Let’s create space for Nigerian youths in politics, says Gbajabiamila.

By Oluwaseun Sonde

The Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep Femi Gbajabiamila has said that Nigeria will not reach its full potentials until governments at all levels learn to engage with the changing values, needs, and expectations of Nigeria’s youth, while to achieve transformation in governance, there is need to fully engaged youths in politics.

The speaker disclosed this while making his remark on the occasion of the commemoration of 2020 International Youth Day on Wednesday, 12th August, he asked the youths not to lose faith in the country or themselves, and should remain steadfast in their commitment to personal development, preparing to rise to and overcome the challenges that abound.

According to him, “All our dreams of prosperity hinge on our ability to provide the physical infrastructure, the legal framework, the cultural and social support required to unleash the innovative potential of our young people. To achieve this sort of profound transformation of our governance, all of us in government and politics must commit to opening the political space to allow for greater participation by our nation’s youth.

“Political leaders must act now and consistently to dismantle those practices and systems that serve only to exclude young people from political participation, or that limit them to operating on the fringes as foot soldiers in the battle for spoils. I have seen with my own eyes what young people, educated, and dedicated, can achieve if given the opportunity and the resources they need to thrive”, he said.

He added that Government cannot continue to confront and try to overcome the daunting challenges face as a nation while denying the passion and perspective of the young people who will inherit whatever government make of its beloved country. “My fellow young men and women, I know that on many of the issues that affect our lives, it would appear as if the political leaders have left the room and there is no one left to find solutions to our problems.

“This feeling is at the root of much of the pessimism that young people feel about our politics and has had a negative effect on the willingness of our able youth to get involved in the critical conversations about our nation’s future. However, if we all end up thinking that politics is the preserve of the cynical and the mercenary, then nobody will ever believe the political process can change anything or be improved to meet our collective best expectations”, he said.

He therefore urged the youth to resist the seductive draw of such debilitating cynicism. “Do not concede any more ground to those loud voices of regression who seek to convince you that nothing you do can be enough and therefore, there is no need to try. The future belongs to you, and you cannot surrender your destiny to those who remain captive to the dark perspectives and predatory politics that defines so much of our nation’s past”.

He congratulated all young people on this year’s commemoration of the International Youth Day. “I ask you not to lose faith in our country or yourselves. Remain steadfast in your commitment to personal development, preparing yourselves to rise to and overcome the challenges that abound. I pray for God’s favour on you as you march on with love and courage towards a future of peace and prosperity beyond everything we can only now imagine”.

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