Former Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives and Chief of Staff to the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Toby Okechukwu has urged Nigerian Youth to harness the power of social media to make a positive impact, empower themselves and others, and to drive economic development.
Okechukwu gave the advise at the University of Abuja, while delivering a keynote address at the leadership and development lecture series of the Sultan Maccido institute for peace, leadership and development studies.
He noted that the youth, equipped with technology, hold immense potential to shape the future.
He also noted that while social media is good, books hold the power to transport one to distant realms without physical movement.
While noting that Nigerian youth through social media has played a significant role in driving political change, the CoS said it is important to recognize the challenges as well.
According to him, issues such as the spread of misinformation, echo chambers, and online harassment can hinder productive discussions and understanding.
He therefore advised Nigerian youth to critically engage with the information they come across, fact-check, and promote constructive dialogue to ensure the positive impact of social media on political change.
Okechukwu said, “I recall my own university days when I read 30 novels in a semester, and I challenge you all to ask yourselves how frequently you read books. Have you delved into the pages of classics like “Things Fall Apart,” “There was a country,” or “Arrow of God”? Books hold the power to transport you to distant realms without physical movement. While we cherish social media, let us not forget the enchantment of books. Make a habit of reading, for it enriches the mind and nourishes the soul.
“Citizen journalism; Nigerian youth have embraced the role of citizen journalists, using social media platforms to document and share real-time information about political events, protests, and social injustices. Through videos, photos, and firsthand accounts, they provide alternative narratives and shed light on important issues that may not be covered by mainstream media. This has helped in holding those in power accountable and raising awareness globally. Let’s dissect further on the role of social media on global movements such as the Black Lives Movement and End Sars Movement and how it has shaped our world today. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has emerged as a powerful force for social change, advocating for racial justice, equality, and an end to systemic racism. Social media platforms have provided a crucial tool for amplifying the voices of activists, organizing protests and rallies, and raising awareness about the issues faced by Black communities.
“As we contemplate the role of Nigerian youths in this digital age, I urge you to analyze your strengths and weaknesses, set personal and vocational goals, and foster self-esteem, confidence, and motivation to realize those aspirations. Establish support networks by leveraging on existing social media networks that enable you to actively engage in your immediate community and foster positive social change. In conclusion, let us embrace this new era of communication and social media with a sense of purpose and responsibility. As the torchbearers of tomorrow, you have the power to drive positive economic development and social transformation. Believe in yourselves, learn, adapt, and use your skills wisely.”