By Abdulrasheed Akogun
The summit with the theme Youth and sustaining democracy in Nigeria; Issues, challenges and wayforward held at NBA Hall, High Court, Ilorin was attended dignitaries including Kwara and Kogi youth development commissioners, Hon. Musa Idris and Jamila Bake.
In his opening remarks, ECOWAS Youth Ambassador and the convener of Youth and democracy summit 2022, Amb. Ishola Rafiu said West Africa (ECOWAS) Youth Council is a region-wide network of young leaders, peacebuilders, and social activists from 16 West African countries, committed to fighting against vices and championing massive youths inclusion in government.
Rafiu therefore called on youth across Nigeria to get involve in political process by joining political parties ahead 2023 general elections.
According to him, electoral violence in Nigeria is a menace and it’s getting rooted in our political terrain in Nigeria, saying, youths are the agents being engaged to perpetuate this diabolical act. He added that this singular act during elections has brought about retrogressive in our political system.
“In light of this, West Africa Youth Council has proposed a campaign on “Youth Against Electoral Violence in Nigeria” that would last from now till 2023 and beyond. We implore all stakeholders to support and collaborate with us to be able to achieve success in this program
Guest Speaker at the summit, Hakeem Oladimeji Lawal, said a lot of concerns has been raised by relevant stakeholders as regards the 2019 National Youth Policy, with many questioning why the age bracket classification of 18 – 35 years contained in the 2009 National Youth Policy was changed
By the Nigerian definition of youth, it means that no youth can become a Senator, Governor, or even the President, as the age requirement is above 30 years.
The non-implementation of the policy is another major concern. The same way it is weird for a man to head the Ministry of Women Affairs is equally weird for someone who is not a youth to head the Ministry of Youth. The present Minister of Youth in Nigeria is over 55 years of age, and so it is in many states of the Federation. What of the various youth leaders of our major political parties? The story has always been the same
INEC chairman Professor Mahmud Yakub represented by Resident Electoral Commissioner Kwara state, Mallam Attahiru Garba Wada advised youth and women to form alliance in order to take over political power, noting they have highest voting records in Nigeria.
Commandant NSCDC, ably represented by Deputy Commandant of Operation, DCC Adetukasi Olubukola, encouraged youth to be resourceful and not to be used as an instrument of violence, especially for the election.
Responding to the interview, Kogi State head of civil service reiterated the potential of youth and how it can influence Nigeria’s politics. Adding that to achieve the set goals in the country, youths must fully take up responsibility.
Chairman of NUJ Kwara state, Lanre Ahmed charged the youth to be focused and determined with a positive mindset so that their youth age will be useful and resourceful.
The Marketing Manager of KAM Wires, Dr Gbenga Olaifa and some prominent personalities were honored with certificate of credence.