The Federal Government on Sunday celebrated the maiden edition of the National Youth Day for which November 1 of every year has been set aside with strong assertions that investment in the youth of the country is now a priority.
The event, which held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, with the theme: “Invest in the Youth, Secure Our Future” flagged off a bouquet of youth-oriented initiatives being implemented by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, which has the mandate for youth development.
The Minister, Mr Sunday Dare told the gathering that the theme of the event “resonates across all strata of society. It rallies us all, government, private sector and even the youth groups to a new and urgent cause. That cause is to invest more and deliberately in the innovative minds, skills, talents and enterprise of our youth.
“To equip them with needed and relevant technical and digital skills. To make them wealth creators, self starters, employers of labour and leaders in their own right. Globally, there is a Paradign shift from merely empowering the youth to directly investing in them,” the Minister stated.
He explained how the government has continued to prioritized investment in the youth, noting that it is a cardinal focus of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
According to him,“President Muhammadu Buhari since the inception of his administration has never taken his eyes off the ball when it comes to youth developmental issues. This government has initiated a slew of multifaceted youth focused programs that are cross cutting. At the last count about 25 of them undertaking by different Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
“Wherever the youth group is found, these programs target them. Indeed, when in July 22nd, 2020 the President in Council approved the establishment of the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund, NYIF, it was a culmination of all efforts geared at giving our youth the access to funds needed for enterprise.
“The President, through the NYIF demonstrated that Nigeria was in sync and agreement with the new thinking in youth development and that sees investing in the youth as a condition to unleash their potentials. As we speak, the NYIF as been over subscribed for the 2020 half year funding provided for. Over 1 million applications have been received with more expected to come, Mr. Dare disclosed.
Subsequent editions of the National Youth Day would be used to draw attention to issues around youth, training and job opportunities, as well as inclusion of youth in decision making.