IN order to make the future of youths and the country great, the Sir Bode Akindele Foundation in a collaborative effort with the Goodworker Ministries International, the University of Ibadan and the Federal University of Technology, Akure has put together a programme known as the Bode Akindele Yield Initiative (BAYI), to win millions of youths for innovations, entrepreneurship, leadership and development and also win a million youths from drug abuse and other social vices.
The Principal founder of BAYI is Sir Bode Akindele but universities are brought in to give scope and the Vice Chancellors of collaborating universities are part of the board of trustees with eminent Nigerians like Sir Bode Akindele himself and Archbishop Kehinde Stephen, Pastor Adetunji Agboola, Dr Ebunlomo Walker and Mrs Oyefunke Oworu.
The BAYI vision focuses on seeing a world of millions of positively focused and well oriented youths as innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders and also to develop them for this purpose.
BAYI is set up primarily for Nigerian youths to prepare them for responsibility by promoting marketable skills acquisition innovations and talent development among Nigerian youth and promote patriotism, godly values, leadership and entrepreneurial development among youth
The organisation also seeks to help youths successfully navigate adolescence by avoiding the pitfalls of drug abuse and other social vices as well as advocate, promote and support youth development policies in Nigeria.
The major activities of the organisation borders on contemporary areas for capacity building, skills acquisition, innovations, entrepreneurship, creativity and research with focus on renewable energy, sustainable living and environment, ICT, vocational skills, innovative agriculture as well as leadership and entrepreneurship.
The Executive Director, BAYI and Goodworker Ministry International, Pastor Tunji Agboola while speaking on the project stated that unemployment due to lack of skills and mental laziness is prevalent among youths in Nigeria today because young people in Nigeria lack nurturing and are a product of their environment. “You cannot blame them; what a child is exposed to matters, the light that shapes creativity is lacking in our system; we do not teach our youths logic and critical thinking, they just read to pass examinations and this can’t make them leaders. There are opportunities but our youths can’t scan them to make a change
“Our focus is to promote innovation, entrepreneurship, leadership and developmental skills among youths. Youths are asking that they should be put in leadership positions but the fact is you can only have a president in four years, in a generation, you can’t have more than four presidents, so out of the almost a 100-million youths, you can only have four but leadership goes beyond this, it is at every platform they find themselves,” Agboola said.
Though the target is a million youths, beneficiaries are not restricted to just a million because the figure is infinite. The project will select beneficiaries through the BAYI Clubs that will be set up in tertiary institutions and members will be selected from brilliant and young people into the club to impact the university and surrounding communities.
There will also be a BAYI starter club in secondary schools starting from 10 secondary schools for teenagers between the ages of 11 to 16. The members will be given an online community platform for interaction; there will be bootcamps, competition, local and international exchange programmes, access to functional innovation and creativity hub and promotion and support of youth innovations, entrepreneurship, leadership and development skills.
However, with the feedback already available, the BAYI club will be extended to senior classes of primary schools while findings will be used in advocating policy changes in schools.
Speaking on his initiative, Sir Bode Akindele said it is primarily a service to Nigerian Youths, adding that BAYI is a collaborative youth development project that has been conceived to provide platforms to stimulate and support youths in innovation, entrepreneurship, leadership and development.
“The primary objective is to develop millions of positively focused and well oriented Nigerian youths as innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders. As some of you may have known because of our association over the years, my inspiration through God’s help is to be of benefit to mankind. This inspiration led to the establishment of the BODE AKINDELE FOUNDATION (BAF) in 1985 which has been involved in several special projects, some of which are also dedicated to the development of our youths.
“BAF in addition, has sponsored and financed a good number of Nigerians, Christians and Muslims, including clergies, to perform holy pilgrimages. At BAF we try to assist in alleviating the sufferings of others, promote good causes and sustain good and laudable visions. We cover education, research and offer support to the disabled and deprived; it is therefore easy for us to collaborate with others to seek to do what is required for the development of our youths.
“We have to come together for the youth (our tomorrow) by taking meaningful actions to tackle the threats and the challenges that are militating against their proper development. These challenges are real. They may take a long time to solve, but that shouldn’t discourage any of us from the belief that we can make a difference. It should inspire us to take immediate actions. And more than anything, that’s what is needed today – the engagement of everyone who wants to see a better future for our children,” he said.
On his own part, Archbishop Emeritus Ayo Ladigbolu said it is noteworthy that Sir Bode Akindele has vigorously pursued the attainment of causes that has to do with development of the people, adding that the foundation has strong passion and unalloyed commitment to attaining its set objectives.
“Since BAYI is an extension of BAF, I can assure the management team of BAYI of no less attention and commitment from BAF and our founder,” Archbishop Ladigbolu said.
ArchBishop Kehinde Stephen also reiterated the commitment of BAYI to prepare the ground for a better Nigeria by empowering youths and giving them the required skills that will make them leaders in every sphere.