In Nigeria for the purpose of executing the National Youth Policy, the youth is defined as comprising all young persons between the age of 18 and 35 who are citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (NYP, 2001, 2008). Individuals in this age bracket are however required to participate in the development of a nation.
For society to attempt to remedy its determined troubles without the whole participation of even very younger human beings is imbecile. In Nigeria with a populace of over a hundred and forty million (NPC, 2006), the YOUTH are predicted to be over one third of the population (NYP, 2008). They are demographically widespread, and an important and dynamic a part of the arena’s human assets. They make exquisite contributions to society at all stages as actors, gamer, partners and strategic catalysts for improvement. Yet, notwithstanding their precious input to human development, adolescents contributions for improvement system have for centuries remained unacknowledged by societies that want grownup aged individual. Human beings have been so distrustful of the youths’ functionality that they doubted if civilization should hold. A powerful barrier has been created, which young people should surmount if they’re to tackle their obligations and paintings in partnership with adults to contribute meaningfully to nationwide development and improvement.
Democratic societies are built by opening opportunities and creating structures to involve all segments of society in matters that affect them. Youth, whatever age definition one uses, constitute a demographic majority of the population that cannot and should not be left out from taking part in society’s affairs. Realizing meaningful youth participation in inter-generational structures for debating and taking action on national development is a challenging enterprise that requires profound changes in how societies think about their youth. These changes need to be reflected in new language, in new structures and norms and in appropriate funding that welcome youth voices in the development of relevant policies and actions. Young people’s contributions to their communities and nations are not entirely understood or maximized. Youth are making a difference as activists, as leaders in community development, and by their record levels of volunteerism.
Youth involvement in a nation’s decision making can give rise to; promotion of youth resilience, better decisions and outcomes, positive impacts on adults, and strengthening of youth development which in all will bring about a national development. Always remember, individual’s development within a nation is the measure of national development.
Therefore, I am advocating that, we need to break away from damaging stereotypes of youth and patronizing sentiments towards them. We must utilize youth as a force behind the renewal of human society in order to benefit from their energy, idealism, unique perspectives and innovative ideas to achieve sustainable development.