Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Challenges of Youth Development in Nigeria

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Challenges of Youth Development in Nigeria

Article excerpt

Abstract

Despite the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000, the Nigerian youth is still caught in a web of poverty, hopelessness and missed opportunities. The paper argues that though corruption, lack of political will, poor policy implementation, etc. limit government's efforts at youth development, the primary challenge remains the fact that the government has not been able to properly conceptualise and prioritize youth development. In addition, government's implementation of the Millennium Development Goals remains manifestly insincere to an alarming degree. This paper relied on secondary information and data sourced from newspapers, magazines, journals, textbooks, etc. The methodology is analytical. The structural functionalist theory is adopted in the analysis. This study emphasizes the fact that the future progress of the Nigerian nation is critically tied to the quality of youths she is able to produce in the present. It posits that until government's efforts in the implementation of the MDGs become manifestly sincere to an appreciable degree and youth development is properly conceptuali(z)ed, the Nigerian youth will continue to be plagued by the challenges of poor value orientation(s delete s), disenchantment, negativity and inadequacy. The paper recommends that youth development should be given a priority attention in the ongoing constitutional review efforts in Nigeria.

Keywords: millennium development goals (MDGs), youth, Nigeria, youth development

1. Introducing the Problem

The concept of youth development has increasingly occupied the attention of scholars, youth activists, politicians and international organizations. This interest has increased in the new millennium because of the overwhelming awareness that "youths represent the most tangible investment that any country can have" (Osisioma, 2007). Osisioma's assertion that "the strength of our armies, the virility of our workforce, the resilience of our national values, the skill and dexterity of the professional class, all depend on the quality of our youth" further brings to the forefront the critical position which youths occupy in every society both now and in the future. They are, in a word, the 'future'. This is because the continued propagation of the successes or failures of every generation rests on the youth. It is the youth who will, in the future, become doctors, lawyers, engineers, politicians, teachers, businessmen, artisans, etc. who will manage the affairs of their society and who will also one day pass the baton of continuity over to the next generation of youths. It is therefore due to the primacy of the youth in every society that the concept of youth development was developed and also revolves around.

Ubi (2007, p.2) opines that "the youth phase of life is an interesting and an important phase of the development of any human society. This phase of life shows signs that an era (childhood) is over and marks the beginning of a new phase that transcends into adulthood". It is also described as "the period in an individual's life that runs between the end of childhood and entry into the world of work" (Onuekwusi & Effiong, 2002). According to Nigeria's Youth Development Policy (2001), "the youth comprises all young persons of ages 18-35, who are citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria". They are seen as "the vital sources of manpower for development" (Olujide, 2008). Youths are usually referred to as the leaders of tomorrow. This is because it is the youth that usually receive the baton of nation building from the preceding adult population.

Chine (2003, p.9) opines that "youths are generally and rightfully referred to as the leaders of tomorrow". He continued that "consequently, every sane society with responsible and selfless leadership has constitutional arrangements whereby young ones are guided to imbibe the moral, social, economic and political value orientations" of that society. …

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