The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, on Wednesday celebrated the International Youth Day with some Nigerian youth in his palace at Ile Ife, Osun.
The Ooni, who played host to scores of Nigerian youth from all parts of the country under the aegis of the National Youth Council of Nigeria in Ile-Ife, advocated a replacement for Big Brother Naija.
Among other things, he criticised the prominent Big Brother Naija reality show, which he said has been misrepresenting the goodness and integrity of the Nigerian youth.
The monarch described the youth as the country’s untapped immeasurable wealth and resources.
The royal father, who stressed the need for participation of more youth in leadership, lamented that the youth have misplaced their priorities and must redress it as a matter of urgent public importance.
“Nigerian youths are fond of accusing and abusing our leaders, stop abusing them, contribute your own quota. Let’s wear our thinking caps and begin to act like the real future leaders that we are.
“In the last general election, the total number of votes cast was around 27 million while over 170 million people voted during the 2019 Big Brother Naija reality show.
“This is a practical reality of who Nigerian youth are and where our priorities lie as Nigerians.
“The funny side in all of these is that we still go to bed, have a good sleep and wake up with the hope to meet a Nigeria we didn’t create. Nigerians Youths! Nigerians Youths!! Nigerians Youths!!!
“Unfortunately, every time I talk about this kind of attitude, everyone just laughs and moves on. What kind of nation are we building?
“When people say this country, or what kind of country is this, they are indirectly saying these people – it is the people that make a country; so what kind of Nigerian youths are we?”
Speaking further, the monarch offered a suggestion for a reality show, which will project the country’s values, cultures and traditions.
He urged leaders of the National Youth Council of Nigeria to work out plans on the show, which will be called, “The Big Nigeria Reality Show.”
“The proposed show will be structured in a way that young professionals, talented individuals and others across several fields of endeavour will be showcased and helped to reach their peak.
“This would help the participants and also help viewers to have access to people that can be seen as role models,” Ooni added.
Earlier in his address, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, who was represented by Mariam Abdullahi, a Director in the Ministry, explained that the youth have major roles to play in the country’s development.
According to him, the digital literacy and skills acquisition, entrepreneurship, employability and leadership initiative of the Ministry are ongoing and all geared towards the development of our youth.
Representing Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun at the event, the state’s Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Yemi Lawal, said the youth have a lot to learn from the elders towards reaching their goals.
“As much as we youths are important, let us be humble enough to learn from our elders because they were once like us. Humility, persistence and patience is the key and we must be upright in our dealings,” he said.
In his address, the President of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Sara-Igbe Sukubo, thanked the Ooni for what he described as an unthinkable warm reception for the youths.
“Your Imperial Youthfulness as you told us to address you, we are indeed happy and proud to have you as a father and mentor.
“We have heard your kind words of wisdom and I want to assure you on behalf of the teeming Nigerian youths that we will put them into action.
“Fellow Nigerian youths, as we reflect on youth engagement for global action today, let us realize that a new era of opportunities and responsibilities is now upon us.
“Today’s youths are now being called upon to rise as practical stakeholders in governance and development. Let us rise to this challenge,” Mr Sukubo said.
Meanwhile, the youth at the occasion announced the Ooni as the ”Royal Father of Nigerian Youths”, in recognition and appreciation of his immeasurable commitment towards youth development in the country.
Similarly, the founder of Elizabeth Jack-Rich Aid Foundation, who is equally the matron of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Elizabeth Jack-Rich, was given an award for her role and stance as a mentor to the Nigerian youths.
Mrs Jack-Rich had earlier expressed the readiness of her foundation to sponsor the reality show proposed by the Ooni.