Nigerian Youths and Their Role in Nation Building

By Mukhtar Sagir Dambatta

Nigeria is a state with many languages, cultures, religions and ethnic differences but still remains a single entity with a common name “Niger and Its Areas”

Our definition of the term “youth” may restrict us to certain truth we should know, facts we should hold and cause a setback on youths affirmative action. .

The United Nations has states that people within the age range of 15-24 years are youths. But in some countries, like Nepal, the National Youth Council Act 2015 of the country has categorized people between age of 16 to 40 as youths, in which I believe same should typically apply to Nigeria. .

Before I go deeper, let me cast our mind back to three Nigerian youths of last century and the impact they were able to make during their time.

1. General Yakubu Gowon: He became the head of state at the age of 31 years old.

He was born on October 19, 1934. Following the assassination of Major General Aguiyi-Ironsi, the second Nigerian president and the first military head of state on July 29, 1966, Gowon took over.

2. General Murtala Muhammed. He became head of state at the age of 37 years old.
He was born on November 8, 1938. After criticising General Aguiyi-Ironsi’s leadership and serving as a federal commissioner under Gowon, he stepped into office on July 29, 1975.

Gen. Muhammed became the fourth Nigerian head of state at the age of 37. He was assassinated ten days after creating nine new states – Bauchi; Benue; Borno; Imo; Niger; Ogun; and Ondo. The creation occurred on February 3, 1976.

3. General Olusegun Obasanjo. He became Head Of State at the age of 39 years old. He was born on May 5, 1937. The Supreme Military Council appointed him as the head of state on Feb 13, 1976.

Obasanjo is the first person to rule Nigeria as a military leader and a civilian president when he was 39 years old.

Even the incumbent President, General Muhammad Buhari became head of state at the age of 41 years old. The question should be; is there no Youth to take over today?

The youths of 20th century led in their time and are still leading the youth of of 21st century today. Is it not shameful enough? Anyone born in late 20th century is entitled to leadership of 21st century in this decade.

The most active and reactive set of people in any society are the youth of any nation, but not in Nigeria in which the youth have been relegated to the backseat, and above 45 years of age takes over at the battle field. Tell me how we will win?

The majority of problems in Nigeria are caused by selfish interest, tribalism, nepotism, lack of potential, lost priorities, indiscipline and unpatriotic actions, behaviors in the side of everyone, in which both young and olds are not excluded.

That youths have lost priorities, and declares loyalty to certain godfathers who would continue to punish our nation the more. The few youths who have the privilege to be in power as we speaks lobbied for the position from a certain old power monger, whom they can’t betray due to the oath and political tie they both share. A regressive procession in a progressive presentation?

Let’s look at this, maybe as youths we can rethink and readdress ourselves.

Who are the bandits? The youths
Who are insurgencies? The youths
Who are the Internet scammers? The youths
Who are thieves? The youths
Who are killer herdsmen?
The youths
Who are any region militants? The youths
Who are political thugs? The youths

Who benefits from insurgencies? The olds
Who is the controller of the militants and most protects? The olds
Who is the godfather and backbone of thieves? The olds
Who enjoys most of stolen funds? The olds
Who are the godfathers in politics? The olds
And many more.

Now the question is, why will the youths risks their life, engages in all sort of illegal acts to feeds the well fed old and almost rotten minds? A change can begin with everyone.

The Role Of The Youth In Nation Building

Our youth are agents of change, young people’s inclusion in the peace and security agenda and society more broadly, is key to building and sustaining peace. Their role in the workforce and economic development of our nation is critical as they represent, at any given moment, one-third of the workforce in our country. In these times of change and conflict, young people also have an important role in deterring and solving conflicts and are key constituents in ensuring the success of both peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts.

In every society youth are the key players for positive change, with their capacity as the youth everything is possible for the society. The role they play is very significant, because the future of every nation is determine by how it nurture its youth as they are the future leaders. So the importance of the youth in the society can never be overemphasis.

The youth as the building blocks of any nation. The development of a nation lies in the development and improvement of youths in the nation. Every developed and developing nations has been the result of constant involvements of the youths in such nation. Hence, the unavoidable roles of youth in nation building are:

1. Creation of jobs, hence increases national wealth and economic prosperity, through entrepreneurship and skill acquisition.

2. Political stability of the nation lies in the hands of youth, but in a democratic and peaceful displays.

3. Agricultural sustainability and improvement with new innovation and inventions, as a young and agile minds.

4. Security of self and country as energetic ones, showcasing self strength and renewed mind in saving the nation from insecurities.

4. Unleashing new technology and science practices. Who else should be busy thinking of inventions and discoveries is not the youths.

5. Promoting love, perseverance, tolerance, unity and progress of the nation through sports, cultures and language.

We should note that the limitless, unpredictable and timely activation of youth potentials can save our dear nation in times like this.

The renewed youths, with renewed mind, and renewed potentials can revive Nigeria.

Now is the time for 21st century youths to rule in the 21st century.

Dambatta, a journalist, columnist and youth leader, can be reached via Facebook: Mukhtar Sagir Dambatta

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