Decades ago, gender and women issues were on the front burner of global development agenda. Today it is relatively inappropriate to solve challenges of developing countries without focusing on the role of women. Likewise, a remarkable shift is required with respect to youth development in Nigeria. As we might be conversant with, some of the issues affecting youths today includes education, employment, poverty, drug abuse, health and environment, juvenile delinquency, empowerment, participation in governance and globalization.
The story of Nigeria’s nascent democracy would be incomplete without the incredible efforts and sacrifices made by the youths of this country. We all know the important roles youths played during past elections, so many noble youths paid the ultimate price, just for the good of the whole. As a young Nigerian growing up, I had my first taste of participation during the 2003 general elections, as an election observer with Justice, Development, and Peace Commission (JDPC), I travelled across the country and I had a firsthand experience of what it meant to be in service for ones’ country.
Nigeria’s youths are the most resilient, enterprising and talented. The youths are becoming more and more conscious of their political environment and desire direct control over their future.
A youth is referred to as the state of or time of being young. It is also referred to as a period of time when someone is young, especially the period between being a child and being fully grown. (Akpan & Ekong, 2006)
Nigerian youths must not be blind-folded by the cheap gains of today as against the pursuit for a better tomorrow. PDP- A party that has led this country for well over a decade and still lacks anything meaningful to show for this; political parties are meant to be vanguards of ensuring that the impact of democracy is felt; the opposite is the case as the essence of true democracy is yet to be felt by common Nigerians on the streets. They have succeeded in satisfying and enriching themselves (gluttonous bourgeois class) and also further deepening the gap between the ‘haves and have not’.
NEW WINE IN OLD BOTTLE
The concept of ‘new wine in old bottle’ is applicable to the youths of this country. Isn’t it funny and disturbing how some young folks would rather put up a sky-rise structure on an already weak and frail foundation? Identifying with a party that doesn’t have youth development/participation/mobilization/engagement programmes will be absolutely unproductive; all they care about is holding fiercely to power by whatever means.
The PDP as it is known has many youth groups and faction without a clear cut agenda/programme of engagement; national youth wing, youth circuit, youth groups, youth chapters, et al. A party where evil outweighs good, where corruption is at grand standing, where there are over eleven thousand (11,000) abandoned projects unattended to, yet new ones are being approved weekly with no guarantee that they will be commissioned, where successive administrations have done nothing but further retrogress the country, it’s been a case of one step forward and two steps backward; a party that claims to have solutions to Nigeria’s problem but has ended up creating more problems; a party where a being youth means been 60 years of age and above; a party that has failed to recognize that involving the youths in decision making process will further enhance their faith and believe in the process of governance.
Surprisingly, many youths have failed to realize the fact that a party is in power today doesn't mean it holds the key to the future. It is against this backdrop that I have decided to do this piece. To honk the sound of advice to those who are willing to listen, to those who would take a second look and retrace their parts.
PDP AS A CORPORATION
My doubts about the meaningful existence of the PDP was totally cleared, when the new chairman of the party announced the novel agenda of the party was to be registered as a corporation. This move clearly shows that the party does not have the masses at heart; they exist solely for their own interest; a party that lacks fundamental attributes of a political entity. A party that’s far from been institutionalized is pursuing economic gains. PDP has lost its essence of existence as far as we know. Political parties are the main mechanism for the organization of government and the key channels for maintaining democratic accountability, none of these values seem to be on the plane of the PDP.
We all understand the laws of nature because we live by these laws on a daily basis. A goat will give birth to a goat, an elephant to an elephant, a monkey to a monkey, so what do we expect as an offshoot of the mainstream PDP – I know you have the best answers.
PROGRESSIVE YOUTHS ON A UNITED FRONT
The importance of developing the potentials of youths cannot be over-emphasized because the development of a society or country at large depends on the quality of its manpower, a bulk of which the youths represents. That is to say today’s youth has a pivotal role to play in birthing a new tomorrow; this is something we take very seriously on this platform.
Youths across the country must join efforts to identify with entities that have shown concerted effort and commitment toward creating enabling environment for youth development while other progressive’s should ensure that young persons are accommodated within the mainstream of their political party politics where critical decisions affecting them are dealt with. We encouraged more youths to participate actively in political process; such encouragements have gone a long way in building necessary social structures and providing the enabling atmosphere for the realization of talents and personality development.