My distinguished Colleagues,
It gives me great pleasure to join the United Nations and all the nations of the world to celebrate the 2020 International Youth Day, today, 12 August 2020. The theme of this year’s International Youth Day, “Youth Engagement for Global Action” is apt because there is a growing need to constantly and meaningfully engage our youth at various levels in the society.
The youths of Nigeria are the future leaders of this nation and must be groomed to take up this responsibility. We must always remember that our youths are reservoirs of talents, and it is vital to give them the right tools and opportunities to unlock their potentials.
Our youths are not lazy, but vibrant and industrious; yet, the opportunities for them to engage and excel politically, economically, professionally and socially are limited. In most private organizations and government parastatals, some executive/leadership positions are exclusively reserved for persons with ‘ample experience’. We fail to realize that our young ones need to be given these opportunities to prepare them for the future of leadership.
At all levels, we must entrench a mutually-respectful partnership between young people and adults. We must engage our youths and allow them take up executive and leadership positions. I believe this will help prepare them for the future and also rekindle their trust in us. It is only when we help the youths excel that they can contribute meaningfully in nation building.
There is no doubt that the economic impact of the current global pandemic has made the job market more challenging for our youths. Therefore, it is expedient for the government to increase its effort in job creation.
May I use this opportunity to thank the Nigerian Government for the 774,000 Special Public Work (SPW) Recruitment Programme and the Not Too Young To Run Act. I believe these programmes if implemented properly will greatly alleviate the hardship caused by the current wave of unemployment and political apathy in the country.
As I celebrate our youth today, I urge us all to think of ways through which we can ensure greater engagement and participation of our youths in the economy, politics and other aspects of nation building to secure a better tomorrow.
Happy International Youth Day.
Joyce Oduah, FICMC
*NBA General Secretary Elect.