Youth Inclusion in Governance: Way forward for the giant of Africa at 57

Youth Inclusion in Governance: Way forward for the giant of Africa at 57

By Gbenga Odunsi

Nigeria attained the age 57 with a low-key independence celebration in all parts of the country. Interestingly, Nigeria remains the most populous country in Africa, and the 7th most populous country in the world. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, has projected Nigeria to be the world’s third most populous country by the year 2050.

Nigeria is a very rich country in terms of human and natural resources such as natural gas, iron ore, tin, and petroleum. Despite the abundance in human and natural resources, Nigeria remains one of the poorest countries in the world today.

Almost every Nigerian you speak to is dissatisfied with the state of the nation; people are angry and blame each other for the deterioration of the nation. The northerners will tell you it is the southerners; the southerners will tell you the northerners have ruled Nigeria for too long. Some have even conceived that the amalgamation of 1914 was a terrible mistake; that we would have been better off if there was no amalgamation.

Chapter II, Section 15 subsection 5, of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states thus: “The State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power”. The question is: is this State really adhering with the instruction given? The government personnel who are constituted to abolish corruption is careless about what is expected of them. Also, the non-governing citizens who are also expected to free from corruption are also found guilty. Abuse of power is observed in almost all the government arms of the federation.

Nothing seem to be working in the country

Today, Nigeria is faced with a whole lot of problems ranging from clamors for restructuring to Biafra agitation. There is no doubt that a very few in the society have access to the real necessities of life whereas, a larger percentage of the people live below the accepted international standard.

Corruption is at the root of many of Nigeria’s problems in totality. Corruption takes many forms and infiltrates all political institutions and economic sectors. Almost all political figures engage in corrupt activities leaving an average Nigerian with nothing but anger, poverty and despair.

Unemployment cum prostitution is now a serious business among the youth. Nigerian youths are no longer interested in going to school. Of what benefit is wasting four years in the university, only to graduate and become jobless?

Terrorist attacks are on the rise in Nigeria. The increased activities of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen over the past year calls for serious concern.Bombings, kidnappings, and other violent activities of Boko Haram prevent many Nigerians from feeling safe. Up next is the clamor for a Biafran nation. The activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra, and the Nigerian army Python Dance II in the last few weeks has raised serious tensions in the southeast. Sadly, Nigeria remains the most corrupt country in the Africa today.

How can we surmount these challenges?

The only way Nigeria can solve its many problems is by giving the youths more opportunities to participate in governance, economy,and society.The future of Nigeria is indeed bright and it needs the brightest of brains from the north, south, east and west to joins hands to move this nation forward.If young people were effectively in charge, Nigeria would not be in this current state of economic crisis, I dare say.Youth empowerment and initiative will improve life for all Nigerians.

With greater accountability, probity and honesty amongst the citizenry, youth involvement and participation in the affairs of the country will have a positive effect on the economy and political affairs of Nigeria.

Then we may start thinking in terms of a greater Nigeria amongst the comity of nations. Nigeria is a diverse country; we must draw strength from our diversity and not division. We should understand that we have different religions, ethnicities, and culture; we should learn to respect each other, live with our differences and treat everyone fairly. Every Nigerian should be able to live the way he wants in conformity with his culture, ethnic preference, and religion.

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