The power of youth is the common wealth of the entire world. The faces of young people are the faces of our past, our present and our future. No segment in society can match the power, idealism, enthusiasm and courage of the young people- Kailash Satyarthi
The celebration of International Youths’ Day, highlights the difficulties and problems that young people face, bringing these issues to the attention of the international community as well as recognizing their potential as collaborators in the development process.
This year’s theme; ’Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for all Ages’’, strengthens the message that action is needed across all generations to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs), and to achieve the SDGs, the world needs to leverage the full potentials of all generations1. Generational unity is essential for sustainable development.
The future of every generation lies in the strength of its youth.
Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa is home to over 216 million people according to Worldometer data,2 with an annual population growth of 2.5 per cent and a stockpile of plentiful energy resources in crude oil and gas. The country has the largest population of young people in the world, with a median age of 18.1 years. About 70% of the population are under 30, and 42% are under the age of 15.3 This demonstrates that, her willpower into a prosperous future will come from her teeming, vibrant youths.
With the natural increase in the number of young people in Nigeria, there is no corresponding increase in their access to employment opportunities which has dwindled over the years. Rather, statistics show a concerning increase in the rate of unemployment. Nigeria’s youth unemployment crisis, when combined with grossly inadequate physical infrastructure, rising inflation, and a repressive political system incapable of ensuring justice and inclusion, portends a bleak future.
Despite the complexities of socio-political and economic issues, Nigerian youths are innovative and resilient, and if presented with opportunities, they will excel in any field of enterprise. Many young Nigerians are overcoming obstacles and seizing opportunities. Young people are starting small and micro-businesses, with many of these providing small to medium-sized solutions.
According to the Ministry of Trade and Investment, Nigeria’s over 37.07 million MSMEs account for more than 84 per cent of the jobs in the country. They also account for about 48.5 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) as well as about 7.27 per cent of goods and services exported out of the country. This shows that irrespective of their circumstances, young Nigerians are willing to work and create something to lift themselves out of poverty.4
and even entertainment, shattering the glass ceiling and challenging the age-long narrative of being leaders of tomorrow. Instead, they are demonstrating that they are capable of becoming leaders in the here and now.
As seen on Channels television, youths registered more than any other demographic at the most recent 2022 Permanent Voter’s Card registration.
With the EndSARS movement and the ongoing call for a better Nigeria in the wake of the new political wave ahead of the 2023 elections, youths have dismantled stereotypes and are ready to amplify their voices in unison for a new Nigeria.