Adopt Youths As Change Agents, Jega Tells FG

Former Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Atahiru Jega, on Friday urged the Federal Government to adopt youths as change agents as part of its transformation agenda.
Jega made the call while fielding questions from newsmen at the sideline of a funeral service organized by civil society organisations in honour of late Director-General of The Electoral Institute, Prof. Abubakar Momoh.
He said that Nigerians had capable youths that could chart the course for a great nation but that the challenge was that they had been abandoned.
“There is a lot to give us concern as a nation about the way our country is being run, because we have able and capable young men and women out there.
“All they need is the opportunity to contribute to the development of this country.
“Momoh used to say that the youths are the majority demographically but politically, they are the minority.
“So, we need to cultivate these youths with the right attitude and values and bring them to the forefront because in the world over, youths are the transformative agents of countries.
“In our own country, we underrate them, we don’t give them good education, and they don’t get employment so they apply their creative ability to criminality,’’ he said.
Jega urged the government to change such attitude and adopt the youths because they were important for the development and progress of Nigeria.
He described Momoh as a man with certain values of integrity, of selflessness, and of service to the country and humanity.
He prayed that there would many Momohs in Nigeria, because it would take such people, as agents of progress and change in the nation, to drive it toward sustainable development.
Also speaking to newsmen, Prof. Dzodzi Tsikata, President of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), said the death of Momoh was not just a loss to Nigeria but to Africa.
Tsikata said that the deceased inspired Africans with his passion and vision for a better Africa and his loyalty and great love for humanity were worth emulating.
“We can honour Momoh’s memory by working to rejuvenate the pan-African movement to achieve transformation in the conditions of Africans wherever they find themselves.
“Momoh was passionate about the freedom and respect for Africans and critiqued afro-pessimism and several negative tendencies in the pan-African movement and debunked several myth on africanism.’’
She said that Momoh was committed to democratic politics and to the struggles of the masses, workers, peasants and women, and affirmed that pan-africansim needed to be rooted in civil society and everyday life.
She encouraged African leaders to emulate Momoh’s passion for youth participation in politics as well as adopt them in governance as change agents in countries, adding that the man was passionate about African economic revitalization.
He urged African leaders to take prompting from the activism of Momoh in the pan-African struggles and resolve to create a better country for Africans politically and economically.
On his part, Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, former Chairman of Centre for Democracy Development, called for the inclusion of youths in politics to enable Nigeria to move forward.
Ibrahim said that the government could not afford to ignore the group of people it claimed to be the future of the country, adding that there was need to deliberately empower them.
“If in recent times there has been so much violence in the society, it is because the youths have been abandoned,’’ he said.
He urged youths to take the bull by the horn and stand up for themselves, and contribute their quota to the development of the nation. (NAN)

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