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‘Now is the time to take this country from the elders’ — AFRICMIL tasks youths ahead of Independence Day

AFRICAN Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) has tasked Nigerian youths across the country to take up the mantle of leadership, and conceptualize ideas for an improved society ahead of the nation’s Independence Day.  

The call was made during a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja while flagging off the project tagged: “60 Years, 60 Voices: Essays on Nigeria at Sixty” in partnership with Premium Times Books, YIAGA Africa, Sahara Reporters, TechHer and Oak TV.

The essay would focus on garnering the thoughts and ‘frustrations’ of young Nigerians across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) into a compendium, which when published, will help foster a united and egalitarian society.

“The youths need to take over this country; you cannot wait for the elders. Now is the time for young people to take active rights in the political process of the country,” AFRICMIL said.

While addressing the press, the Executive Director of AFRICMIL, Chido Onumah said: “The collection of the essay is beyond commemorating Nigeria’s diamond jubilee but a social mobilization tool to address critical issues surrounding the nation’s socio-cultural, political, and economic revolution from independence to the present day”.

“On October 1, 2020, Nigeria will celebrate her 60th year of political independence. Our diamond jubilee is a remarkable milestone worthy of significant documentation even as the country is deeply immersed in the crisis of nationhood,” AFRICMIL said.

According to him, there was a need to document the failures, successes and the way out of the “cul-de-sac Nigeria has found itself”, adding that the essay would generate enough “public conversation to bring about the desired change in the country”.

He highlighted major challenges ravaging the country to include bad leadership, insecurity, power, poverty and national disunity while stating that the fundamentals of nationhood are flawed and that “Nigeria as presently constituted, is not a workable union and, therefore, cannot deliver national security, peace justice and development.

“Many Nigerians argue that the major problem facing the country is leadership and that if nothing is done to ensure purposeful leadership, the country will disintegrate. Our political leaders have failed to serve as the rallying point for national unity, nation-building and cohesion.

“According to the Nigerian Security Tracker, 25,794 people were killed between 2015 and 2019. More than 100,000 persons have been killed by Boko Haram while 1.9 million people have been displaced since its murderous campaign began in 2009.

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“Nigeria’s abysmal failure in security has forced some states and regions to consider self-help, as well as moved the two houses of the National Assembly to pass a resolution calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the security chiefs.

“Other indices of growth and development are also progressively on the decline. The population is growing at 3 per cent while economic growth is just about 2 per cent,” he said.

Chido, however, noted that the future of Nigeria is in the hands of the youth as the “youth are the social forces that would bring changes to the country”, hence the need for the project.

“This project challenges them to chart a roadmap that outlines a future that works for the good of the greatest number of compatriots; on that will put the country on the path of growth and development,” he said.

Speaking on the essence of the project, the Head of Research, YIAGA Africa, Safiya Bichi said the compendium was beyond a book but one that creates awareness among young people and helps for future planning, reference and national change.

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