As we commemorate the International Youth Day 2021, I will reiterate my belief that a significant day as this is not just for conferences, jamborees and backslapping in relishing imagined success at ameliorating the plight of the Nigerian Youth. I’ll rather opine that this is a time for deep introspection on the challenges faced by the Nigerian Youth and how we can synthesize result yielding actions that bring solutions to these challenges.
The salient fact cannot be gainsaid that the major problem faced by youth today is the rapidly rising prices of staple foods and other agricultural commodities – we have vast lands but no food. There are a number of factors responsible for the declining food security and which have had a reflecting effect on Nigeria’s rating on the Human Development Index ranking. These multipronged factors need to be urgently identified and addressed frontally in order to reverse the adverse trend.
This year’s International Youth Day themed “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health” presents a fine edged opportunity for Nigeria to take that big leap to the front lines of food secure and prosperous nations. A practical approach is therefore required beyond speeches, shows and conferences – urgent actions ought to be taken.
Again, the fact cannot be disputed that this government has invested massively through diverse funding channels targeted at the youth and with the aim of triggering productivity on all fronts. A salient fact remains that the expected outcomes have not been attained, as good intentions all alone yield no result. Contrariwise, the results we have seen are growing voices of dissent which many have seized as a platform to call for violent revolutions and insurrection against the Nigerian state. These calls which are inimical to the common good of the Nigerian Youth must be met not only with stiff resistance but an even greater positive counteraction that allows for the proper harnessing of youth potentials and a decent livelihood.
It is on the heels of the foregoing that the National Youth Council of Nigeria has deemed it of prime importance to launch the Agricultural Revolution (Agrivolution) Project. The Agrivolution Project is targeted at fast tracking economic growth through innovative ICT driven agriculture. This project is designed to deliver new jobs and create sustainable development.
We shall therefore mark this year’s International Youth Day by having direct engagement with young Nigerians on the field (artisans, hawkers, menial workers and other hitherto neglected classes of youths). We shall also embark on visits to farms and agribusinesses run by young Nigerians to identify their challenges/aspirations and how we could be of help.
May I use this medium to call on all youths to beam focus on the various opportunities emplaced by government (through NALDA, NIRSAL, SMEDAN, BOI et al). I assure you again that the National Youth Council of Nigeria will be actively there for you as we build the great Nigeria of our dreams together.
We shall succeed together!
National Youth Council of Nigeria