17 January 2014

Nigeria: National Dialogue - Nigerian Youths Demand 30 Percent Representation

Abuja — NIGERIAN Youths have expressed fear that any attempt by the national assembly to pass the 2014 Appropriation bill may affect the success of the proposed national dialogue.

The youths operating under the aegis of Coalition of Youth Organizations for National Conference (COYONAC), also said that with the big size of the Nigerian youths, they had agreed to demand unanimously 30 percent of the country's political representation in the forthcoming dialogue.

Raising the alarm over the alleged threat by the House of Representatives not to consider the budget till the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala answered th 50 questions asked her by the house, a Co-Convener of the youths The Youths Round Table Dialogue, Tosin Adeyanju said such threat could pose a setback if the national assembly did not expedite action in the passage of the budget.

Besides, the youths were of the view that if the women fold could be demanding for 35 percent affirmation, youths had not gone out of hands to ask Nigerians in the upcoming conference for 30 percent, judging by their population size in the country.

Addressing the youths in Abuja, the Convener of the Conference with the theme, "Our stake, Our representation and the national conference" Comrade Wale Ajani maintained that youths were no longer the leader of tomorrow, but today, and that, the world was fast becoming a digital world, where old generation would no longer relevant in the scheme of things.

Ajani said that it was important for youths to come together to chart their course so as to avert re occurrence of what happened during President Olusegun Obasanjo's administration, when a 60 year old man was chosen to be the youth representative.

According to him, going by what happened recently during the constitution of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Conference by President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigerian youths were still lacking representation.

"The Presidential Advisory Committee on National Conference, as then announced, though made up of eminent and credible Nigerians lacked youth representation. Till date, we still consider that as an over-sight. We had noted that youths are key to the CONFAB since it is the future of Nigeria that is being discussed," he said.

Ajani made it clear that the gathering was not meant to discuss political party, or political agenda, "but to discuss our collective interest in the forthcoming national dialogue."

The Co-convener, Comrade Adeyanju appealed to the National Assembly to fast track the passage of the 2014 budget proposal laid before it by the Executive.

Adeyanju noted that many things could go wrong if they delayed passage of the appropriation, stressing that it could indirectly affect the convocation of the national conference due to lack of fund.

The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Youth and Student Matters, Com. Jude Imagwe assured that with the approval of President Jonathan, those that would participate in the forthcoming conference would not be victimized.

"This is a challenge to young people, because the President has said the CONFAB is for young people, so, it is a challenge for us, to gather in a proper manner that actually represent the yearnings and the aspiration of the people," he said.

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