The importance of youths as veritable tools for the development of any nation cannot be over stressed, neither can any society neglect her youths in the scheme of things in her quest for national, social, economic and political development.This is a fact that is accepted by all and sundry.
Hence, when Nigeria joined her counterparts around the world to commemorate the 2016 world youth day on Friday, August 12, 2016 many factors which have always been impediments to the full utilisation of the potentials of the Nigerian youth in her quest to contribute its quota to the Nation’s development came under the search light of today’s discuss.
According to statistics from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria’s unemployment rate is at 23.9 per cent and 60 per cent of its population are youths, translating to about 80 million Nigerian youths.Youth unemployment rate is over 50percent, about 64 million Nigerian youths are unemployed.This scourge of unemployment has deprived many Nigerian youths access to contributing their quota tonational development. The result of the rising youth unemployment situation in the country has provided shrinking options to job seekers as those who find work are forced to be less selective about the type ofjob they settle for, including part-time work and temporary contracts because they are in desperate need for any income.
Another major aspect militating against Nigeria’s youthful population is illiteracy. The rate of illiteracy amongst Nigeria youth is very high and even higher when you talk about computer literacy with the population of Nigeria youth, if illiteracy is reduced to the bearest minimum, it can go a long way in helping the development of the Nation and sub-Saharan Africa. And if the Nigerian government has this in mind then adequate and proper funding of education must be ensured, in order to make sure that incessant strike by lectures and teachers, decayed infrastructural and learning facilities in our institutions of learning, non availability or access to cheap and affordable education among the populace producing half – baked graduates are things of the past in our dear nation, for illiteracy as they say is a disease that cannot be cured by any doctor. So if Nigeria must compete favourably with her counterparts from across the globe in human capacity development, enhance the standard of living of her citizenry and become productive, than the education of her ever rising youthful population must be encouraged since it is a catalyst to national development.
More so, poverty is another challenge before the Nigerian youth, with mass unemployment, low standard of living, corruption and the insensitivity of the nation’s few political elites to the plight of the majority Nigeria masses of which the Nigerian youth is a part, poverty seems to be a master and on uphill task to be seen passed.
This poverty as a result of corruption on the part of past and current leaders has seen that Nigerian citizens mostly youths suffer in the midst of plenty.The resultant effect of this is the involvement of our active and energetic youths in practices or crimes such as kidnapping, armed robbery, oil bunkering, militancy, acts of terrorism and migrating to foreign land in search for greener pastures. The current insecurity, crisis and congestion of our prisons are as a result of poverty among our youths, hence they result to violence at the slightest provocation.This same poverty is the much reason our youths will continue to be used as agents of political thuggery by our politicians, that is why migration of our youths will continue unabated and the safety of lives and property will continue to be a mirage in the entity called Nigeria, if the plight of the Nigerian youth is left unattended to.
also, the Nigerian ruling class has continued to deny the Nigerian youths access to key leadership position. A close look at the Nigerian ruling class will show you that they are the same set of people, of families that have been in charge since independence.
This is Nigeria where a fifty years old man can be the youth leader of a political group, association, community or organisation. A look at Nigeria’s presidents from independence (excluding the military era) will show you that Nigeria has never produced a president less than 50 years of age.
They pretend that the youths are the leaders of tomorrow, but it might interest you to know that tomorrow starts from now. The Nigerian youth have been short changed by the nation’s leaders and have since been silenced by the laws made by these same leaders, hence the only alternative left for many Nigerian youths is to flee abroad for a better and more conducive environment of living. With leadership roles being denied Nigerian youths, one begins to wonder if they are no qualified, capable and efficient youths in the nation who can do better than what we are experiencing at the moment and steer the country towards national development. Not until the country’s leaders realize the unlimited and untapped potentials that abound in the Nigerian youth and give them the enabling environment to utilize them and be in key positions to forestall the development of the nation in all sectors, the development that they so desire or profess to desire will continue to elude the nation.
The youths in Nigeria constitute up to 70 per cent of the entire population, which is a majority figure and also means with such number, they can influence things to a certain level, hence they should not be ignored. The migration of our youths to other land to contribute to their development and the sufferings of those at home should not go unnoticed, this year’s international youth day has provided a united platform to remind our leaders and political elites, that there is an urgent need for decisive intervention to resolve the numerous youths problems. The signal of strife and insecurity today are warning banners we cannot afford to ignore.
The youth are the bedrock and the foundation upon which every nation in the quest for development and improved standard of living of her citizenry builds upon. Hence they play a vital role and serve as an important tool to national development. If the society, free from crimes, vices, insecurity and other negativity which we so desire must be achieved, then migration must be discouraged among Nigerian youth and this is possible if the government provide an enabling environment for our youths to compete favourably with their counterparts from across the world, by providing employment, eradicating poverty (by improving the standard of living), giving education a priority in the budget, fighting and eradicating corruption and giving the youths access to political leadership positions in the country. With these, Nigeria will not need to look outside for her developmental needs or technocrats but instead she will look inward, for such is the success of many great and developed nations of today.
— Lamido wrote in from Bauchi