It is with a great sense of responsibility and humility that I address you today as the 47th President of our dear National organization and thank you immensely for your votes at the National Convention in Owerri, as well as your show of solidarity and support since. As we step into the first day of the future of our organisation, I wish to recognize and salute the service of 2017 President, JCI Sen. Ojo Richard and the other young men and women that have led this organization in its storied 60 years history. I salute especially the memory of our founder, late Otunba Bola Adewunmi whose legacy and good works will continue to live on through this organisation.
All across our country Nigeria, there are enormous challenges that present us with equally enormous opportunities. As a youth movement spread across Nigeria, now is the time for our big dreams to take flight. By applying our audacity of youth, we can use our power of visionary leadership and our organizational capabilities to drive positive change in Nigeria.
By designating 2018 a year for “Citizens in Action”, our goal is for JCI Nigeria to be at the forefront of building the Nigeria of our dreams by being the organisation that will ENGAGE and unite all sectors of society to create sustainable impact. 2018 is a strategic year in the history of our nation. It is the year when we build up to the election of our leaders into different offices. More than anytime, you will all agree that the survival of our nation rests mostly in our hands as citizens. Indeed, Citizens are the real Government. We shall take advantage of opportunities presented through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and strategies as contained in the JCI strategic plan.
At National level, we will perfect plans for a National Youth engagement event where young people sit to discuss the strategic future of Nigeria like was done by our National organisation in 1990 that gave rise to the ‘Vision 2010’ document adopted by the Government of Nigeria. We will initiate and establish collaborations with relevant government bodies to establish us as the new voice of young citizens of Nigeria. At National and Local level, we will host events that engage our legislators at Federal and state level for laws that shape the quality of living of the people of Nigeria. I assure you that I am deeply committed to these works each single day of my tenure.
At 60, our National organization has existed as a factory of successful leaders and entrepreneurs. The stories of success of these persons INSPIRE members to attain success in life. More than anytime, we will reconnect with our alumni at all levels to mentor and shape a bright future for our organization. The TOYP, our flagship event, has served the purpose of inspiring other young people to action and pushing our brand. Work has started in the earnest to ensure we identify outstanding young citizens and host another mind blowing edition in 2018.
At the 2016 World Congress, JCI Nigeria subscribed to a very ambitious goal to clean up the entire world in the Lets-Do-It World Campaign. You will agree that our continued existence is greatly threatened by our lack of care for the environment. In 2018, we need to ACT for the sustainable existence of the universe. Let’s do it!
You will recall that during the course of the campaigns for this office, I did promise to ensure the repositioning of the JCI Nigeria brand particularly within the digital and technology space. In the coming weeks, the secretariat will test run some of the new technologies so we can commence roll out of service to members. It will interest us to note that in the past year, JCI Headquarters received over 6,000 enquiries from young Nigerians requesting information on JCI local organisations in Nigeria. It is pertinent that we urgently ramp up our engagement and use of the digital space to attract, train and retain members across Nigeria and grow our volunteer base. We need to exist where the young people of Nigeria will find us.
Asides existing online, it has become important for us to take decisive action on the project of our owning our own National Secretariat. Ladies and gentlemen, in honouring my firm commitment and the dream of our leaders and members of building of a permanent National Secretariat, a Permanent Secretariat Building Committee is hereby set up with formation as follows
1. JCIN Amb. Adetola Juyitan- Chairperson
2. JCI Senator Charles Onyibe
3. JCI Senator Rotimi Adewole
4. JCI Senator Toyin Aluko
5. JCIN Amb. Olamide Akin-Balogun
6. JCIN Amb. Laolu Owolabi
7. JCIN Amb. Sylvester Oshode
8. Arc. Tayo Ajibade
9. Nseabasi Valentine Owoh
10. Olawale Bakare – Secretary
I am more than confident that the dream of a permanent National Secretariat will come alive in the coming days with your support to this committee.
2018 will be a year of opportunities for our members. We will put members first in all that we do. The collegiate structure is no doubt the future of our organization. I salute the thinkers of that structure that has produced my humble self and indeed a JCI President from Nigeria in the person of our own JCI Senator Paschal Dike. No doubt, in recent years, some of its chapters has suffered setbacks in terms of quality of membership. As team, the 2018 Board will engage our dear collegiate members in the most professional and brotherly way to resolve the very recent issues around the structure and its future. I trust the quality of our 2018 National Vice Presidents and Collegiate Officers to work out tailored solutions local organization by local organization. Join me to wish them God’s mercies as they journey round the Nation for this all important assignment.
With the rest of the 2018 team, I commit to working with our amazing local Presidents to achieve stronger local organizations and a JCI Nigeria that is 100% efficient.
As I welcome you all to 2018, allow me leave you with the inspiring words of Leonardo da Vinci who said "I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do."
I encourage us all to ENGAGE, INSPIRE and ACT for the future of our dear country, Nigeria.
I remain your very good friend.
Adeniyi R. Balogun
2018 President, JCI Nigeria