Nigeria’s National Youth Council has a lofty goal, writes Timi Olagunju, 27, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Lagos in Nigeria. But he argues the Council has fallen short of the goal and has questions about its future.
Let me start with a quick survey on the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN).
Firstly, have you heard of any Nigerian Youth Council of Nigeria? Secondly, what can you say they have done or they do?
These were the same questions asked of a couple of young Nigerians at an event recently. Guess what? They simply could not answer in the affirmative; especially the second question.
By law, the National Youth Council is supposed to be the umbrella body of youth groups throughout Nigeria. It is not subservient to any Department or Agency of Government or the Ministry of Youths. The National Youth Council is supposed to be the collective voice of the Nigerian Youth. So, why has its relevance and popularity dwindled in the Nigerian case despite its potency in the 1960s?
In answering the above question of ‘relevance’, I ask the ‘priority’ question. What National Youth Council of Nigeria do we have that goes about reportedly ‘endorsing President Goodluck Jonathan for 2015’, while doing and saying nothing on the Nigerian Universities strike? Are the students not mostly youths?
In Britain, for example, the Youth Council is known for charitable works, with a large pool of willing volunteers of youths recruited online. In fact, the process of selection and election is not only transparent but involves an online audience of youths. That is the kind of transparency the NYCN should adopt. The same goes for the Kenyan Youth Council, which constantly critiques the policies of the Kenyan Government both offline and online to enable the protection of youth-centered interests. Whose interest would the NYCN be remembered protecting? Would it be their interest or our Youth interest?’
As one who loves my land, the sycophantic statement of the so-called National Youth Council through its new President angered me enough to research the NYCN. Surprisingly, I discovered how powerfully the law regards it, but also how redundant it has turned.
I also discovered that our NYCN has no website. UK Youth Council’s website is http://www.byc.org.uk; South Africa’s Cape Town Youth Council’s website is http://www.saycwc.org; Kenya manages both a blog and a website. Where is NYCN’s website? How can we have a Youth Council in Nigeria that is largely vague in operation and inaccessible to its Youth constituents? How can our so-called youth umbrella “NYCN” represent us in the International Community of Youths or the International Youth Council (http://internationalyouthcouncil.com) when it neglects the ideals of operational transparency, feedback and communication in the 21st century of information and communication technology? Shockingly, the last time the NYCN ever posted anything on Facebook, their only social media, was on the 22nd September 2011. What future leaders can this redundancy, lack of initiative and absence of foresight produce?
The last time I sued the Federal Government – in 2012 http://www.ynaija.com/who-wins-president-jonathan-sued-by-young-lawyer-over-fgs-youwin-program – as a concerned Youth and Lawyer, I joined the National Youth Council of Nigeria. The Court bailiff went to Abuja to serve NYCN in its office but surprisingly found none. What future leaders run an institution that cannot be located whether offline or online? It still boils down to the issue of transparency and accessibility. Many questions need be asked, for example about how the elections or selections are done, and who are our NYCN executives. I would rather ask questions than trade blame.
I am aware that many blame the present state of the NYCN on the years of military interregnum. But, whether we blame it on President Goodluck Jonathan or on the sacked Minister of Youth, Inuwa Abdulkadir, the truth is this is the time to fix the problem, not the blame. This is the time our future NYCN should learn from the first genuine nationalist organization, founded in 1933, the Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM) because history will judge.
On May, 1994, President Nelson Mandela echoed the words “The youth of our country are a valued possession of our nation. Without them, there can be no reconstruction and development programme. Without them, there can be no future.”
I re-echo the same today because without the Nigerian Youth there can be no transformation agenda.
Legal Practitioner, Sync Legal
linkedIn: Timi Olagunju
t: @timithelaw #TACTS
About me: I give leverage to your voice in the Courts of Law and in the Courts of Public Opinion. I do this as a Legal Practitioner, Public Policy analyst and as an author, majoring in human rights, public policy and information technology law.
I am a graduate of the University of and the NigerianLawSchool. An avid public policy analyst and advocate of change, I speak and write about legal and socio-economic topics, entrepreneurship and IT law.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/
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