Nigerian youths have been challenged to speak up and hold their leaders accountable as the country marks its 57th anniversary of independence.
This was the position of some speakers at an event titled “What Is Democracy?” where participants discussed ways to increase youth involvement and engagement in Nigerian politics and society.
One of the speakers, Oluwole Babalola, said the future of Nigeria belongs to its youth, but the country can only reach its full potential if youths are willing to stand up for what is right.
“The difference between this present generation and the older generation is our capacity to be productive and to also be engaged in something positive,” Mr. Babalola said.
He stated that the problems bedeviling Nigeria as a country are its institutions and structures which have allowed corruption to thrive.
Mr. Babalola asked why the youths in the country, who represent the largest percentage of the Nigerian population, are still taking the back seat and refusing to question their leaders.
Akintoye Oluwadurotimi, the host of the event, said there was a need for political reorientation and heightened social consciousness among Nigerian youths.
He said there are many questions the youths have refused to ask to both past and present leaders of the country as Nigeria marked its 57th Independence Day.
Mr. Oluwadurotimi wondered why the country which prides herself as the giant of Africa is still lagging behind so many others in economic development and growth despite its abundant resources. He challenged youths to “wake up” to this harsh reality.
“So many things are still wrong in Nigeria, and we (youths) have refused to ask questions. None of us are talking, we need to wake up,” he said.
Mr. Oluwadurotimi expressed concern over the lack of a reading culture among Nigerian youths, which has prevented youths from standing up to tyranny and oppression.
Donald Falaye from the Voice FM of Ado, Ekiti State, called on all Nigerian youths to engage their leaders on critical issues that affect the development of their own society.
Mr. Falaye decried the greed for money among Nigerian youths and further solicited for proper moral uprightness.
He said that the Nigerian critical masses would always choose their leaders with their votes and should also endeavor to speak against money to buy such liberty.
“The mentality of Nigerian youths must change towards the syndrome of money, mostly during the elections,” he said.
Other speakers who spoke at the event also called on the Nigeria youths to start taking pragmatic steps by joining social movements that could rescue Nigeria from corruption and tyranny.
They also urged the media to continually set agenda for the political discourse so as to raise the consciousness of the people towards growth and development which could help strengthen the country's growing democracy.
A SaharaReporters correspondent observed that the event with the theme "Our Democracy And Its Evolution" was held at the open field of Reuben Fasoranti Park in the Alagbaka area of Akure, Ondo State.