliament is a complete representation of the Nigerian Senate with 109 members, of 3 members from each state according to the senatorial zones and one member from the FCT.
The parliament is empowered to pass resolutions on youth issues and institutions such as the Youth Development Fund, Youth Bank, Youth Ministries, Youth Councils, Employment, Health , Education and on all matters that pertains to youth development .


What projects are you currently working on as a youth advocate and parliamentarian and what projects do you have planned?

Immediately after my inauguration I came home to discuss with youth leaders within my senatorial district to come up with a blue print of action, because as a leader I believe it’s essential to carry everyone along in your programs. We came out with plans such as having a youth and teenager summit on tolerance, create an employment portal, that will help archive the vital statistics  of youths within my zone which can be use to help with employment and empowerment, career and empowerment trainings for the youths, creation of youth friendly centers across the 3 Federal Constituencies within my zone.

the new Ooni of Ife, Kabiyesi Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi is a youth centric monarch who has unequivocally declared that he wants to make a change in the lives of the youths of Ile-Ife/Osun State, as someone who works with youths, what do you think about the new Ooni and his stance on youth development?

I am indeed grateful to God for giving us such a youth friendly and focused  monarch this time, not just because I am youth leader, but also as a true son of the land, Ile Ife. I have spent over 20 years in Ile Ife, had all my education, up to the university and Ife had not witnessed any significant development, but since Oba Adeyeye emerged, things have started changing. 
I am also delighted about his plans for youths of Ile Ife and the entire country . This is a welcome development it’s something all youths have been clamouring for and we are indeed happy that we have a youth as a monarch and how he has pledged to do all within his might to cause a positive change.
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Still on your relationship with the Ooni, You have been in communication with Oba Ogunwusi over the last few months, what particular programmes if any  for youth has he listed that has impressed you?

Last month I invited my colleagues to visit the ancient city of Ile Ife and also pay homage on Kabiesi. Ooni gave us a warm reception and told us about his plans for the youths, most especially in the aspect of employment.
He spoke about his plans to empower youths through agric as a business and not subsistence farming, also using tourism and solid minerals which are all endowments we have in Ile Ife.
However among the plans he shared with us that day, the one that’s makes me the happiest is the mentorship program for Ife Youths. For me it is not enough to create jobs or businesses, there is the need for proper mentorship and training to get the best out of the youths. Ooni Adeyeye, as a successful business man himself has volunteered to do so with the help some of his successful business associates.

. As a youth advocate and parliamentarian, do you think Nigerian Youths are engaging the government at various levels adequately, if they are not, what should they be doing?

If you examine what has happened in Nigeria’s political space over the last one or two years you will realize that Nigerian youths are trying. There is however still a lot to be done, especially if one wants to compare what is going on here with what is going on with our counterparts in developed world.
I believe the Nigerian youths should be seen more as development partners and not as instruments of violence and political thuggery, we as young Nigerians have all it takes to lead and be a strategic partner of progress.
Technically we are handicapped with the law that allows us to vote at the age of 18 but can’t be voted for. I believe we should be advocating for a change of that law, also the need to advocate for rights on education and employment are also crucial.

A personal question now, your duties involve traveling to Abuja a lot, does it stress you? Do you have any special methods for coping with the frequent journeys?

Who has being stressed by frequent traveling ever epped, but seriously though, I don’t see it as stress, because it’s a duty I signed up for and I see it as an avenue for change in my constituency. As for relaxation, I relax mainly by hanging out with friends and family discussing issues of development, and sometimes a visit to the cinema.

Finally, what is your advice for Nigerian youths who are hoping to see a changing in governance and politics in Nigeria?

My advice will be to keep hope alive, never to relent in our pursuit for good governance, because it is not a privilege, it is a right, which guarantees freedom for us all. Also to let them understand  the need to synergise for a better result. United we stand, divided we fall.

Honourable Damola Adejobi it has been a great experience talking with you and learning from your experience, thanks for taking time out to chat with me

It is always a pleasure hopefully we might have a few other projects coming up that I will be glad to talk with you about

Damola Adejobi is always available to chat on Facebook at Adedamola Adejobi, and on Twitter @damoladejobi or send him a mail at damoladejobi@gmail.com

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