Sahara Group has unveiled the #NigeriaStartsWithMe initiative “to give youths a voice”.
Tonye Cole, executive director and co-founder of the organisation, made this known while speaking to state house correspondents in Abuja.
According to Cole, “the creativity, capacity, tenacity and resilience of Nigerian youths can make a difference in enhancing development across the nation if adequately harnessed.”
Cole said the #NigeriaStartsWithMe initiative seeks to rally young people to own major stakes in the transformation of Nigeria by coming up with practical ideas that key into the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs).
He said the campaign would challenge and inspire young people to desist from activities that relegate them to being “mere stooges” for selfish individuals/organisations or being hired to perpetrate various illicit acts.
“It is designed to create a shift in the nature of ongoing conversation about Nigeria from the clutch of social media trolls to practical solutions that would ignite creativity, innovation and a sense of patriotism in Nigerian youths.”
Cole said though the initiative was designed to run through March alone, the group hopes that it would stimulate a sustained impact on “young Nigerians and all Nigerians across the globe.”
He said the energy of Nigerian youth should be channeled into transforming the country instead of using it to stir controversies on social media.
“Nigerian youths sometimes spend time on the social media to give traction to issues that stoke the embers of hatred and division. At Sahara, we believe that the creative energies of our youths should be channeled into causes that can transform Nigeria,” he said.
“We are calling on Nigerian youths all over the world to make a difference by contributing to the conversation on Twitter using the #NigeriaStartsWithMe.
“We earnestly believe the project would reduce anti-Nigeria narrative, promote the adoption of creative developmental projects and encourage an unwavering #NigeriaStartsWithMe disposition among more youths.”
He said at the end of the project, a compilation of the contributions will be published and distributed to the presidency/MDAs/global development agencies, the academia, media and other stakeholders.
The contributions will also be circulated and shared across various online portals to elicit positive conversations and actions that will sustain ongoing initiatives aimed at transforming Nigeria.