Dalong pledges active youth inclusion in policy decisions
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalong, has assured Nigerians that the Buhari’s administration would avoid those mistakes that crippled lofty ideas behind the various youth empowerment programmes in the past.
The Minister said those programmes failed because the youths who are the main target of the programmes were not fully allowed to participate in it, making them (youth) not to see the programmes as their own.
Dalong, who was speaking at a maiden meeting with the management staff of the ministry, where he received a comprehensive hand over note from the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Christian Ohaa, in Abuja, said challenges of youth development are critical, and they must be resolved holistically.
He said it was unfortunate that Nigerian youth had excelled in all things both the bad and the good things, adding that some of them joined the bad group due to frustration arise from neglect by the past governments.
His words; “We (as government) are responsible for their predicament because they were being neglected, but the present administration is not guilty of their situation.
“I think the question of Youth development is very critical looking at the problem the country is facing either from insurgency, armed robberies, baby production industries, kidnapping, drugs among others.
“Government have been in place this country and the youths have been neglected. It was because the youths have been neglected, that they became frustrated. They said the youths are the leaders of tomorrow, but they have waited patiently, but tomorrow has not come, so frustration sets in.
The challenges of youth development in the country are not only crucial, but also critical. It is crucial because at this point of our national history the youth are generally frustrated. Because they are frustrated, they have in their respond to their understanding what leadership should be, gotten themselves involved in things that are counter productive to national development.
Each time we talk about youth development, we think we can sit at comfort of our zone and determine what to do; we should also engage them and listen to them.
“And asked them what is their thought of how they should be developed, and how do we build leadership for the future where they are going to participate?
The mistake we have been making is to adopt mistake our colonial master adopted 1885 in Berlin when they wanted to discuss the destiny of Africa in the absence of African representatives.
“We cannot indeed come out with any concrete policy about Africa without also hearing from them and how they appreciate those policies and what are their contributions.
“If they are participating is better, but if you impose it upon them they see it as nothing, and that is why some of the empowerment programmes when you assemble youth they collect the money and disappear, and think it’s a time of taking their share.
“But if you engage them for them to have their input in it they will embrace it and whatever thing you invest on them will last.”
lalong appealed to the youths in the country to join hands with the government of President Buhari in building a better future for them
“I appeal to Nigerian youths to as custodians of the new mandate of change to have confidence in us, they should trust us, they should collaborate with us that we can build a better future with them.
Speaking on the crisis in Plateau state, when the people from the state visited in Abuja, the minister, who hailed from the state, said that it is imperative for the people of the state to cooperate with the present administration for peace to reign in the state.
He added that the government at the state and the federal levels are committed to engage youth for even development.
According to him, “to the people of plateau state there is nothing expected from them than cooperation and understanding.
“On the side of government, we assure that we are very committed to engage youth and ensure that people of Plateau take their rightful position as the home of peace and tourism.
He promised to use sports as a means of unifying Nigerians irrespective of their religion and ethnicity
“We can use sports to promote national unity since it is capable of compelling Nigerians who are disagreeing to agree.
“Sport is one of the giant industries that have the status of an embassy. The role sports plays in influencing our foreign policy is very great. Sports is the only unifying factor in Nigeria; even in places where people are burning and killing the other people there is a level of tolerance, when the Nigeria team is playing, they will declare a national ceasefire and all of them will converge by the television to watch the match and they would patriotically be prying for Nigeria to win.
“We have to go back to the drawing board and look at how we have managed sports in the past and see whether we can make it better to play the role it is supposed to place.