The axiom that youths are the leaders of tomorrow may sound like a tinkling cymbal as long as they are not adequately prepared, or they are not ready, to harness their potentials to grab available opportunity now in a bid to controlling the future. So, the futuristic plan rests on the society, government and the individuals.
Some societies particularly the advanced ones prepare their youths at a budding stage. Unfortunately, others mostly the African government leaders slumber and busy on the sidelines of life until the clock of adulthood ticks past the youths.
Again, some youths forget that the right time to learn better is at the flowering stage. They wait and expect the rains to subside or the sun to set for them to go out to nest their livelihood, forgetting easily that taking destiny in one’s hands marches one to a glorious future.
It is a sad commentary that some Akwa Ibom youths have been initiated into pedestrian secret cults as well as the bigger and more influential occult assembly as a licence to fraternise with the power brokers in the corridor and chambers of power while the rest have resorted to perpetrating such nefarious acts as robbery, kidnapping, human trafficking, rapes, and sexual harassment, among others.
But as industrious and enterprising as some Akwa Ibom youths are, how is the state government creating enabling climate for their growth, equipping them with meaningful tools as well as mobilising them to take over the future?
As gazelles of the society, does government and political leaders mind using them as cannon fodder during electioneering period and dump them during governance? Do the youths embrace formal education as a magic wand for self-realisation and development or are they sunk in dainties of life or hedonistic lifestyles expecting manna to fall from Heaven?
This is why Straightnews endorses the position paper and speeches at the 2021 International Youth Day Celebration held on Thursday, August 12 in Uyo aimed at launching our youths to the glorious path of meaningful engagement and sustainable development. The celebration as ordered by United Nations truly showed the importance the body accords our youths as critical segment of the society in the national and state development.
While we congratulate some of our youths who have breasted the tape of societal expectations by pushing themselves above poverty line, we call on others to wake up from their siesta and join the moving train. We aptly applaud the efforts of some state governments and public-spirited individuals for sponsoring youths’ development and mentorship programmes, but we urge them to do more.
We hereby laud the vision of some state governments in Nigeria for sending their indigenes to the best universities in the world. This is why we herald with nostalgic feelings the sponsorship of some Akwa Ibom sons and daughters overseas for Akwa Ibom University of Technology now Akwa Ibom State University. Let the present government sponsor our brightest and best brains to notable Ivory towers in the world to fit into the upcoming Ibom Deep seaport, and other industrial concerns as envisaged by successive governments in the state since the return of democracy in 1999.
Still on education, we enjoin the state to upgrade from primary to tertiary institutions. Maintain the high standard of education so that our children can pass any examinations in the country and in the world. Pay bursary award, and give scholarships to enable most indigent but brilliant ones to go further in their academic pursuit.
We want to call on Udom Emmanuel administration to establish Information and Communication Technology (ICT) incubation centres in order to encourage entrepreneurship and self-reliant projects, and give adequate funding to research and innovative programmes to our youths.
Let the government introduce social security policy equivalent of Federal government N-Power scheme for the unemployed graduates, pay monthly stipends to the unemployed youths, organise management courses, and mount leadership courses to enable acquire skills for the challenging future.
As a deliberate policy, the government should constantly engage the youths while leaders at different cadres should take up the mantle of mentorship and the youths must be ready to shed the toga of “the idle youths” as pointed out by President Muhammadu Buhari, if they must regain the lost opportunities and restore the broken walls of their backwardness in the country’s scheme of things.
In attaining this new template for the youths, sit-tight politicians should consult their conscience and think of guaranteeing a mileage that will provide the youths with that seamless process towards asserting themselves on the driver’s seat especially as the country marches rudderlessly under the vice-grip of old and recycled leaders.
Now is the time for the Akwa Ibom indeed Nigerian politicians to think of the next generation instead of the next election. Let there be a new narrative and paradigm shift.
This is the surest way to achieving a self-reliant, prosperous and self-sustaining society for generations yet unborn.