30th August, 2010
The Lagos State Government has recruited the services of 100 youths across the state in social welfare development.
Speaking at the 2010 International Youth Day in Lagos, South West Nigeria, Special Adviser to theÂ Governor on Youth and Social Development, Dr. Dolapo Badiru, said the youths were recruited to promote social development as they could easily identify with issues that affect their peers.
According to him, the employed youths participated in an empowerment programme in Osogbo, Osun State and National Youth Award Scheme, held in Ghana.
â€œTwenty five other young people were sponsored by the state to the 2010 training workshop on the production of solar water heater. Â Government believes that investment in the development of youth is a worthy investment that will yield tangible returns in the future.
â€œThe resuscitation of uniformed voluntary youth organisations in the stateâ€™s primary and secondary schools by the governor is one of the policy thrusts of this administration to restore moral values, discipline and leadership qualities in young people,â€ he said.
Badru stated that government would implement policy that will ensure that the lives of young people were not laid waste by drugs, cultism, alcoholism and other dreadful habits.
â€œThis government recognises the potentials of our youths and the challenges they encounter. Hence, all efforts are being made to address these challenges.â€ he said.
The special adviser added that government planned to build a centre for youths in the state, where youths could access information on HIV/AIDS, sex, reproductive health and other health-related issues that affect them.
According to him, the centre would not only be useful in the youthâ€™s acquisition of vocational skills, but would help them Â participate in recreational and sporting activities that would harness their potentials towards the fulfillment of their individual goals and that of the state at large.
In his paper on Dialogue and Mutual Understanding: Imperatives for Youth in Nation Building, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele, said the youths had absolute moral responsibility to promote national unity, peace, law and order through their concerted effort.
â€œDialogue is an indisputable means of resolving differences and a necessary step that youths must inculcate in all their endeavours. When communication channels are kept open and oiled, a lot can be achieved without resorting to violence, even in the most desperate situations.â€
According to Bamidele, â€œit is my promotion that our youth should have concrete understanding of the import of youth development in the attainment of nation building, at least in our country. The Nigerian peculiarity underscores the fact that the challenges of nation building in the past still remain the challenges today.
â€œOur nation, in a couple of months, would be 50 years old and yet, the compelling challenges of nation building and poverty eradication have continued to pose serious threats to our capacity for sustainable democracy, economic growth and development.â€
The commissioner stressed the need for government at all levels to be committed to meeting the legitimate aspirations of the people, saying that towards this end, â€œwe must embrace new ways of thinking and acting, for it is only by so doing that the generality of our people will be proud to identify with the Nigerian nation of their own.
â€œWe must also be ready to renew our collective drive towards the restructuring of the system to arrive at true federalism which guaranteed a fair and equitable distribution of national revenues based on derivative principles and contributory status of each state to the national coffers.â€
The commissioner urged that democratic processes should be explored to the fullest before the youths were tempted to explore violence as a means of achieving their desired goals, adding that dialogue held the key to resolving issues.
â€œRather than engaging in violent activities, needless internal bickering and unwarranted confrontation among themselves or with government, the youths must see themselves as major stakeholders in the nation building project.
â€œAs builders, they must be very courageous, creative, versatile in knowledge and virile in organisation. The youth must be strongly mobilised and effectively coordinated to express their legitimate views in coherent manners and ways that command the respect of their listeners,â€ he said.