Power will not come to youth on plat­ter of gold - Mo­hammed

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - From Hir Joseph, Jos

There are al­le­ga­tions that Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari has side­lined the youth in his ap­point­ment of min­is­ters. Mur­tala Adogi Mo­hammed, a youth em­pow­er­ment ex­pert and poverty re­duc­tion spe­cial­ist is a Co-Founder of Cen­tre for Ed­u­ca­tion and Lead­er­ship De­vel­op­ment, and Founder of Murry Greens Con­sult, Nige­ria. In this in­ter­view, he says he still holds the view that Nige­rian youth need to prove them­selves so as to be en­trusted with po­si­tions of author­ity. Ex­cerpts: en­gage­ment with young Nige­ri­ans will have to be done through blogs, Face­book, Twit­ter and In­sta­gram, in re­spond­ing to ques­tions raised by young Nige­ri­ans.

But again, the ex­clu­sion of youths in his min­is­te­rial list means the youths are yet to be ready for lead­er­ship of this coun­try. It goes to say the youth played a part though, but did not strate­gi­cally make in­vest­ments to be­long to the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

What ad­vice do you have for the in­com­ing Min­is­ter of Youth De­vel­op­ment?

My ad­vice to the in­com­ing youth min­is­ter is that he/she se­ri­ously needs to fa­cil­i­tate the repo­si­tion­ing of the min­istry - specif­i­cally to sus­tain­ably in­crease the ac­cess of unemployed youth to en­tre­pre­neur­ial skills and em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for sel­f­re­liance and in­come se­cu­rity. This could be done by work­ing to­gether with key gov­ern­ment de­part­ments and agen­cies that im­ple­ment projects and schemes such NDE, SMEDAN, NAPEP and ITF and oth­ers. If Nige­ria fails to em­power the teem­ing pop­u­la­tions of young peo­ple, the se­ri­ous­ness of the coun­try’s predica­ment should not be un­der­es­ti­mated. Its prospects might be bleak.

Where and how do you think youth can con­trib­ute in this ad­min­is­tra­tion’s change agenda?

Mr. Pres­i­dent also needs to know that youths have a crit­i­cal role to play in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the change agenda. It is very im­por­tant for young peo­ple to take part in the plan­ning, im­ple­men­ta­tion and mon­i­tor­ing of this ad­min­is­tra­tion’s re­form projects. This, they can do through multi-sec­toral

What are your views on the names of prospec­tive min­sters un­veiled by Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari?

I am sure Mr. Pres­i­dent fol­lowed the ro­bust de­bate on the is­sues of non-in­clu­sion of youths as min­is­te­rial nom­i­nees. Mil­lions of youths con­trib­uted tire­lessly to the suc­cess of the change move­ment, and feel they are only im­por­tant and use­ful in serv­ing as pub­li­cists, so­cial me­dia cam­paign­ers, vot­ers and spe­cial as­sis­tants. And it seems hold­ing lead­er­ship po­si­tions is not for them. I think the youth of this great na­tion need bet­ter strat­egy; it is all about hard ne­go­ti­a­tions through a strong plat­form. We also need to have an im­proved co­or­di­na­tion with clearcut tar­gets. The im­pli­ca­tion is that the youth would not have a rep­re­sen­ta­tive at the ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil. I once said that a min­istry of youth with­out youths as the head might only be for con­trac­tors, not youths. Also, any­thing for the youths dis­cussed with­out youths is not for the youths, it might be for the politi­cians.

I would like Mr. Pres­i­dent to do his best to know how youths re­act to his poli­cies and pro­grammes. Work­ing to­gether with youths both on­line and off­line is very im­por­tant for any leader that wants to suc­ceed. Obama is do­ing it; David Cameron is do­ing it; other world lead­ers are do­ing it. There­fore, Mr. Pres­i­dent should note that there is need for him and mem­bers of his youths’ task team to be so­cial me­dia savvies, and thor­oughly un­der­stand the tools and ways of how the so­cial me­dia works. This re­quire­ment is non­nego­tiable as a sub­stan­tial part of the tech­ni­cal task team. The ac­tiv­i­ties might in­clude mo­bi­liza­tion of other young peo­ple to push for var­i­ous re­forms in the agenda and in other in­sti­tu­tional pol­icy frame­works. This will cre­ate a crit­i­cal mass to de­mand and fa­cil­i­tate ac­count­abil­ity checks on the gov­ern­ment on an­nual progress plans, bud­get and medium term plans. There is need for this ad­min­is­tra­tion to cre­ate youth tech­ni­cal task teams to set the ball rolling and de­velop a four-year strate­gic plan within the Q2 and Q3 of this ad­min­is­tra­tion. I will con­clude with some of the key find­ings of the Bri­tish Coun­cil 2010 re­port, which re­veal that Nige­ria stands on the thresh­old of what could be the great­est trans­for­ma­tion in its his­tory. By 2030, it will be one of the few coun­tries in the world that has young work­ers in plen­ti­ful sup­ply. Youth, not oil, will be the coun­try’s most valu­able re­source in the 21st Cen­tury.

Do you think the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari has a clear agenda for the youths?

I have not seen one yet. A clear-cut agenda for the youth cuts across the out-of-school youth, the grad­u­ates and youth with dis­abil­ity. But I think there is need for the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion to ini­ti­ate agenda for the youths with key per­for­mance in­di­ca­tors. First and fore­most, there will be need for NEEDS as­sess­ment to have a clear pic­ture of the dif­fer­ent youths’ groups; out of school youths, unemployed grad­u­ates, un­der­em­ployed grad­u­ates, youths with dis­abil­ity, and youths in drugs. That would help the gov­ern­ment to avoid one-size-fits-all youths’ agenda.

Mur­tala Adogi Mo­hammed

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