Today, I join millions others across the world to recognise and celebrate the contribution of young people to global peace, growth and development, as we celebrate yet another International Youth Day.
Established by the United Nations, International Youth Day offers a chance to raise awareness of the need to ensure the engagement and participation of youth at every level. On 17 December 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day.
The Assembly recommended that public information activities be organized to support the Day as a way to promote better awareness of the World Programme of Action for Youth, adopted by the General Assembly in 1996 (resolution 50/81). Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security represents an unprecedented acknowledgement of the urgent need to engage young peacebuilders in promoting peace and countering extremism, and clearly positions youth as important partners in the global efforts.
The UNESCO Youth Programme emphasizes in its work that youth are not just beneficiaries, but they are essential leaders and partners in finding solutions to the issues faced by young people in the world today. They must be fully engaged in social development themselves and supported in this work by their societies.
This year, the International Youth Day highlights the theme “Youth Engagement for Global Action” to propagate further inclusion of the young ones in government and policy making across the world.
Youths, must as a matter of importance, improve on the application of knowledge, life skills, critical thinking, advance gender equality, human rights and a culture of peaceful cohabitation, to solving the myriads of problems confronting humanity. As I appreciate the immense sacrifice and contributions of young people to our Nation building efforts, especially before, during and after the struggle for democratic governance in Nigeria, I urge our youth to rededicate themselves to the struggle for a better Nigeria. I appeal to my brothers and sisters in Ikorodu division to do everything possible to give peace a chance, because without peace, there will be no development. And our division is in serious need of growth and development. Government efforts alone, without peace, cannot give us what we want.
Also, although the COVID-19 pandemic is putting a lot of demands on our young people, they are rising to the challenge. Our youths face significant challenges in this unprecedented period. Everywhere you turn to, you still find shining examples of young people offering hope in hard times. I congratulate all youths making this tough period less painful through one good deed or the other; just as I appeal to those doing otherwise to have a rethink.
Once again, I say congratulations to youths today.