In the world over youths are regarded as future leaders of the society as they possess enormous and multi dimensional talents, powers and creative abilities, which if molded and harnessed in a fit and proper atmosphere can translate to the general well-being of the society.
For decades now, leadership positions in Africa have been dominated by the elders and Nigeria is not an exception.
In Nigeria, youths, particularly in the pre-independence era played formidable roles leading to monumental gains in politics, economy, technology, commerce, and industry.
Leadership positions at that time were mostly occupied by young, vibrant, dynamic, patriotic, energetic and intelligent youths like Dr. Nnamdi azikwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Anthony Enahoro, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and others, who worked assiduously and selflessly to reposition and develop Nigeria.
These people left their footprints on the sands of time through their legacies borne out of patriotism.
It is against this backdrop that nations, particularly those subscribing to democratic norms and values prioritize youth development, self actualization and repositioning for future leadership roles.
Factors affecting youth development include high level of unemployment, poverty, involvement in cultism, political thurggery, cybercrime, insurgency, terrorism and get rich quick syndrome
It is pathetic that youths are no longer interested in selfless services to the country as they believe that government and the entire system has failed them, thereby opting for all means to get wealthy.
The mentality of ‘’national cake’’ has permeated the hearts of the younger ones as they intend to follow the footsteps of some leaders who embezzle public funds.
The signing of the “Not too Young to Run Bill’ into law by President Muhammad Buhari is a right step in the right direction as this act will galvanize youths to champion the cause of positive change through leadership for national development.
To this end, there is the urgent need for the family as the first socializing unit, government, religious and opinion leaders as well as various nongovernmental organizations to work assiduously to inculcate in youths the virtues of hard work, patriotism, and exemplary leadership.
Government at all levels should intensify the campaign on entrepreneurial skills acquisitions to enable youths to become employers of labour.
This will reduce the over bearing influence of political leaders, who see youths as tools for capturing political power by employing them as thugs and hoodlums to forment trouble as well as rig elections.
No doubt youths are indeed the leaders of tomorrow, only if they are ready to take full responsibility by doing the right thing while the older generations should give youths the opportunity to serve.
Finally, youths must also demonstrate the readiness to take over.