Dogara Encourages Youth Participation in Governance

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• Seeks life insurance for journalists

By James Emejo in Abuja

The Speaker  of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has challenged all youths to take full advantage of the ‘Not too young to run’ bill recently passed by the National Assembly with the aim of lowering the age requirements for elective offices in line with its commitment to youth participation in governance.

Dogara also called on media proprietors to provide improved welfare for journalists, stressing on the need to pay salaries and provide health insurance for their staff who are exposed to all sorts of risks while doing their jobs.

He said the lower chamber is committed to the enactment of youth friendly legislations that will aid the total development of our youths into productive citizens, encourage them to imbibe and sustain the spirit of commitment to civic obligations, 

Speaking at the 31st annual All Rotaract Multi-District conference in Abuja, he maintained that parliament is dedicated to ensuring the observance and appropriation of fundamental human rights of youths and full participation in governance though all the available opportunities under the law.

He said: “In a country with fast depleting values among the younger generation, which in my opinion, is a consequence of uninspiring leadership, I am persuaded that occasions such as this provide fertile environment for inspirational interaction with youth who have, by choice, dedicated themselves to the promotion of the enthronement of critical human values and possess the potential to massively replicate same.

“Rotary international of which Rotaract is an affiliate, remains one of the social organisations with the most noble objectives as well as operational culture. The Rotary 4-Way Test, which is the scale for the determination of the integrity of human thought and action indeed constitutes a master key to a majority, if not all, of our existential conundrum. In all human thoughts and actions, if the answers to these 4-Way test questions ,namely: (i) Is it the truth? (ii) Is it fair to all concerned? (iii) Will it build goodwill and better friendships? and (iv) Will it be beneficial to all concerned?, are in the affirmative, the risk of wrong is negligibly minimal.”

The Speaker, who expressed delight at double honours conferred on him by Rotaract by giving him the role of guest speaker and also conferring the prestigious merit award of exemplary leadership and humanitarian services on him, expressed confidence in them to restore the fast depleting values among the younger generation.

“While admonishing the young members to take full advantage of the invaluable leadership education Rotaract offers them, he praised Rotaract for creating reality through the practice of sound character development and the inculcation of the spirit of service and friendship, adding that he has no doubt that Rotaract, and indeed its sister minors club, the Rotary Interact ( for persons between ages 12 – 18), if well promoted, should become the Leadership bank of communities, nations and indeed the global community,” he said in a statement by his media aide, Mr. Hassan Turaki. 

He added:”Rotaract provides for you in experiential form, the rudiments of ethical living in your prime and as you grow with this specialised knowledge and experience , you are sure to end up as dependable citizens with high ethical standard. I charge you therefore that the time to learn Leadership is now; the time to learn patriotism is now, the time to learn nationalism is now; the time to learn commitment to community service is now and the time to set objective life goals towards national development is now.

Meanwhile, Dogara while speaking during a brief remarks at the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) 2018 Press Freedom Awards night, said: “I will urge the NUJ to work towards implementing life insurance for journalists in Nigeria.

“I will call on all proprietors of media organisations to promptly pay the salaries of their staff.” 

The speaker said: “I will also like to urge media practitioners to be objective, fair and balanced in their reportage and editorial policies and decisions because we cannot have freedom without responsibility. 

“The House of Representatives and indeed the National Assembly in general will continue to partner and support the media in guaranteeing free press including the safety of journalists through the instrumentality of the legislature, as practiced in other climes.”

Dogara said the Distinguished Friend of the Media Award given to him by the NUJ will “motivate and spur us to continue to support and protect democracy and press freedom.”

He emphasised that as the watchdog of the society and fourth estate of the realm, the media plays a pivotal role in protecting and promoting democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

He, further urged journalists to ensure that they unreservedly monitor public office holders in order to stop all dictatorial tendencies and protect Nigeria’s hard-earned democracy.

He challenged the press to “tell the right stories, especially those that promote unity, peace and harmony as well as stand up for the right to truth, especially now that we inch towards the 2019 general elections, according to a statement by his media aide, Mr. Hassan Turaki. 

He, however, commended the Nigerian press for the role they played in the struggle for the restoration of democracy in 1999, while noting that many journalists paid the supreme price during military dictatorship.