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When Obasanjo, Bayo Ojo, Kogi Professionals, Stakeholders Brainstormed on Post-Covid-19 Agenda for Youth

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It was supposed to be an entirely Kogi affair. It was supposed to be a massive unveiling ceremony and inaugural meeting of the Kogi Young Professionals Network, an organization which has come on board  to change the game of good governance advocacy in the Confluence State. The chairman of the occasion, the irrepressible Olusegun Obasanjo, however, added national and global dimensions into the conversation while pointing the way forward for the organizers as well as the generality of Kogi youths.

The Kogi Young Professionals Network (KYPN), a non-political platform meant for young professionals of Kogi extraction to share ideas on how they can use their various expertise to help the state fulfil its massive development potentials, was formally unveiled on Saturday, June 6, 2020.

While some of the organizers coordinated the event via Zoom, hundreds of Kogites and friends of Kogi state joined from different parts of the world.

Doing justice to the theme of the event: “Professionals as Key Players in the Post Covid-19 Development of Kogi State,” Chief Obasanjo lamented the fact that Covid-19 has caused unprecedented economic destruction and disruptions, adding that young people must prepare their minds and work hard to be able to cope financially in a post-Covid-19 world.

He noted that the two biggest economic consequences of the pandemic would be food security/affordability
and job losses.

The elder statesman therefore called on  government at all levels to seek ways to create fresh employment opportunities through agriculture.

“Young Professionals must also begin to think outside the box and should engage in agriculture”, the former President added.

He advised young people to identify a business along the vast agricultural value-chain to get involved in, to be able to contain the twin problems of unemployment and food shortages.

He commended the organizers of the event, for their foresight and patriotism, and urged them to remain steadfast in the struggle for a prosperous Kogi state and a better Nigeria.

Speaking earlier,  president of the group, Engr Michael Ajayi, lamented the slow pace of development in Kogi State since ita creation in 1991, in spite of its abundance of talents and resources, adding that the group would create a platform for the ventilation of ideas that would address the yawning gap.

Membership, he announced, “is open to all Kogi professionals at home or in the diaspora within the age bracket of 18 – 45 years.”

“Non kogites who are either working or residing in the state and those who have interest in Kogi development are welcome to join also under the tag of Friends of Kogi,” he added.

Afotuma Aliyu, Vice President (Diaspora) of the group, also shed some light on the robust diaspora programmes of KYPN and expressed their willingness to partner with Government to attract development to the State.

In his keynote address, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Bayo Ojo, SAN; CON,  identified key priority areas the Kogi Young Professionals  should focus on if they want to contribute meaningfully to the post-Covid-19 development of the state.

With regards to post Covid-19 legitimate  survival strategies, the former AGF advised Kogi youths to venture into  data collection, storage and analysis as that would provide clearer direction for the state government.

He told organizers of the event to undertake deliberate mentoring of younger people and show interest in the leadership recruitment processes of the state.

Ojo, who also hails from Kogi, advised the state government to boost the capacity of the state workforce and incorporate innovation as solutions to some of the problems occasioned by the pandemic.

The Managing Director of the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC), Mrs. Folashade Joseph, urged Kogi youths to de-emphasize escaping abroad in search of greener pastures and focus on the home front.

She advised professionals in the state to leverage on the abundant resources in
the state, especially agriculture.

She presented an overview of NAIC’s mandate which according to her, is in the business of providing innovative insurance services towards sustained national agricultural and economic development.

Mrs Joseph therefore urged Kogi youths to take advantage of the various insurance portfolios available in NAIC to de-risk their investments.

Other resource persons and participants who spoke at the event include Mrs. Laurentia Mallam, former Environment Minister, Mrs. Abimbola Olufore, Special Assistant to the Minister of Trade and Investment, Miss Kemi Ann Areola, Special Adviser to the Minister of Youths and Sports Development (ICT & Corporate Affairs), Dr. Safiya Musa, Vice President Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria, Dr. Victor Adoji, Dr. Badanga Ahmed, President Fire Disaster Prevention and Safety Awareness Association of Nigeria, and so on.

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