Magazine article New African

The Future of Nigeria's Youth

Magazine article New African

The Future of Nigeria's Youth

Article excerpt

AS I MAKE THIS CONTRIBUTION in the year that Nigeria attains 50 years of age--from three years before I was born--it crosses my mind that the subject I am contributing to is one that the current odds and life expectancy indices today do not favour me to witness.


However, I always acknowledge that nothing is impossible and it would be a rare and most welcome privilege to see my dream for Nigerian youth in 50 years' time not only achieved but overwhelmingly surpassed.

It is beyond argument that procreation and the nurturing of younger versions of our species is the deliberate act by which we attempt to propagate and elongate our adventure and impact on Planet Earth. It therefore stands to reason that more serious consideration must be given to the process of youth development if the ultimate mission of propagating the continued existence of the Nigerian state is to be achieved.

For a nation with an estimated 140 million people of which 70 million are under 25 years old, the importance of the asset that the human resource is cannot be over-emphasised. If there is a place on earth where the future truly belongs to the youth, it is Nigeria. However, I dare to venture that indeed the future starts now and that the present must belong (if it does not already) to the youth.

There is overwhelming evidence of the vast store of benefits that inures to a nation that invests in her people, especially the youth. We have seen nations that are not blessed with any natural resources of note, but whose standard of living, GDP and per capita income have become the envy of those who made the wrong investment simply because of the quality of return that investment in young people has brought forth.

Our responsibility today is to prepare the Nigerian youth to be ready to deal with the challenges that Nigeria will throw up in the next 50 years. This requires us to evolve a rational and enviable vision for Nigeria. That vision must understand that the needs of the present generation of young people and those behind will be different from our own needs today.

I went to school believing that a job would be waiting for me once I graduated. By the time I left school, the fortunes of the Nigerian economy had become radi-cally different; the jobs were dwindling and within a short time 1 had to learn to employ myself.

This is but an example of the kind of envisioning and preparation chat I refer to. …

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