On Tuesday, 12th January 2016, a group of civil society organizations met with the Minister of Youths and Sports at the Ministers Conference Room, Ministry of Youths and Sports, Abuja.
Organizations reIMG 3982 resizepresented at the meeting include Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA), Mind the Gap Foundation, Youth Hub Africa, Education as a Vaccine, Eyes on the Mandate, Centre for Political Education and Development, and the International Republican Institute
The Head, Research, Policy and Advocacy of Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) in a statement presented to the Honorable Minister of Youth and Sports, Barr. Solomon Dalung at the meeting congratulated the Minister on his appointment as the Honorable Minister of Youth and Sports of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He informed the Minster of the one day Pre-Summit Youth Consultation was convened in Abuja on August 11, 2015. The Pre-Summit brought together 130 youth leaders cutting across youth organizations, political parties, religious and traditional institutions and development partners to deliberate on issues and adopt a youth declaration. The Pre-Summit was supported by the International Republican Institute (IRI), the Federal Ministry of Youth Development partnered with civil society organizations like the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA), Youngstars Foundation and Mind the Gap Foundation.
The Nigerian Youth Declaration was presented to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari at the 2015 International Youth Day celebration.
Mr. Itodo further commended the Minister on the steps taken by the Minister towards the reform of youth institutions especially within the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) and pledged to provide support and partnership to the Ministry of Youth and Sports. In conclusion, he called on the Minister to unveil his agenda for youth development in order to provide a template for engagement with the Ministry in developing Nigerian youths.
In his response, Barr. Solomon Dalung, expressed his gratitude to the youth civil society organizations and their commendable concern for issues of youth development. Dalung stated that youth development is cardinal to social development. Drawing examples from traditional societies, he explained that young people were trained to be leaders by exposing them to all spectrums of social systems. He added that modern societies also provide platforms for youth political participation. In Nigeria, for example, he identified the National Youth Council of Nigeria as one of such platforms. The Minister however decried the rot in the National Youth Council of Nigeria which led to the Ministry’s withdrawal of the Council’s recognition.
Barr. Dalung also stated that the Ministry of Youth and Sports belongs to the Nigerian youths, adding that the Ministry will insist on the definition of youth as contained in the National Youth Policy of Nigeria. Shedding light on the issues the Ministry will focus on, Dalung mentioned providing an enabling environment for youth development; providing job opportunities and empowerment for youth; leadership orientation to assume future leadership roles and partnership with youth development organizations.
The Minister emphasized the concern of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration about youth unemployment. He restated that the meeting was an indication that Nigerian youths were prepared to take their pride of place in Nigerian society. Underscoring the critical importance of youth development, he called on state and local governments to also take responsibility for issues of youth development.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Mr. Rotimi Olawale of Youth Hub Africa, called on the Minster to meet with a larger group of youth organizations as part of his consultations on issues of youth development. He further raised questions with regards to the review of the National Youth Policy, the National Youth Development Centres and the UN Junior Professionals Programme.
The Minister promised to review the agreement for counterpart funding for the UN Junior Professionals Programme, inspect the National Youth Development Centres to gain firsthand knowledge of their state of affairs as well as activate machinery for review of the National Youth Policy based on previous experience and to ensure a more encompassing Policy that is reflective of current realities.
In conclusion the Minister called on the youth organizations to partner with the Ministry to develop an agenda that is in line with the agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration.
The Minister received a copy of the International Youth Day Declaration that was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari at the 2015 International Youth Day celebration.