The Founder and Board of Trustee member of the Mindshift Advocacy for Development Initiative, Mr. Joko Okupe has said that Nigeria cannot change or develop if Nigerians, at home and in the diaspora, do not change their way of thinking, that is their mindset.

Mr. Okupe made this pronouncement at the official launch of the Mindshift Advocacy for Development Initiative in Lagos. The Lagos launch which held at the Quite Pools Inn and Residence located at Adeniyi Jones was strategically targeted at the youths. The event tagged Lagos 70 saw the attendance of discerning, empowered and motivated youths and Young-at-heart Nigerians who trooped in to the venue to be part of the advocacy group.

Various speakers made presentations at the event to inspire and activate a radical and positive change in the mindset of the young people present who would serve as Mindshift catalysts in the society.

In the first presentation, Mr. Okupe introduced the concept, vision and mission of Mindshift. He rationalised the need for a mental shift of all Nigerians. “We have to change the way we think. I mean to change our mindset – the way we perceive things, our values, our priorities, our beliefs, in fact our worldview. We need to inspire all positive possibilities as more Nigerians buy into the idea of Mindshift.”

He explained that, “Nigeria’s problems, and by extension that of the African continent, is the mindset of Africans as individuals, communities and nations, about themselves and the mindset of the rest of the world about Africa. The wrong mindset of Nigerians and Africans in general which influences the way we do things, has created myriads of problems for us such as: lack of visionary and purposeful leadership, bad governance standards, erosion and loss of good value systems, corruption, poor understanding of global issues and how it impacts their lives; unprecedented never-ending poverty, heavy debt burdens, over dependence on international aids, endless conflicts, inadequate education etc.”

According to him, the Initiative was incorporated as a non-partisan movement that all Nigerians can effectively identify with and get involved to tackle this menace that has kept Nigeria and the entire African continent down for so long.

Okupe also explained that to achieve efficiency and steady results, the initiative has in place well-articulated key focus areas toward its agenda. These areas are: family and society, government and politics, education, business and economy, media, arts and entertainment, innovation and technology, religion, culture, and health and wellness. Additionally, it will approach this systematically through social research, targeted issues campaigns, action-oriented initiatives, knowledge sharing, events, and public discourse

A former Commissioner for information and strategy in Adamawa State and member BOT, Mindshift Advocacy for Development Initiative, Ahmad Sajoh also made a presentation at the Lagos programme.

He explained that the Mindshift movement is focused on redirecting the mindset of Nigerians from negative, unproductive and fatalistic thinking; to positive, productive and progressive mindsets. In his words, “When you look at the great nations of the world, you will discover that their people have mindsets of greatness. How can we have progress and development when majority of our citizens have the wrong mindset? We cannot achieve any meaningful transformation without a re-orientation of the citizens’ mindsets. Even when Government decides to run a campaign on changing attitudes, the success will depend on whether the mindsets of the citizens have changed or not. We cannot but pay attention to how people think”

In her presentation, Adebo Onabowale, a BOT member of the Mindshift Advocacy for Development Initiative simplified and dissected the chain linking morals, values, ethics and beliefs and how these factors can mould young people to reflect, rethink and do things differently.  All these, she explained, are ways Mindshift Advocacy for Development Initiative want to approach the Nigerian problem from a different perspective to ensure visible results.

Also speaking at the event, a Board of Trustee member of Mindshift Advocacy for Development Initiative, Lady Taiwo Adejumo, also called Lady T by most young people at the interactive programme, focused on the need for young people to see themselves as solution providers in the country. She encouraged everyone never to see Nigeria’s situation as an impossible case, and strongly recommended that the greatest good anyone can do for himself is to cultivate his mind to think. ” It is mainly through forward and selfless thinking that we can forecast factually and pre-empt effectively, to change our destiny” She stressed.

Virtually all the young people present responded with excitement and enthusiasm in their feedback, comments and questions. Many suggested the creation of centres, online groups, mentorship teams, brand ambassadors to take Mindshift initiative to the desired level.