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Fayemi to FG: Act on youths despair to prevent time bomb

A former Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has raised alarm over the neglect and despair of youths in the country. He spoke…

A former Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has raised alarm over the neglect and despair of youths in the country.

He spoke yesterday in Abuja at an evening conference for civil society leaders in government.

The event, themed “Forging a Common Front for Sustainable Development as Civil Society Leaders in Government”, was organised by the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) and the Ford Foundation.

Fayemi, who is a visiting professor at the African Leadership Centre, King’s College, London, said, “We only need to look at what is happening among the youths and in the IT and creative economy space, as well as in informal, street-level organising, for example, to reach such a conclusion.

“It is incumbent on us to be more discerning and responsive to developments in these spaces because they are increasingly becoming the dominant spaces.

“This is why anyone who holds a semblance of power or authority in this country should be deeply worried about the depth of despair, particularly among our youthful population.”

Citing the EndSARS crisis as an example, Fayemi said what started as an innocuous online protest over police brutality snowballed into a mass movement that assumed frightening dimensions.

He further said, “What I understand the youths to be saying is that we, the older generation, have failed them by our inability to create a system that supports their dreams and accommodates their aspirations.

“From the language of their protests, we can see clearly that our youths feel pushed to the margins of our nation’s socio-political and economic structures. It is incumbent on us to listen to what they are saying and a lot more that they are probably not saying yet.

“Years of neglect and failure to make the right investments to support this population is now, quite predictably, turning it into a major disruptive force and a time bomb.

“I am afraid that the bomb has started to tick loudly. We must, therefore, act fast and start now to create systems that provide opportunities for our young people and make it possible for them to attain their God-given potentials.” Speaking earlier, the founding Executive Director, Centre LSD, Dr Otive Igbuzor, said that sustainable development meant that development was achieved without excess environmental degradation in a way that both protected the rights and opportunities of coming generations and contributed to compatible approaches.

The event was attended by the President of the Ford Foundation, Mr Darren Walker; African Director of MacArthur Foundation, Dr Kole Shettima; among other notable CSO leaders who were in government or currently serving in government across the country.

 

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