On my way back from Victoria Island (I was at the popular Walter Carrington Crescent in Lagos to pick up a travel document) earlier in the day, I was forced to pick my pen and paper — not because I had to prepare for anything in particular, but because I was stuck in traffic (the popular Lagos go slow) and also couldn’t take the risk of working on the laptop while in the cab. My mind quickly ran back a few days — to a city where things were so different from Lagos that I couldn’t wait to get back. I wonder why, but Lagosian complain so much about things but end up hurrying back when they step out…
I caught myself drafting points for what I called my next article, tagged, “Strategy 2015: 10-year Strategic Capacity Building to Prepare Nigeria for Leadership in the Conceptual Age”. Please don’t ask so many questions just yet, I’m still drafting… but what matters now is the fact that my thoughts were provoked by the fact that its been an active year, but care needs to be taken to ensure that none of the gains are lost out on — for any reason at all. From the various efforts at the Lagos Digital Village (and the great support I keep getting from my base, Junior Achievement of Nigeria) to the Paradigm Initiative Nigeria-led efforts and other activities, its been an interesting year.
January was the WSIS month in Lagos, Abuja, Ghana and Kaduna. February was Ghana’s WSIS lot, and of course Geneva had its own share too. March was the month HBF hosted the WSIS Youth Caucus and April was UNECA’s CODI month — where AYIN got some loud support. In May, it was Kano’s turn — and it was great to be back in that city! Ilorin and Jos were great places to be in June, even at the risk of missing an Asian engagement — but trust me, those sessions with youth were motivating and will remind you of the greatness that Nigeria is about to witness.
Who can ever forget the July story — hosting Africa’s youth at the WTDC ARPM event. Then Ogbomoso, Epe, and back to Abuja for the Nigerian National Volunteer Service’s Science & Technology Summit. In August, it was great being with the Pan African Youth Leadership Summit in Ifrane, and September’s Harambee Focus Networks’ meeting in Addis added a new dimension to the year. And then, it was time for the supposed final WSIS PrepCom in Geneva… and I’m so glad I took out time to be at the Lagos Business School in October. It was great listening to Prof. Pat Utomi share his ideas about Social Entrepreneurship, and I’m better for it!
Of course, November is yet to be over, but the WSIS meeting and upcoming South-South Travelling Workshop in Chennai say a lot about the depth of the year. And looking ahead at the last few involvements for the year (I particularly look forward to the time with freshers at the Obafemi Awolowo University (which I attended myself) and the December 20 Peer Energy session with 50 youth leaders. And of course, I have decided to take time out to “regain lost energy” in one of five possible places (depending on where myself and other friends decide on) before the new year arrives. It will be a busy and fulfilling – and far reaching 2006!
With all the thought on the year, my mind kept going back to the need to strengthen youth efforts in Nigeria and on the continental and global levels. After WSIS, the Nigerian Youth ICT4D Network needs to be institutionalised in order to build on its successes; AYIN needs a secretariat and the WSIS Youth Caucus needs to come together with other efforts such as the ITU Youth Forum tracks, and TakingITGlobal’s efforts in order to recreate the energies of (and possibly on the platform of) Youth Creating Digital Opportunities! Well, lets see how we live out the action we’ve built over the past 36 (or so) months — but you can be sure that action is the name of the game!