As part of the activities to commemorate the International Youth Day 2017 across the globe, the Nigerian Youth Parliament led by its Speaker, Rt Hon. Ayodele Obe has held a World Press Conference at National Assembly Complex in Abuja to call on Federal Government to give immediate attention to the recurring challenges facing an average Nigerian youth towards maximizing his or her full potentials.
Some of the challenges enumerated by the Youth Parliament are the issues of youth unemployment, youth budget, restructuring, absolute neglect of the Youth Constituency by the Federal Government amongst others.
While addressing the Pressmen, Rt Hon. Ayodele stressed the importance of the International Youth Day, he stated that one of the key recommendations of the 1998 WCM is the declaration of every 12th of August as the International Youth Day, which culminated into Resolution 54/120 of the United Nations which mandates member States to observe the day globally”.
According to him, Nigerian Youth Parliament has witnessed with utmost dismay, the unguarded and frivolous proclamations by some disjointed, disgruntled, unpatriotic and social irritants who are seeking cheap popularity through utterances which threatens the sovereign unity and integrity of the country.
“On this basis, the Parliament as an authentic voice of the Nigerian Youth Constituency hereby sounds a note of warning to all these groups. Consequently, we call on the leadership of the National Assembly to promulgate a legislation that will address the activities of these groups set in place the right punishment. This is because freedom of speech does not imply utterances of words capable of truncating national peace, unity and cohesion. However Nigeria is one united entity and our strengths lies in our diversity and in the Unity of Nigeria we stand” he affirmed.
On the issues of urgent National Importance such as:
- Unemployment: Parliament resolves that Federal Government of Nigeria should declare state of emergency on the economic sector, meet every policy statement targeting the recovery of our economy with the right strategic actions, build youth capacity and create jobs in other to avert the impending socio-economic and political hurricane that may hit the country if no commensurate measures are in place, and in the right time.
- Restructuring: Parliament resolves as follows;
- That the outcome of the National Confab be fully implemented, as it reflects the true opinions, consent and goodwill of every Nigerians, having in it, the true home-grown ideations, ideologies and innovative solutions to fix the country and strengthen our unity.
- That there should be complete economic and political restructuring of the country; giving the federating constituents the capacity to realize their unique socio-economic and political potentials and grow their prosperity. This is because no nation has ever grown a robust economy by sharing national income as in the case of Nigeria, but by realizing and developing diverse areas of unique advantages and trailing new ideas capable of meeting very present and evolving challenges.
- That Federal Government should open sincere dialogue with different genuine groups clamoring for the restructuring of the country and aggregate their opinions for the benefit of stepping up a holistic solution to address the surging agitations.
- Youth Budget: The Parliament frowns at the budget of the Federal Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, which centre over 80% percent of the sectoral allocation on recurrent expenditure, leaving behind the deserving budgetary commitment on youth development issues. To this end, the ministry should stand up to her responsibility of developing the enormous potentials of our youth demography and aligning herself with all global conventions on youth development. This is because; no Nation develops above the strength and capacity of her youth.
Other Resolutions by the Youth Parliament are highlighted below:
Similarly, the Parliament has resolved to remind the leadership of the National Assembly of her avowed commitments and assurances on the full integration of the Parliament in the National Assembly and undertaking the Parliaments annual budgets and programmes, not forgetting the proposed three months Parliamentary Internship offered to be undertaken by the National Assembly Starting 1st October, 2017.
- Observed Negligence of the Youth Constituency: Parliament observed with dismay, the untold negligence of the Youth Constituency by the Federal Government. All over the world, the leadership of every Nation demonstrates clear and objective engagements of their youth population, especially through the youth leaders. However, the Nigeria experience is different; this is evident on the failure of the Federal Government to celebrate the United Nations International Youth Day for two consecutive years now. Similarly, the Federal government has failed to engage the youth leaders of the country to discuss issues impeding development in the sector for years now. Parliament, therefore, resolve to appeal to the Acting President to convoke a National Youth Roundtable Dialogue (NYRD) to address several issues confronting the youth constituency.
Other Parliament Demands are:
In strict compliance to our collective resolve and determination of championing every programmes and policies aimed at securing a genuine development that will ripple down positively on the Nigerian people, Parliament resolved and thus demand;
- That the State Houses of Assembly should as a matter of necessity and transgenerational breakthrough pass the NOT TOO YOUNG TO RUN BILL and the Local Government Autonomy Bill as passed by the National Assembly. Notably, the youth demography is watching with keen interest and ready to adequately match our Rhetoric with ACTIONS in ensuring that the Bills blaze through.
- The Federal Government should declare a National Youth Day as a day for celebrating the enormous potentials of our youth demography, and assessing all Youth Response Actions (YRA) and setting in motion a 360 Days National Work plan on Youth Development.
- The Presidency should arrange an urgent meeting with Youth Stakeholders with the Acting president or the president.
- That the Federal government should convoke a National Youth Conference on Security and peace building in line with the United Nations theme for 2017 IYD.
- That the presidency should remove the National Youth Service Corps budget from the Youth budget.
- That the presidency should declare state of emergency in the power, Agriculture and science and Technology sectors. Consequently, the ministers of these Ministries should sit up and meet every policy statement with Action.
- That the 8th National Assembly should promulgate an Act that will establish the punitive measures as deterrents to every hate speech that will ridicule and destabilize the National Unity and cohesion.
- That the presidency should as a matter of urgency commence the full implementation of all treaties, agreements and consensus with any group.
- That the federal government should adhere and comply with all court rulings, judgments and injunctions, thereby doing away with selectiveness in the compliance with any outcome of court process. This is to strengthen our nascent democracy, ensure good place for rule of law, separation of powers and ensure checks and balances.
- That all the political parties in the country should strengthen the youth wing of their party, and enshrine in their party constitution the specification that qualification for occupying the office of the youth leader must be within the youth age (18-35 years) as specified by the National Youth Policy and African Youth Charter. Else, the Parliament will drive alongside key youth stakeholders and youth groups for a nationwide campaign against such party, as of course being anti-youth.
In ensuring the Unity, Progress and robust prosperity of Nigeria, the Parliament avowed to leave no stones unturned to doing all that is required and in engaging the right resource, strategy as well as every key stakeholders and groups to ensure the possibility of a peace, prosperous and strong Nigeria of our dream.