Promotion of peace and intercultural dialogue among youths and students is important in tackling security, economic and socialchallenges facing Nigeria, says Angel Odah, Programme Manager, Rosa Luxembourg Foundation West Africa.
She stated this on Thursday in Abuja at Webinar on “Building the Capacity for Youths and Students in Tertiary Institutions to Promote Peace, Intercultural Dialogue and Democratic Decision Making,” organized by African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL).
Odah who commended AFRICMIL for the Webinar noted that the focus on Building the Capacity for Youths and Students in Tertiary Institutions to Promote Peace, intercultural dialogue Democratic decision-making couldn’t have come at a better time.
According to her, Nigerian youths have been on the fringes of the 21 years of continuous civil rule in Nigeria.
“They have lived through harsh policies and underfunding of the educational system, which has given rise to a series of strikes by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and the attendant disruption of the academic calendar in our universities.
“Historically, Nigerian youths have been in the forefront of the struggle for democratization of society, and of decision making in Nigeria’s institutions of higher learning.
“This can be seen in the NANs Charter of Demands produced by the then vibrant National Student body in the early 1980s.
“The Chris Mammah and Chris Abashi Presidency of the NANs in those days fought for the democratization of the campuses, free and fair electoral processes and generally acted as the catalyst for a progressive Nigeria.
“Structural Adjustment Programme of the IBB era, and the
determined repression by State Security Agencies on progressive Student bodies and the progressive academics over the years have succeeded in making the campuses a ghost of what they used to be.
“Therefore, having a forum like this to promote intercultural dialogue is useful as this discussion could help to revive the vibrancy of the campuses and restore some of its progressive content.”The Promotion of Peace and Intercultural Dialogue is very important in view of the challenges Nigeria faces in the area of security, economically and socially,” she stated.
Odah stressed that social media no doubt plays a strategic role in our world turned a global village as it promotes discuss, educate and inform citizens in a way that 20 years ago was inconceivable.
“To what extent can we use this new social media tool to hold our
various governments and its agencies to be more accountable to the will of the people?
“The #EndSARs Protests have used the power of the social media to raise awareness, build solidarity and highlight the crimes and gross violations of the human rights and dignity of Nigerians by disgruntled elements with the law enforcement agency.
“Youths have historically played vital role in the transformation of societies.
“Nigerian youths, who had hitherto been tagged “lazy youths” seem to have braced up to play the role of ensuring that political leaders and government agencies are held accountable for the polices they produce in the governance of our country,” she stated.
Rosa Luxemburg Foundation West Africa is a German Political Foundation, present in West Africa since 2010.
It organizes National, Regional and International debates and supports scientific research from the perspective of a more just world.
It accompanies civil society organizations to strengthen democratic participation, rule of law and the social state.
Presently RLS West Africa activities are under three themes: youth and politics; work and social justice, natural resources: vulnerabilities and alternatives.