Memo To President- Elect Muhammadu Buhari – Understanding The Youth’s Agenda By Murtala Adogi Mohammed
I offer my congratulations to You & your deputy Osinbajo on your resounding victory in Nigeria’s historic national election, I also extend warm congratulations to all the newly elected parliamentarians. When the people of Nigeria hold the biggest democratic election in Nigeria’s history, the entire world tunes in to watch. And what we saw has been nothing short of remarkable: more voters cast their ballots freely and fairly.
The Presidential election is over and in the next couple of weeks you will mount the saddle of leadership as the President, of Federal Republic Of Nigeria. The Change Nigerian YOUTH are expecting is to happen now and not later, no excuse will be good enough in our ears. Trust Nigerians with a lot of muckrakers on social media waiting to kick-start criticism either constructive or otherwise.
This essay, intends to draw the attention of the in-coming President, Muhammadu Buhari to note that this is 2015, not 1984 and the kind of leader Nigerian youths would appreciate at this critical point should have an understanding of the contemporary youth issues and the challenges of youth unemployment and poverty as drivers of violence and conflicts
The critical thing about the Youth agenda is that if you are not quick to understand it, you can lose track. That is why the in-coming President must have a clear understanding of the youth’s agenda – there is need for needs assessment to have clear picture of the different youth groups; out of school youth, unemployed graduates, underemployed graduates, youth with disability, and youth in drugs.
Secondly, the President elect must work closely with the in-coming Minister of Youth Development. And as a stand-alone ministry, it must be up to date with factual statistics, studies, research and data that will inform key decisions, policy direction and submission of memo at the executive council for deliberation and approval.
Thirdly, the President Elect, must develop a quick-win and huge-impact programs and projects that would address the challenges of youth unemployment. In a country of about 170 million people, 60 per cent is youthful. It is projected that by the year 2020, Nigeria’s population will cross the 200 million mark, and by 2050 the country would be the fifth most populous country in the world. Is it not scary to imagine a youth population in tens of millions that are engaged in the use of hard drugs, vandalism, oil theft, kidnapping, Internet fraud, prostitution, thuggery, and other vices?
Fourthly, it is important for President Elect Muhammadu Buhari to have better understanding of the need to collaborate with the private sector, civil society groups, and international development partners. This task is very crucial, as it will help in leveraging development partners and private sectors resources. There are also a good numbers of international development organizations (prominent examples include the World Bank, African Development Bank, British Council, DFID, US Embassy and USAID) that focus on youth development and empowerment.
Fifthly, working together with youth both online and offline is very important for any leader that want to succeed….Obama is doing it, David Cameron is doing it, Ed Miliband the Labour Party Leader in UK is doing it… Therefore, Mr President-Elect Should note that, there is need for him and members of his youth task team to be a social media savvy, and thoroughly understands the tools and ways of how the social media works. This requirement is non-negotiable as a substantial part of the engagement with young Nigerians will have to be done through blogs, Facebook, Quora, Twitter and Instagram by responding to questions raised by young Nigerians.
In addition, The President Elect, Muhammadu Buhari, must facilitate the repositioning the youth development Ministry – specifically to sustainably increase the access of unemployed youth to entrepreneurial skills and employment opportunities for self-reliance and income security by working together with key government departments and agencies that implements projects and schemes such NDE, SMEDAN, NAPEP and ITF and others. There is need for the in-coming President to create youth’s technical task team to set the ball rolling and develop a four years strategic plan for Mr President within the Q1 and Q2 of his administration.
I will conclude with some of the key findings of the British Council 2010 report, which revealed that, Nigeria stands on the threshold of what could be the greatest transformation in its history. By 2030, it will be one of the few countries in the world that has young workers in plentiful supply…Youth, not oil, will be the country’s most valuable resource in the twenty-first century.
By Murtala Adogi Mohamme