Kwara Gov Keynotes Book Festival, Says Youth Devt Key Priority of Govt

• Scholar Lafiagi cautions against ‘entitlement mentality’

Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has said his administration will continue to empower the youth, nurture their talents and equip them with necessary skills to thrive in the evolving world.

He said the government prioritizes youth development, thereby investing in projects that create opportunities for them to explore, experiment and express themselves freely.

The governor made the assertion in Ilorin at the Kwara Books and Arts Festival (KWABAFEST), an event designed to celebrate creativity, innovation and the boundless potential of youth in the state.

The programme, which is the second in the series, was put together by a team of young people led by Mr. Abdulbasit Hossein and was themed: ‘Transcendence’. 

It featured panel discussions, where panelists spoke on the importance of record keeping, the need to improve access to data about creatives and cultural heritage, how the economic situation affects the creative industry, and how young people can master their arts.

“At the heart of our administration’s vision lies a steadfast commitment to empowering our youth, nurturing their talents and equipping them with the skills and opportunities they need to thrive in an ever-changing world,” the governor said this through the Commissioner for Communications, Hon. Bola Olukoju, who represented him. 

“Today, I am honoured to share with you some of the initiatives and projects that we have undertaken to realize this vision and unlock the full potential of our youth. First and foremost, we recognize that creativity knows no bounds, and our youth are the torchbearers of innovation and imagination. 

“That is why we have invested in initiatives such as the Visual Arts Centre, the Ilorin Innovation Hub, the Film Factory, and the Garment Factory—spaces where young minds can explore, experiment, and express themselves freely. These hubs of creativity not only provide avenues for artistic expression but also serve as incubators for entrepreneurship, innovation and economic growth.”

AbdulRazaq, who described literacy as a foundation for all other forms of learning, said the launch of the technology based  KwaraLEARN by his government was to revolutionize learning and literacy development in the state.

“By harnessing the power of technology, we are breaking down barriers to education, expanding access to quality learning resources, and empowering our youth to unlock their full potential,” he said.

The governor also said that the government is keen to promote and preserve cultural identity through initiatives that celebrate diversity, foster cultural exchange, and promote social cohesion, adding that: “Culture is the lifeblood of our communities.”

He commended the organizer and those who have contributed to the success of the festival that he noted was driven by dedication, passion and commitment to youth empowerment.

“This book festival is a positive reference point that has put Kwara on the map, and we are glad to associate with the young people who are the architects of the initiative. We hope to see the festival become bigger and a major rallying point for creative minds in northern Nigeria and Nigeria as a whole,” he said.

The event was well attended by government officials, academics, artists and writers, including Commissioner for Environment Alhaji Usman  Ndanusa; Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye; Deputy Registrar, University of Ilorin, Dr Hauwah Abdulkareem; and Dr Sanusi Lafiagi from Al-hikmah University Nigeria, among other dignitaries.

The Director of KWABAFEST, Abdulbasit Hossein, in his remarks, said the programme was organized to tell the original story of the state, and to serve as a platform to host and  nurture future voicers in Nigeria’s literature.

He said Kwara is at the forefront in the arts, creativity and film making, and deserves to be projected well to the larger society.

“We realized that the state is not seen as a harbour of creatives, and it is important for us to put in place things like this. People often go to Lagos or Abuja for any kind of support in the creative industry. But why not Kwara, which has the largest waterfall in the whole of Africa? This is a state that has produced many names in terms of art, creativity, film making, yet it is being sidelined,” he said. 

“Kwara State has new voicers in literature, and just like some of us will argue this state has the future voice in Nigeria literature. If a state that has the future voice of Nigeria literature does not have a platform where we can host and nurture these voicers then we have a big challenge, and this is what the KWABAFEST wants to achieve.”

Lafiagi, one of the panelists who spoke on how the economy affects the artistic works, said it is important for Nigerian citizens, especially the talented youth, to do away with a sense of entitlement and see the current economic downturn as a means to think outside the box to improve the economy.

“The economic situation of the country is actually affecting everyone. But as a youth we can take positivity think out of the negative situation. And that is, the economic situation should actually force us to harness our God given talents,” he said.

Another panelist, Abdulkareem, described the event as insightful given that it underscores the importance of using research to foster record keeping and access to data about cultural heritage, and how to preserve them.

Related Articles