It is with a deep sense of optimism that I welcome you all to another great year. I salute the courage, resilience and innovative spirit of all patriotic youths.The year 2022 holds so much and even better potentials for the Nigerian youth and for Nigeria as a nation but we must make deft efforts this time around to ensure opportunities are not wasted.
Our committed efforts shall therefore be geared at partnering with the government and all critical stakeholders in reducing unemployment, combating insecurity and crippling corruption as these are the major factors that have kept the youth and indeed the Nigerian Nation spiraling in circles of frustration.
We have noted with patriotic disenchantment that Nigeria still relies heavily on imports for her local consumption thus productivity has been significantly lowered resulting in rising unemployment figures. We therefore call on all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government to ensure the full enforcement of Executive Orders 003 and 005 to ensure local industries and businesses thrive better.
We also acknowledge the fact that the Federal Government has emplaced numerous funding facilities and incentives to ensure youth entrepreneurship thrives. However, it must be emphatically stated that most of these fundings including the ₦75 billion Nigerian Youth Investment Fund have not been properly assessed by the Youth thus new sustainable jobs have not been created on the massive scale expected. We therefore call on the Central Bank of Nigeria to ensure full and timely release of these funds as stipulated while the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development should rise up better in coordinating the youth into efficient productivity clusters.In a similar vein, the new leadership of the National Youth Council of Nigeria shall work assiduously with other critical partners to ensure that a minimum of one hundred thousand new jobs are created. This shall be achieved through massive trainings of youth in innovative aspects of skills for youth empowerment (SKYE) with strong emphasis on technical and vocational education training (TVET). Thus we shall:
1. Train and equip 50,000 youth in production, installation and maintenance of renewable energy facilities (solar power). After the training by our technical partner, these youth will be able to access the 500 billion naira CBN renewable energy initiatives fund.
2. Train and equip 30,000 youth in innovative and efficient agricultural productivity with a target of further significantly cutting down food imports by 60% whether as raw produce or finished products.
3. Train and equip 15,000 youth in other aspects of manufacturing including electrical appliances, furniture and small machines.
4. Train and equip 5,000 youth in innovative ICT skills (software and hardware) in order to take full advantage of the expanding global digital economy. We therefore call on foreign and local partners to afford the Council the needed cooperation in order to attain this target. State governments are also implored to rise up and provide the needed incentives and support for the youth within their respective states as this project will be carried out for the youth across all states of the Federation.
There is no doubting the evident fact that insecurity has contributed in no small measure in flight of investors and industries from our shores, with the attendant rise in unemployment. It is therefore imperative that every strategy within the precincts of the law be deployed to shatter the wings of terrorist, bandits, kidnappers and all other shades of criminal entities working against our collective progress as a sovereign nation. We must warn sternly, that as the youth of this nation, we will not sit by and watch the territorial integrity of Nigeria being impinged on in any way or allow our peace, unity or sovereignty be denigrated upon under any guise. We therefore advice all young Nigerians to refrain from any sort of crimes as non shall be spared who contributes in any measure to further stoke the embers of insecurity. Crime does no one any good, we therefore advise that all energies be channeled towards more productive vistas. We call on all military, paramilitary and other security Agencies to treat with urgent attention the need to forge a strong and efficient partnership with the National Youth Council of Nigeria in tackling crimes and insecurity. We can effectively work together on preventive strategies and superior intelligence to counter all renegade elements.
This is a crucial year and ell security agencies must rise with a target that insurgency must be contained before the life of this administration expires. We must at this juncture draw the attention of Mr. President to that fact that corruption still thrives at an alarming rate as signaled by looting of public funds through wasteful recurrent expenditure, flawed procurement processes and several abandoned or misplaced projects. We therefore call on Mr. President to direct the immediate activation of the Efficiency Unit of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other antigraft Agencies should track corruption beginning from the budgeting process as it is very difficult to recover looted funds. Furthermore, we call on Mr. President to adopt the NDDC approach by ordering a Forensic Audit of all Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
We are certain that with a full scale Forensic Audit, several abandoned projects will come back to life while looted funds will be recovered just like the case of the Niger Delta Development Commission where hitherto unbridled corruption has now been brought to a halt under this administration. As a the apex body of all Nigerian Youth and youth groups in Nigeria, we shall continue exploring every avenue to better the lives of our youth. We therefore urge the youth to remain law abiding while thinking out innovative strategies to move Nigeria forward. We are the heroes present and the future of Nigeria depends on us.
The Council also uses this medium to call on young political aspirants to prepare for power. As we inch towards 2023, we must adopt all possible strategies to ensure we take the drivers’ seats at all levels of Governance in line with the solemn pledge made by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018 when he signed into law the “Not too Young to Run Bill”. We urge all elderly active politicians to concentrate on the task of assisting Mr. President in repositioning Nigeria in a better stead with positive enduring legacies. Finally, the National Youth Council of Nigeria pledges again our commitment to a safer, cleaner and healthier planet.
We shall therefore strengthen focus on our renewable energy training programs while we also commit to the planting of one million trees within the year as a measure of combating climate change. I call on all youth to rise concertedly to ensure that beyond the possibilities or potentials that abound, productivity should be attained with measurable parameters. Let us therefore rise and move Nigeria to occupy her pride of place in the front lines in the comity of developed nations. We shall succeed together! Solomon Adodo President National Youth Council of Nigeria