Reviewing President Buhari’s Speech to Commemorate the International Youth Day on August 28, 2015



Can it be said any longer that the youths of today are the future of tomorrow? Sometimes we are made to ponder hard on the state and circumstances surrounding the youths of the 21st century. Are the youths excelling as much as they strive? Or is laziness a factor in their present predicament?

Considering the speeches of past and present leaders in Africa, the same agenda is been discussed over and over again with worsen figures of failure in the sector. Youths faces the same problem continuously; hunger, unemployment, poor education and educational facilities, poor health care and sensitisation among others.

The present administration had promised while seeking power and after attaining such, that the youths will be compensated and considered as they are necessary in order to accelerate economic growth and sustainable development. This made it essential to consider the words of President Buhari as he addresses the youths on 2015’s International Youth Day and the changes so far as we approach another International Youth Day, August 12, 2016.

President Buhari became the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on May 27, 2015 after successfully overthrowing Goodluck Jonathan and his Vice, Nnamdi Sambo. President Buhari during his election campaign stated that Nigeria is blessed with enough to visualise the economic growth and sustainable development. He further assured the youths in his campaign that his administration will increase the stipends giving to the NYSC, National Youth Service Corp, and also pay some amount of money to all unemployed youths in the country. Other pledge includes; job creation, qualitative education, and good health facilities among others. Since his admission into the Presidential Villa, Aso Rock, Nigeria youths wonder where the promises had journeyed to.

The International Youth Day was initiated to celebrate and appreciate the contributions of the youths to their various communities.  This is in accordance with the United Nations Resolution 54/120 on December 19, 1999. Each year, August 12 is marked out to celebrate this course. This initiative is targeted at promoting the general well-being and livelihood of young people with its priority focus on education, employment, poverty and hunger, drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, intergenerational issues among others.

In Nigeria and other countries within the continent of Africa, August 12 come and go as other days in the year. The best this day could offer are seminars, summits, symposium and open letters from political figures. In 2011, African leaders at the Malabo 2011 summit committed themselves to providing employment, whether directly or indirectly, for at least 3% of its unemployed young people each year. We have others as  such, the Youth Decade Plan of Action (2009-2018) and the Ouagadougou 2004 Plan of Action on Employment Promotion and Poverty Alleviation, as stressed by President Buhari in his speech, are efforts of Africa leaders in giving voice, visibility and platform to the youth to advocate for more investment in their future.

Consequently, the President continues to assure youths that his administration will place high premium in tackling challenges facing the youth sector. There are 60 million young people who make up the majority of population. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, unemployment remains a major concern in Nigeria, with rates rising from 6.4% in 2006 to 24.20% in the first quarter of 2015, and in 2016? The unemployment rate among youths is considered to be over 50% due to the sheer number of youth who have had no chance to go to school roaming about the street. So I wonder, how scraping out NYSC (National Youth Service Corp initiated to encourage integration and empowerment for all young graduate) will be good to the nation, and on the contrary, against his initial promises of increasing the salaries of youth corpers and the creation of jobs for all graduates and unemployed. The President during the last International Youth Day stated that “Unsuitable qualifications limit our young people’s employment prospects and potential to contribute to national development.” Considering this statement, one would marvel over what these “unsuitable qualifications” are.

Could it be that, Nigerian educational system is not buoyant to produce qualified graduates or there are no serious minds learning in Nigerian schools. How then would companies and organisations not ask for lots of years experience from a new graduate, if the President could have no regards for the qualifications obtained within the country? Would you then blame banks and other commercial ventures for firing workers?

Promises have been shared over the years during International Youth Days, such as; development of small and medium scale enterprises, skilled and educational empowerment, strengthening of academic and vocational training institutions as well as significantly improving the health care delivery system.

 I can’t stop thinking of how easy it is for the less privileged in the society to travel outside their shores to get medical care in the hands of suitable and qualified doctors in foreign lands.

Well, political figures do this no matter how little the health challenge is.

Imagine your President restricting citizens from travelling to overseas for medical treatment with the claim that it country can hand all its citizens medical needs, and when he is having the slightest of pain or uncomfortable feelings in his body system he takes the country’s official aircraft to the best of hospital in the world.

 How will education be realistic when teachers and lecturers are looked down upon and made to beg for their income? Doctors in this part of the world go on strike and abandon their patients. How will the small and medium scale enterprise grow when the revenue charges are overweighing?

The youths should no longer be seen as a board where leaders come to play word puzzle, but a vital part in the decisions making of today and the ultimate future. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Now that youths are not just idle, they are hungry. A hungry man can be the devil himself.





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