Delivered at the Future Awards town hall meeting London, 10-11-2010.

Whether we like it or not, the future of Nigeria is on our shoulders, yours and mine!

Many of us here are supporters of various international football clubs and it’s not uncommon to here slogans like “Blue for life”, “Gunners for life” from us the African supporters of these clubs. But we rarely hear the slogan, “Niger for life”

How many of us have that same zeal, show that same passion we dedicate to our football teams to our dear country Nigeria, that come what may we shall see the Nigeria that we only dream about come to pass? I doubt if many here tonight.

And this is not a criticism of you if you don’t, afterall what really can be pointed to, that Nigeria has given or made of one? Nothing Really!

But like my intro states, whether we like it or not, the future of Nigeria is on our shoulders, yours and mine! Nigeria cannot get better if you and I in this room haven’t resolved to see it become better, and that is regardless of the diehard issues we face as a nation.

It is time for Africa to rise as a whole, and Nigeria to rise again as the giant of Africa! It is not coincidental that just last month we celebrated our golden jubilee as a nation, in addition that, in the book of Leviticus 25vs 10-13 & Luke18 vs3 -5 where God refers to jubilee as liberation and us repossessing all.

Look all around you, the world is changing.

Some think it is stupidity, some say it is bravery, the appointment of a twenty year old in Brazil as commissioner of Police. In France, there has been ongoing protests, about the retirement pension and the people are not pleased about this latest reformation by their president Sarkozy,

Then in Italy,protesters take to the streets against a new refuge site in a community who already says they suffer illnesses from the one there. They are reminding, Berlusconi of his campaign agenda, to deal with the waste product of the country

In Britain where we are, we can look at the coalition government even in their differences, going tough together, with the biggest spending review cuts ever, the exchequer 33 years old George Osborne, says it is to reposition the future.. The lesson of this legacy is that it has been boldly made by, young dynamic leaders with vision coming together to disagree and agree, as they face the future of Britain, whether they will sink or swim, they are taking the bull by the horn.

Africans must rise for the advancement of Africa, even this fundamental truth was said by the ex prime minister of Britain, Tony Blair that “Africans must stand for Africa”. In Haiti, Cholera outbreak is killing people in their droves. In all of this I want to challenge Africa, that it is only from within that people can sort out the continent of Africa, there is just how far, the developed world can take us, the west does not have to spell this out to us, no one call do it for us than ourselves. The continent of Africa is looking for visionaries to redeem it from its captivities, and who else but the young, the future leaders seated here today! I put it to us once again, whether we like it or not, the future of Africa, the future of Nigeria, is on our shoulders yours and mine.

Regardless of sex, age, tribe, God has given the young people, vision, passion and energy that can never be taken from you. You are not a number, you are a visionary Nigerian, capable of rewriting history. Start thinking in those terms not just the material or artificial stuff, think ahead, think of the future what history will write about you and I.

The young has to think of debating, analysing and presenting its vision and leadership skills which will lead to audience, platform, influence, negotiation and a win -win situation. The times we are in is crucial, it must begin now; The rise of Nigerians for Nigeria! The rise of Africans for Africa!

Thank you.

Delivered by Abimbola Junaid, a social change practitioner, an Ambassador for Peace,under the hospice of the Universal Peace Federation and the Founder, of Arise Nigerian Woman Foundation, a one stop social change agency for Nigerian women ambassadors and volunteers of the mission to rebuild Nigeria.

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