The duo of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara yesterday lamented the low level participation of the youth in the politics of the country.
This is as the presiding officers of both the upper and lower chambers of the National Assembly decried the inadequate representation of the youth at various strata of government in the country.
The Senate President and the Speaker expressed their concerns at the inauguration of the Nigerian chapter of the Inter – Parliamentary Union (IPU) of the Young Parliamentarians (FYP) led by Hon. Raphael Ig- bokwe who doubles as the African representative on the Governing Board of the global apex body of lawmakers.
In his remarks, Saraki expressed support for the youth adding that he would ensure participation of young people in governance.
He observed that in order to build the next generation oflead- ers, there was need to factor in young people.
“In order to build the next generation of leaders, we must build in young people in the process. We in the National Assembly will give support and ensure the participation of young people in governance. The future of this country lies with young people. For members of IPU, a great challenge await you, “ he said.
Speaker Dogara on his part said, “The cliche that young people are the leaders of tomorrow is no longer enough nor tenable. Young people should be given the opportunity to serve in leadership positions. The young people and women are the excluded majority and this imbalance must be corrected.
“As we celebrate our 55th Independence, we should use the occasion for some introspection”.
Decrying the shift in focus from the youth to older politicians, Igbokwe in his remarks said, “In Nigeria, General Yakubu Gowon mounted the saddle of leadership at the age of 28 years.
“The military leaders that came after him like Murtala Muhammed and Olusegun Obasanjo were in their thirties when they ruled Nigeria. Even Nigeria’s current President Muhammadu Buhari was in his early forties during his first coming in 1983.” He urged Nigerians and parliamentarians at all levels to make it a priority in the next attempt at reviewing the nation’s constitution to amend the portion which excluded and disenfranchised young people from being voted into elective positions until they are 30 years and above.
– Dyepkazah Shibayan, Abuja