The Chairman, House Committee on Defense, Rep. Babajimi Benson, has reiterated his position that youths in Ikorodu and Lagos State generally, do not only have the required skills, but are also ready for leadership positions.
Benson, who is representing the Ikorodu Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, reaffirmed his position when the Executive Secretary of Lateef Jakande Leadership Academy, Ms. Aisha Agbaje, led fellows of the academy on a courtesy visit to his Federal Constituency Office in Ikorodu, on Friday.
The visit was the first of the academy’s Speakers’ Series with notable personalities in the state.
With Rep. Benson during the meeting with the team are Builder Sesan Daini, Chairman, Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA and Mayor Muyideen Sanwoola, Director – General, iCare Foundation.
Rep. Benson, who also commended the Governor of Lagos, Mr Bababjide Sanwo – Olu, for the creation of the academy, added that he believes in the youths and trust their capacity to deliver.
“I want to commend His Excellence for having the foresight to come up with this academy, because I don’t think that we have giving him the credit he deserves for him to be able to look out for the youths, and put them in the leadership roles for the future. It is very commendable”, Rep. Benson said.
“He also named the academy after a very great man, a revered former Governor of Lagos State. The person that we all called ‘LKJ’, Lateef Kayode Jakande.
“The most astonishing thing is that he has given out the role to drive the organization. He has given the rights to a lady who is in her early 30s or late 20s, which is very remarkable.
“If you had asked me who I think should lead the agency, I would have said Yemi Cardoso or Wale Edun, but he entrusted the leadership to a young person which speaks to his ability to spot talents and also believe in them to achieve. Kudos, Mr Governor”, the three term lawmaker commended the Governor.
The lawmaker commended the capacity of members of the academy whom he said have thoroughly impressed with their understanding and engagement of issues.
“The gentlemen and ladies that I have met today are equally specially selected. 15 ladies and men. They thoroughly impressed me. They all come from rich backgrounds, and the funny thing is that they assigned them to places that are not their natural turf. A Physiotherapy is not assigned to the Sports Ministry but to a different sector”, Rep. Benson said.
“They are very esteemed professionals. I am very happy that I have this session with them.
“They didn’t just sucked me, but they over sucked my knowledge. I am mentally drained. Their questions were asked on point. So, you need to be prepared to meet them”, he added.
Rep. Benson, who started representing the Ikorodu Federal Constituency when he was under 50, said that he is scared about the abundant talents and capacity of youths in his Constituency and the state generally.
While stating that youths are ready for leadership positions, the three term lawmaker also called for support and encouragement for them.
“I always say that I am scared of the youths. They can rip you apart if you don’t know your onions”, he expressed his fear jokingly.
“Ikorodu and Lagos youths are ready for leadership positions. I always give examples of my Ikorodu youths. I am in over 600 WhatsApp platforms and they constantly ask questions. The youths that came today are not different”, he said.
“We need to encourage this set of upcoming leaders, because they have the tool; they are all experienced. They are savvy technologically; they have the internet. They know what they want.
“Time for the youths is not tomorrow. It’s now and we need to encourage and give them all the necessary support to make them attain the eminence that their qualities offer”, he added.
Earlier during the inaugural LJLA Speaker’s Series, Rep. Benson took the fellows of the academy through his birth, educational background, his engagement with London, sojourn in the United Nations, return to Nigeria and engagement with legal firms, later bank and his meeting with President Bola Tinubu when he was the Governor of Lagos State, which resulted into his employment at the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (LSDPC).
Rep. Benson, who ventured into politics from LSDPC, informed his guests that he came into the contest for the House of Representatives which was saturated with political heavy weights, as an underdog, but emerged, first as party’s candidate with a wide margin and as the Representative of the Ikorodu people, through scientific approach to politics.
He charged members of the academy to always develop interest in volunteering and taking up opportunities where they will be trained in various fields.
The lawmaker also charged them to have emphathy, compassion, innovative, be hardworking and have passion for all that they do.
The Executive Secretary, Lateef Jakande Leadership Academy, Aisha Agbaje, explaining the idea behind the academy, said that it was created to determine the next generation of leaders in the state and the country at large.
He said that fellows of the academy have been assigned to various section of the government to understudy there modus operandi.
“It is a leadership institute created by Gov. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu. He understands that challenges of leadership is a major one that Nigeria is facing, so, it was important to him to initiate idea that would help bring up the next generation of the Nigerian leaders”, she said.
“The Lateef Jakande Academy essentially supposed to cover those gaps. Be it in their various communities, public service and private sectors.
“Just like every Nigerian, these young people are from various professions and they are leaders in the different sectors. They are coming together to have micro and macro perspectives of what leadership in Nigeria is.
“They are being exposed to various arms of the government: legislative, executive and the judiciary. They are being exposed to Ministries, Commissions etc. They are to shadow those cabinet members”, she said.
She said that the academy is starting its Speaker’s Series with Rep. Benson because he is a prominent political and knowledgeable leader.
“Another segment of what we are doing is the Speaker’s Chat. That is what we are doing today, having a Speaker’s series with Hon. Babajimi Benson. He is one of the prominent political leaders that you cannot ignore”, she said.
“We are starting our Speaker’s series with him. We are here to suck every nugget out of him. We made sure that we got every knowledge of him.
On criteria of being admitted into the academy to become a fellow, Aisha, said:
“Becoming a fellow of the academy is purely on merit. It not a partisan program. So, they have to do Computer Based Test (CBT), and we eil picked the ones with the highest scores among them”, she said.
“Our next set of application will be opened next year March. We are on: www.ljla.academy. Once you go their early Match, you would be able to apply and possible join the next set of fellows.
“In the meantime, we are opening up some of our contents to the public, so, you can be checking out our website for updates. This also prepares you for the fellow admittance test. That will give you brief insight into what we are looking for.
“The eligibility criteria are that you must be below 35, a bachelor’s degree, be a Nigerian and you must have completed your NYSC”, she said.
The three term lawmaker, after the parley with the fellows, took them round the IKD 106.9FM, which is located within the same premises with his constituency office.