The UN building in Abuja on Tuesday afternoon played host to a sizable number of youth leaders in house and other youth who joined virtually in a 2-hour engaging Parley with Madam Amina the UN Deputy Secretary General and the Ministers of Youth and Sports and Women Affairs.
The youth had the day as they identified youth issues and problems and proffered Solution.
Starting off, Ebuka Obi the anchor gave a demography of the youth population: 63% of the population is less than 25 years old (130m) and on Nigerian voting patterns: 51% of the 84 million registered voters are between 18 and 35 years old.
On State of employment: 50% of Nigeria’s workforce are made up of persons between the ages of 15 and 34.
This demography gave rise to contributions from attendees virtually and physically and all comments were centered on trust, data collection and education.
Lauretta Ofure Girl Child Initiative Advocate speaking on unemployment explained the need to harness the population of the youth as a tool to move the nation forward. “In reducing unemployment we must first of all, think of education – formal/informal” she said
On Education, Ayodeji Osobi pointed out the need to ensure a safe space for learning. There exist a power-imbalance between lecturers and students. More students must be empowered.
The conversations went smoothly while the Honorable Minister of Youth and Sports Development; Mr. Sunday Dare and the Minister of Women Affairs; Dame Pallen Tallen closely listened and responded accordingly.
The Honorable Minister of Women Affairs; Dame Pallen Tallen expressed her excitement and fulfillment in what she had heard every youth contributed saying every Nigerian must have faith in the nation, love her as well.
“Every of the issues pointed out requires urgent attention and the present administration is fully committed and concerned in proferring sustainable solutions hence, the various youth intervention programmes” she said
She futher emphasized on the need for continuous dialogue while appealing for peace and calm in the nation.
The Honorable Minister of Youth and Sports Development gave an insight on the lessons learnt from the recent #endsars protest both on the side of the youth he represents and on the side of the government.
On the part of the youth, he is committed to continue to address their needs and on the side of the government, he will keep engaging the government to do the needed as well as engender continuous dialogue between both parties.
The Honorable Minister reiterated the clear paradigm shift from youth empowerment to youth investment. “We need to invest in their endeavors, hence the National Youth Investment Funds which is aimed at making them entrepreneurs and employees of labor” he said.
He is committed to increasing and accelerating the level of onboarding of youth into available programs and so far, the ministry has secured 4.1bn to train young Nigerians in digital skills though several other key areas of training is in view such as Mobile device training and green energy training among others. While ending his speech, he reiterated the need for youth to attend virtually the weekly town hall meetings as it’s been a strong communication channels between youth and government officials.
Mrs. Amina Mohammed, the deputy Secretary General United Nations while acknowledging the presence of the ministers had said the conversation has been as constructive as possible and that is what Nigerians need to embrace for National growth in a time like this.
She enjoined every youth to embrace love, emphasizing on the need to stick to the strength in our diversity as a nation stating that we are all Nigerians from somewhere who believe in something hence, we need to respect religion and ethnic of individuals.
The Deputy Secretary General emphatically encourage then youth to put confidence in the government and desist from being cynical as it is a social contract.
In addition, she encouraged youth to continue to make themselves seen and heard, access and live up to their expectations (Livelihood, Occupations and Education above others)
Furthermore, she enjoined the government not to leave data behind.
At the end of the conversation all key areas discussed were Education, Data, Unemployment, Constitutional reforms and Trust.