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PAPER PRESENTATION AT INTERNATIONAL PEACE YOUTH GROUP AND INTERNATIONAL WOMEN PEACE GROUP (IPYG /IWPG) FORUM ON THE 3RD NOVEMBER 2016 IN LAGOS NIGERIA

 

Being the text of a presentation at IPYG/IWPG forum on the 3rd November, 2016 in Lagos by Adeniyi Ismaila Oluwatoyin (Executive Director IYOREF)

PREAMBLE:

 

I feel humbled by enormity of the topic I have been asked to discuss with us today in respect of many reasons which are; I am not a scholar, grossly inexperienced among whatever shortcomings noticed would be pointed and corrected by the very senior professionals seated.

 

I am profoundly honoured to be part of this maiden meeting. This is timely because it is coming at time when everybody is eagerly looking forward to see and feel peace in the country. It is highly unfortunate that the whole wide world is not at peace.

PEACE WITH ME.

 

1.     What can I do for peace as one of youth leaders?

2.     What is the limitations for individual myself to work for peace as youth?

3.     How to overcoming the limitations? How about WE?

I carefully brought out some key words from the topic, theme and sub-themes as follows:

1.     What is peace?

2.     Who is a leader?

3.     Who is a youth?

4.     Who is a youth leader?

5.     Challenges that faces the youth to work for peace.

6.     How can youth overcome these challenges?

 

PEACE: According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, “a situation or a period of time in which there is no war or violence in a country or an area.

This means people can happily live together in harmony with a sense of common purpose.

 

LEADER: A person who everybody looks upon to have succor, peace of mind and get solution to their problems.

 

YOUTH: The time of life when a person is young, especially the time before a child becomes an adult. UNESCO uses different definitions of youth depending on the context. For activities at international or at regional level such as the African Youth Forum,

UNESCO uses United Nations’ universal definition. The UN, for statistical consistency across regions, defines ‘youth’ as those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years.  African Youth Charter categorized youth as persons between ages of 15 and 35 years. From both definitions, it clearly showed that the most active part of one’s life is the youth time.

 

YOUTH LEADER: From the definitions above, it shows a youth leader is that responsible person who stands above board in proffering solutions to his peers’ problems.

 

What can I do for peace as one of youth leaders?

 As a youth leader, one needs to first of all understand the society.

The society in which the adolescents grow up has an important influence on their development, relationships, adjustments and problems. The expectations of the society shape their personalities, influence their roles, and guide their future.

Social conditions help create or solve their problems or influence the adjustments they must make in solving them. The structure and functions of the society help them either fulfill their needs or create new problems by stimulating further tension and frustration.

Society seems to have adopted violence as a convenient means of conflicts resolution. The youths who watch all these events also resort to violence in order to achieve their goals.

 

A youth leader should create enabling environment where everybody would feel valued; provide equal opportunity for all. This is the first step towards promotion of peace.

 

A youth leader should understand that people are coming from different backgrounds and as such; there will be individual differences. A youth leader must adopt peace as a convenient means of conflicts resolution.

A youth leader should be advocate of peace.

 

A youth leader must let the society understand why existence of peace is paramount. This can be done by awareness programme through media.

 

A youth leader must be a role model.

 

A youth leader should be compassionate and ready to listen to plight of his people.

 

A youth leader must be brave, ready to fight for the right of his people in a peaceful manner.

 

He should let good example radiate and emanate from him through love, exercise patience and proclaiming peace.

 

He should be proactive and make researches to finding solutions to problems.

 

A youth leader should learn from others and use their combine wisdom to solving problems.

 

Above qualities makes a youth leader to be a peaceful leader.

 

What is the limitations for individual myself to work for peace as youth?

 

As an individual youth, single effort cannot yield desirable result with the level moral decadence in the society.

 

Action of an individual is just like a lonely voice in the wilderness.

 

Due to lack of man power, effort of individual self may be limited to four corners of his room

 

It is highly less motivating for a single individual to work for peace

 

It is not always easy for people to accept an individual idea no matter how brilliant it is.

 

The society does not celebrate achievers again. Rather, assassins and armed robbers have become public heroes

 

Instead of embracing good deeds from someone as God’s creature, people hypocritically hide under the name of a religion to perpetrate evil.

How to overcoming the limitations? How about WE?

 

To overcome these limitations, there is little an individual self can do. It is only “WE” general populace, government agencies, private institutions through collective efforts that can win the race.

 These youths are categorized into two:

 

1.     In-School-Youth. (Youths in school).

2.     Out- of-School youth. (Youths that are not in school).

 

 

As regards the In-School-Youth, below solutions can go a long way to overcoming the limitations.

 

 

Good administration in the institution: The institutions are the students’ immediate environment. They are sensitive to the leadership provided by the institutions. They want to see that their authorities cater for their interest. Let the administration be sensitive to the needs of the students and provide such needs adequately for peace to reign in the institutions.

 

Well Planned and Implementable Academic Calendar: In the past, higher institutions have well-structured uniformed calendar. Students resume in September and end the session in June. Today, individual institutions run haphazard academic calendars. While some students are in the school others are at home roaming the streets without anything to occupy them. In the past, July – September months were used to secure vacation jobs but today nobody cares for the students’ welfare or their whereabouts during vacations. This nonchalant attitude of the administrators of higher institutions must stop to give peace a chance.

 

Provision of Conducive Learning Environment: Institutions must provide adequate classrooms, halls, research facilities etc. There should be expansion of these facilities to cope with the increasing population. Unfortunately, the facilities that catered for the few students in the 1970s are still being used for the teeming population. This leads to many students unrest.

 

Reduction of exorbitant school fees: It is increasingly becoming difficult for the less privileged to get quality education. This is one of major problems that create unnecessary tensions in institutions.

 

Good Counseling: Institutions should have functional guidance and counseling center where students can get solutions to issues that affect them. Solve their problems thereby releasing tension.

 

Assurance of Post – School Employment: In the past, good job would wait for a fresh graduate both from government and the public sector. Today, youths are not sure of their future after graduation. This is mounting pressure on the students believing that the elders have no plans for them. Government must address unemployment problems squarely to relax the uncertainty brewing in these youths.

Religious activities:

 

Institutions should encourage the students to participate actively in good religious activities. This will soften their minds from engaging in criminal activities like cultism.

 

As regards the Out-of- School Youth, below solutions can go a long way to overcoming the limitations.

These sects are the most dangerous because they are either semi or stack illiterate. Life does not really make any sense to them and are easily lured into many bad things. Political god-fathers equip them with sophisticated weapons; use them as thugs during elections. When elections are over, they use the weapons for other illicit acts like robbery and kidnapping.

 

Good Governance: Youths are very sensitive to the political class. With the emergence of social media, information flows with the speed of light. They see how politicians squander billions and trillions. Youths should see transparent and sympathetic governance in all tiers of government. Let the youth see that the government carries them along in her programme. Politicians that uses thugs for campaign should be banned from contesting.

 

Provision of Adequate Recreational Facilities: Recreational facilities should be provided by the government in each local government to ease social unrest. Youth will engage in different sporting activities. In addition, encourage educative and recreational film shows.

 

Re-orientation:  There should be re-orientations among the youths that prison is of more corrective than punitive, remove the stigma attached to prison and imprisonment. This will erase the mentality that anybody that passes through a prison is not useful to the society. Canvass for the release of incarcerated youths with civil and minor offences. Government should meet those with illegal arms and provide job for them.

 

Talent hunting:  Government must discover their God-gift talents and channel them positively; purchase tools and machinery related to skill acquired and subsequent setting up for them on a small scale or connect them with big organizations and conglomerates.

In accordance with the wise saying that goes thus; “Little drops of water makes rain to fall. Combination of rain water forms erosion. Combination of erosions forms rivers.  And the combination of rivers makes a big ocean”.

 

In a nutshell, a big ocean emanated from drops of water. There is no other way to solve the problems of limitations except by means of “WE” i.e. the society.

 

 I would like to once again thank all who have taken the time and effort to come and attend this maiden event.

God bless.

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