By Deji Elumoye
President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, and his Deputy, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, have declared that Nigerian youths deserve special attention as future leaders of the nation.
The duo, in separate messages issued on Wednesday to mark the 2020 International Youth Day, hailed Nigerian youths for demonstrating tremendous courage and resilience thereby giving hope for a better future.
Lawan, in his message, noted the importance of the day, which was set aside by the United Nations to draw attention to issues concerning the youth at the community, national and global levels.
According to him, the youth deserve special attention as a vulnerable group but also as the future of the nation.
He said: “The education, knowledge, technical skills and character of the youth will determine the future conditions and character of the nation.
“Therefore, government must endeavor to create a system that nurtures the talents of the youth and ensures their robust development as they grow into the leadership of the society.”
He added that government owes the youth an environment that encourages them to unleash their potentials and realise their dreams.
Lawan said the National Assembly passed the ‘Not Too Young to Run Bill’, which President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law in May 2018, to avail the Nigerian youth the opportunities to fully participate and aspire to any role in politics and governance.
He expressed happiness with the way the youth are responding to the opportunities and challenges arising from the new law.
Lawan also said the current global health pandemic had made the youth even more vulnerable because of its havoc on social infrastructure, business and the economy in general.
“It is therefore imperative for us to take extraordinary measures to assuage the effects of the pandemic on the youth, especially as these concern employment and business opportunities.
“It is our responsibility as leaders to help the youth see the windows of opportunities opening in the new world order foisted on us by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Also congratulating the Nigerian youth, the Deputy Senate President emphasised that the youth have continued to demonstrate tremendous courage and resilience thereby giving hope for a better future.
He therefore urged the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to renew its people-centred commitment towards a better future under which the Nigerian youth can, with better safety, dignity and opportunities, contribute to societal growth and development through the exercise of their fullest potentials.
According to Omo-Agege, this year’s theme, “Youth Engagement for Global Action”, draws attention to the need for the youth to be more involved at the local, national and global levels in initiatives targeted towards sustainable growth and development.
“As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr once said: ‘One of the greatest liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions’.
“Today, we must all identify with the Buhari administration’s reform initiatives because our very survival and development depend on our collective ability to stay awake, adjust to new ideas, remain vigilant and face the continuously evolving challenges of change,” Omo-Agege stated.
He further said: “As Margaret Mead, the late American author and cultural anthropologist once said: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has’.
“This profoundly resonates with me and my mission at the Senate where I have fully embraced opportunities to work with my colleagues, party members and aides, including a large number of young people drawn from various parts of the federation.
“Many young Nigerians have become sterling examples in sports, education, technology and numerous other areas of human endeavours and as we observe the International Youth Day, I urge all of us to renew our commitments towards empowering the younger generation and creating a better future.”