By Peace Morrison

Interview with the pharmacist-turned-politician and the Lagos state Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Princess Uzamat Folasayo Akinbile-Yusuf.

She opens up about being a philanthropist and the joy that comes from empowering and developing the youth through various projects.

WHAT IS THE STORY ABOUT IBILE YOUTH ACADEMY?
Wow! It is a dream come true. What has inspired me is the fact that I wanted to do something different that will help and develop our youth because they are faced with so many challenges as young people. I had to look for the best way to really develop them and that gave birth to IYA. And in Yoruba land the meaning of IYA is so wide, it means a mother who is able to guide her children and put them in the right path. So, that is why I came up this concept called IYA. Also, IBILE in Lagos state covers the five divisions of the state; Ikorodu, Badagry, Ikeja, Lagos and Epe division.
And the aim is to get to the grassroot where we will be able to penetrate and affect more youth on this platform. The training is all about developing their leadership, entrepreneurship skills and volunteerism. In the next five days they will be at the academy where they will be taught so many things. Also, trainings will be going on simultaneously at the five divisions in the state.

 FOR THOSE WHO GO THROUGH THIS CURRENT TRAINING IN THE ACADEMY WHAT ARE THE EXPECTATIONS?At the end of the training we expect the participants to have broad understanding of what leadership is all about so they will be able to develop themselves better. As part of the volunteering training, they will also be taught how to see themselves as part of the society which will motivate them to render services by given back to their communities.
They will also be taught the child right law and implementation, youth policy and how they will be able to integrate into it. All these will help them tackle some of the challenges they might face in the future.

Also very important, at the end of the five days training 10 participantS will be selected and camped at the Lagos State Youth Hostel Ipaja for a week where they will be able to interact with each other.
And at the end of the day five ambassadors will be selected from each division where one ambassador will be chosen as spokesperson for the youths in Lagos State.

YOUR SLOGAN HAS ALWAYS BEEN “BUILD THE YOUTH BUILD THE NATION” WHAT HAS BEEN THE DRIVE?Yes, it is so because youth are very energetic and vibrant and this energy has to be channeled into something positive. if you build the youth, you build the nation and if you refuse to build the youth, you destroy the nation. If the youth are properly empowered, then criminal activities will be reduced to a reasonable extent.



WHAT OTHER PROJECT OCCUPIES YOUR MIND?
I have a lot of projects to execute before leaving office. As you can see IYA is part of them but it is limited to youth between the age of 18-24, so they will be programs for other categories of youth. Also, there will be a Youth Summit were youth will have interaction with Lagos State Government Officials. And at this forum many issues that affect the youth will be discussed.

Also, before the end of the year we will be having our quarterly Senatorial Forum with the CDAs and Baales at the grassroot level where issues such as insecurity, unemployment, and other problems will be discussed.

AS A WOMAN IN POLITICS, WHAT DO YOU ADVICE WOMEN IN COMMERATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY?
Yes, the theme of this year is “BOLD FOR CHANGE” we should be very bold as women and be able to express our selves. So, I implore every woman out there to be bold and not allow any form of intimidation, abuse or suppression. As women our voice most be heard in the society irrespective of our gender and we should be able to speak out and say no to rape, domestic violence or any form of abuse.

AND FOR THE YOUTHS?
Our youth should shun violence and all forms of evil vices at all times. They should see themselves as part of the society so that they will be able to contribute and build the nation.

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEBERED FOR? Ok, I want to be remembered for executing projects such as IBILE YOUTH ACADEMY, The documentation of Lagos State Youth Policy also for reducing child abuse to the barest minimum.