By Angela Atabo
Connected Development (CODE) and some of its partners have called on President Bola Tinubu to engage young people in his government to curb “japa’ (leave for greener pastures) syndrome.
They made the call at an event organised by CODE in Abuja to honour former young government officials who served at national and sub-national levels and to brainstorm on past achievements and lessons learned from their tenure.
Mr Hamzat Lawal, Chief Executive of CODE, said that he decided to celebrate young people that served in government from 2015 to 2023 to encourage the culture of commendation and reward for patriotic citizens.
Lawal said that most times people doubt the capability of youths but these former youths that served were a proof that they could contribute greatly to nation building and Nigeria’s young democracy.
“This will help to reduce the japa syndrome of leaving this country in droves because if youths see their peers in government then they can relate to them and together solve the pressing issues that Nigeria is currently facing.
“So I want to urge this government that young people are your ally towards progress, young people are your champions and they should serve in various capacity in your government.
“This is because without young people, we will not have the kind of outcome we had in the just completed elections ,so we create an enabling environment for the next generation of leaders.
“This set of young people will be the ones to take Nigeria from where this leadership would stop ,so I think it is important that as we move forward as a country, young people and old people needs to stand in solidarity and work together as partners towards progress.”
The key note speaker ,MrJoe Abah ,a public policy expert, said that although Nigeria succeed in enacting the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Act there was need for a Not-Too-Poor-To-Run Act.
Abah said this was because some of the requirements for running for office in the political parties were still quite high and many young people could not afford to even pay for the forms.
He called on Nigerians to be patriotic and create a country that works better for youths, women and other vulnerable groups.
Mr Ismael Ahmed, Senior Special Adviser to former President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Investment Programmes, urged youths to get involved in politics from the grassroots and grow through the ladder.
Ahmed advised youths to be consistent and see politics as a career just like any profession by learn through the rough ropes.
“Politics is the art of communicating with people and to be able to hold a position to influence policies that will change the lives of millions of people.
“It is a career people shouldn’t shy away from. Be a part of it and be consistent,“ he said.
Mr Elvis Akpopi, SA to former Delta Governor on Youth Development, called on governments at all levels to engage youths and an enabling environment should be created for them to thrive.
“You can not run a government without the strength and the intelligence of young people.
“Moreso, if you want peace, you must get along with people who will be easily used as vehicles of violence and put them on track so you have a peaceful society.”
Mr Uche Abonyi,Former Executive Secretary ,Enugu State Scholarship and Education Loans Board, tasked governments at all levels on human capital development.
Abonyi said that if young people are empowered through education,the nation would benefit because a properly educated person could create employment.
Ms Nabila Aguele,Special Adviser, Performance Management to the immediate past Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, encouraged youths to hire their skills and make themselves available for service.