THE ROLE OF YOUTHS IN NATION BUILDING
[A speech presented by Sarki Gadah on the 3rd speech and price giving day of Saint Augustine Nursery, Primary, and Secondary Schools Kachia, Kaduna State]
Members of the high table, parents, friends, staff and students of this distinguished institution, good afternoon.
I sincerely thank the organisers of this program for the honour of inviting me to speak on this platform.
Let me begin with this disclaimer: If you are a politician and you are here, I want to say that in the course of this conversation, if I did not mention your name, I am not referring to you.
There are some questions I will like us to answer. They are not rhetorical questions, so I will be expecting some answers. If you can chorus it, good and fine.
1. If you are here and you have your PVC, indicate by raising up your hand.
2. If you are a card carrying member of any political party, indicate by raising up your hand.
3. Do you think there is anyone on earth that knows you better than you know yourself?
4. Do you think there is anyone that understand your problems and concerns better than you do?
5. What about planning for the future? Do you think someone that knows almost nothing about you, your problems, and concerns can make plans that protect your interest?
There is a man called Insikak.
His dad is relatively rich, which indicates that he is from a comfortable background.
Things started going bad for Insikak when his dad took in the second and the third wife. The dad stopped caring for Insikak and his mother and the resources he was releasing to them was reduced by 70%.
Insikak was never comfortable with these developments, yet he didn’t confront his dad. Instead, he went about criticising him every where he went.
Few weeks ago, the dad called for a family meeting. But Insikak refused to attend.
There was this bush around their compound. Though Insikak was the eldest and the only son, he refused to clear the bush.
Unfortunately, the snake that killed his son last week came out of that bush.
Who can describe Insikak in three words?
I used this story, even though I made it up, to portray the point that every single person in this hall is not different from Insikak.
Over 70% per cent of Nigerian population are youths, but less than five per cent of political office holders are youths.
If we wouldn’t let someone that knows almost nothing about us, our problems and concerns plan for our future, why do we leave governance and policy making in the hands of those uneducated-retired fellows?
This is not a conversation about making excuses about the government’s failure to provide platforms for youths to thrive, it is a conversation about suggesting ways we can make an impact and lead the change we want to see.
I used to ask myself this question, “what does life have in store for me?”
I don’t ask that question anymore. Now, the question I constantly ask myself is, “what can I give to my family,” “what can I give to my community,” “what can I give to my country,” and “what can I give to the world?” This is because I came to realise that life is not about taking and taking, but also about giving.
How To Participate In This Movement Of Nation Building
1. Identify a social problem and do something about it.
How many of you know Peter Kaggah. He lives in this community.
Few years ago, he noticed that most rural communities build houses with no provision for toilets and other facilities for refuse disposal. He identified that it was the major cause of the health challenges (particularly cholera) that was plaguing those communities.
He set up a team of volunteers like himself to fix this problem.
Now, he works in over twenty four communities and UNICEF is funding his operations.
Imagine over one hundred youths from this community doing similar things, imagine the difference that will make.
You are not too young to do this.
Kesz Váldez was fifteen years old when he won the International Children’s Peace Prize for helping more than 10,000 children in matters of health, hygiene, and child rights.
As a teenager, Sophie Mvurya initiated campaigns to promote unity in Kenya and other parts of the world. She uses the power of social media and interactive tools such as art, music, and photography to spread cultural diversity and acceptance in Kenya and other parts of the world.
Identify a social problem and do something about it. If you don’t have the wherewithal to fix it, that is why there is a concept called partnership. Identify individuals, organisations, or groups that understand the problem, partner with them and get to work.
2. Create employment opportunities for the vulnerable population.
I know that business is a serious business, and it is not meant for everyone.
But if you have an idea, and you think that it is worth developing, do not stop, never give up, give it life and employ others.
Imagine the kind of impact it will make when five hundred youths in this community are doing this.
3. Join politics
I used to think that the institution with the most authority is the military, not until president Mohammadu Buhari sacked a number of army generals.
This is a man whose tenure is to last four years or at most eight year, terminating the service of army officers who had served over thirty years.
Really, the most powerful people in the world are politicians. This is because they manage public resources, make policies, and determine the course and future of our country.
We must get involved in this processes because we are the future.
Join a political party. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you contest for a political position; join to take part in the conversation that will shape the leadership of the party and the kind of products it will produce.
Getting involved in politics allows you to meet with local politicians and possibly participate in council meetings. You will then have a firsthand look at how decisions are made, which is a useful experience because you will see how these decisions have a direct impact on the society and the nation at large.
And when you eventually join politics, do not become a willing tool in the hands of corrupt politicians. Do not fight a selfish cause, fight for the interest of your people, your state, and your country.