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||By Paulinus Auta

The Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Lafia, Professor, Shehu Abdul Rahman has averred that no meaningful development can occur in Nigeria without contributions from youths.

According to Abdul Rahman, the youths symbolised progress, hope and future of our country.

He stated this in a paper, titled: 'Building bridges of peace and unity among ethnic nationalities: The Youths Perspective', he presented at a youths summit organised by the Forum of National Youths Presidents of Ethnic Nationalities in Nasarawa State, held at the TA’AL Conference Hotel, Lafia. 

He described youths as Nigeria's vehicle for socio-economic development, urging them to unite themselves, irrespective of their cultural and ethnic diversities, to move the country and continent of Africa forward.

He, however, observed that, globally, instead of peoples' differences to serve as their sources of unity and richness, the experiences have shown that cultural diversity had, on many occasions, resulted in hatred, intolerance, violence, civil wars and genocide.

He lamented that in Nigeria, ethnic groups were fast becoming rallying points for youths, saying: "they're also increasingly becoming preferred rallying points for Nigerians, as opposed to loyalty to the nation State."

Abdul Rahman urged countries in especially Africa to involve youths in governance process, saying that youths are among the greatest assets of any nation.

"Not only are they legitimately regarded as the future leaders, the youths are potentially, and actually, the greatest investment for any country’s development," said, adding: "Without any doubt, youths are among the greatest assets that any nation can have.”

He stated his conviction that youths, through their political education, public enlightenment campaign, policy advocacy and active involvement in the electoral process, "they can build bridges of understanding across ethnic groups, political affiliations and religious divide." 

Abdul Rahman called on leaders to stop viewing youths as problems and or forces responsible for conflicts, saying that "young people should be recognised as builders of peace and tools in the process of development and redressing on socio-economic and political injustices in the society.”

The vice-chancellor stated that youths were more likely to become frustrated due to injustices, "particularly when such injustices have to do with lack of employment opportunities, low educational attainment and exclusion from decision making process"

He, however, urged youths to be honest, hard working, calling on them to shun corruption and unethical behaviours.

He, also, called on the authorities to create an enabling environment for youths to meaningfully contribute their quota to Nigeria's development efforts 

Under the right situation, therefore, Abdul Rahman said, Nigerian youths should parade themselves as agents of social, economic and political socialisation and change.

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The Federal University of Lafia (FULafia) was established in February 2011 by the Federal Government of Nigeria for the public benefit and it is recognized globally. Throughout our great history, FULafia has offered access to a wide range of academic opportunities. Read More