In 1988, a United Nations (UN) resolution proclaiming August 12th as international Youth day was adopted during the World conference of Ministers responsible for youths. On 12th of August 2000, the first International youth day was celebrated and this celebration has continued every 12th of August till date.
The International Youth day was to create an avenue for World youth mobilisation and sensitisation by countries and her institutions to become better persons in the society.
These sensitisation supported by government civil society groups, organisations, individuals, communities at local levels and international levels include, education, socio-economic, employment issues etc.
Each year’s international youth day goes with a particular theme and for this year, the theme is “Youth Civic Engagement.” The theme is practical and activity oriented and can be a sustainable human development for a better society be realised.
This year’s theme emphasises the involvement and inclusion of young people in building social cohesion and collective well-being. Youth Civic Engagement calls for youth skills acquisition and human capacity development. It would lead to creativity imbued with the vision and passion for accomplishments.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a message issued for the day,stated that young people are proving to be invaluable partners who can advance meaningful solutions.
“Youth movements and student groups are challenging traditional power structures and advocating a new social contract between States and societies. Young leaders have contributed fresh ideas, taken proactive measures, and mobilized through social media as never before.”
Ban while pledging his support for the youths, also stressed that no one knows better than young people the issues at stake in today’s rapidly changing world and declared: “That is why I am calling on young people to speak out – and I am urging leaders to listen.” He urged member states to make young people “drivers of change”.
Nigeria was also not left out in the celebration as her president, Muhammadu Buhari also marked the International Youth Day with some Nigerian Youths at the State Conference room in Abuja. He stated that his administration will place high premium in tackling challenges facing the Youth sector. He sought for the cooperation and patience of Nigerian youths, assuring that ‘Change’ is not a mere political slogan of his regime but a beginning of a new era desired by the majority of Nigerians. He said the youths must be vanguards of the change and at the same time be the change that they wish to be.
“knowing that sustainable development cannot take place in the absence of peace, we must all work together towards the actualization of sustainable peace and harmony to enable this administration to build an enduring legacy.”
The Climate and Sustainable Development Network of Nigeria (CSDVENET) organised several activities for Nigerian Youths in different parts of Nigeria. In the South east of Nigeria, Abakaliki, a youth rally, football match and dance competition were activities held to awaken the consciousness of Nigerian youths to development.
In the South west of Nigeria, Ibadan, a lawn tennis match was organised between Batch A and C corp members with a football match involving selected members of the Nigerian Youths Service Corps (NYSC). There was also a talk show on Youths for power on Diamond fm addressing the Youths on civic engagement.
In the North Central of Nigeria, Makurdi, a football match and music competition was organised for the youths in the state capital while in the south west of Nigeria, Lagos, a football match was organised at the Okobaba football playing ground in Ebute-metta.
CSDVENET also had a twitter conference with hashtag Youthday and YouthPower to discuss issues affecting the youths while also empowering them for civic engagement.
Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA), an NGO which promotes democratic governance, human rights, public accountability and youth political participation said that Nigerian youths should defend constitutional democracy and respect the rule of law by performing their civic duties as enshrined in the Constitution. It also stated that Youths should support all government’s efforts aimed at enhancing fiscal governance, accountability and transparency in the public and private sector and Commit energy, creativity, resilience and demography for national growth and development.
YIAGA also encouraged active citizens through effective engagement with public institutions and government.
Esther Adeyanju @whurmie