Delegates at the conference blamed the various social vices youth engage in, including restive agitations and terrorism, on poor and wrong education
Informed by the prevalent restive agitations, violent insurgency and terrorism sweeping across Nigeria, as a result of lack of education, poor education and wrong education, the NGO, Diamond-Crest for Youth Education Foundation, conceived the vision of convening a forum of individuals and organizations working around education and youth development issues as well as peace and conflict resolution for the purpose of promoting peaceful coexistence and socio-economic development.
Therefore, the 3rd bi-annual all stakeholders’ strategy conference on youth education and national development was part of Diamond-Crest for Youth Education Foundation’s series of youth-based programs under the theme: “Education and Youth Development for Peace, Security and Sustainable Development in Nigeria: Problems, Prospects & Pillars.” The one-day conference which held on April 12, 2016 in Abuja was organized by Diamond-Crest in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Youth Development and Sports as well as District 9125 of Rotary International; it was aimed at promoting quality and functional education and sustainable youth development in Nigeria.
In his opening address, the founder of Diamond-Crest for Youth Education Foundation, Mr Gideon Onyedi said the NGO came into existence as a consequence of the ever-falling standard of education and its resultant unprecedented youth restiveness, violent insurgency and terrorism sweeping across Nigeria. “We observed with dismay that about seventeen (17) million Nigerian children and youths do not have access to education and many more are without access to good education despite all the efforts of our governments at various levels, and we became convinced that it is incumbent on any patriotic and privileged citizen of this nation to contribute in time, talent, and treasure to the provision and uplifting of the standard of education and promotion of peace and unity,” said Gideon Onyedi.
“We are here to take more incisive look into the problem of youth restiveness and terrorism and to determine the role of education and youth development in curbing violence and terrorism on the one hand and promoting peace, national development and unity, on the other hand. We strongly believe that the behavior of an individual has a dialectical relationship with the kind of education, training and up-bringing the individual had. We should not be scared by the subject of discussion because fear itself has torment,” he said.
“I call on some of our politicians to stop corrupting the youth by luring them with money into rallies and so-called peaceful demonstrations. I call on the government of President Buhari to propose a bill barring politicians from using money to lure students and the youth into political rallies and demonstrations. Both the giver and the taker should have various degrees of punishment, because that amounts to killing the future and the soul of the youth and the nation.”
Also speaking at the event, Professor Chimele Abengowe, a patron of Diamond-Crest for Youth Education Foundation, said no government could provide moral leadership and sustainable development for the youth, if it cannot live above board. “Corruption has become the undoing of many nations around the world, especially in Africa. Nigeria particularly has had to grapple with the burden of both local and international credibility as a result of corruption,” he said. “In order to build a lasting or sustainable peace and overall development in Nigeria, corruption must be tackled headlong.
No matter what we do in this country, no matter how many universities we build, and no matter how much we launder our image and apply the highest level of diplomacy, there can never be a sustainable peace and we cannot have any meaningful development for a prosperous nation if corruption is not dealt with.”
While speaking on the historical perspective of the place of quality and functional education in achieving peace and national development, Professor Emmanuel Ndan Danladi, of the department of arts and social science education of University of Abuja, identified as the 2 major challenges bedeviling national development in Nigeria as corruption and youth restiveness. “These challenges do not only involve diverting financial resources into private accounts, but employing substandard to implement policies. In some cases, false regulations are enacted to protect the looters. This is very unfortunate,” he said.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the conference, delegates agreed that: “Education is fundamental to peace and national development, and considering the pivotal place of the youth in the future of the country, the Nigerian government should come up with a youth-centered policy on education which should be geared toward ensuring positive change of attitude, social stability, job opportunities and self-reliance.”
The communiqué added that: “The ‘‘poverty mentality’’ associated with the developmental and formative processes of the average Nigerian youth is one of the causes of corruption and lack of patriotism in the country. Consequently, there is need for the creation of a good social welfare programme for, especially, the youth, to restore their sense of dignity and humanity.” It further reiterated that the present undue emphasis on ‘‘paper qualification’’ associated with the Nigerian job recruitment policy should be discouraged adding that focus should rather be on discovery and development of self- potentials and the practical application of skills acquired after graduation.
Stakeholders further agreed that Nigeria should adopt an integrative system of education by borrowing from the British, American and the Nigerian traditional systems of education towards a comprehensive and holistic development of the Nigerian youth adding that the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, needed to be more focused on training graduates around skills acquisition, and empowerment towards attaining job creation and self- reliance among youth.
The communiqué said: “Given the centrality of vocational education to national development, vocational education should not just be part of our curriculum; government should take practical steps by making entrepreneurial centers in our schools and colleges functional,” adding that: “Exemplary leadership is central to effective followership. Consequently, there is urgent need for Nigerian leaders at all levels to imbibe virtues of self-discipline, self-denial, probity, and accountability, which will serve as beacon for the younger generation of Nigerian youth.”
Delegates at the 3rd bi-annual all stakeholders’ strategy conference on the role of proper youth education and development in promoting peace, security and sustainable national development believed the replication of the conference in other parts of the country, as well as making it more regular, would help increase awareness on the need to strengthen the educational system in the country towards getting the youth properly educated towards sustainable peace and development.