Opinion: Youths marginalisation as Nigeria’s major development trap

By Haris Aliyu

The four development traps established by Paul Collier is not the only answer to the rapid underdevelopment of third world countries like Nigeria. Development traps as a concept has been widely used in various fields within the social science discipline. Under the political microscope, Nigeria is one of the nations with little or no involvement of the young people in political representation and leadership, policy making and implementation. Conflicts, poor governance and natural resources are the major development traps according to Paul Collier which are apparent in Nigeria.

Hypothetically, I believe the youth everywhere have a huge role to play in social economic and political development of nations. The young people particularly in Nigeria have been isolated from the mainstream political and economic ground for long, giving them no chance to take charge of their lives hence limited access to economic opportunities. This I believe is one of the major elements with huge influence on all the challenges considered a threat to development in Nigeria. Considerably, poverty unemployment school dropout crimes terrorism and militancy can’t be puzzled out without the commitment and proper intervention of the youth.

Nigerians at all level are wholly overwhelmed with conspiracy theories and ethnic preconceptions which divert all attention from the mega course and source of the problems. Youths are the largest age group in Nigeria. Yet they are deprived of voice and influence in matters to do with state and the market. Not allowed to contest for political offices and they are underprivileged in all forms of policymaking and implementation at all level. It is imperative that the youths should be allowed in to the parliament. They can make better policies simply because they are “Nigeria” and they know better what is best for them.

Even though they are not catered for in the laws and various policies, at the end of the day they are left with many siblings and aged parents to take care of. The failure of Nigeria’s welfare systems is evident and has added more pressure and burden on the uneducated and unemployed youths.

It is a fact that about 94% of every extremists and militants in Nigeria are the youths. They are majority in every penitentiary and their distinctive offences are mostly criminal such as kidnapping, armed robbery, terrorism, militancy and drug related crimes which are unarguably the consequence of endemic corruption within the system which result in massive unemployment, school dropouts, poverty and poor social service delivery.

With all these challenges today, the parliament assembly is made a comedy theatre and a populous reality show aired in the national television. But with the youths as active participants and contributors, they will make it a battle ground where the faith of Nigeria is decided. Youth marginalisation in Nigeria for over sixteen years has critically affects all efforts by every individual, group, social institutions and political parties to move Nigeria forward.

President Buhari’s effort to rebuild Nigeria means to dismantle the systems and the blueprints guiding the institutions that support Nigerians. To rebuild Nigeria means to raze all the previous frameworks and test a new most likely personal theory. Therefore we must uphold that the focal point of every economic reform, structural adjustments and all corrective actions in Nigeria must address the problems of the youths. Otherwise we are doing nothing. The government must address the barriers to participation in politics not as a political dogs or thugs but active members who set directions, make policies and control the resources.

Contemporarily, there are more young people on the streets than in the high schools and colleges. Therefore If Nigeria is ever interested in solutions and moving forward, the youth has to be empowered with information, included and allowed to participate in all political and economic activities. They must have the capacity to organize themselves to solve problems of common interest. Young Nigerians must have the capacity to hold the government accountable for their policies, actions and use of public funds.

Looking at the current situation in Nigeria, the vicious cycle of poverty has been intensified. Poverty is winning the war against us due to the current policies which obviously failed on arrival. With zero foreign direct investments (FDIs), the private sector as a key actor in daily wellbeing of people has been critically affected to the core that they can’t meet the demands of hundred million Nigerians. Public order is gradually slipping out of hand as Nigerians blame politicians for their short comings. The public sector remained inefficient, ineffective and confuse. They are unable to undertake certain obligations, unable to pay workers salaries and day by day failing their social contracts. Still many insensitive Nigerians think its normal and a sign of progress.

Apart from the fact that no prospective economic boom has ever been identified by these factors, a ‘failing state’ is where poverty persists, where people can’t afford their basic needs, where there is no political will, where people lose faith in the justice system and a situation where crime and violence persist. These problems can be tackled the moment we stop denying their existence and work collectively towards emancipation of the youths and other marginalised groups in the country.

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Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

Twitter @ActiveHaris

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