Every year, August 12 is set aside as International Youth Day. Jigawa youths should not be an exception in celebrating, or expressing their feelings and the hope to better their lives, which presently seems to be fast slipping away.
According to the 2006 population census, Jigawa has over four million people, out of which the youth constitute 50%. Unfortunately, 90% of the youth are currently under-employed, and even for those that are employed, what they earn cannot sustain them at all.
Every youth has the right to good life, qualitative education, good health, right of expression and the right to job opportunities (employment) among others, but in our society, the youths are dying due to lack of, or poor health care delivery and starvation. They roam the streets in search of livelihood and employment with little hope for the future.
I don't know what this government has planned or is planning to assist the large segment of unemployed youths in Jigawa State. Mind you, not empowerment handout!
Meanwhile, we expected the APC-led government from inception to have done something to ensure that moribund industries, such as the textiles and manufacturing industries, that provided jobs for millions of Nigerians are revived.
The issue of reviving the production and export of agricultural produce like groundnut, cotton and cocoa that hitherto sustained the economy should be revisited with the view of creating employment for youths nationwide.
The present situation whereby many youths are unemployed gives miscreants the opportunity to recruit them to perpetrate dastardly acts which have been on the increase in the country. The mayhem that was unleashed in some parts of the country following the announcement of the presidential election results in 2007, 2011 and 2015 because of frustration, jubilation and celebration of the president's loss and triumph was perpetrated mostly by unemployed youths.
It is time we had fewer youths loafing around the streets, and more in schools and other places of profitable employment.
Jigawa youths aspire to be responsible citizens; we say 'No to drug abuse, fraud, corruption and other social vices'. We say 'No to militancy, laziness and political thuggery. We will be law-abiding, committed and great leaders of tomorrow'. If youths continue to commit suicide or die due to frustration, deprivation, and the like, who will take the mantle of leadership of the state and our country, Nigeria?
At this point in time, we the youths should remember that this youthful stage is the most critical in our lives. These are years or times that we are energetic and full of vigour.
Youthful age is the period that determines the remaining period of a youth's life - leading to when he or she will have little or no strength to strive and struggle again. We should use this stage to do what is correct, meaningful and useful for ourselves, our family, communities, country and humanity in general.
May God help us and guide us aright. Amen.
Adamu Muhd Usman writes from Kafin-Hausa, Jigawa State