Charles Soludo, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says it is time the federal government allowed the youth to be at the fore in making and implementing policies for the country.
Soludo said this in an article he wrote regarding the uprising by the youth against police brutality and the call for better governance.
The professor of economics, who said his daughter had fallen victim to the defunct special anti-robbery squad (SARS), added that he has been protesting for a better Nigeria since he was 19 years old.
Soludo asked the federal government to “exploit the opportunity inherent in the current seeming national tragedy” by establishing a structure managed by the youth and one that would address their challenges.
This structure, he suggested, could be “Commission for the Future of Nigerian Youths”.
Soludo said: “Yes, the initial peaceful protest has largely lost its strategic direction but we must not also respond by labelling the entire episode and dismissing it. The crisis has shown many patriotic youths and we need to harness them into a vanguard for the new or next Nigeria.
“Such a structured dialogue under whatever platform (for example: “Commission for the Future of Nigerian Youths”) should be dominated by the youths from the 36 states and FCT at the centre of the table. It could be an ad-hoc or permanent Commission (separate from the ministry of youths and sports) but with defined timelines to deliver results.
“Let Nigeria lead Africa in this regard by elevating the voice of the citizen to statecraft. We need their alternative blueprint for our future. If they want to suggest their own version of Nigerian constitution, let them do so. It is their future and that of their children that is mostly at stake and so, let’s hear them.
“Let the Commission for the Future of Nigerian Youths produce the youths’ agenda for security, jobs, poverty reduction and prosperity, as well as the legal-institutional- governance structure to deliver them. What kind of education and value system will underpin these and how will they emerge, etc?
He also said the younger generation should be heard, adding that they “might give Nigeria the magic wand for the problems”.
“Given the high concentration of poverty in the North East and North West, as well as the spate of insecurity especially banditry, kidnapping, and terrorism, perhaps the youths might give Nigeria the magic wand for the problems. Let’s have their detailed plan for policing in Nigeria or even a template on the size, functions, salaries and allowances of elected office holders, etc.,” he said.
“Who knows which other disruptive or inventive ideas that they can come up with. States and local governments may also set up their own commissions with similar or broader mandates.”