The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington, has urged young parliamentarians in the country to be instruments of change by fostering justice and inclusiveness in governance.
Symington made the call on Wednesday at a conference tagged the Convergence 2.0 with the theme “Leadership, Power and Politics”, organised by Not-To-Young-To-Run Movement for young parliamentarians in Abuja on Wednesday.
“Every democracy and every electoral official derives strength from citizens and this can only be maximised when there is synergy between them,” he said.
The envoy said the answer to the challenges of security, education, infrastructure, prosperity and opportunity lay with the people.
“My suggestion is that all these elected officials should lift their reach beyond their supporter and engage with the people because they ran the race, not for themselves, their friends and family but for their country.
“Now that they have won the first part of the race, the hard part begins this is not to be driven in what they do by those who come to them seeking favour but to turn to all.
“They have to by the power of their own integrity and character show what kind of work Nigerians can do when they work together as one.
“The challenge is this, when it comes to security, everybody knows that every bad actor has family, friends and neighbours and they know who are doing those things,’’ he said.
According to Symington, “somehow it is central to reach all of these people and together make insecurity stop because security forces alone can never secure any country; they must be lifted up by all of you.”
He also urged officeholders to give themselves to making sure that in a few years time every Nigerian would be able to read because it is hard to ask citizens to read between the lines and know what really matters when they can’t read at all.
Symington added education is not just about building schools and training teachers but using all powers as youths with imagination of apps, innovations, internet, and mentors to help people who do not know how to read.
He urged them to reach out and find people making waves in different spheres around them and empower them to do more to create prosperity.
“Above all, lift all of Nigeria up,’’ he said.
Mr Samson Itodo, Convener, said that Nigeria was in dire need of excellent public leaders and legislatures who would consult with their people and represent them well.