Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has urged Nigerian youths to see the country as one that is still in the hands of architects and builders who would determine its future rather than a fallen or collapsing edifice.
The Governor also stated that the work of nation building is for all generations hence the need for young people to peacefully and actively engage in order to build a country of their dream.
Dr Fayemi who spoke at a one day conference “The Discourse” at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, on Thursday, noted the diverse calls and agitations for the disintegration of the country with different ultra-nationalistic groups calling for secession. He however said that idea of remaking a nation “should not suggest a strategic demolition for us to erect a totally new structure”.
He said the focus of all Nigerians should be about how to reinvent the nation, work for the prosperity of our people and ensure peace and prosperity.
“The youth-led protests police brutality #EndSARS, which eventually metamorphosed into agitations for more holistic reforms on issues of good governance, accountability and greater inclusion of the youth demography which forms most of our population. We are today contending with a restive youth population who want a clean break from the baggage of the past, to embrace a future where everyone can live full and productive lives in a safe and secure country.”
“Amid these issues, different groups have offered solutions, and continue to work hard at fixing the country. Others have a more fatalistic outlook, with calls and agitations for the disintegration of our country, and with different ultra-nationalistic groups calling for secession from Nigeria. I therefore tend to assume that the idea of “arresting the drift of this nation towards the precipice” itself stems from the latter mind-set that sees the country as a fallen or collapsing edifice rather than a country still in the hands of architects and builders who would determine its future”, the Governor said.
While stating that the description of the 1914 amalgamation by many people as a mistake may be wrong, the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) said the task of forging a nation out of this “colonial invention rests squarely in our hands”.
Fayemi, whose paper was delivered by His Special Adviser on Communications and Strategy, Mr Akin Rotimi, asserted that one major area that the successive generation has failed is in the tendency to stigmatise difference and weaponise diversity stated that social categorisations such as ethnicity and religion must not be allowed to become the boundaries for inclusion or exclusion.
The Governor added that in order to confront these issues, Nigerians must start by first conquering the demon of mutual suspicion and distrust that has “poisoned our politics and subverted our will to achieve the necessary consensus that is so crucial to marching confidently towards our destiny as a great nation”.
On participation in politics and governance, Dr Fayemi urged the youths to engage and make themselves a politically active constituency, far more engaged in public affairs, and a bloc influential enough to be courted by politicians.
“Rather than bemoan the insensitivity of the skeptical comments made by veteran politicians regarding the abilities of young politicians, you should instead see them as summons to reflection and contemplation to explore the problems and prospects of youth in Nigerian politics today. All things considered, the biggest roadblocks on the highway of youth’s participation in politics are those laid by the youth themselves.”
“It must be said that the emotional disposition of many young Nigerians towards their country and the political leadership, is pockmarked by cynicism and apathy. A perfunctory survey of youth-dominated social media suggests Nigerian youths have given up on our and her leaders. The cynicism and apathy demonstrated by so many youths are part of a larger crisis of trust. The biggest challenge facing us as democrats is rebuilding trust between the state and society.”
“The road ahead is challenging, but I ask that you keep faith. I have no doubt that Nigeria is a viable country and that her place in the comity of great nations is well assured. With all hands on deck, we will make this land a place of pride”, Fayemi stated.