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Foundation tasks Nigerian leaders, youth on development

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Chris Baywood-Ibeh


Rights activist and Founder, Baywood Foundation (BF), Chris Baywood-Ibeh, has blamed the nation’s age-long poor performance on the utter neglect of her youth.

He maintained that as long as we refuse to accept that our youths are solid assets for the nation’s future growth and development, the more we miss the opportunity to capitalise on this ‘gargantuan’ burst of raw energy.

Baywood-Ibeh disclosed this at the launch of a book titled, Beyond Rhetorics, written by different authors with the thematic preoccupation of the all-talk and no-action approached used by Nigerian leaders.He described the Nigerian youth as a circumstantial victim of numerous bads-joblessness, misery, examination malpractice, violence, HIV/AIDS, cultism and sexual promiscuity.

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“Worse still, they have no voice in the decisions taken over things that concern them. Yet many of them have remained resolute in keeping up with the fight; a fight against a system that seemed to have forgotten that they exist. This book responds to this anomaly by offering solutions that go beyond the usual talk-shows. The solution lies on decisive actions that are backed and given teeth by law and relevant legislations. The solution lies in the affirmative action for the youth driven essentially by internship system particularly at decision-making levels in government.

“How can we explain that a country as big as we are cannot take advantage of 140 million youth to fire-up its development? On the contrary, we allowed them to be victims of unemployment, poor education, and bad orientation. Our focus is the regeneration and empowerment of the African youth to maximally rediscover himself.
 
“Now turn this around and consider that the youth are also given the opportunity to play active roles in designing the policies and programmes that shape their future? Consider that the youths are regarded as assets and not liabilities and consequently treated as such in policy design? What if the youth are equitably represented in the country’s power sharing equation? These are questions that we ordinarily ought to ask and answer each day, but we deliberately turn away.

He explained that the gathering was part of efforts to answer these questions by scholars who are conversant with the issues and concerns of the youth and need for their voices in political decision-making.

The event was attended by a host of young Nigerians and prominent persons in the society who addressed the youth on the ideology and basics of the book and the need to take the bull by the horn because the future belongs to them.

Chairman of the occasion, Emmanuel Ijewere, said, the book is to correct what is wrong and revolves around spectrums of important issues that works towards making a reality of the Nigerian dream. Ijewere enjoined the youth to ‘rise, get united, focus, understand and take advantage of the weakness of those before, to rule Nigeria to the promise land of greatness.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Hussaini Abdu who titled his speech: ‘Between essentialism and despondency, youth politics and development in Nigeria’ said, youth are critical to the socio- economic transformation of any society.


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