BN Hot Topic: Is Youth Activism a Farce?

Posted on Friday, May 27th, 2011 at 2:40 PM

By Glory Edozien

Last week, I received an invitation to have lunch with the President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at Eko Hotel & Suites in Lagos. My first instinct was that it was a possible 419 email but after seeing a few Twitter updates and making a few phone calls, I was able to realize the authenticity of the invitation.

On the 24th of May, Uche Eze (Founding Editor – BellaNaija.com) and I attended the lunch, only to meet utter mayhem and confusion. I arrived much later than Uche, and waited outside for a good 45 minutes while a man stood on a chair and called out the names of over 500 invitees one after another. As expected with such a large crowd there was plenty pushing and shoving, I won’t bore you all with the details of how I finally managed to enter, but suffice to say that the organization outside the venue left much to be desired.

I finally entered the hall, to find almost everyone seated and a few people giving speeches. I’ll be honest, I was quite disappointed with a few of the speeches. Instead of using the forum to give the President elect, pointers on the issues which affect many of our Nigerian youth, I felt some of the speeches gave a whole new meaning to baseless flattery. Like really, what is the point of using such a forum to empty praise on the President elect when millions of youth have no jobs, when the power sector is dwindling and when our educational system is in shambles. However, a few people like Chude Jideonwo and others, spoke earnestly about these issues that blight the performance of many youth in this country and for that they earned plenty cheers from the crowd.

After the speeches and what I must confess was a nice lunch, it was time for the President to address the youth. I may never get invited to another presidential event after this, but I honestly believe that the President did not, in my opinion, give adequate attention to any of the issues which were raised. I expected that he would use the opportunity to dictate strategies on how he intends to change the life of the average Nigerian youth or even give details on how he would start a forum which would allow the youth to contribute to policy formation and implementation in the country. But for reasons best known to him he choose to discuss other things. After the President’s speech and departure, we were asked to wait behind for ‘instructions’. Uche and I waited for about 30minutes, chatting with a few friends and exchanging contacts with new acquaintances and then returned to our various offices. So you can imagine my utter shock and disbelief when I was told by a fellow attendee that money had been given to attendees who had waited behind for a longer period. Apparently, the sum of between 50,000 and 150,000 was allegedly given to some attendees as part of transport allowance for attending the event.

Yesterday, I attended a seminar and the issue of the lunch and the youth who had allegedly received such cash ‘reimbursements’ was brought up. I listened in shameful silence as many at the seminar rained insults on various youth activists, accusing them of becoming part of the corrupt system which they have so violently chastised. They cited examples, where some youth activists have used their new found popularity as a pathway to collecting outlandish government contracts and other financial gains. They questioned their relevance if they only existed to further entrench the spirit of corruption albeit under the cloak of youth activism. While, the alleged sums of money that was received by some of the lunch attendees does raise significant questions on the authenticity of their cause, I also think that there are many benefits of this new form of social activism. For example, thanks to many groups like the Enough is Enough movement, cool to vote e.t.c, we saw a massive turnout at the polls from the youth. Also many youth are now more aware of their rights and responsibilities as youth and citizens of the country. Granted that there is still much more work to be done, but at least we aren’t where we where 5 years ago. But with the recent accusations, I can understand when some begin to question the authenticity of these efforts.

What do you guys think? Is youth activism a farce? Or are the genuine actions of some of these activists being ridiculed by baseless accusations? What’s your opinion?

Let’s discuss!!!

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  • 50 Comments on “BN Hot Topic: Is Youth Activism a Farce?”

    Comments
    • Naijafairy May 27, 2011 at 2:55 PM

      I heard about this too, its a shame that this happened, if we cannot as youths stand up for something and can be bought by #50,000 then it means everything we have been working for it just an idea in our head, we cannot be taken seriously ever, if the president is confident that he can bribe us and we will accept then we definitely need to re-evaluate who we call youth activists, because accepting a bribe is not representative of what i intend to do as a youth activist and to have people who are collecting bribes representing the youth of Nigeria? Sigh? I am just glad there are people like you that speak up about this. And i am glad you are representing me, and so many others.

      Did i even answer the question…LOL, no i do not think it is a farce, there will be selfish people who will put their needs ahead of the needs of the collective, what we need to do is weed them out and continue. It is important that we remain a powerful force for change in Nigeria, not one that can be silenced with bribes….

      • I Love Nigeria May 27, 2011 at 9:35 PM

        I agree with all you have said.
        The bad eggs will not ruin the good ones. Youth activism is NOT a farce. The idea that it is is the ultimate farce to frustrate the effort of those working hard to advocate for the future of Nigeria.
        I love Glory’s writing by the way. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

    • Chipii May 27, 2011 at 2:58 PM

      There will always be greedy individuals whose greed will threaten to destroy the efforts of earnest citizens. I just think that there should be more accountability in all these different youth groups so that when issues like this arise, people can be brought to book.

      On an off topic, can whoever is in charge of approving comments approve my comment on the Waje & Nse article? I understand that you censor comments so as not to hurt feelings or be the spreader of rumours but at the end of the day, you should respect my right to my own opinion. I did not insult her, I merely pointed out a fact. She could see my comment now and decide to fix up so please ehn, Comment Approver, approve my comment.

    • Monkwa May 27, 2011 at 3:00 PM

      Well said Glory..
      Btw, the fourth line from the bottom… is should be ‘where we were’

    • tobenna May 27, 2011 at 3:03 PM

      Too early to say youth activism is a farce.
      This is a simple reflection of the society and prevalent poverty.
      I may be able to refuse $1,000 but truly, how many people in Nigeria can?
      Besides, its was an opportunity to meet the President that many never happen again.
      I think youth activism is for real in Nigeria.
      We can make a difference.
      Ouch. I forget. I’m not under 24, so I do not qualify to be called youth.

      • rosebud May 27, 2011 at 3:48 PM

        says who?as long as you’re not above 35 in my opinion.even 35 – 40 is still considered youth

    • word! May 27, 2011 at 3:03 PM

      wow, such important topic and no one has left a comment….. I think that most of these so called youth empowerment groups are just a cover-up. It is these people that would go behind the door to collect “reimbursements” as you put it. Those that a re genuine loss out or are not taken seriously because of these greedy ones. Gos help us. P.S…BN please do not moderate my comment till eternity. :)

    • Jayla May 27, 2011 at 3:04 PM

      Interesting. Only time will tell people’s motives.

    • OyinD May 27, 2011 at 3:06 PM

      It shows how frustrated the youth are with the present government. They are sick and tired of the seemingly endless corruption. it was therefore very disheartening to hear rumours that their reps had joined d league. My personal grouse is that why did the ppl invited cloak it in secrecy? I personally follow about 10 of d invited ppl on twitter and it wasn’t mentioned ONCE!!! Coming from ppl who tweet abt every 15 mins about the most banal of things,it wasn’t good enough. Also,frankly speaking dont see a “LUNCH” as being the best way to communicate our issues to d pres.

    • ronks May 27, 2011 at 3:09 PM

      Great piece. I dont think it is a farce but i believe their actions has left a bitter tastes in a lot of people’s mouths.

    • mimi May 27, 2011 at 3:10 PM

      i think 90% of youth activism is a farce. have a look at the ordinary SUG elections, they are a reflection of the real life situations in this country. people come out and make all sorts of noise and site reasons for change but once they get elected, they get carried away by the package and forget what they promised. why am i siting the SUG if you may ask? Because these so called youth activist started from their universities. NANS and all those groups are all rubbish. I still have not seen any impact in the Nigerian Universities apart from throwing lush parties and showing off with the cars they got with money they were supposed to use for meaningful projects that will better the lives of their fellow students. These youth activist are all about making a living albeit making a good name. they deceive (gullible) unsuspecting Nigerian youths while they go back to collect their brown envelopes and carry on with life like nothing happens. The youth, (in fact Nigerians) lack integrity. For the right price people will do almost any thing. its all about getting there, making that name and remaining on the lime light. So i am not surprised that these guys went to pay compliments to the president after all you don’t always get invited to lunch with the president but is it worth forgetting the course of which you fight for? then again i remember that even in the bible someone gave up his birth right for a plate of porridge.

      • Kemchi May 28, 2011 at 12:50 AM

        Exactly! This reminds me of a similar thing that happened during my NYSC. The story with all these so called youth activists is pretty much the same. Make a lot of noise till you’ve got attention and power, then sell out to the first bidder.
        This is what happens when there’s hunger in the land and people are so morally bankrupt that they are willing to mortgage their future for N50000-150000! Why they think it’s ok to take a handout when you’re entitled to so much more befuddles me. Biko what is 50K? That man that gave you 50K owes you soooooooo much more that!
        How about we be true to the cause? Hold the govt accountable, dog them till they begin to do what we elected them to do, and see if there won’t be abundance of jobs that pay us 50-150K per week!

    • Adee May 27, 2011 at 3:19 PM

      To be honest with you I can’t really say if I would have accepted the money if I was there. One thing I sure know is that as a Leader you should have integrity. 50,000 for attending lunch with president is outrageous and its obivious from your post that the whole thing was planned. If the so called youth leaders feel they represented the youth how come they didn’t brief the youths after the meeting and also announce the money shared. Well everything looks fishy to me, I guess this explains why it cost so much for us to run a government in Nigeria. From calculation 50,000 for 400 people is #20,000,000, nevertheless we must not relent on youth activism. I am sure time will tell who is sincere and who is not.

    • Kev May 27, 2011 at 3:41 PM

      Not sure the President’s motives were entirely plausible, and while some folks have argued that the money was a mere reimbursement, I’m more inclined to think someone or something was being ‘bought’. We’ll be able to place our fingers on what/who exactly when certain people can’t speak as boldly, or at all, in the days to come. It has happened to our mothers and fathers, it’s now happening to us. It’s a pity folks who should’ve known better couldn’t see through the smoke of ‘OMG, I’m meeting the President!!!!’ or ‘This is an opportunity to let Mr. President know a few things’. Mr. President has been known to use money to ‘encourage’ loyalty in the past, and while we mustn’t lump everyone who ‘collected’ or ‘didn’t collect’ together, reputations are being tarnished and rubbished. We’ll see if it was worth it or if Mr. President took any/much of what was said on board in the days to come. Were structures set up to hold the President accountable? Did the youth organizers demand this beforehand? Does the President have a list of written demands and suggested guidelines + deadlines? Through whom can we reach the President after lunch is over and done? What will we do if he doesn’t do what he promised? Did he in fact make any promises? Was the President asked tough questions, and did he answer convincingly or at all? I worry about this sort of piecemeal ‘development agenda’ over lunch. I really, really worry about it.

      P.S. Before we even ask if youth activism is a farce or not, we must establish if it in fact exists in Nigeria. Does it? Where? Who are its proponents, and have they achieved anything altruistic or worth celebrating? What? How? When? Let’s establish who these people are before we judge them on their merits or demerits.

    • Ral May 27, 2011 at 3:54 PM

      I am so glad that you spoke up. So glad. Also, thanks Adee for putting a figure to what is essentially a bribe. It is such a shame that we continue to ‘sell’ our birth, human, citizen’s rights for a morsel of food. Everyday in Nigeria the same happens up and down the Country. It’s so sad that we miss the big picture. We forget that even us so so-called youth are starting to get married, build homes, have children. If we continue this way, we’ll be leaving the exact same legacy of a constantly on the precipice Nigeria. A Nigeria that takes 5 steps forward then 7 back. I just don’t know how to articulate how sad I feel. Its just a shame. #20,000,000 wasted for what? To buy the affection of the youth?

      Goodluck!!!! If you really want our affection, FIX the roads, FIX power supply, stop WASTING our poorly distributed resources on inauguration parties, FIX the refineries. Get working for goodness sake!

      I am definitely going to join the president’s facebook if it isn’t an open one. This is just ridiculous!

    • partyrider May 27, 2011 at 4:03 PM

      oh bless you glory for this,seems you read my mind..
      trust twitter to be more reliable than CNN these days,that was were i heard about the money thing and the lunch.i went through one guy’s tweets who was accusing chude and a few others and even went ahead to say that the “what about us debate” was really “what about our pockets”
      now,the reason i “know” Chude today first is cos of his great speeches,(the guy is a good orator) the initiatives he has created and his activism,never even met him sef.but for someone who is in the UK to sit in the comfort of his house to bash these guys who are creating VISIBLE change or at least trying to is very annoying.this guy went on to bash GEJ/PDP,long story short the guy is just pessimistic(unknown to him) and kinda angry and jealous that he has not been able to achieve what Chude &co have achieved..yes this is my opinion.

      so wat exactly am i saying, most of those who are crucifying these active youths have contributed NOTHING to the fight that these youth leaders stand for.and like the guy i mentioned above,their envy and jealous is what drives them to put down these guys.
      its sad that the “government” tries to cripple the efforts of these guys,and thats what gives room for ignorant people to start speculating one thing or the other..

      however,i cant say for sure that all those who were genuine right from the start still stand for what they believe.
      and a quick question: if you were invited for that lunch,and at the end given 50K or 150k would you collect it? answer honestly,esp those of you who were 1st to cry “foul”…
      lastly, we all must participate in our own little way to fight for our future.and to the sincere youth activists out there,DON’T STOP!!

      • ireke May 27, 2011 at 5:34 PM

        partyrider,
        is your point that these “leaders” deserve to be “paid” and “bought” for their “activism”‘. If you are referring to the same article i read, i think you should re-read it to understand the point the two writers are making and not accuse them of hating.

        • partyrider May 28, 2011 at 8:53 AM

          i guess i was trying to saying so many things at d same time,and didnt really stress my point..
          am definitely not saying dey deserve to be paid and bought..
          my point is,dont just sit somewhere and assume things,and heap accusations on people when u dont have any fact and basically contribute nothing to the fight..ask questions but dont come to the conclusion that someone is doing something for his pocket..cos even if they are a handful,there are still youth activists that a true to the fight..
          and i threw that question,cos most people just sound and behave righteous,how many people would have been able to say no if they were in that situation? however am not justifying what GEJ and his people did..
          btw i didnt say Glory was hating oh,i meant d guy on twitter..

      • Mary007 May 30, 2011 at 2:47 AM

        I cant believe you are writing this!!! I am disappointed

    • rosebud May 27, 2011 at 4:20 PM

      Wow. I’ve been hearing about this from different websites. I even got to read a few speeches from some of the attendees though I cant quite say i was totally impressed with all of them. On a good day, having lunch with Mr. President on its own is not such a bad idea but I dont get why he had to ‘reimburse’ people with minimum of N50, 000. Reimburse them for what? Taking taxi or driving to the venue?Or for their activism?I don’t get it and I don’t see where this is done. A lunch on its own should have been honor enough for those attending (imagine attending a lunch with Obama). its not like they were getting honorariums and for what I may ask?
      In fact let me use this medium to even address some things that concern me about our country. I have heard of and from people who have had good intentions and have tried to bring about ideas for the good of the country or some that have even volunteered their services for free. However, most of these people do not make it past the ‘receptionist’ at the government houses or ministries or whichever public parastatal they take it to. Instead they get comments like ‘What is in it for me or us?’ (as in the government workers). People have been discouraged from volunteering their services because they are perceived as threats in the sense that they will expose the shortcomings of others and bla bla bla. How selfish can some people get? These are people who want to work for nothing bringing their expertise from all over. This i can say for most public parastatals. God help us o. I wonder if the president knows about this and what has he done. Even the so called governors? What stops him from building a platform where people can bring their ideas to the table and help in implementing it in the country for the better of everyone? if you do not know someone in government you cannot bring your ideas to the table.
      I was watching the video of a church which with $300, 000 they were able to build small houses (well furnished and beautiful) for a whole village of at least 250 people that was displaced in Haiti after the earthquake. With the money they were still able to feed the villagers everyday. I was amazed and kept screaming cos all i could think about was the amount of money i heard the presidency will be spending on the inauguration and now this.(imagine N50,000 for at least 400 people?) What stops us from using treated wood (due to termites and all)to build houses for the less privileged in our country?Haiti has almost the same weather as we do and i can assure you those houses were beautiful and this will cost a whole lot less yet with style and comfort…Hmm. I can go on and on but let me go on to the topic at hand.
      To be honest, I was quite impressed with the way a lot of the youth were activists for the elections. It made me wish I was back in Nigeria to witness this change. Although at a point i asked myself:’i hope this will not just die down after the elections?’. We youth have a lot to demand from the government. It’s not enough to do all that work for the election and then rest on our oars. I’m happy some youth were able to point out to Mr. President what we expect and demand but at the same time i’m disappointed that Mr. President did not come up with a plan before the lunch on how to tackle the problems we youth face. I mean, I heard from another website that there was a similar lunch last year. I do not know how true that is. If it is true, what was achieved from that last lunch? or is this just a campaign farce from the presidential cabinet to ‘show’ that he is in touch with the youth? Tomorrow if people ask now he will say he had a lunch on so and so day with the youth. Maybe ask him what issues were raised and what he has done or intends to do , who knows? he may not even remember.
      Well, I hope these criticisms will spur him onto doing what’s right. As for the youth activists, only time will tell who’s genuine or not. Definitely some of these people have done this to be popular or to gain favors from the government..but like I said, let’s give each and every person a benefit of the doubt including Mr. President although what I have been reading and hearing about him is already making me feel sorry for our country. I rest my case.

    • Ayodeji May 27, 2011 at 4:28 PM

      It is time for the truth. What Mr. President handed out to the ‘so-called’ youth activists in civilized societies is called a BRIBE! Essentially, he tried to buy the affection of people that he ‘thinks’ the youths listen to! I would like to know if Rita Dominic, Chude Jideowno, Linda Ikeji and other attendees received this so-called reimbursement! A reimbursement is for EXPENSES! It is a return on money that has been spent by a person for services performed! Unless the attendees flew 1st or business class to the event, #50,000- #150,000 is NOT a reimbursement, but a BRIBE! I am ashamed! Situations like this make me really doubt if Nigeria can be saved! As youth, we cry out for change, but WE ARE part of the problem! I would have been glad to hear that ALL the attendees refused this ‘sale’ of our collective birthrights! How proud that would have made all of us!

      My answer to your question is YES! Youth activism is a farce in Nigeria! Majority of the so-called activists are only looking for a platform to enrich their pockets! Ri-dun-cu-lous-ness!!!

    • Phunke May 27, 2011 at 4:52 PM

      Before the What About Us debate,the whole social media was agog with the info -twitter,fb etc but for this so called lunch we didn’t hear a peep until some people were at the venue.I follow almost all these youth advocates,activicts or representatives on twitter and no one said boo about this lunch.Why should we be happy?I’m not upset because people went to the lunch,I’m upset because nobody bothered to inform the youths they claimed they were representing.
      “However, a few people like Chude Jideonwo and others, spoke earnestly about these issues that blight the performance of many youth”
      Who are these ‘others’?From all accounts Chude was the only one that spoke well so if you ask me staging a lunch that wasn’t interactive,where only one individual spoke well while the others just sang praises was a waste but then nobody is asking me.
      As for the money collected,I think the people that did collect the money are just trying to justify their shamelessness.
      What exactly were the reimbursed for?for eating lunch?for clapping at the end of speeches?or for actually attending the event?Like anyone is going to refuse an invitation to dine with the President.Some did though.
      People should be accountable for their actions.Don’t go there claiming to represent the youths if all you care about is lining your pockets with Government funds.

    • Ready May 27, 2011 at 5:10 PM

      I agree with pretty much every sentiment against this action. But why would he invite 500 youth ‘activists’ in the first place? That’s how you know things are gonna be messy. Was this supposed to be a brainstorming session or just PR? 500 people? Honestly, I worry about this GEJ administration, surely he’s gotta reimburse all this money to whatever godfather provided him funds.
      As for the question…I don’t think youth activism is a complete farce; yes, some people accepted the money, but when you have 500 people, surely they can’t all be principled. We are human afterall, and this IS Nigeria we’re speaking of where being in the limelight is about money & connections. I don’t think we should condemn an entire movement because of a few people who probably aren’t perceived by most people as real youth activists to begin with.

    • Tosin May 27, 2011 at 5:34 PM

      I didn’t go to this week’s Youth Lunch with the President of Nigeria. I got a couple of invitations by email and text, to which I answered, “how many diners will be at the lunch?”Since I had no assurance that it would be a somewhat exclusive lunch – you know, eba and egusi soup with orange juice around the table with Mr. President – and not a rowdy carnival with us jamming to D’Banj music, I decided to respect myself and save my money. Read more at I’m Too Old For Youth Lunch

    • Hawt Nerd May 27, 2011 at 6:36 PM

      Meeting the youth via a lunch session is not a bad idea at all. However one begins to question the definition of the youth when people like Ben-Bruce were there! And then all those celebrities that were there ..biko KOK, KHN and RD still dey answer youth?! Why I ask this is maka na when I reach 40 and anyone starts telling me I am not a youth, wahala go dey.
      Now about those youth activists. One of them who spearheaded the WhatAboutUs debate was at the forefront of throwing subs at Dbanj. He ranted and raked albeit subtly on twitter. Now unfortunately for this guy, some of us in Abuja with him got to know how he has been moving around a few government top people seeking some form of recognition. After this reliable information, I was not entirely shocked to see him as part of the ‘organisers’ of the lunch.
      The people who were totally shocked were those who had no idea what most of those so called youth activists stood for. Please do not get me wrong, nothing is wrong with contributing to national development as a youth. However, please be honest all through. If you are for a given government, feel free to let us know. It is a democratic setting. Do not come to twitter or any other social media and form boys-oye for us and then go behind to beg for recognition from the same government you claim to be indifferent about.
      My verdict is that the youth activism thing isn’t a farce yet; it will be a failed effort though in the presence of sustained poverty and ignorance among the generality of the populace. Above all, activism can’t be a career option if you really do not want to be influenced. We must make a sustainable mark for yourself such that we do not readily flip over when it comes to our convictions or what we stand for. For those who are genuinely seeking the good of this country, they shall reap their benefits with little or no sweat in due course….amen.

    • jaguar May 27, 2011 at 7:44 PM

      there is hunger in the land……..

      • Miss Face May 28, 2011 at 6:38 PM

        Jaguar, u can say that again. I know i would gladly take that envelope were it given to me because i dont see how its morally wrong. People were in a meeting wt the president of the fed rep of Nigeria frm 11.30 to 3pm but they shd have turned down lunch? Or said no to cash?hw does that constitute a bribe? A man that has won his election?the youths on the said date gave it to him hard without mincing words and made it clear to him that he shouldnt sit on his oars because Nigerian youths had just about had it with mediocrity in this country. I have gone for job interviews (esp international NGOs )where there is tea-break with all the snacks imaginable and later lunch served buffet-style. At the end of the exercise, you are handed your transport fare(which they refer to as a stipend) regardless of whether u will be chosen for the position or not. Pray, tell, in this sort of case, what are the proposed employers bribing all 15 or more of us that showed up for this interview for? Abeg, am tired of typing , to each, his/her own opinion. My verdict is this: “We the realistic Bella Naijaites find the youths that had lunch with GEJ, not guilty of treachery”! But it still boils to wat jaguar said: There is hunger in the land, no need being a hypocrite about it all. What would u do? Honestly.

    • Nigerian in DC May 27, 2011 at 10:31 PM

      I posted this same question on another blog and I want to see if the question is answered differently on BN.

      How were the people that were invited to this lunch selected? Or were they mostly people in the entertainment, blogging world?

      While I think the media industry is doing a great job in Nigeria, I really think we as a people need to encourage other aspects of earning a living before the next generation will only focus on acting, singing, blogging, fashion designing, etc as a means to be recognized in Nigeria.

      Were the youth in Banking, Law, Medicine, science, economics, etc invited?

      Please note: I am not saying bloggers or actors don’t have degrees, far from that. I am saying when a country, blogs, events, etc focus so much on these careers, it can distort the minds of the young ones.

      just my two cents

      Concerned Nigerian from DC

      • WhatTheHeck May 27, 2011 at 11:20 PM

        PLEASE TAKE YOUR GRIEF ELSEWHERE BECAUSE IT IS UNNECESSARY.
        So if you claim that entertainers and designers and bloggers do have degrees, why are you adding that ‘others’ should be included. In line with your reasoning, the only thing that makes a blogger different is that they blog, not so? So now if that banker you’re recommending starts blogging today, does that make them fall into your category of ‘distorting young minds’?
        This just shows that you prejudiced towards people who put themselves out there and wrongfully so. Educated, professional, powerful people and institutions own blogs and does that make them any less frivolous? Just google ‘power of blogging’ for starters!

        Maybe you should be more concerned about why you’re not aware of the amazing power of blogging OR why more Nigerians don’t own blogs so there can be a healthy variety out there … That would be worth your headache.

        • chi-chi May 28, 2011 at 7:35 AM

          Na wah 4 U , So only entertainers are the youths. See your level of reasoning. The quetion was very simple and straightforward- was was the selection criteria and why are other professions not invited? I know young CMD,s , Great men and women of law, Bankers, engineers, architect and co. The meeting was Jonathan’s lunch with entertainers .The word Meeting with Nigerian youth is a misnomer. See hunger in the land people cannot reson again bcos of 50k, its a shame.The truth is your guys got all that is due for the next 4 yrs, its going to be buss as usually or more than usual. Youth Activism is a farce.

        • hmmmm May 29, 2011 at 3:43 AM

          you dint have to be rude. you would have just also explained your theory nicely to concerned nigerian in DC… you actually sounded like you were hating….jus for next time

    • Adee May 27, 2011 at 11:10 PM

      Well after reading comments from most of the people that attended lunch with the president, I feel we should also blame the government for the act. Most of the speakers claimed they were not aware of the package which is possible. I also wonder why they have not come out to criticise the government for exploiting the youths. Maybe its a strategy to disunite the youths who knows. Its obvious it was well planned by the organisers, still don’t understand the logic behind the money.

      • hmmmm May 29, 2011 at 3:41 AM

        i read some of the organizers (chude jideonwo and amara nwankpa) were aware o and they even tried to justify it by saying it was for transport and hotel acc….dont know how true that is tho.to me just having lunch with mr presido is an honor in itself.they shudnt have spoilt it with the money issue. what we should be reading now is excerpts on how the lunch went, what was said, jonathan’s response, etc.its sad sha.i mean corpers earn 9,500 per month yet they want to justify 50k or 150k to some people for some hours. and its not like jonathan hired them for the day and had a business agreement with them… no it was just LUNCH WITH THE PRESIDENT….and supposed to be an opportunity for voicing out views and interaction, i believe not some ‘speeches’. left to me, he shouldn’t have invited all those people since just a handful of them were the ones who gave the speeches.shekina!

    • Uzo May 28, 2011 at 10:13 AM

      The truth is that corruption has eaten deep into the fabric of the ordinary Nigerian. There is a growing generation of Nigerians (those born post 1986) that do not fully understand what constitues a bribe. I remember my sister asking our cousin once why she wasn’t in school on a school day. The said cousin replied that she went to school but was not feeling well so paid the gateman to leave. My sister was aghast and asked her ‘why bribe the gateman when you could have just told your teacher’, our cousin looked at my sister blankly and replied ‘Its not bribery, thats what everyone does when they need to go home before school closes’
      My point is we are in serious trouble in Nigeria as there is no sense of right and wrong. Living in the UK, I have known people being dismissed from work for incorrectly claiming £5 extra for travel expenses (the person dismissed was Nigerian by the way), for misusing office phone (also a Nigerian), for claiming more time for lunch break (A Briton, thank God and was suspended). The point being if you can steal £5 then you can definitely steal millions. N50,000 is not a substantial amount, the so called youths could have resisted it but because we have have lost all sense of what is right and wrong some people will accept that money without blinking.

      If Youth activism is not a farce then youths like Uche Eze and Gloria Edozien should help in highlighting people whose integrity is sound and not devote time to people whose source of wealth is from questionable means. When showing new businesses a key question that must be asked is how did you come about your start up capital because 90% of the businesses you show case here have corrupt money backing them up.

    • Chibaby May 28, 2011 at 6:26 PM

      Oh dear, it sounds like a publicity stunt if GEJ did not adequately respond to urgent matters in our country. Why did he even invite 500 people when it is not like you can all say something? The event ought to be aired on TV in my opinion. I dont think Youth Activism is a farce because there are genuine honest people that dont collect any bribe.

    • Myne Whitman May 28, 2011 at 8:19 PM

      I wonder if the organizers made secrecy a part of the invitation? I pity for the better youth activists. The rest are still in “Come and Chop” mode. Naija – business as usual!

    • Nnenna May 28, 2011 at 8:56 PM

      Bribe is never called bribe. It’s always “transportation money”, or whatever suits you best. So……
      I think people are just interested in being known than really dying for a cause.
      Does Obama give transport money after meeting with youths?
      Isn’t it an honor to be able to share ideas with the president and sit down to lunch.
      Is this “transportation fare” justifiable in the budget?
      To each man his own……God judge this blatant abuse of Nigerias money

    • Chukwudi Eboka May 29, 2011 at 12:25 AM

      This is horrible journalism. U were asked to wait behind for “instructions” and the killer insticnt that makes a journalist worth his salt had u chat wit a few friends and leave the venue. I like to tink I’m a writer also but ive always tried to stay away from political commentary. but u have chosen to do so but u decided to leave “before u got a real story”. I have no dog in this fight being neither a gej or buhari supporter but its irresponsible of u and ur editor to allow u to post an article that amounts to nothing more than uncorroborated hearsay and inherently slandar on d office of the president dat does nothing to help the situation u are trying to change. One cld peg u as notin more dan a tool of presidential opposition. Wldnt it hv made more sense to say to us…”I was given 50k after the seminar” rather than that u heard people were given 50k and then people can make informed decisions about their leadership. Its one of 2 tins. Either u irresponsibly left a potentially awesome story behind becos u were too impatient or u collected d 50k n r 2 scared to say it for fear of retribution. Either way u lack the journalistic integrity to continue on dis path. Its a shame. Dis is why I don’t believ in jazz…becos its always somebody u know who has seen someone hang a shirt in d air…or was shot and d bullet didn’t enter. Its neva first hand information. Shame on u for posting this article. Go get real proof and ill join u in condemning the president…but before dat dis is just disrespectful slander based on rumors and hearsay

      • hmmmm May 29, 2011 at 3:49 AM

        understandable and u have a point but what if it was gotten from ‘friends’ who also went for the lunch? just sayin……..will that be disgraceful journalism too?

      • Abiola July 9, 2011 at 10:16 AM

        The beauty of a blog is the ability to share your personal opinion. Even though I agree that it would have made for a better story had the writer stayed behind, I don’t think you have the right to criticize her so harshly. Save that scrutinizing eye for Punch newspaper!

    • Sisi Ijebu May 29, 2011 at 12:32 AM

      I would like to say that though I do not agree with the way this “interactive session” was planned and conducted and I am very wary of any “youth oriented event” organised by this governement. However, that being said I’d like to say that it is possible that the motive behind this “re-imbursment” might not be as sinsiter as we think.

      I have been privileged to attend and help organise a few “youth events” and i have noticed that many individuals, young people in particular expect to be “reimbursed” for any “appearances” they make. I’ve seen and heard stories of young celebrities and activists who will walk up to the organisers of charity events and ask to be “reimbursed” for their time, transportation, accommodation, etc. in the form of “royalties” even when the event is clearly non-profit and in the same vein, I’ve been invited to non-profit events that clearly state in the invitations that every participant will receive a form of reimbursement for coming. So this makes me wonder; did any of the “invited guests” ask to be reimbursed for the expenses they incurred for showing up at the event? Was GEJ trying to empathise with the plight of the cash-strapped, Nigerian “youth” by offering the money he did? Because I still find it hard to believe that if his intention was to offer bribes, he would do so in such an open manner especially with some of the country’s biggest whistle blowers present.

      Unfortunately, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The “youth activist” is a strange, newly discovered specie in the Nigerian environment. The government may just still be trying to figure out how to approach and make friends with it.

      • hmmmm May 29, 2011 at 3:57 AM

        its a pity that young people want to be reimbursed for every event especially the charity events and that doesnt make it right or understandable.its rily sad to hear you say this. i mean these people have a choice to come or not to come. this is the reason why in some cases youth activism may be a farce if they cant sacrifice their transport, accommodation or N50,000 of their time for a charity event…..and if Jonathan knows that the Nigerian youth is cash strapped then he should increase the allowance for youth corpers especially. 9,500 is too small for a graduate who leaves his hometown or wherever and goes to another end of the country to serve and who may not even have a good place of primary assignment from the service to supplement.i think they need it more…and if we keep thinkin the way we think then its a pity we’re not rily moving forward. it will just be another case of initial gra gra(IGG).just saying….

        • Sisi Ijebu June 5, 2011 at 5:04 PM

          I was not agreeing with GEJ’s behaviour, merely pointing out that, when it comes to issues concerning young Nigerians, sometimes we are our own worst enemies.

    • Chukwudi Eboka May 29, 2011 at 2:58 AM

      tnx sisi ijebu, for ur perspective on this

    • rammy May 29, 2011 at 2:49 PM

      youth activism isnt a farce,but how on earth are youth supposed to continue with this activism if they seem to fall on deaf ears? for a start ,those who got the invite arnt the jobless nigerian youth on the street looking for a simple means of livelihood, or the nigerian student who has spent 5yrs in school for course of four years and is still yet to graduate thanks to ASUU, or the nigerian youth who has to burn candles and end up with a severe headache cause he strained his eyesight while preparing for an exam and PHCN refused to let him use electricity …………….i could go on and on . the fact is the nigerian youth who needs to see the president and put it to him that he was elected for a purpose wldnt even eat lunch let alone wait for a meager sum that wont last him a month. he will talk sense into the head of the president and even the president will not have any apetite for lunch, the active nigerian youth have been denied access to the right channels and thats how our leaders want iot to be. may God help us

    • Mary007 May 30, 2011 at 2:37 AM

      Best topic I have read in a while. Youth activism is a farce I am sure even the second day seminar if they were given the opportunity they would also take the money, mind you not all of them but at least 75% will. Nigeria no Africa as a whole needs a total refocus of what matters.

    • Mary007 May 30, 2011 at 2:53 AM

      After reading most comments I know why we are still where we are in Africa, how can anyone suggest the money was not a bribe! call a spade a spade- it was bribe, if it was not there would have being no need for secrecy of such an event, youths would be aware such an event was happening and was strictly by invitation and why after an event ask people to wait behind after lunch and it was not openly stated you would be reimbursed for expenses incurred. God bless those who saw through this.

    • moo May 30, 2011 at 1:14 PM

      i ve read on diff website and blogs where d participant admitted money was shared but dy ve left b4 it was done..then who re those people dt wait behind to collect d money.
      i ve no problem with d lunch,i ve problem with d participant secercy of ther invite.
      then what is d defination of youth in nigeria,if kate henshaw and d likes re qualified to b addressed as youth at over 40(i.e bankole agemate) then who is a youth?

    • Ken May 31, 2011 at 7:05 AM

      Bribe?? How can u use the word bribe here. Jonathan has ALREADY won the election. I wish one of the “beneficiaries” of this payment comes forward with the answers we need. This article sure does lack proper evidence and is based on hearsay. I’m sure a youth that travelled into lagos solely for this lunch won’t refer to this payment as a “bribe”.

    • Marloes1 February 27, 2012 at 2:17 PM

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