International Youth Day and 2023

International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, mobilise political will and resources to address global problems, and celebrate and reinforce the achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool.

12 August every year marks International youth day. This year 2022 is to amplify the message that action is needed across all generations to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, especially for youth without leaving anyone behind. It’s, however, expected that youth should champion participation in developmental programmes across all facets of human development.

As Nigeria approaches the 2023 elections it is a clarion call to all our youth not to allow the politicians to use their brains in promoting a vicious cycle of violence. They should, instead, champion the cause for a better country that we will all be proud of. Get involved and define your priorities through meaningful debate. Bargain for a better welfare, promote peace, growth and stability.

Nigeria’s youth make up a substantial portion of the population, and if they can fully realise their potential, of course, both Nigeria and the rest of the globe will thrive. Without a doubt, the youth are behind in every aspect of human endeavour. They need to have ‘a fair shake’ in the Nigerian context. It is indeed time for them to take up the challenges and use their God-given talents to advance the nation forward.

Perhaps, you can ask yourself, why are the youth left behind, even though they are the majority? Yes, there is no enabling environment to showcase their potential, but should we continue like this? No, we have to wake up in the sense that we should pursue education. Indeed, with education, we can fight poverty, know our rights, stand firm and fight for the future of not only the living, but the unborn generations.

Reports show that half of the people on our planet are 30 years or younger, and this is expected to reach 57% by the end of 2030. However, this is a clear indication that the youth can take control of their future and provide solutions to the problems bedevilling society.

For instance, Nigeria is battling insecurity from all corners of its existence. Boko Haram in the North-east; banditry, kidnapping in the North-west and parts of the North-central; IPOB in the South-east; etc. Unfortunately, the youth are the ones who not only encourage but partake in the vicious cycle of violence.

Perhaps we need reorientation to be reasonable ambassadors of society. Let’s inculcate the habit of productivity through education and change the world to make it a better place to live. Research and development can make us innovative with new ideas, and creative in health care reform, engineering, etc.

I, therefore, at this juncture make a humble appeal for our youth to rise and take their rightful position. I am optimistic that when the youth unite and pursue positive goals, it’s indeed achievable to change the narratives to develop the country.

Tajuddeen Ahmad Tijjani,
Galadima Mahmoud Street,
Azare, Bauchi state

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