The EndSARS protest that brought along with it what Fela called sorrow, tears and blood to many parts of Nigeria, is an indication that things are not sitting right with our youth. For a very long time, the youth have been taken for granted. They have been excluded from governance, the educational sector has been bastardised, less or no attention is paid to sports and the unemployment rate is going higher on a daily basis.
Unlike in climes where opportunities are provided for the youth to explore and put their natural skills and talents as well acquired knowledge into positive ventures, the reverse is the case in Nigeria, as they are mostly used by politicians to achieve their selfish political ends. Those who are not used as political thugs find themselves in other nefarious activities like cyber fraud, kidnapping and robbery among others vices.
Though people have attributed youth involvement in criminal activities to many factors, the high rate of unemployment is definitely number one, after all, it is often said that ‘an idle hand is the devil’s workshop’, and a hungry man, is an angry man.
Now that the youth have woken from their slumber and are asking questions, it is also time for the leaders to do the needful. One of the ways of doing this is through constructive engagement. I am particularly happy that Ogun State government has started this process. Few days ago, youths in all the 20 local government areas and representatives of youth organisations, interest groups and unions in Ogun State, gathered in Abeokuta, where they had a discussion with the state governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun.
Abiodun used the occasion to launch the Ogun State Youth Empowerment scheme (ogunYES), where 5,000 unskilled youth, 250 from each local government area, would be trained to acquire skills in any vocation of their choice. He also informed them of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) revolution going on in the State and the need for them to leverage on it.
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