The Youth Orientation for Development (YOD), a UNESCO NGO, says it is fundamental to get youths involved in affairs of the nation in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mr Emmanuel Ejiogu, President of YOD, made the assertion at an event to mark the 2022 International Youth Day on Friday at the Adams College, Oshodi.
The event had as its theme: “Inter-Generational Solidarity: Creating a world for all ages”.
The programme which recorded no fewer than 500 youths from across Lagos State and had panel discussion sessions was organised by YOD (a UNESCO NGO) in collaboration with Adams College, Oshodi.
Ejiogu expressed that the leadership of youths should start today.
“Gone are the days when we used to say that youths are the leaders of tomorrow and that is why we must get them involved in everything today.
“The 17 SDGs will find the youths important in getting the goals achieved, we have the zero hunger, no poverty, gender equality, all of these affects the youths.
According to the YOD president, the youth have a role to play in all areas and there is need to get them active in politics
“These youths are innovative and we need to take innovation into our system, get some kind of knowledge and skill from them to tackle and end poverty and address other issues of SDGs,” he added.
“The objective of International Youth Day 2022 is to amplify the message that action is needed across all generations to achieve the (SDGs) and leave no one behind.
“ It’s also to raise awareness on certain barriers to intergenerational solidarity, notably ageism, which impacts young and old persons, while having detrimental effects on society as a whole.
Speaking, Mr Adams Adebola, Proprietor of Adams College, said there was need for the youth to be placed in pivot positions and not on the fence where they have been in social media.
Describing the programme as a success, Adebola said it had provided a platform to give directions to youths that they must be creative and have entrepreneurship mind in spite of degree certificate.
“We really want our youths to participate in politics and channel their energy to positive things in the society, which I believe that they have embraced today.
“Another important thing about this year’s theme is that it talked about ageism; the symposium has opened their minds that youths can occupy any position and be every where.
“At least that prejudice, sentiment of stereotype that you’re still young, you cannot do it has been eradicated been what they have been sensitised on,” he said.
The College Proprietor called on Nigerians to take advantage of the pace set by SDGs to be positive agents and catalyst for change, while urging religious and political bodies to live up to expectations.
According to him, religious leaders should preach more on messages of peace, hope, moral and integrity.
He urged the political class to make the environment conducive for youths who have potential and capacity to lead to come on board.
“Many youths are even skeptical about coming out, with the mindset of ‘if I come will they allow me’, all hands must be on deck to inspire our youths to greatness,” Adebola added.
Reports have it that International Youth Day is commemorated every year on Aug. 12 to raise awareness about the challenges and problems faced by the youth.
It is also to endorse ways of engaging the youth to participate more actively in affirmative contributions to development.