According to the United Nations, the youth is best understood as a period of transition from the dependence of childhood to adulthood; independence and awareness of our interdependence as members of a community. Youth is a more fluid category than a fixed age-group. The Commonwealth defines a youth as 15-29 years of age while the African Youth Charter defines youths as those between any individual between 15-35 years of age and seeks to resolve longstanding debates about defining youth within the African context and based on Africa’s development realities.
Youths in Africa constituted 19 per cent of the global youth population in 2015, numbering 226 million. By 2030, it is predicted that the number of youths in Africa will have increased by 42 per cent. If Africa’s leaders do not act quickly to move the continent into the 21st century, young people will leave them behind. Young people are ready for the digital era and are engaged in technology but governments are not keeping up. They have not fully embraced this new bright and brave world that young people live in today.
I will like to start by saying forgive me because I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I would like to help everyone- Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Tiv, Black man and white. We all want to help one another. Humans are like that, we want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate one another in this world; the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful but we have lost the way.
Greed has poisoned our souls, our heart has been barricaded with hate and hatred has led us into bloodshed. We have developed speed but have shut ourselves in. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities life will be violent and will be cost. Internet has brought us closer together. These inventions cry out for the unity of us all.
Youths, don’t give yourselves to brutes who despise you, who enslave you, regiment our lives, what to think and feel, who dress you down, treat you like cattle and use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these men; you have the love of humanity in you. Don’t hate, but love. Don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty. You have the power to make, this life a wonderful adventure. Lets us use that power, let us all unite, let’s fight for a new nation— a nation that will give youths a chance to work; that will give youths a future and security.
Now let us fight to free our nation, to do away with national barriers, to do away with greed, hatred and intolerance, let us fight for a world of reason.
Ambassador Ridwan Agboluaje,