Youth involvement in nation building
THE youth is the main productive class of any nation. Anyone in a youthful stage sees himself as one of the major parts of the engine room of any society he belongs. Any country that has lost its youths to social vices lives like a blind man as well as sleeps with both eyes open.
Youth could be defined as a group of young people who are in their adulthood stage. Thus, a youth is simply an adult or a fully-grown person that is young. Presently, about 90% of youths in many countries, particularly developing nations, have derailed thereby constituting societal menace.
In Nigeria for instance, during the post-colonial era and thereabouts, virtually all the political positions in the country were occupied by the youth who were mostly in their twenties ranging from Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, Chief Tafawa Balewa, Gen Murtala Muhammed, Gen Theophilus Danjuma, Gen Ibrahim Babangida, Gen Sani Abacha, Gen Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Gen Aguiyi Ironsi, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Gen Olusegun Obasanjo, Gen Muhammadu Buhari, and many others too numerous to mention.
But today, the reverse is totally the case; you would hardly see a youth in his 30s becoming a commissioner in his/her home state, let alone occupying a ministerial position. Unequivocally, the ongoing profound apathy coupled with complete loss of vision among most of the new generational youths who occupy about one-third of the country’s population, calls for concern.
On Wednesday August 12, the world commemorated the 2015 International Youth Day. The International Youth Day is annually held on August 12 to celebrate the achievements of the world’s youth and to encourage their participation in enhancing global society. It also aims to promote ways to engage them in becoming more actively involved in making positive contributions in their respective communities.
The idea for International Youth Day was proposed in 1991 by young people who were gathered in Vienna – Austria for the first session of the United Nations (UN) World Youth Forum. The forum recommended that an International Youth Day should be declared, especially for fund-raising and promotional purposes to support the United Nations Youth Fund in partnership with various youth organisations.
In 1998, a resolution proclaiming August 12 as International Youth Day was adopted during the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth Affairs. That recommendation was later endorsed in 1999 by the UN General Assembly. The International Youth Day was first observed in the year 2000; one of the highlights of the event was the presentation of the United Nations’ World Youth Awards to the eight Latin American and Caribbean youth and youth-related organizations in Panama City.
In Nigeria, there is need for awareness-raising campaigns to ensure that all the youths are fully sensitized in order to revive the ongoing alarming rate of moral decadence, docility, laxity, and mediocrity found among them.
Against this backdrop, governments, non-governmental bodies, religious institutions, the civil society, and the media should join hands in this enticing crusade so that in no distant time Nigeria can boast of a country filled with only resourceful and conscience-driven youth.
We can contribute our respective quotas by initiating or sponsoring both social and academic activities such as youth seminars cum conferences on education and empowerment, concerts promoting the Nigerian youth as well as various sporting events, parades and mobile exhibitions that will showcase young people’s accomplishments with a view to thoroughly sensitising the mindset of the said group on their civic responsibility, rights and privileges.
A stitch in time, they say, saves nine.
• Nwaozor is public affairs analyst and civil rights activist