LG autonomy, rural development, education solutions to youth radicalisation, rural-urban migation
As global solutions are being sought in Davos, Switzerland on the best way to check youth radicalization and rural –urban migration around the world , particularly in less developed countries.
Foremost diplomat and former Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, [UN], Prof. Ibrahim Gambari and a group of young talented Nigerian youths with strong leadership quality under the aegis of Abuja Global Shapers, an emerging solution providers to global challenges have told the on-going World Economic Forum [WEF] Meetings in Davos , Switzerland that the neglect of rural communities around the world, with particular reference to Nigeria, is the bane of youth radicalization, extremism and rural –urban migration.
And to address the challenge, they have advised the WEF as well as the Nigerian Government to as a matter of urgency ensure that infrastructure delivery, including education, is taking to the rural communities where the vast majority of citizens live and where opportunities abound in great measure so as to deter youth from indulging in radicalization and migratory adventures to the urban cities in search of opportunities thereby congesting the cities with the consequence of upsurge in criminality and other vices.
These advice which is being sent to the WEF as well as to the Nigerian Government through the Vice President and Nigeria’s head of Economic Team, Prof Yemi Osinbajo is the outcome of a cerebral think-tank brainstorming session held in Abuja organized by the Abuja Global Shapers led by Ms. Saadatu Hamu Aliyu as its curator as part of the conversation ongoing at the Davos , Switzerland Forum. This year, the Abuja hub was selected as one of the 16 hubs to bring Davis to their respective communities.
Addressing the Abuja conversation, Prof Gambari sought for the change of narrative in youth development paradigm to ensure that much energies and resources of the youth, particularly in Nigeria and Africa can be tapped for positive use.
While he noted that the rate of urbanization in Africa is the highest in the world, the fact, in others words reflects that more Africans are moving from the rural areas to the urban compared to any other region in the world and these young migrants are chasing jobs and opportunities that do not exist and many of them even take enormous risks trying to cross the Mediterranean and perish in the process.
He said: “A discussion on the push and pull factors for these young people must be brought to the fore. A new contract must be formed between rulers and the citizens. Leadership should not be done in a context of ‘do as I say’ but ‘do as I do’. People must be able to renew their faith based on inclusion and reliance on the system of government where people can be included and come to understand that their voices count. Inclusiveness also contributes to the process of nation and state building,” Ambassador Gambari added.
Speaking on the need for local councils in `Nigeria to be given autonomy so they can increase the ante in infrastructural delivery in their domains and create more opportunities for the vast majority of their people to check the scourge of radicalization of the youth and urban migration, a panelist who is the Director General, Media and Communication to the Kano State Government, mallam Salihu Tanko Yakassai declared that it was erroneous to think that local government chairmen lack the competence to undertake development, providing infrastructure, saying Nigeria’s social and infrastructure divide will continue and the country living with the menance of radicalization until the third tier of government in the country is
freed from the clutches of the States in the country.
Speaking with The Guardian after the panel discussion, Yakassai insisted that the local government autonomy remains the panacea.
His words “ It is not just my aspiration but that of a large spectrum of the Nigerian population. Sooner than later, all us will realise that if we need to move forward, certainly we would have to go back to the grass roots. For instance, in the UK, you basically don’t have the states., they have the Central Government and they have the local councils and that’s how it needs to be because the people are there in the councils and they are the ones who are in need of this infrastructure , so you have to take into account what you are planning in whatever you do. And in our own situation, the dearth of infrastructure in the rural areas would continue and we would continue to have rural-urban migration until the Local Governments have their autonomy so that they can develop heir own framework on how they are going to change the status quo we are not going anywhere.”
Other panelists , including Ms. Cynthia Mosunmola Umoru a farmer and Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development on Youth and Women shared experience on the great potentials and opportunities available in rural communities which far exceed the ones in the urban cities and pointed out that what is required to be done is just unleash infrastructure like education for the rural folks, social housing, electricity, accessible roads, security, and water which would ultimately attract investors to the communities and by extension provide job opportunities which will help to keep the rural youths back in their domains instead of foraging to the cities.
The panellists then called on the Nigerian Government to undertake the courage and will to implement the solutions highlighted to enjoy the reprieve from youth radicalization and extremism because they would feel included.
Speaking with The Guardian on the relevance of the global discussion in Abuja, Ms Aliyu gave the reason why the Davos Global Shapers Hubs have formed as well as the expectation of this year’s conversation.
She said: “ This is an initiative of WEF comprising of young people under the age of 30 recognised for their exceptional leadership qualities. At the moment, the annual Meeting of the WEF is being held in Davos, Switzerland . it is very important that when world leaders are having a conversation, especially when you have the private sector and governments converge at such a high-level meeting that you also have a local perspective to the conversation.
“ So, the whole essence of shaping Davos is to also be part of that conversation by bringing a local perspective to the global issues being discussed. And our topic of discussion is bridging the urban and rural divide to prevent radicalization. We have identified thematic areas causing a divide in `Nigeria, and they include education, infrastructure, health local governance security and socio-economic inclusion.
“We have been able to highlight some of these issues and the impact this divide has had on radicalization as well as coming up with the solution to solving these issues at the end we will propose a policy document to the forum.
“The discussion so far has been far-reaching , especially as to how infrastructure divide, especially in kano and Lagos, have stark differences and how the private sector and Government can collaborate to see that each and every member of the communities can contribute meaningfully like Hajia suggested on the rural housing policy and also what one of the panelists suggested about provision of transportation to school for children in rural communities, it’s a hindrance to so many children . and when children do not learn, when they do not go to school they become susceptible to radicalization and extremism.
“ This initiative underscores the willingness of young people to participate and contribute to finding the solution to global problems. This is the second edition of shaping Davos from the Abuja Hub and it has so far been one of the successful ones . after the discussions, we would have a policy document highlighting all of these areas and the possible solutions that need to be provided to the Vice President that will be shared at the World Bank,” Ms. Aliyu further revealed the plan.
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