Kaduna – The All Progressive Party (APC) Youths in Kaduna State on Saturday held a gathering tagged, “Kaduna State APC Emerging Young Leaders Summit’’, to break the barriers to youth leadership in the state.
Muhammad Abdullahi, Commissioner, Planning and Budget Commission, said at the opening of the event that the gathering in Kaduna would provide an avenue for youths to discuss challenges and chart a course for a better tomorrow.
Abdullahi explained that 7.38 million, representing 89 per cent of the estimated 8.3 million population of the state were under the age of 35, of which 3.7 million were eligible voters.
“This clearly shows the power in the hands of the youths. We have the power to determine who wins and who loses an election if we use our votes wisely.
“But the question is, are we using this power wisely?
“This is why the summit was organised to bring youth, young professionals and emerging leaders together to discuss societal issues with a view to bringing positive change in their communities.
“It is geared towards giving youths a platform to hear, learn, engage and collaborate with young professionals on academic, decision making and advocacy for societal change and development,’’ he said.
He argued that there was no government in the history of Kaduna State that had given the youth more opportunities than the current APC government.
“There are currently three Commissioners, 40 Special Assistants, 29 Technical Assistants and at least five Director-Generals and Managing Directors of parastatals that are youths in Gov. Nasir El-Rufa’i led-government.
“The administration has also supported the emergence of young leaders in politics, including the current leadership of the state’s House of Assembly and several local government chairmen, all under the age of 45,’’ the commissioner said.
He called on all the youth in the state to join the movement in ensuring that they were not left behind in moving the state forward.
“We are the future, thus, we must seize the moment and make every effort count,’’ he added.
Also, the Speaker of the state’s House of Assembly, Malam Aminu Shagali, said the summit provided a forum for the youth to deliberate the question of their future.
“I stand before you today as the youngest Speaker in Nigeria and under my leadership the House had passed not less than 85 bills into law.
“Also, whenever you hear of progress in the state, it is being spearheaded by a young man like you and I.
“In planning and budgeting, in works and beyond governance, we have young men and women breaking barriers and setting the trend, changing the business landscape.
“Our young men and women are achieving feats hitherto considered impossible through creativity and youthful drive,’’ Shagali said.
He called on the youth to use their voting power wisely and stop settling for politicians who do not work with the youth.
On his part, retired Air Commodore Emmanuel Jekada, APC Chairman in the state, noted that every society needed a skilled youthful population to make progress.
“For us in APC, the youth are not just key stakeholders but key determinants of progress, growth and development in the country.
“The secret of El-Rufai’s administration is in the youthful, sharp and creative minds he keeps around him,’’ Jekada said. (NAN)