Empowering Youths for National Development
The position of youths cannot be underestimated as they remain the engine room of any society.
This category of the population ironically remains the most ignored, neglected and underutilized in the country, despite their potential and capacity for positive development.
Empowering youths reduces social crime as they are encouraged to use their initiatives in nation building.
According to statistics, Nigeria has a youthful population of about 80 million which is about 60 percent of her population, while more than 70 percent are said to be unemployed.
The danger of unemployment and idleness is prominent as majority of them keep roaming about the streets searching for jobs in order to survive.
Consequently, some of these youths out of frustration take to vices such as political thuggery, assassination and kidnapping which is detrimental to the survival and sustenance of democracy as well as, development of the nation.
The fact remains that, if the potential of youths is harnessed, poverty level would be reduced as they would contribute meaningfully to national development.
Furthermore, youths should be empowered politically, as the nation has a crop of young brains that could pilot the affairs of the nation to an enviable height in the comity of nations.
Though, successive governments and elected representatives of the people had embarked on one programme or the other to engage youths to alleviate poverty, sadly most of the time, unemployed youths do not really benefit from the initiatives.
It is worth mentioning therefore that, attention should shift to empowering genuine unemployed youths by government and politicians who engage in poverty alleviation programme as part of their constituency projects.
Government should sustain entrepreneurship programmes in schools, to assist them to be self reliant and employers of labour later in life.
Non Governmental Organizations should collaborate to empower youths by involving them in projects that would encourage them to contribute their quota to national development.
Also, more funds should be provided in the annual budget for youths development programmes.
In addition, more skill acquisition centers have to be established to encourage youths to develop their talents and reduce the search for white collar jobs.
The mindset of youths should be re-directed towards embracing government empowerment schemes.
In this regard, the National Orientation Agency, NOA has a key role to play in changing the mentality of youths who prefer white collar jobs as the only means of survival.