By Fortune Eromosele, Abuja

In commemoration of the African Youth Day, 2021, President of the Nigerian Youth Congress, NYC, and Executive Director of the African Youth International Development Foundation, AFYIDEF, Comrade Blessing Akinlosotu, has urged youths in the nation to embrace art, culture, heritage as a way of living.

He stated this at the conference organised to commemorate the 2021 African youth day with the theme: “Arts, Culture and Heritage; Levers for Building the Africa we want,” in Abuja.

The 1st of November was proclaimed and instituted as the Africa Youth Day on the occasion of the African Youth Charter adoption in the Executive Council Decision of the Banjul Summit 2006. Africa Youth Day is a day set aside every year to promote the increased recognition of youth as key agents for social change, economic growth and sustainable development in all areas of African Society.

The purpose of commemorating Africa Day with the youths is to serve as a platform for showcasing Africa’s talent through the arts, culture, heritage, innovation and entrepreneurship, while at the same time making available the space for networking among the youths and invited stakeholders.

In his welcome address, Akinlosotu said, “We need our young Africans to begin to see our Arts, Culture and Heritage as the only way of life and try to always represent this through the African continent we are born to be by making sure we remain ambassadors of our culture and heritage to the global community.

“Building these important worlds for the Africa we want is what is needed now for the development of African for Africans.”

In the same vein, Nigerian Youth Ambassador to the United States and Secretary-General of the NYC, Dr. Raymond Edoh, explained that for youths to be recognised in society and the world, they need to show their creative abilities.

“My advice to the Nigerian youths is to be more creative. Without creativity you can’t achieve anything and if you have an idea that you want to act on, start it, by the time you start it, we who are the leaders will definitely get involved,” he said.

On his part, Nigerian Permanent Representative, AU-ECOSOCC and Chairman Board of Trustees, African Youth International Development Foundation, AFYIDEF, Dr. Tunji Asaolu, lamented the increasing rate of unemployment, calling on the government to provide more incentives that will help cushion the heightened spate of unemployment.

He said: “The growing rate of unemployment is becoming worrisome, because the outcome of the insecurity we see in the country today is as a result of the lack of jobs. It is part of what we are clamouring for government to look into. We are discussing with meaningful government agencies to see how they can create job opportunities for our youths.”

“Government should give youths the enabling environment to operate, and also look at that sector and see how we can give them the recognition they all deserve. Let that be an incentive that will encourage them and also encourage those that would want to be like them.”

Delivering his keynote lecture, Executive Director Niger Delta Power Holding Company of Nigeria, Engr. Ife Oyedele, said until Nigerians restructure their mindset, the country cannot be restructured, adding that as a nation, doing what is right at all times is required.

He maintained that the federal government should embrace the youths as creative tools to harness untapped potentials in the country.

His words, “The future of any nation, especially Africa belongs to the youths. There are opportunities in the creative industry for youths to display their creative potentials.

“Many countries are battling with unemployment especially with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, we need to refocus on our young people and the creative industry. The opportunities are limitless both in the creative industry and sports.”

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