By Femi Ogunshola
Mr Sunday Dare, the Minister of Youth and Sport Development, says Nigeria’s democracy is undergoing youth revolution, as increasing number of youths are engaging in dialogues about the future of the country.
The minister made this known at the 2022 International Youth Day with the theme: “Positive Youth Engagement Towards Peaceful Election in Nigeria”.
Dare, represented by Mrs Lami Bature, an Assistant Director in the ministry was speaking at a stakeholders forum organised by the African Youth Resource Centre (AYRC) on Friday in Abuja.
He said without the country recognising youths as political actors, their trajectories in political participation would likely be ignored, wasted and at best, under-utilised.
He said that there was an urgent need to fully assimilate young people’s unique aptitudes, strengths and perspectives into the broader development paradigm.
“It is evident in the fact that wherever you look in the virtual world, you will behold an increasing number of our youths passionately engaging themselves in dialogues about the future of our country.’’
Dare said that the ministry in collaboration with relevant stakeholders was committed to promoting an enabling environment for youths to facilitate their participation in decision making processes.
He said that he was also committed to reinforcing capacities of youth-led organisations and expanding opportunities for young people to aspire to leadership positions.
“In Nigeria, we acknowledge that the youths constitute the driving force of the society, the spirit of today, the trustees of tomorrow and the hope of the future.
“Consequently, the Federal Ministry of Youth is now more than ever before steadfast in the engagement of youths in productive ventures for Nigerians to benefit from this demographic dividend.”
The minister said that young people were active drivers of change at the grassroots level of “our communities’’.
Mr Ben Duntoye, the Director-General, AYRC said that the current burning issue of concern which the youths of Nigeria must rise up to “is the forthcoming General Elections of which there have been much insinuations and fears.’’
He said that the youths played key roles in peaceful and successful elections in the country, adding that the AYRC decided to gather key players to deliberate on highly disturbing state of affairs across the federation.
Duntoye said this predominantly involved the youths both as perpetrators and victims, adding that this was because young people had become ready tools in all manner of crimes, violence and economic sabotage.
According to him, these results from a hydra headed monster of unemployment, poverty, poor parenting and degraded value societal value system.
He said the notorious syndrome of Advance Fee Fraud (419) and Internet Fraud (Yahoo Yahoo) were clear manifestations of this decadence.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the AYRC honoured some Nigerians with the African Role Model Prizes Award.
They include Sen. Sodiq Umar, the Chairman Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Kogi State Deputy Gov. Mr Edward Onoja, Mr Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, the Managing Director, Rural Electrification Agency (REA).
Others include Amb. Ginika TorHon, Federal Commissioner, Federal Character Commission (FCC), among others. (NAN)