At the All Progressives Congress (APC) rally held in Gombe, North East Nigeria in the month of February 2015 ahead of the last presidential election that earned the incoming president, General Muhammadu Buhari the victory of becoming Nigeria’s president come May 29, 2015, the taciturn and austere politician promised Nigerians, particularly the youths that “If elected, his administration will stop youths restiveness in Nigeria through job creation.”
Even before the president-elect made the foregoing juicy promise in Gombe state, he had earlier in the month of January, 2015 promised Igbo youths one million jobs by revamping huge coal deposits in Enugu state for the generation of electricity which would in the long run create jobs for the teeming for the teeming jobless youths. He was represented at the event by the Publicity Secretary of the party in South East Zone, Mr. Osita Okechukwu.
In a similar vein, the president-elect in January 2015 at a rally held at Teslim Balogun Stadium promised to re-direct recovered loot to fund education and create employment for the masses. Against the foregoing background, one may not be wrong to say that better days are coming for Nigerian youths under Buhari’s presidency. The other day, an elderly neighbor who was ostensibly envious of the youths shouted this writer down in pidgin English thus: “Why you dey carry youth matter for head?” “Na wetin gofment dey give you?” Literally translated, the foregoing expression means “Why are you so obsessed with issues that are related to the youths?”
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“What is the government giving you as rewards concerning the youths” issue?” My neighbor cannot be blamed for giving me public embarrassment on account of my fervent concern for the wellbeing of the youths and their future. The reason for my neighbor’s inconsiderate and insensitive disposition towards youth-related issues cannot be far-fetched when viewed from the prism of the fact that the youths are unjustly not given ample opportunities to thrive in virtually every sector of the economy.
However, in other climes, the youths are highly regarded and valued that great men like Koffi Anan was inspired to say “Young people should be at the forefront of global change and innovation. Empowered , they can be key agents for development and peace. If, however, they are left on society’s margin, all of us will be impoverished. Let ensure that all young people have every opportunity to participate fully in the lives of their societies.” In fact, there is no denying the fact that a country where its leaders have the predilection for neglecting the youths would in the future be neglected in the comity of nation. It is against the foregoing background that one would implore the incoming president, General Muhammadu Buhari not to neglect the youths during his incoming administration.
The reasons on why the youths deserve a better pedestal to stand on to enable them have a large share of the proverbial national cake under the presidency of General Muhammadu Buhari cannot be far-fetched. One of such reasons is that the president-elect, as cited above has for the umpteenth time, particularly during his presidential campaign, made promises on how he would create jobs and other opportunities for the youths. To me, as a politician that believes in the efficacy of change, the youths are anxiously looking up to him to break the jinx of unfulfilled promises that characterized Nigeria’s past dispensations. As a politician that is poised to change the old order, the youths expect him not to neglect them during his presidency the same way his predecessors did. Secondly, most politicians, across the six geo-political zones, that zealously campaigned for the president-elect undeniably recruited the youths within their constituencies as their foot soldiers from the ever- burgeoning population of jobless youths who were ostensibly promised better days ahead peradventure the then presidential flag bearer of APC wins the elections.
With this, would it be fair not to take care of the youths under Buhari’s Presidency? Similarly, majority of the ad hoc staff that were used to conduct the 2015 general election that was adjudged to be successful and well conducted by some international observers were members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) who are invariably youths that deserve to be engaged in permanent employment upon graduation under Buhari’s Presidency.
Not only where the youths fully engaged with the campaign for the election that is now reputed to have conferred the enviable status which the president-elect would be relishing in from May 29, some unlucky youths were made to bear the brunt of the isolated violence that occurred at some of the polling stations located on the nation’s political landscape. Without any iota of exaggeration the youths deserve to be given adequate attention and care through destiny-shaping and youth-centred policies and programmes. It is against this background that many youths wish a highly cerebral and effective minister of youth affairs is appointed under General Buhari’s presidency. To me, the foregoing personal suggestions are better ways of ensuring that the youths are well taken care of in the next political dispensation.
The more reason why the youths should not be neglected under Buhari’s presidency is that the youths highly comported themselves for not resorting to widespread violence as prophets of doom earlier predicted that the election would mar or break Nigeria. But today, it is very obvious that the youths toed the path of peace and unity. For the fact that there were some isolated cases of violence points to the fact that there is no way an election would be conducted without any reported incidence of violence. Even without election violence is bound to occur. In fact, before the election was conducted, the polity was unarguably heated and dicey, but the youths joined the elders in the country in ensuring that peace prevailed. They apparently never accepted the offer of mischievous politicians to be used as willing tools for political violence.
To me, the unexpected collective comportment of the youths deserves commendation through good governance t under Buhari’s presidency. Moreover, during the period of political campaign, reports in the media had it that some youths who supported the candidacy of the president-elect organized a road show in Abuja in order to create awareness and canvass for votes for him in then upcoming election.
This was replicated in other states where the president recorded massive votes to defeat opposing candidates. Having so far buttressed my points , suffice it to say that Nigerian youths deserve to be remembered for the support they extended to the incoming government of General Muhammadu Buhari.
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