The Honorable Speaker Ndigbo Youth Parliament (NYP), Rt. Hon. Rikki Nwajiofor, has called on the National Assembly to gazette a law that will mandate the President of Nigeria to allocate 35% of all the presidential appointments to the Youth and to ensure that all the Ministers of State are drawn from the Youth Constituency so as to give the Nigerian Youth sense of belonging.
Hon. Nwajiofor made this clarion call while he was presenting a goodwill message in Abuja, at the celebration of African Youth Day cum National Youth Day on Tuesday, which was organized by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development. The full text reads:
“Today we are celebrating both the Africa Youth Day (AYD) and the National Youth Day (NYD). Africa Youth Day was established in 2006 in Banjul while today is the 2nd edition of Our National Youth Day.
“Suffice it to say that the month of November has been designated, by African Union, to celebrate the uniqueness and resilience of the African Youth. It is a special moment, for the Youth of Africa, when we come together to identify our strength, work on our weaknesses and chart ways forward for the development of our dear nation.
“This Year’s theme for the celebration of AYD/NYD is: BREAKING BARRIERS TO MEANINGFUL YOUTH PARTICIPATION AND INCLUSION IN ADVOCACY.
“It is a glaring reality that the Youth of any nation is the backbone, strength and future of that nation. Any nation that neglects the welfare and development of her Youth is toying with its future.
“The Word “Advocacy” is all about giving public support for a particular cause or policy.
“Advocacy thrives better, when it is pushed with vigour by the energetic Youth.
“Advocacy could be in Tripartite form:
1.) For self aggrandizement.
2.) For the interest of the sponsor or godfather.
3.) For the interest of humanity: for the betterment of one’s nation and posterity.
“An advocacy par excellence is meant to be selfless and done for the love of one’s nation and posterity.
“Unfortunately, so many barriers militate against selfless advocacy among the Youth. These include but not limited to:
“a.) Lost-Love for One’s Nation:
There is a wide notion among the Youth Constituency that Nigeria has no good plans for her Youth. This ill-conceived notion is orchestrated by the fact that many Youth are not meaningfully engaged. The rate of unemployment is skyrocketing on daily basis. The economy is not helping matters either, as many Companies are packing up sequel to the erratic nature of dollar exchange today. These disengaged and sacked Youth are in the streets, which poses grave threat to our dear nation. “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop”, they say.
“The important question here is: how do you intend to convince a Youth who has not had food for the day and has no hope for the next meal, to join you for an advocacy geared towards the betterment of the nation? The truth is that it is a hard venture. A hungry Youth is a tool in the hands of the enemies of the nation, who are hell-bent in thwarting the good efforts of pushing good advocacies to the grassroots.
“Though the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development is doing her best in retraining and empowering the Youth Constituency, there is need to do more.
“b.) Non-Inclusion of the Youth in the Strata of Decision-making and Policy formulation (Lack of Sense of belonging): Just like the African aphorism has it; “you cannot shave a man’s hair in his absence”, any cause/policy for the Youth but without the Youth will not thrive. There is no way the Youth will feel committed, selflessly, in any meaningful cause/advocacy initiated by the government when we are not part of that policy making.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that government has come up with many good policies that require unflinching advocacy to push them to the masses. However, it is natural to be lukewarm or even show apathy to a cause that you are not integral part of.
“Thus, it is important and essential that the Youth be inclusively integrated into the policy making process/es, especially those policies that affect the Nigerian Youth Constituency.
“On this note, the Youth Constituency is requesting the National Assembly to gazette a law that will make it mandatory for any Nigerian President to give 35% allocation to the Youth Constituency in all the presidential appointments. All the Ministers of State should be drawn from the Youth Constituency. Through that means, the Youth can also learn the art of governance, while feeling belonged.
“Even though the current Minister of Youth and Sports Development is doing well in many fields, we passionately request that the next Minister of Youth be someone not more than 40 years; someone who has passed through the rank and file of Youth struggle and activism, a Youth who understands the plights of the Youth and knows the best ways to address them in the interest of the nation.
“c.) Lack of Sensitization and Enlightenment:
Most of the Youth are not abreast with what one stands to gain, which of course is not tied to material gains, when one engages in meaningful advocacies.
“An inclusive participation in positive advocacy helps the Youth to develop empathetic and patriotic spirit. It also helps the Youth in developing leadership skills.
“Thus, there is need for massive sensitization and reorientation of the Nigerian Youth on the need to toe the path of honour and abhor the life of materialism, which has led so many Youth into diabolical life in the chase for material and ephemeral things.
“Re-echoing the 2nd stanza of our National Anthem I say; “Oh God of creation, Direct our noble cause. Guide our leaders right, Help our Youth the truth to know, in love and honesty to grow, and living just and true, great lofty heights attain, to build a nation where peace and justice shall reign.”
“May God help us, the Youth, the truth to know and build the Nigeria of our Dream. May God help us to choose and elect good leaders, especially in the forthcoming general elections – 2023.
“God bless the Nigerian Youth!
God bless Nigeria!!
God bless Africa!!!
Rt. Hon. Rikki Nwajiofor.
Hon. Speaker, Ndigbo Youth Parliament (NYP).
National Deputy Secretary General,
National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN).”