National Democratic Institute (NDI) has identified consistent involvement and inclusion of youth in policy making and implementation and collaboration among government agencies, as solutions to Nigeria’s poor Global Youth Development Index.
Nigeria ranked 141th in the 2016 Global Youth Development Index, 156th in terms of health and well-being, 157th in education, 158th in employment and opportunity, 33rd in civic participation and 47th in political participation. The country came in 36th out of 49 Commonwealth countries surveyed in the report.
But the Senior Resident Director, National Democratic Institute (NDI), Aubrey McCutcheon, told the Quarterly Policy Dialogue of the Kaduna Youth Agenda on Wednesday that Nigeria can improve its GYDI by involving youth below the age of 35 in governance across the three tiers of government especially in the areas of policy making and implementation to make them relevant and provide them leadership training.
Addressing the Kaduna Youth Agenda which focuses on education, healthcare, agriculture, job creation and peace building, Aubrey said, “its good for you to come up with areas of focus. You have seen where Nigeria did well in civic participation and political participation and where Nigeria performed poorly in employment and opportunity, education and health and well being.
“Our youth are not actively and consistently involved in the process of policy making and policy implementation. What are the principle drivers of youth political leadership? Lack of inclusion in policy process mostly drives principles. Our youth lack job opportunity, lack of job opportunity is not driven by youth in policy, rather it is driven by unfairness and injustice in government performance.
“If Nigeria in the 36 states are are investing so little in education, health and employment then Nigeria is not preparing for a better future. Kaduna has opportunity to be a leader, to be an example for other states by working in collaboration with other government agencies.”
The Executive Director One Project Afrika, Mrs Zigwai Ayuba, said that a survey conducted in 2018 across the 23 local government areas in Kaduna state and responded to by 6,610 young people where 85% of the youth picked the five thematic areas of education, healthcare, agriculture, job creation and peace building as the areas where they want improvement for youth development.
The Speaker, Kaduna State House of Assembly, Hon. Aminu Shagali, who was represented by the Minority Whip, Hon. Samuel Ubantako, assured the One Project Afrika of Kaduna Assembly support in the area of, “legislations and laws to boost youth development in Kaduna state. The House will not hesitate to back our youths with laws to make them self reliant, independent, committed and entrepreneurial”.
The Programme Officer of One Project Africa, Venatius Asogo, said that the Kaduna Youth Agenda is a youth policy advocacy campaign that resulted from the implementation of the Vote Not Fight campaign before the 2019 general elections. “While advocating for issue-based campaigns, increased youth participation and peaceful elections in 2019, Kaduna youth also collated their priority needs to engage the elected government in the post-election period.”
The policy dialogue was attended by chairmen or representatives of the 23 local government areas, state commissioners of key ministries, civil societies, supporting development partners and media executives.