YOUTH COUNCIL IN C’RIVER: TIME TO REBRAND OR DISBAND

BY: Inyali Peter

The National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) according to Wikipedia was established in 1964 and charged with the responsibility of policy formulation and implementation on issues bordering on youth development in Nigeria.

The Council which is the umbrella body and the mouthpiece of the Nigerian Youth was formally given legal recognition in 1990, many years after its formation.

The original idea of establishing a youth Organisation such as NYCN was to give the youths a platform to develop and prepare themselves for the task of contributing meaningfully towards the development of the nation.

As the slogan goes, “build the youths, build the nation”, the organisation which is domiciled in the federal Ministry of Youths and Sports at the centre as well as the various federating units was supposed to serve as a bridge between the common Nigerian youth and the government. It was supposed to be a platform where youths meet, brainstorm and formulate policies that’ll enhance development in the country.

The organisation started well but along the line, like many organisations and institutions in Nigeria became victim and breeder of the the epileptic leadership failure in the country. While the national body may be struggling to return it from its lost identify, most state chapters have regrettably shown no interest in this onerous task.

Most state chapters after four solid years come back with absolutely nothing to show. They perform so abysmally that the only thing they can be remembered for is how much they contributed to foster the destruction of their states in terms of compromising the security architecture by involving in cultism and other social vices, unhealthy enrichment, and in fact, all round failure.

In Cross River State for instance, the situation appears worst and this calls for urgent concern because if nothing is done, the failure of the so-called leaders of tomorrow in the council will be institutionalized.

Everything about the youth council in the state negate completely the purpose for which the organisation was established. In fact, the Cross River example is a complete replica on how not to run a youth council or any organisation. Rather than serve as a platform that should encourage, empower, promote unity, interest and development of the average Cross River youth, it has become a cash-cow and conduit pipe for political jobbers and hucksters whose only interest is to use the organisation to quench their inordinate insatiable avidity for wealth.

This explains why year in, year out the organisation has shown a classical departure from it original mandate of supporting government to formulate and implement policies bordering on youth development in the state.

While majority of Cross River youths have expressed dissatisfaction with the way the organisation is going and have indicated strong commitment to return it to the original mandate, the hyenas and jackals who represent a few conservative reactionaries are raising their ugly heads again to continue to hold the great Cross River youths hostage with their greed and desperation for power.

Great Cross River youths, should we continue to wallow in fears and allow people who don’t have good and genuine intentions for the youth council and the youths to rule over us? Should we allow them to continue to seat on our common wealth at our own detriment?

Are we going to continue to allow them revolve the youth council postions around themselves as a way of settling their cabal members rather than providing leadership? Are we going to allow them to continue to use the organisation as meal tickets for people without any known source of income that become millionaires overnight once given the mandate? Should we continue to allow them eat fat into our future while majority of us wallow in pains and abject poverty?

No. Enough is enough.

We must all rise and be counted because we cannot allow our futures in the hands of people who don’t mean well for us. This is not about government. It is not about political party. This not is about looking for who to blame on why things may not be working as we expected in the state. It’s about standing up to be counted. It’s about securing a better future for us and the unborn generation.

We’ve not forgotten so soon how some of the people who are today masquerading as Messiahs tried unsuccessfully to use the Nigeria Youth Congress, a non-recognised organisation to cause confusion and unhealthy tension in the state just to boast their tiny egos. Having failed to achieve their aim which was nothing other than selfish and greedy enrichment, they’ve returned to continue their destruction process in the council.

But we the concerned youths of Cross River must rise and say no to them. We’re saying we have had enough and are ready to REBRAND. However, in a situation where rebranding is relegated to the abyss, the State Government through the Honourable Commissioner of Youth and Skills Acquisition, Hon. Omang Idiege should please, temporarily disband the youth council in the state to allow for a total overhaul and restructuring.

This is necessary because with the current structure where jobbers hold sway, whree there’s nothing to show that the council has contributed in any form towards the development of the youths and state at large, there’s an urgent need for a new direction. These people shouldn’t be allowed to continue wasting public funds for no meaningful ventures.

In all their reigns, where are the policies they have formulated in line with the mandate of the organisation? Where are the programmes to enhance youths development? What progress have they made? How have they affected the lives of the Cross River youth positively that we should allow them to continue to have their way? How have they used the council to initiate ideas that will better the lots of the average impoverished Cross River youth on the street? Their scorecard is an absolute ZERO!

Are they even youths? If we trace their roots very well to their primary school, are we sure some of these people who are calling the shots in youth council are not more than the legal age to be part of the council and as such should be retired for the real youths to takeover?

The state government is doing everything possible to fight cultism and other social vices but accusing fingers have constantly been pointed at some of these people yet since they’re in power, nothing has been done.

The way some of them have even gone about their activities in preparation for their planned (S)ELECTION, where any voice that doesn’t agree with their fraudulent activities is threatened to be “dealt with” shows clearly that should they be allowed to continue to rule over others with clear conscience, they’ll become emperors and will contribute to worsen the security situation in the state.

To this end, let the State Government through the Ministry of Youths insist that any candidate aspiring to the office of State Chairman, Deputy, Secretary and in fact all offices should first come out and denounce cultism as well as show policy thrust on how they’ll fight cultism if they assume office.

They should also forward the original of their primary school certificates which the ministry must not accept in face value to clear the allegation that they’ve passed the legal age to be called youths. Also, all the certificates they lay claim to should be thoroughly investigated to be sure that we’re not breeding certificates scammers in youth council.

On policy formation, they should come out with clear policies on how they hope to move the organisation and the state forward and show how they would do it.

If some of these measures are not put in place to flush out the “cabal” that feel they own the youth council in the state, people with history of certificates fraud and all kinds of fraud, low integrity, suspected cultists with no clear educational background will continue to hold the council hostage at the detriment of the qualified majority.

Inyali, a Concerned Cross River Youth writes from Calabar.

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