By: Comrd F.B.I Onyekwulisi
The Youth have been the propellers for sustainable development. Across the globe, it remains an inalienable fact that Youths are indispensable components in attaining socio economic and political development.
Several countries have embraced this reality. Unfortunately in Nigeria, where there are stunted policies for Nigerian youths, the youths have not been able to soar and unleash their full potentials for the benefit of the nation.
In Imo State, there has not been a clear cut roadmap to boost and encourage youth development. This has persisted for a long time.
The same reasons why the Federal Government, has failed to give youths in the country the enabling platform to succeed, also remain prevalent in our dear Imo State.
In my article titled ” *Youth Development In Imo: *What Uzodinma Should Learn From Ohakim and Okorocha’s Mistakes*, I enumerated reasons and verifiable factors why the previous administrations in Imo State failed to address myraid of problems bedeviling youth development in Imo State.
I identified in summary: poor policy framework, faulty conception and implementation of youth related policies, as some of the major factors, which had impeded youth development in Imo State.
It is a fact that the dwindling fortunes of Imo youths have made it imperative for the present administration in Imo State led by Governor Hope Uzodinma to key into the global Module for youth development in the State.
The Module according to the UN Three Lenses Approach for Youth Development, includes a comprehensive and workable roadmap which supports active youths engagement, empowerment and all round development in governance; which has proved to be hugely successful in the developed nations of the world, like the United States, United Kingdom and other parts of the globe.
Government’s greater attention to youth development is the major thrust of this Module, which has succeeded to encourage the youths as active players and partakers in all strata of human development. It also envelopes a global action plan for youths across the globe which Nigeria, Imo State inclusive, have completely failed to key in.
For instance, in the United Kingdom, which has consistently adhered to this Module, youth development has become a major policy thrust of the Government. This has led to series of developmental plans for youths who have become major actors in all key sectors of the British economy including Education, lndustry, Health, Agriculture, etc.
The British Youth Council and the UK Youth Parliament, reflects the UK’s commitment “to support young people to influence and inform decisions that positively affect their lives”
According to the World Bank, the U.K had spent huge expenditure on youth development particularly on education which has led to significant increase in the involvement of young people in the development of Government policies for the overall benefit of the country.
In Scotland, Government has adopted a holistic approach to engage the youths not only in governance but in processes that has shaped the advancement and development of the country.
England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have all developed “The National Youth Work Strategy” which has revived youth development in their respective countries and has positively influenced youth development and growth.
The European Union, EU has also followed suit, keying into the Modules/plans that have promoted youth development.
The EU Work Strategy is a framework for EU youth policy cooperation which seeks to “foster youth participation in democratic life. It also supports social and civic engagement and aims to ensure that all young people have the necessary resources to take part in society”
In South Africa, The South Africa National Youth Development Agency, NYDA, is a government initiative which is an important segment in Government’s overall plans to develop and empower the youths.
The NYDA supports young South Africa entrepreneurs. It was established by the South Africa government to be a single, unitary structure, established to address youth development issues at national, provincial and local government levels.
It also provides a melting point for critical Stakeholders in South Africa such as the Government, private sector and civil society to prioritize youth development and contribute towards identifying and implementing long lasting solutions to address youth development challenges.
In the United States, the United States Agency for International Development, a key agency of the United States government, is committed to improve the capacities of youths to enable them contribute to their development and growth.
Recently, China for the first time unveiled an ambitious national policy on youth development in response to challenging needs and problems of young people face in China.
The China Youth Development Plan is a 10 year plan, which will focus on key and strategic areas that will comprehensively enhance and boost youth development in China.
The very few above, unveils how across the globe, Governments have not just mouthed youth development but have matched it with action and proactive steps.
Regrettably, Nigeria has rather been plagued by Government’s slow response in development, a major factor that has made youth development in the country a monumental task. There is no national programme to support youth development. The National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, seems to have outlived it’s usefulness as it needs to be retooled to capture the present anxieties, frustrations and expectations of Nigerian youths in a fast changing world.
The “Not Too Young to Run Law”, the brainchild of Imo State born Hon.Tony Nwulu, which seeks to encourage youth involvement in governance by reducing the age limit of public office seekers, to accommodate the youths in politics, has not really worked out. Just to measure a few.
Imo State is not left out from this malaise that has plagued the Federal Government in evolving youth policies that will benefit the youth all round.
The seeming redundancy of Imo Youths which has been a nagging problem for decades, can only be addressed, if the present State Government takes a holistic look and implement the Youth Development Modules that have worked out successfully in Europe, America and other parts of the world.
Imo Youths posses the innate capacity to succeed. They have what it takes to contribute significantly for the development of the State. This can only be realized when we embrace the tested and result oriented global modules on youth engagement, development and empowerment which had been proven to be successful.
Yes! The New Imo of our collective dream for Youth development; as envisioned by His Excellency, Hope Uzodinma (Onwa Oyoko), is very possible, if the needful shall be actuated in corroboration with the global modules on youth development.