There has been a lot of misconception regarding the Nigerian youths. A notable Nigerian political party not long ago appointed a 60-year-old person as its National Youth Leader. This is a fully mature adult, indeed virtually in the departure lounge waiting for the trip to the “far beyond”!
A President over 70 years of age not long ago defined himself as a youth, because, as he said, youthfulness is in the heart. This, to say the least, is excessively patronising!
The United Nations defines Youth as young people in transition from childhood to adulthood who fall in the age category of 15-24 years.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, a specialised agency of the UN, has expanded its definition to cover all those who fall within the age category of 15-34 years.
So, even if we stretch the definition, youths are primarily those in the age category of 15-35years. Studies have shown that young people categorised as youth, as defined above, constitute the most vibrant, active, energetic, innovative, courageous, risk-taking, problem-solving and intellectually alert grouping of people in the world. Notably also is the fact that when they define goals and pursue them, they are relatively more ambigous, enthusiastic and promising.
If care is not taken and their energies are not chanelled in a positive direction, they can also be the most rambunctious, murderous, anarchic if not criminally minded group in the country.
Hence, in view of the perceptive neglect of this vibrant category, which is simply reckless and crude, it can be argued that the basic needs of the youths have not been adequately catered for, especially in Nigeria.
I therefore call on the government to address these challenges by harnessing the youthful vibe and virtues, adequately provide for the basic needs of the youths and channel their boundless energies into societal progress and development rather than conflicts and criminality.
Invariably, change agents with tremendous impact spring up from this category of the population. This may be as a consequence of the inherent attributes of this age group.
Take Alexander the Great, for example, one of the most influential people in history (who succeeded his father as a king of Macedon at age 20; he created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, from Greece to India, at age 30). Genglis Khan (who was elected Khan of the Mongolis at 24, became the sole ruler of the Mongol at age 35 in the 12th and 13th Century.
The youths need to be carried along politically, socially, developmentally and economically because we are #Nottooyoungtorun
Badmus Ammar Olaide,
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