Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has commended the recipients of the International Award for Young People for their involvement in promoting awareness on climate change, mental health, and advocacy against drug abuse.
Osinbajo gave this commendation on Thursday in his address at the 2021 National Gold Award Presentation Ceremony at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.
The International Award for Young People in Nigeria is the Nigerian version of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
The vice president said that in the last 60 years the award had impacted on more than one million young people.
He said that the award had also galvanized more than 180, 000 adult volunteers all over the world, including mobilizing young people to respond to the disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe.
“The award is a long-running initiative of His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh of Blessed Memory; His highness has been described as one who lived a life of service to his nation; to the Commonwealth and to the world at large.
“His personal values of service above self shine through the conception and execution of this programme and we, in Nigeria remember with great fondness, his sense of humour, his kindness, common touch and his keenness to learn about other peoples and cultures remain evergreen in our memories of him.
“The duke visited Nigeria four times clearly demonstrating how important Nigeria has been or was to him and to his several programmes and several programmes even in the area of conservation.
“Tonight’s ceremony is an occasion for recognising the achievement of young people who have completed the Gold Standard of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.’’
Osinbajo said that the event provided an opportunity of not only to showcase the resourcefulness of young Nigerians but also honour the values that the duke represented in his lifetime.
According to him, the achievements that are being celebrated are of young people, who despite challenges have also challenged themselves to make a big difference to themselves and to their communities.
“The recipients have learnt how to be responsible to themselves and their communities by participating in various voluntary activities, including community environmental sanitation, promoting awareness on climate change, advocacy on mental health and drug abuse issues.
“Let me again commend the awardees for their outstanding achievement and the leaders, volunteers, instructors for their selfless commitment to the success of the young people,’’ he said.
The vice president afterwards conferred the Gold Awards on the 44 young recipients.
Mr Wale Edun, the Board Chair, International Award for Young People in Nigeria, told State House correspondents that the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award was conferred on 44 youngsters who were outstanding.
He said that the awardees went through the programme which was of co-curricular, non-formal and out of the classroom education.
“It is a worldwide platform and brand and it just empowers youngsters alongside their formal education; it gives them the skills, the confidence to go into the world and to increase their employability and their chances of success in the world.
“So, it is very gratifying and very encouraging for the youngsters that no less a personality than the vice president was there to recognise their achievements and confer upon them, the awards,’’ he said.