By Sam Eyoboka
AS the world marked this year’s International Youth Day at a time of increased international tensions, looming climatic deadlines, increasing disparities of income and wealth, and great rents in the social fabric of our societies the National Christian Elders Forum, NCEF and the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN appealed the nation’s youth to wake up to their responsibilities.
August 12 was first designated International Youth Day by the UN General Assembly in 1999, and serves as an annual celebration of the role of young women and men as essential partners in change, and an opportunity to raise awareness of challenges and problems facing the world’s youth. The theme of this year’s celebration is: “Transforming Education.”
Speaking in an interview the chairman of National Christian Elders Forum, NCEF, Elder Solomon Asemota, SAN, lamented the plight of the nation’s youth, saying that they can take their destiny in their own hands. The elder statesman who was the most senior Nigerian police officer at the Ikeja Airport during independence in 1960, offered a word of caution for the nation on behalf of the youths of Nigeria to mark this year’s International Youth Day.
According to Elder Asemota who is now in his 80s: “From what I have seen and from the way they are talking, the Nigerian youths have decided to come out and they can be sure that they have the support of the elders. We also will like to tell those who are not elders yet but who are in positions of authority that the world is changing.
“People are talking about Mars, Moon, and the last 300 or 400 years, democracy made it possible for us to progress more than the period of creation. So history for those 400 years, we’ve made this progress as a result of democracy until they are able to invent anything different, I think we should stick to democracy.
“Also I think they should organize a conference immediately to say what is best for Nigeria, is it one nation one ideology, or is it one nation and two ideologies: Democracy and Sharia? They should debate it among themselves and arrive at which of them: of course I’m for democracy. Then they will know the direction, then they can look round what is happening to us and then decide to say if we agree that democracy is a better place.
“If yes, then why did you arrest Omoyele Sowore; preventing him from demonstrating even before he demonstrated. When it’s an ideology of progress and future, this is what I will tell them, let them sit down and ask themselves one question: do we want one nation one system or one nation two systems?” he asked.
Continuing, Elder Asemota argued that the nation practiced democracy it was the golden age of Nigeria, “but now that we are talking about two systems, we are fighting. If the youths decide they want one nation two systems, fair and good, it is their choice, then they know where they are going to but they should not take democracy for granted.)
Also speaking, CAN’s Director of Legal and Public Affairs, Evangelist Kwamkur Samuel Vondip maintained that no nation can go far without the youths because youths are the future of every generation.
“Besides being the future of the generation, they are also the assets of every generation but in Nigeria it appears that the youths seem to be the most disadvantaged; disadvantaged in the sense that the Nigeria that used to be is not what it is today.
“The government needs to be sincere in their programmes. You hear a lot of programmes, a lot of plans, a lot of figures being brandished as the achievements in respect of the youths, yet when you call for unemployed people, you will see that there will be no space.
“I think that either the government has not done enough or there’s no sincerity of purpose in what is claimed to have been done for the youths. Let us see that the numbers have truly reduced. Let it be that plenty people are celebrating that they’ve gotten jobs. It shouldn’t be said that you’ve don’t this, it should be seen that you have done that so that even your enemies will know that you achieved this.
“But people support based on what is said and they want to celebrate and clap. That is unfortunate! So we wish that the government should be sincere, proactive, practical, focused and let the citizens testify that something has been done. If it is education, it should be seen. If it is employment, it should be seen. We pray that God will help us,” the CAN spokesman pointed out.
Continuing, Kwamkur said: “Unlike the normal setting, the growth of the citizens of a country is supposed to be progressive but in Nigeria if you ask the elders, they will tell you they used to get jobs before they finished school, they used to buy cars immediately after service or after finishing school, but today the reverse is the case.
“Maybe some people have not been faithful and fair in the nation by neglecting what they are supposed to do by developing the nation and helping the young people, the first thing I want to note is that young people should not give up. They should know that they are the today and the future of the nation.
“Secondly, they should be responsible because to be a leader too takes a lot of responsibilities. Maybe because of the challenges today, a lot of youths don’t understand that they are the future and a lot is expected of them. So the young people need to understand that you cannot just remain unprepared and unproductive and expect that tomorrow will be better,” he stressed.