By Tosin Kolade
Abuja – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Youth Committee, has called for inclusion of young persons in governance as a panacea for closing unemployment gaps in the country.
Its Chairperson, Mr Victor Ekpo, made this call at an event to commemorate the 2019 International Youth Day, in partnership with ActionAid Nigeria, with the theme, ‘Promote Youth Employment: Ensure Economic Independence for the Young’ in Abuja.
According to him, inclusion of the youth not only in employment, but in political, social and other spheres of life is a recipe for sustainable peace and national development.
While commending the NLC leadership for taking the lead in mainstreaming young persons in its policies and programmes, Ekpo called on affiliate unions to prioritise youth inclusiveness to further strengthen the union’s struggle.
“As we leave this programme, we shall be champions of transformation in our unions and the country at large.
“We therefore add our voice to call for greater youth participation in governance and also for transformational policies that will make youth employment meaningful to all,” he said.
Ekpo called on young persons to be law abiding and desist from criminal activities that could endanger the peace of society.
He added that commemoration of the International Youth Day was an opportunity to draw attention to the need to make employment accessible and inclusive for young persons.
Ms. Rita Goyit of NLC Women and Youth Congress supported activities to mainstream youth inclusiveness in its policies and programmes, urging participants to brainstorm, follow up for implementation of all policies.
Goyit said effective youth engagement was key to inclusive development adding that with the newly adopted National Youth Policy of NLC the dream would be achieved.
Ms. Blessing Ifemenam, Programme Officer, Governance, ActionAid Nigeria, noted that the organisation was working to close poverty gaps, promote rights and hold tiers of government accountable.
She said with its youth organising and leadership project, six states had been selected to mobilise young persons to influence public opinion and government actions on gender- responsive public finance.
Ifemenam said with the passage of the Not Too Young To Run Bill, hope had been rekindled for young persons to take part in governance and development.
Earlier, the NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, expressed worried about widening inequality and unemployment gaps amongst young persons.
According to him, Nigeria must recognise the potential of its young persons, saying this ought to be explored for the betterment of the nation.
Wabba said Nigeria had better advantages than other countries, which had larger aging population, calling on the youth to create opportunities to make impact in the society.
The NLC president urged Nigeria to make entrepreneurial skills development a key target, so as to denounce the notion that Nigerian youth were not employable.
August 12 is annually celebrated as the International Youth Day.
With the theme, “Transforming education”, the day highlights efforts to make education more relevant, equitable and inclusive for all youth, including efforts by the youth themselves.
Rooted in Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”