The National Youth Assembly of Nigeria (NYAN) has called on President Bola Tinubu to integrate the agendas in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into national policy for development.
The National Speaker of the assembly, Usman Shagari, said this in Abuja on Monday, June 12, 2023, at a news conference on the occasion of the Democracy Day celebration.
Shagari urged Tinubu to recognise the importance of aligning the government programmes with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework.
He said that by embracing these goals, the country could achieve substantial progress not only for Nigerians but also secure a promising future for the nation’s youth.
“We emphasise the significance of prioritising specific SDGs, including the eradication of poverty (SDG-1), the establishment of an inclusive economy (SDG-8), the improvement of health and well-being (SDG-3).
“The advancement of education (SDG-4), the promotion of gender equality (SDG-5), and the creation of an enabling environment of peace and security (SDG-16), along with fostering partnerships (SDG-17).
“These objectives align with Nigeria’s current development priorities, ensuring a strategic and effective approach to national progress,” he said.
According to him, by actively pursuing the SDGs, it will address the pressing issues that hinder sustainable development in Nigeria as eradicating poverty will uplift the lives of millions while an inclusive economy will provide equal opportunities for all.
He promised that the assembly would collaborate with the new administration to ensure all programmes captured in the goals were realisable as scholarship would be awarded to distinguished Nigerians in its project.
Shagari also emphasised the critical role that young people play in shaping the future of any nation, hence the need to embrace active participation of youths for growth.
He urged the government to design youth empowerment programmes, provide accessible education, create employment opportunities, increase religious tolerance, while also involving young Nigerians in governance.
He said these measures, among others are essential for sustaining democracy.
“NYAN recognises the immense economic and electoral value that young people bring to our society.
“As such, we firmly establish that investing in youth opportunities and engaging them in matters of security, development and the electoral system is vital for the progress of Nigeria and any nation.
“We call upon Nigeria’s political and religious leaders to refrain from exploiting the youth for their personal gains, as this practice has dire implications for the sustenance of our democracy,” he said.
Shagari added that it was important to address the challenges faced in sustaining democracy, while employing solutions that would ensure its endurance.
According to him, Nigerian youths encounter numerous challenges, including illiteracy, ethnic sentiments, unemployment, poverty, bad governance and gender bias, among others.
He said that these challenges pose a threat to the sustainability of democracy in our nation.
“However, Nigerian youths also play significant roles in democracy. They serve as the backbone of the labour force, mobilise for elections, possess substantial voting power, and advocate for resource control.
“On the flip side, some young individuals engage in negative activities such as insecurity, electoral violence, and economic disruption through acts like kidnapping, cultism, armed robbery, and pipeline vandalism.
“These negative impacts not only jeopardise Nigeria’s democracy but also afflict nations across the globe,” he added.