MOHAMMED ADO ZAKARIYYAH – A leader is one who knows the way and shows the way. The Emerging Citizens is a program that inspires the spirit of a good citizen and the hope for a better Nigeria. The greatest thing the program has taught me is that it is our collective responsibility as citizens to advocate and fight for a better Nigeria. If we were to have more programs as this, I do see Nigeria in a better place. I learnt through this program organized by Aspilos Foundation that there can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy for the betterment of the nation and for the good of all people. As the saying goes CHANGE BEGINS WITH ME, the Emerging Citizens program has taught that we are the change we seek. Through this program, I learnt that leadership consist of nothing but taking responsibility for everything that goes wrong and giving your subordinate credit for everything that goes well. I cannot overemphasize all I have gained from this program and how grateful I am to have been a part of it, so I enjoin fellow young people to register and go through this process to becoming an informed, active citizen, reminding you that change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time; we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. Let’s get up and get to work. God bless Nigeria!
ISIKA FLORENCE – Williams Shakespeare, an English playwright succinctly stated ” Knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven”. Without knowledge, man will continue to wallow in the shackles of ignorance, hence the importance of the just concluded training cannot be overemphasized. The training which comprised 13 modules, had an educative and insightful knowledge to deliver to all who participated. It cut across various aspects of life, politics and particularly our civic responsibilities as citizens towards the process of effecting change. I can boldly say that the knowledge which I’ve gained will drive me towards taking positive action in my community which will include: enlightenment of friends and individuals about their right and responsibility, identifying the problems in the community and proffering solutions to them, etc. as I thrive with these words by Pericles, an influential Greek orator “having knowledge but lacking the power to express it clearly is no better than having any ideas at all”. Therefore, gaining knowledge and allowing it live with me alone is selfish.
ABUBAKAR IBRAHIM – If there is one revolution that speaks closely to the current situation of Nigeria, then that should be the training we acquired in our series of online class and group discussion in the Emerging Citizens program, powered by Aspilos Foundation
At first, before I came across the program, I was buried neck-deep in the pool of ignorance and lack of political and citizenship education, but thanks to the Emerging Citizens program for the capacity development and education of the citizenry, to bring a revolutionary change to our society and country at large. I am grateful to have been selected to participate in this program. During the course of the training, I learnt a lot from life skills, identify, conflict management, citizenship, civic responsibility, political culture, policy making, government, democracy, leadership, understanding Nigerian election, information as a tool for advocacy, theory of change and many more. As a matter of fact, I cannot be grateful enough for this essential knowledge I was impacted. And as a matter of necessity I have started a plan for peaceful movement on gender-based violence awareness, which will require me to speak out on cases of rape. This project is to create awareness to the citizenry in my locality, and the fuel that lubricated the passion for this intended act of service and active participation to transform my community service is obviously the Emerging Citizens program.
Nigeria is plagued with a myriad of problems today because Nigerians themselves have a twisted sense of national value and political participation, thereby placing our individual reservations above the national good. But the truth remains that the journey to the promise land of progress and development will take the individual and collective efforts of all citizens. An African proverb says” it takes an entire village to raise a child”. Assuming Nigeria is a child in the way of political and national development, it will take the concerted efforts of the entire citizenry, couple with good leadership to raise this child to political, economic and overall national maturity. Revolution is not a magic wand which once waved in the face of bad governance transforms it to national development. The concept of revolution is in itself dependent on the readiness of the people to drink from the deep water of core intrinsic national values and one thing I take away from the Emerging Citizens program is that sometimes all that is needed to bring about change is the action of one man, and then EVERY man.
BALAMI NAOMI BATA– Emerging citizen is really an amazing platform, I do not regret being part of the training. I learnt a lot throughout the experience. I used to be a girl who thought that as a youth my voice and opinion can never be heard, so the best I do is fold my arms and exempt myself from the affairs of the government even though I should have a say. But I got to learn from the program what my worth and right as a citizen is. I know now that my voice can be heard when I engage myself in governance, and that as a citizen I can offer help in the society. I also know that I have the responsibility to obey the government for the betterment of the society. So as a changed citizen and from my learnings here I’ll help the movement forward by working according to rules and by teaching those in my community through grassroots engagement.
OLALEKAN AUGUSTINE MELAYE: Sometime in May this year, my brother sent a link and asked that I register for the training. He never specified the kind of training; he just said I should register. Before I registered, I tried finding out more about Aspilos Foundation so I head to google the organization and I was impressed at what I saw, so I decided to register. When I got the mail about the commencement of the training, I already had a course scheduled for that same week, however on getting the training manual and going through it, I had to leave the other one and focus on the Emerging Citizens training and right now, I don’t regret making that decision.
In the course of the 14-day long training, I had the opportunity of discovering some basic life concepts that described me and my day to day activities based on my way of reasoning, acting, reacting and the basic interpersonal skills I possess. I was also able to define my identity in the light of these and other abstract personal traits. I give kudos to the organizers for the training strategy put in place for easy assimilation. Besides the fact that the full training manual was provided days before the commencement of the training for us to go through, we also had the privilege of accessing pre training materials for each module a day to the class on each module. This helped in preparing our minds for the class and made the class more engaging and very interactive.
The program helped me to discover my role as a citizen, my power as a citizen, how I have failed as a citizen and how I can correct my mistakes by engaging the government to drive positive change. The program also afforded me the opportunity of meeting like minds who are passionate about bringing positive change to the country through government engagements and advocacy. Their ideas and thought have so far influenced my thought about getting the government on its toes to foster national unity and development.
Thank you, Aspilos Foundation for this wonderful opportunity. Together, we can use our power as citizens to get our country out of the wood and working again!