The former governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Raji Fashola said that Nigerian youths must have an indomitable spirit in order to confront and address issues affecting them.
This he said during the Nigerian Commemoration of the United Nations international Youth day 2015 themed “Youth Civic Engagement: the significant role of youth in politics and public life” organised by Rise Networks at the Multi-purpose hall of University of Lagos, Lagos state.
Fashola said Nigerian youths must have a spirit that not only talk about problems but act on it. He urged Nigerian youths to emulate the indomitable spirit possessed by Nigerian Youths in time past by being actively engaged towards working to address Nigeria’s major challenges.
“Nigerian youths have been known never to surrender and this spirit we must reclaim. It is time to work as Nigerians in addressing our major challenges because youths issues will not go away unless we take actions,” he said.
He further said that youths’ negligence in governance and in taking mantle of leadership led to old people filling the vacuum meant to be occupied by them. He thus stood against the age restriction for eligibility to be voted for, adding that there should be a reduction in the age factor in order to give room for youths’ participation in politics.
Speaking further, is the special adviser on media and publicity to former president Goodluck Jonathan, Reuben Abati who said that government must provide an enabling environment to promote inclusive governance. He also urged political parties to open up their systems for young people participation.
“You don’t have to be a politician to be an agent of change in the society as no change would occur if we keep dreaming without acting. It is time to act by ensuring that our country is well managed and by holding our leaders accountable, ” he said.
He cited examples of youths influencing public issue in time past and urged Nigerian youths to be read up on issues in the country in displaying high intellectual thinking in proferring solutions to such issues. He also urged Nigerian youths to effectively make use of the social media with a great sense of responsibility.
“What quality of youths are we breeding in Nigeria where the social media has become an avenue for people to insult and criticise others? the social media should be effectively used and not abused.”
Publisher and CEO of ovation magazine, Dele Momodu said that leadership is not about titles but about managing people and resources and urged young people to be knowledgeable about governance for effective participation.
“The youths of today must go back to those days when we have a strong voice, for we will only be relevant when our leaders know that we understand the issues at stake. Otherwise we will become unruly and law breakers.”
He also advised that youths who wished to be active in governance could join either of the two dominant political parties in the country.
Dele Momodu further said the reason he contested for presidential position in 2011 is because the country needed a change, adding that it is unlikely he contest again except the youths are ready to support him.
He further said “political parties doesn’t matter but when you see a good product, you must support it.”
The senate president of the 8th National assembly, Abubakar Bukola Saraki duly represented by honorable Makanjuola said that the National assembly has created a forum for public participation on issues in the house and in proferring solutions to them. He said it is aimed at encouraging youths’ participation in the decision making process.
The programme also featured a debate session between the acting president APC young women’s forum, Rinsola Abiola and volunteer secretary of PDP affiliated youth group, Rethink Nigeria, Anthony Ehilebo on “My political party’s policy on youth inclusion in governance and politics is the best for Nigeria.”
Rise networks is Nigeria’s leading social enterprise with a deliberate interest and passion for youth and education development.