Posted by News Express | 29 June 2019 | 540 times
International Youth Right Day should be another date set aside and an angle to reminisce on the needs and rights of youths. These include the Right to Education, Freedom and Infrastructural facility.
Right to freedom may include freedom of association, including freedom from discrimination and all kinds of domestic violence, participatory government inclusive.
While some states have shown willingness and established direction for itself on youth development through its various youth policies, some states in Nigeria have shown no direction, and their programmes for the youths can hardly be verified through any printed document. This notwithstanding, not any administrative project execution may have even been targeted at youths.
While the Federal Government may have not relented on its oars in reviewing and dishing out policies, the policies may just end in prints without any political will to implement. For example, while the National Youth Policy identified the age of youth to end at 35, before its downward review, various youth appointments, including Commissioner for Youth has gone to people better called “grandfathers.” President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, through its Minister of Youth and Sports, had to its credit the downward review of the youth age to 29. However, youth leaders in the ruling party and other political parties are far older than 35-40. Even during the campaign, while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) hammered on youth inclusiveness in its manifesto, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was silent on the issue. And when some youths made the demand during one of the victory party’s of the president, he reminded them that he has a constituency to protect too. In most cases, the policies stops at print, to manifest in reality becomes a struggle in futility.
The level of insecurity in the country calls for concern. While the principal sponsors of these criminals may be old men, four of five of such criminals are youths. It is as a result of failed government and inability to cater to the yearning of the youths.
Today, when you talk of a Nigerian youth, what comes to mind is, unemployment, thuggery, yahooism, and so on. It is baffling that the same youth condemned and blamed for every societal ill at home, starts doing great once they cross the border of Nigeria to other countries with functional economics.
Then on whose table should the blame really stop, if not for a government without an atmosphere to thrive. It’s easy to venture into criminality, because it always seems to be the only option available.
Sadly, while other interest groups exist to fight for the interest of its members, the National Youth Council of Nigeria who should lead the struggle for the emancipation of Nigeria youth is embellished in selfish political interests, causing unsolicited division. While this is supposed to be seen as the shame of the greatest order by the political circle, it is rather seen as an extension of the same show of shame not alien to Nigerian politics: A son only takes after his father.
Where two elephants fight, the grass suffers. While divisions caused by self-serving leadership continue to bedevil the National Youth Council, the nation’s youth population suffers. Rather than lead the struggle for the alleviation of the sufferings of the youths, its leaders and board of trustee members engage in a dance of shame. Unfortunately, their ego gives them the feeling that they are above the law and, probably, that they are doing well.
History will not forget everyone.
In as much as it is always convenient to blame the government, the youth must show sign of readiness for liberation and must, themselves, be ready to resist every spirit of division among itself. While I acknowledge that most of the problem facing the council is being caused by some tired legs who call themselves leaders, the youths must also buckle up and take responsibility.
Godfatherism itself is seen as unhealthy to the society, but it is mostly unhealthy where it doesn’t affect the polity positively.
While the council remains a “blessing” to youthdom, our failure to clean the Augean stable is the “cause” of the “curse” that the council has been to the youths.
•Asoro Abubakri Olatunji is a youth activist.
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