President Bola Tinubu’s recent appointment of 62years old Abubakar Momoh as the Minister of Youth has sparked concerns about the government’s commitment to representing and addressing the needs of the youth population.
The Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative (BBYDI), a youth-based non-profit organisation that promotes good governance and youth-inclusive policies, strongly urges President Tinubu to reconsider this choice and take immediate steps to ensure that the youth’s voices are genuinely heard and respected within his administration.
In his inaugural speech, President Tinubu said the youth will feature prominently in his government. According to the National Youth Policy in Nigeria, a youth is an individual between 18-29 years while the African Youth Charter defines it as anyone between 15-35 years.
BBYDI said “appointing a minister outside the youth demographic contradicts the president’s claims and raises questions about the administration’s intentions. While age should not be the sole determinant of a person’s qualifications, it is crucial to have representatives who can relate to and understand the unique challenges faced by our nation’s youth. Youths should be considered for ministerial positions, especially for portfolios that directly concerns them.
“As an organisation that believes in the power and potential of the youth, we emphasise that a government that genuinely seeks to address the concerns of its young citizens must make youth-focused choices in its leadership and policies. This includes appointing individuals who understand the youth’s aspirations, struggles, and innovative ideas and possess the energy and dedication to drive meaningful change.
“The importance of youth inclusivity in governance cannot be overstated. Young people are the future of our nation and deserve a seat at the decision-making table to ensure policies that will positively impact their lives and contribute to the growth and development of the country. We call upon President Tinubu to reconsider the current appointment and take proactive measures to appoint more young individuals to key positions within his administration”, the organization said in a statement by its Director of Communications, Sanni Alausa-Issa, on Saturday.
“Furthermore, we urge the government to initiate a genuine dialogue with youth representatives and organisations to understand their needs, aspirations, and concerns. By actively involving the youth in policy discussions and implementation, the government can foster a sense of ownership and collaboration, leading to a brighter future for all”, the statement added.