Stakeholders in public and private sectors have been urged to urgently address barriers that hinder active youth engagement and representation in governance, leadership, and entrepreneurship development at all levels in the country if the nation sincerely wants to attain sustainable development.
Renowned energy law expert and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, Research, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships (ARISP) at Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Professor Damilola S. Olawuyi, made the call at the 1st Young Lawyers’ Forum organised by the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ikere Branch in his honour.
Prof Olawuyi, who is the co-Chairman of the Legal Education Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), noted that “Nigeria’s greatest asset is its vibrant young population. If adequately mentored and supported, Nigeria’s young population can unlock an era of technology-driven economic rebirth, social transformation, and sustainable development in key sectors.
“We must therefore join hands to urgently address barriers that hinder active youth engagement and participation in governance, leadership, and entrepreneurship development at all levels. The important roles of young lawyers in building vibrant and healthy communities and nation cannot be overemphasised,” Olawuyi said, calling on all young lawyers to leverage their legal training to become the voice and conscience of society.
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He encouraged all NBA branches to identify priority areas of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and design tailored programs and seed funding that can accelerate the SDGs, especially in areas of youth entrepreneurship and empowerment, technology access, poverty eradication, gender justice and green growth amongst others and thanked the leadership of the NBA Ikere Branch for finding him worthy of the monumental honour.
“I look forward to contributing even more to justice, legal education, and the sustainable development of our dear country,” he stated.
The 1st Young Lawyers’ Forum themed; “The Search for Sustainable Economic Development in Nigeria and the Role of the Young Lawyer” was organised to recognise Olawuyi’s trailblazing achievements as the youngest academic Senior Advocate of Nigeria and his enormous contributions to youth empowerment, mentoring and legal education in Nigeria and beyond.
The event moderated by a mix of current and past leaders of NBA, featured insightful presentations from senior lawyers, including the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Ekiti State, Olawale Fapohunda (SAN), who was the Chairman of the occasion and Dr Doyin Awoyale who delivered the keynote lecture, Oludayo Olorunfemi, Executive Secretary Ekiti State Mortgage Board, the Chairman of the NBA Ikere Branch, Kikelomo Owolabi and other panel discussants; Ayokunle Ogunleye, Michael Olaniyan, Adefolaju Ayobioloja, Dr Ifeoluwa Olubiyi and a host of others.
In his welcome address, the Honorable Attorney General of Ekiti State, Olawale Fapohunda (SAN), commended the honoree, Professor Olawuyi, SAN, for his enormous and tireless contributions to the development of law and society.
He also emphasised the important roles that the economic empowerment of young lawyers can play in enhancing the development of Ekiti State and the country as a whole; and called on the NBA to continue to prioritise the professional development and welfare of its young members.
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Youth representation in governance a national priority ― Professor Olawuyi