Youths Have The Capacity To Make Change Happen- Commissioner

A call has gone out to youths to channel their energy into productive activities as they are pivotal actors in the achievement of peace and sustainable development in the country. This assertion was made by the Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr. Segun Dawodu, on Thursday, during a virtual youth dialogue on peace and conflict resolution organised by the Ministry of Youth and Social Development. The Commissioner noted that the effect of COVID-9 pandemic on youths has been tremendous, creating personal and group conflict in the society, hence the need to dialogue and find lasting solutions to issues that may trigger conflict in the society. Conflict, the Commissioner noted, may arise as a result of lack of education, skills or adequate information, pointing out that idle youths can be easily lured into violence and manipulated by extremist groups. “The role of youths as pivotal actors in the achievement of peace and sustainable development cannot be overemphasised. This is because the youth have the creativity, potential and capacity to make change happen”, the Commissioner stated. Dawodu observed that because conflict as a form of human character cannot be wished away, it is essential to address conflicting issues and resolve them effectively before they escalate into violence, abuse or war. He maintained that peace and conflict resolution allow people to thrive economically, socially and politically by addressing the root causes of violence. He declared that young people are being brainwashed, used as tools of violence and left with their future disjointed, and, therefore, charged youths to declare peace, lead their community to non-violent reconciliation and set standards for new ways to engage in dialogue. Averring that the positioning of youths in the society has a bearing on their leadership potentials and their possible role in peacebuilding, Dawodu charged youths to take advantage of the many opportunities created by the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for building a network for peace and prevention of conflicts and violence. While charging youths to avoid idleness, the Commissioner advised them to key into the entrepreneurship drive of the State as well as agriculture, saying “an idle hand is the devil's workshop”. In her address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Mrs. Yewande Falugba noted that youths possess a strong potential to drive change at all levels and can be heroes of strong positive action. She noted that although youths may be at the centre of negative security related issues, large numbers of them are making a positive impact in the society, urging youths to embrace non-violent behaviour and channel their energy into making good use of the technological advances available to them. The Guest Speaker at the event, Engr. Adekunle Olayinka, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN), in his address stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has so far impacted negatively on the society and has caused a lot of social fractures. He, however, expressed confidence that young peacebuilders can play a leading role in preventing violence, train their communities and innovate new peacebuilding strategies, encouraging youths to be at the forefront of building a more resilient society for the future. Engr. Adekunle emphasised the need for youths, as peacebuilders, to use the strategy of consultation and all forms of lobby to patiently communicate their requests, challenges and social fractures to policymakers. Participants at the physical and virtual conference included members of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Lagos Chapter and youths from across the State among others. Image-FB/@followlasg

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