Thursday, February 27, 2020

UNESCO Laureate, Crown University VC, Tasked Policymakers on articulate National Youth Policy Objectives

.... Professor Sir Bashiru Aremu says Youths involvement and Consultation on decision making, panacea to National economic development.

...World Distinguished Professor of ICT, Professor Emeritus On Merit, Crown University International Chartered Inc VC harped  on the need for effective and efficient Youth Development, Empowerment and involvement in Leadership.

 .... UNESCO Laureate advises African, Nigerian Youths on Contributions to National Economic development.

By Victor Bieni

KANO- KANO STATE- UNESCO Laureate,  The Vice Chancellor, Crown University International Chartered Inc ( America, Ghana and Other Partner Campuses Worldwid), and Vice President, West Coast University, USA, His Excellency, World Distinguished Professor of ICT, Professor Sir Bashiru Aremu has tasked Policymakers, Stakeholders in Africa, most importantly in  Nigeria on the need for articulate National Youth Policy Objectives towards Sustainable youths Contributions to National economic development, and as panacea to the challenges youths unemployment amongst Youths in Nigerian society.

Crown University International Chartered Inc VC, Professor Sir Bashiru Aremu who was a Special Guest of Honor and a Guest Speaker at the Inaugural Lecture, Nigerian Youths Summit 2020 in Kano, Organized by Youths Assembly of Nigeria (YAN), Kano State Chapter, while presenting a Speech on the theme: "The Role of Youth towards National And Economy Development", tasked stakeholders, policymakers on Youths involvement in decision making processes, Leadership, National Youth Policy Objectives towards Sustainable youths Contributions to National economic development. 

The brief lecture which was  structured in five different sections, which each sections is bound to have a greater number of paragraphs on it. Section 1 will dwell on the abstracts, Summary or  introduction of the above topic, section 2 discusses the definitions and  Characteristics of Nigerian, African Youths, including demographic and economic aspects, which provide insights into the challenges, although data are limited. Section 3 looks at importance and contributions of youths to national development in Nigeria. Section 4 addresses the challenges and constraints of the youths to meet the challenges. The study concludes in Section 5 with recommendations. 

Professor who stated that the role of Youth on National Development cannot be over- emphasized. According to  him: "The wheel of development of any country lies on the shoulder of how productive and creative the youthful populations are. Societies are not only recreated through the youthful population, but youth are often referring to as leaders of tomorrow as they constituted 70 percent of the population according to 2006 census. The Youths bulge  represents both a challenge and an opportunity for development. World Bank , 2010  on Millennium Development Goals 1, 4, 7 focused on eradicating extreme Poverty and hunger,  Child mortality, and promoting Environmental sustainability. It is perplexing to say , that no Nation will experience development when the preponderance of the population that constitutes the largest percentage of the are idle and ineffective". 

"It has been suggested that Nigeria could by 2030 reap the benefits of what some called a "demographic dividend" if it invest now in human development". 

"To this end, the youths mindset and roles is of major important to the development of any society. Oil is not the future of Nigerian Youths in the 21st century. Some of these keywords must be considered: Youth and National development, Unemployment, Underemployment, National Youth policy, Social vices, Sustainable Development Goals or Agenda 2030 and Youth bulge".

The World renown Professor of ICT stated further that one of the greatest challenges facing governments and policymakers in Africa today is how to provide opportunities for the continent's more than 200 million youths so that they can have decent lives. According to United Nations (2010), Africa's 2011 population was estimated at 1.05 Billion and is expected to double by 2050, he added that  Africa is the youngest population in the world. 

The UNESCO Laureate noted further that about 70 percent of its population is 30 years of age. Conversely, the size, energy, enthusiasm, innovation, and dynamism of youths are assets that can be harnessed  for Africa's development with appropriate policies that deals adequately with the issues facing them.
Youth bulge has consequences for the development of Africa. There are 1.2 billion 15 to 24 year olds in the world and one billion live in developing countries.

He said that  this is often referred as youths bulge as young people constitute a high and peak proportion of many populations.

The Professor Emeritus On Merit opined that the universal definition of Youth population defines youths traditionally as a period of transition from childhood to adulthood. For Statistical purposes,  the United Nations (2011d) defines as those aged 15 to 24 years the age group that has been recognized Internationally. 

Additionally, he cited some authorities by  Contextualizing youth, youth profile and development: The African/Nigerian experience, in the African Youth report 2009 (the AYR, UNECA 2009) youths are defined as people between 15 and 39 years of age. Youth definitions varies from country to country. Nigeria and Swaziland define it as those between the ages of 12 and 30. Ghana, Tanzania and South Africa define the youth  population as those  between the ages of 15 to 35 years. The youth policy defines  the youth as all young persons  between the ages of 18 to 35 years.

In his words: "There are differences in the rate of growth in the youth population across countries. In Nigeria, policy documents like Sure-P,  National Development Plans ( 1962- 2014), National Poverty Eradication Plan  (199- 2015), GEEP (2015-2019) and among others, despite the efforts to reduce the menace of unemployment among youths, as well as increase in the number of agencies dealing with the youths, problems affecting young people have continued".

"The situation has been attributed to lack of a comprehensive policy to provide a blueprint for youths to address their economic needs as high population growth is  standing at 2.5 percent as  reported in  2006 thereby puts pressure on available resources".

"Most African countries, especially Nigeria as the black most populous country   has an opportunity to harness "economic and  demographic dividend" as she is bound to have more working class adults by the year 2030 than in 2006".

He stated that "Development" refers to the capacity of a nation's economy and other conditions that less static to generate and sustain annual increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and income per capital gains extended to all segments of the society.  National development refers sustainable growth and development of a nation to a more desirable one. Economic development is a progressive elimination of poverty, unemployment and inequality for improved conditions  and  material life through creation equitable distribution of wealth of a nation.

In the light of the above, he added that  the crucial issue of creating an enabling environment for the youths to bring their productive capacity and resourcefulness to bear on the political and  developmental process should be accorded priority attention for national economy development. Youths play essential roles in the society as part of their contribution. Some of the development projects being carried out by Community youths included amongst others are : Renovation of clinics, draining of drainages, construction of rural feeder roads, educating farmers on the use of improved seeds, sinking of ordinary dug- out Wells, and other Community self- help projects.

While stating some of the imperatives of young people, he noted that the  Youth helps to promote national economic development through the promoting of  entrepreneurship development, joining the  work force of the country to boost productivity rather than constituting hazards to themselves and the society,  they also help to strengthen democratization process by way of good conscience, political participation, political socialization, formation of Community based organizations, fostering of national Unity,  peace-; building, post-; conflicts reconciliation, and involvement in reproductive health services as well as volunteerism.

"No doubt,Youths are the determiners of peace and stability of a nation.  According to Chukwuma (2005: 15 ) recent research has observed that in Nigeria Non- governmental organizations, Civil Society groups, and Community youths, Youth Assocations are reaching out to the Nigerian government for partnership, a development if well utilized by the FGN can bring meaningful development, peace and security in the country",  he stated.

"Recent Studies have proved that, unless young people are consulted and involved in the design of developmental strategies they are not going to be youths- relevant or contribute to sustainable developmental process in the national economy. Nigerian youths should exhibit good conscience, they  should not succumb to  bankrupt and selfish politicians to rigging of elections or yo  pervert electoral processes  as a result of hunger and poverty so as  to promote social progress,  good governance", he noted. 

"Listen to ( Suleiman, 2006), he  opined that Nigeria after Independence has not been able to create high value added economic activities her youths  wallow in poverty, low domestic capital formation, 75 percent burden of unemployment, poor political education and enlightenment, declining direct investment, high rate of health related problems, poor involvement in decision making concerns as a result of misgovernance from political elites and exclusion of young people from governance", he stated.

He stated that In Nigeria , experience has shown that the youths are used by selfish and bankrupt politicians to pervert the process of elections. Recent studies had proved that, youths are not Consulted and involved in the Developmental strategies of Nigeria as a  country, which no  doubt, has slowed down their contributions to the national sustainable developmental process of the nation.

 Evidentially, he stated that Young people in Africa, especially in Nigeria youths are  faced with
Numerous Challenges,  which included amongst others: Epidemic 
diseases such as HIV/AIDS, lack of education, lack of training and appropriate skills, lack of employment  opportunities, underemployment, lower domestic capital formation for the youths,  lack of participation in the decision-making process of their country, lack of access to Medical services, poor political education and enlightenment,  lack of adequate funds and equipment.

In his words: "The above-mentioned are the  products of misgovernance from political elites, thereby hindering good governance, accountability, transparency, Probity and responsibility to the citizenry and Consequently impedes future maximum contributions of youths on national Economic  Developments of the nation".

"Youths  are more gifted. The society, stakeholders should utilized properly their talents for socio-economic growth and  development rather than hinder the potential, which  may amount to o economic losses, armed conflicts, political and social instability- as demostrated recently by Arab spring".

"Youths take more risks than the older Population,  more educated, friendly to  technologies, challenge certain norms  and socio-political processes capable of fostering development".

According to him, some  other challenges faced  by Young people in Nigeria for ages ranging from 15 to 24, apart from teenage pregnancy, female genital mutilation, dropping out of school, risk of life through abortions, substance and drug abuse, widespread malaria, sexually transmitted diseases, malnutrition, limited sports and recreation facilities, poor basic amenities in the country, lack of enabling Environment for Businesses, risk of birth complications, crime such as Kidnapping, armed robbery, unwanting killings, illiteracy, suicide and other deviant behaviors capable hindering National economic development in the country.

In conclusion,  he proffered that before the said  recommendations as stated here in this episode,  it Should occur to us that Youths, individuals between the ages of  15 and 24 make up one- sixth of the world's Population, but are seldom recognized bas a distinct group for the important role they play in shaping the future, especially in this 21st century. The future of youths should not be limited at a very early age as they may react by unleashing risky or harmful behavior against themselves or society.

Hence, that the Youths  are important assets for the economic, political, social life of their Communities, critical stakeholders such as  governments, individuals, corporate bodies, agencies, international organizations and amongst others should work to ensure that hundreds of millions of youths b overcome the challenges of lack of education, lack of employment opportunities, lack of skills and job training, poor health services to avoid global threats - like the spread of HIV/AIDS, rising rate of poverty, and political instability in developing countries.

"The rights of the Youths should be protected providing them with the support  they need to contribute to the health and well-being of the society to address the challenges of highlights policy and recommendations in the key issues of education and training, economic opportunities, health and sexuality".

"To address the challenges youth policy objectives in Nigeria towards National and economic development in Nigeria, Africa and globally policymakers, stakeholders factors such as adequate information about Youths is necessary in the design of  policy, weak coordination among government agencies, donors, regional organizations and amongst other suitable policies to deal with the problems of Nigerian, African youths and others with global perspective" , he added.

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