The election of Graham Elendu who represents Nigeria in the Second Assembly of Democracy Africa Youth Parliament (DAYP) as Speaker did not come as a surprise to many observers of African media and youth forum.
Amongst the other competent Honourable members who were considered for the position, he was consensually considered to be the most suitable in terms of the most important 3 – head criteria: Experience, Education and Personality.
Many will agree that this feat by Mr. Graham Elendu is a great hounour to Nigeria, as no doubt, it came at a critical time when the only story coming out of Nigeria seems to be corruption and insecurity of lives and properties obliterating all other sources of potential positive news.
From a modest background, Graham Elendu was born into a family of profound political adeptness, just the prerequisite needed for a man with his drive. His background evoked in him a yearning to engender purposeful leadership, especially among young Nigerians who are daily exposed to bad leadership examples.
This sense of purpose pulled him to the media, as he saw in the media a platform through which light could be beamed on the right leadership tenets and in so doing provoke a paradigm shift among young Nigerians. Prior to obtaining a degree at the university, Graham Elendu thrived in the media sphere in his state of birth. He was the presenter as well as a discussant on the programme; Youth Circle.
Youth Circle was a Rivers State Television (RSTV) production which ran between 2003 and 2006. It dealt on issues of national interest from a youthful viewpoint with a view to proffering youthful solutions to burning national issues.
Within this period, Graham Elendu birthed the Role Model Initiative; an initiative that enthuses young people to maximize their God-given potentials by telling the stories of successful individuals who triumphed against all odds.
Role Models Initiative grew to incorporate a television series dubbed, Role Models on TV. This series ran from 2006 to 2009 and focused on taking a peep into the lives of individuals adjudged Role Models, noting the challenges they faced in their success journey and how these challenges were surmounted.
Today, the initiative has blossomed into a robust platform, which actively engages young Nigerians in matters of mentorship, providing a mentor-mentee link. The latest addition to the Role Models platform is the Role Models under 40 Series. This series is designed to inspire youths by showcasing the story behind the glory of young people under 40, with emphasis on Nigerian youths both at home and in diaspora.
Some historic positions held by Graham includes: Secretary General of the Linguistics and Communication Studies Students Association (LINCOMSSA), Public Relations Officer of the Students’ Union Government of the University of Port Harcourt.
Others are: External Affairs Manager of The Eucharist Magazine; a publication of the Anglican Communion, Board Member of GEN YES; a platform affiliated to the Anglican Communion that organizes a yearly youth empowerment summit featuring speakers from all over the globe, and the Port Harcourt Bureau Chief of Shophar Nig. Ltd.; publishers of the acclaimed Business Eye Magazine.
Graham Elendu moved up the ladder with his appointment as an Information Officer in the Rivers State Ministry of Health under the distinguished leadership of Dr. Sampson Parker. He was part of the team that efficiently handled communication channels during the Ebola Scourge in 2014. Their deftness in managing communications within the period has been praised severally as one of the contributory factors that aided in stemming the menace in the Rivers State.
Consequent upon his insatiable hankering for purposeful leadership engagement and development of Nigerian Youths and his pursuance of same via the media, Graham Elendu was not too long ago appointed the pioneer Publicity Secretary of the African Youth Union Commission (AYUC) Nigeria.
Very assiduous, focused and result oriented, Graham has over the years demonstrated his advocacy acumen and leadership. His astuteness as a student leader in his days at the University of Port Harcourt bestowed on him varied highly esteemed recognitions, some of which are coming years after his graduation from the institution. A few of these acknowledgements include:
2014, FHUSA Iconic Alumni Award. A recognition handed him by the Humanities Students’ Association of the University of Port Harcourt for his role in fostering the growth of the association while in school and the success he has achieved after school that serves as an inspiration to the younger generation.
2011, Award of Honour for a Distinguished, Articulate and Respected Personality in the University of Port Harcourt.
Timiwest Oyins Intergrity Award, University of Port Harcourt. An award that celebrates his ingenuity, innovation, selfless service and functionalism.
2009, Most Politically Conscious LINCOMMSA Member. An award presented to him by the Linguistics and Communication Studies Students Association, University of Port Harcourt for the political impact he made in the association and the efforts he exerted in raising the political awareness of members of the association.
A hardworking, innovative and strong team player, Graham’s success could be pinned down to good education. In a bid to broaden his professional scope of the media space, Graham Elendu enrolled in the University of Port Harcourt in 2008, specifically the Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies to study Communication.
He majored in Public Relations and graduated with proficiency in Media & Language Studies and Public Relations. He would regularly note that he is irked by the misrepresentation of the Nigerian youth and his spur to delve into Public Relations stems from a deep-seated drive to adequately tell the story of the Nigerian Youth and use same to inspire.
Broadly, Save Democracy Africa Youth Parliament (SDA) is a 120-member Youth parliament established in 2016 in line with the provisions of the African Youth Charter (Banjul Declaration) of July 2006, which serves as the continental framework that underlines the rights, duties and freedom of the African youths.
SDA Parliament is affiliated to number of Regional and global groups. Parliamentarians at the SDA Youth Parliament have the privilege of being members of the UN Youth Assembly, where they join the global network of youth taking action to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues.
Participation into the Parliament is based on merit, competence and in accordance with the proportional representation formula and criteria adopted in the 1st Schedule of the Parliament’s Powers and Privileges Booklet.
Graham Elendu, who was last year inducted into the Second Assembly of the Parliament, where he represents Nigeria is taken over from the Ghana-born John Aggrey as the speaker. Given his achievements, Graham Elendu as the new Speaker is a big boost to improving the already strong dynamism and functionality in youth advocacy within Africa and beyond.
- Kennedy Onyegbado is a Publicist, and heads Ken-Gbados Concepts Limited. 07064715591, firstname.lastname@example.org