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Focus on Youth Development to Bail Nigeria Out

As we celebrate this Diamond Anniversary, our gift to Nigerians as leaders must be paying attention to and working with our youths. We must all start acting as role models to the youths. We must live the values that we want our youths to subscribe to. Show them that hard work is worth it. We must individually and collectively take responsibilities that mistakes have been made in the past that prevented us from achieving our full potential as a country. Leaders must hit the reset button. We must not seek power for the sake of power but for the purpose of making a difference to our people especially the youth.

We have no option than to turn a new page in our history and start listening to our young people and engaging with them. Not just as elders, but as people willing to learn from them. When I talk with youths, I hear their worries about issues such as jobs, security, healthcare, and unity of the country. I hear their serious concerns about climate change and tackling it. We may not experience its severe impacts, but young people most certainly will. Yet I am also amazed at the boundless zest of these youths. It tells me how much strength and depth there is and from which society can draw. Going forward, we need to champion the things that will enable our young people to take their rightful place in society and lead purposeful and prosperous life.

Why do I focus on young people? Simply because they are our future. It is they who in 40 years’ time will be the august individuals celebrating our centenary Independence anniversary. Indeed, the greatest resource this great country has today is our dynamic, resourceful, and ebullient young people who presently constitutes more than 50 percent of the population. So, numerically speaking, the country is already theirs.

We must end deceit and seek competent and purposeful leadership. There are many who have no business leading this country at local, state and national levels. For us to celebrate our anniversary and not continue to talk about the potentials, we must not be led by people who have no competence, interest and commitment to lead with the right ideas. We must enthrone meritocracy and efficiency in the process of sourcing and evolving leadership as we seek patience, understanding and sacrifice from our future generation. It is a fact that our youths will start to have hope if they can see that hard work pays, that patronage is not a system that can lead to a rosy future. Patronage is for the few, while democracy is for everyone.

If we establish the foundation for a future in which our youths can drive Nigeria forward, we definitely will have a strong chance of rebuilding our country. Then, we can perhaps at long last realize the dreams of our founding fathers. The issues of security, underdevelopment, lack of unity and the negative forces which propel the recent surging demand for the disintegration of our country cannot be defeated If we fail to advance the right capacity building and utilization policies and programmes for Nigeria’s youths.