Role of Nigerian youth in national development

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Youths
Youths

THE federal government has been urged to develop programmes and projects that will support Nigerian youth. Muhammad Gamawa, the youth advocate, said the government should promote the competitive spirit and national unity and integration among the youth.

Gamawa noted in a statement made available to Realnews that the Nigerian youth is surely among the most talented and creative in the world. ‘’They are fast learners; they have the ability to work under pressure and bring out the desired result for any organisation or institution,’’ he said.

According to him, the role of the Nigerian youth cannot be underestimated in nation-building only; Nigerian youth from time immemorial have been contributing their quota towards national development. “However, God has given this country amiable youth to take over and participate fully and contribute positively to the growth and development of this country if given the opportunity and 95 per cent of the votes cast in any given election in the country, the youth constitute the largest percentage, but today, they are politically and economically described as failed future leaders.

“To crown it all, the Nigerian youth are relegated to the background in politics and in a global economy. So also, for better development, the Nigerian government should initiate programmes and projects aimed at the youth, these range from social education programme for physical and mental development and out of school programme aimed at shaping the character and behaviour of the youth, as well as promoting the competitive spirit and national unity and integration. These include the formation of clubs, encouragement of sporting activities, establishing organization such as boys courts, girls guide, and Man O’war and include facilitation of the emergency and development of voluntary self-help associations, which contribute to community development, skills and vocational training programme and competitive activities.

“Nonetheless, youth involvement can benefit the government and its programmes as well as the youth themselves. Programmes that are developed in partnership with the youth are more likely to be effective at engaging the population and, therefore, to have a greater impact. Involving youth as partners in making decisions that affect them increases the likelihood that the decisions will be accepted, adopted, and become part of their everyday lives.

“In addition, empowering youth to identify and respond to government and community needs helps them become empathetic, reflective individuals, setting them on a course to potentially continue this important work in their future. Meaningful youth engagement views youth as equal partners with adults in the decision-making process. Programmes and activities are developed with youth, rather than for youth. In this kind of equal partnership, both adults and young people need to be fully engaged, open to change in how things are done, and share,” he said.

Gamawa, who emphasized the role of the youth in nation-building said as recognition of the positive role the youth can play in bringing progress and development to this country if given opportunity, key stakeholders need to be guided about the importance of youth participation in government.

According to him, the youth cannot participate unless the government creates spaces for them to express their opinions and listen to them.

“Rather than simply acknowledging them as victims or perpetrators of violence, it’s vital to engage the youth as social actors with their own views and contributions. In practice, this can be done by encouraging both the youth and adults, parents, teachers, nonprofit workers, or community and religious leaders to support the formation of youth groups that offer young people a chance to formulate their opinions.

“Youth contributions to the development of Nigeria is more likely to be successful if young people are given the capabilities and opportunities to work with governments at all levels. To close the gap, activities that promote the legitimization of youths and foster their representation in local and national policymaking processes are crucial. As such, joint workshops, community projects or platforms can all help bridge the divide between the youth and government officials. Finally, it’s crucial to avoid rewarding “bad behaviour” by incentivizing young people who are positively contributing to their communities.”

Despite all the roles the youth can play in developing Nigeria, Gamawa regretted that young people are feeling marginalized and their voices are not heard or trusted as credible.

He called on the government to be more conscious, cautious and thoughtful in its approach to youth engagement and avoid sending the message that it only cares about youth when they cause harm. He noted that simple rewarding systems such as certificates, prizes and scholarships can serve as great incentives for the youth.

– Jan. 21, 2020 @ 12:45 GMT |

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