Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 14 April 2016 | 2,341 times
The National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) on Wednesday submitted a proposal to Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on laws aimed at ensuring increased participation of youths in the governance of the country.
The proposal was submitted by a delegation led by President of the Council, Barr. Ikenga Ugochinyere, comprising the national executive of the council and leaders of some other Nigerian youth bodies. Barr. Ugochinyere told the Senate President that though the organisation was established in 1964, it still lacks necessary institutional backing as it receives no funding from government “despite the fact that provision is always made in the budget.”
He lamented that the last subvention the council received from government was in 2010. “That,” Ugochinyere said, “is why our visit to you today offers hope to millions of young people who believe that the outcome of our visit will be for their benefit and institutionalisation of the Youth Council because without this framework, our abilities and capacities to discharge our roles are limited.”
He described Saraki as the link between the old generation and the youths and a shining beacon of light for young persons as well as an ambassador for the new Nigeria.
The council boss pleaded with the Senate President to help steer the 8th Senate in support of its proposed legislative actions to uplift the status of youths in the country, which include: An Act to grant parliamentary recognition for the council, as well as an Act to guarantee the participation of young people in government and also to prepare new generation of leaders by reserving 40 per cent of all appointive positions in government for young persons between the ages of 18 to 45.
He equally called for the amendment of the Constitution and the removing of all barriers of age “so that anyone who is qualified to vote at 18 should be qualified to be voted for as well.”
Ugochinyere commended the Senate President for the maturity and quality leadership he has exhibited so far in the last 10 months of presiding over the Senate and for appointing mostly young persons as personal aides.
He said the council in “appreciation and recognition of the trail blazing leadership” has “unanimously” voted to induct the Senate President into the National Advisory Council of the Youth Council.
On the ongoing trial of the Senate President at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Ugochinyere said that it is “tainted with external manipulations and lacks all credible tenets of a proper judicial process.”
“We want to assure you (Saraki) that the Nigerian youths will continue to stand by you and that we will not stand by and fold our hands and allow the judiciary to be turned into an instrument of witch-hunt,” he said.
Responding, the Senate President commended the council for its dedication and commitment towards building a great country.
Saraki said: “You are very right that the Youth Council can do more than it has been doing since its formation in 1964 and I agree with you that lack of independence, the limitation of funding has restricted that but I want to say that this is a platform through which we can continue to ensure youth participation in governance and ensure that youths play their own role.
“No doubt about it, you have our support in the National Assembly, in the Senate, in looking at some of this legislations before us because it will go a very long way in strengthening this council and this will go a long way as well at ensuring that the youths play their role in governance and in the development of this country.
“It is the youths that have the energy. It is the youths that have the commitment and they are the ones that can go the miles. So, why waste you outside when you should be inside of government playing key roles.”
The Senate President assured that the 8th National Assembly will continue to support the youths to ensure that they are given due recognition in governance.
•Photo shows National Assembly Complex.
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