Youth involvement is an indispensable aspect of developing societies, but unfortunately, often neglected by senior policymakers.
By: ETINOSA OSAYIMWEN
Young people inevitably are the future of each country and therefore, involving them in daily policymaking and nation building is tremendously important. Especially in developing countries like Nigeria, where research shows that about 50% of the population is made up of youngsters and children, youth involvement is deemed indispensable.
A responsible government should therefore invest in its youth, in order to harness their full potentials which eventually will facilitate economic growth, social change and political stability. In order to create such potential, politicians must ensure that the rights of its youngsters are respected and that access to security, education, health and social participation are sustainably assured.
Unfortunately, as regards of the participatory youth – aged between 18 and 35 – in Nigeria, this is not the case. In-depth research of current policy, shows that the government neglects to engage and harness the potential of its youth. In a country with an estimated population of about 182 million citizens – of which half can be labeled as ‘youth’ – this is a scary and deplorable observation.
Over the last years, the rather mature and powerful part of the Nigerian population has increasingly expressed its concerns that the Nigerian youth will not be able to handle the responsibilities of true leadership. A statement which can be labeled as completely untrue, which directly backfires at the Nigerian adults as they are the ones who have neglected and ‘forgotten’ the youth.
A responsible government should invest in its youth in order to facilitate economic growth, social change and political stability.
On the contrary, promising developments show that a growing number of Nigerian youngsters has decided to take matters in their own hands, by leveraging the benefits of social media in order to create awareness among fellow adolescents. For instance, some organizations like the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA) and YouthhubAfrica effectively use social media to advocate for the fair treatment of Nigerian youngsters and increase participation and inclusion of young people in politics. Additionally, an increasing number of young individuals is using various social platforms in order to hold politicians and agencies accountable for their frequently corrupted policies.
Such activities clearly expose how young and ambitions Nigerians are ‘waking up’ and becoming increasingly aware of the responsibility they are deemed to fulfill, for a promising future of their country. Unfortunately, however, is the fact that as long as the Nigerian government is unable to notice the importance of youth involvement as an indispensable aspect of society, Nigeria will remain largely underdeveloped.