Written by Ugonma Uzoanya
While the dust raised by the #EndSARS protests targeted at ending police brutality in the country is yet to settle, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Charles Soludo has urged the Federal Government to allow the youths to be at the forefront in making and implementing policies for the country.
Soludo’s admonition was contained in an open letter.
The former central banker noted that he has been an advocate for a better Nigeria since he was a teenager just as he recalled his daughter’s experience in the hands of the dreaded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The former CBN boss advised the government to “exploit the opportunity inherent in the current seeming national tragedy” by establishing structures that would address the challenges of the youths. He suggested that the structure could be called “Commission for the Future of Nigerian Youths”.
According to Soludo, “Yes, the initial peaceful protest has largely lost its strategic direction but we must not also respond by labeling 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?
“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”.
Charles Soludo believes that if the younger generation are heard “they might give Nigeria the magic wand for it’s problems”.