Impacting Positively In The Lives Of Vulnerable And Less Privileged Youth Towards A Prosperous NIGERIA




Countries all over the world are driven by certain developmental goals. To reach for these goals certain value systems are created and investments made in human infrastructural growth. At every given time, the potentials of a country are measured by the quality of their human work-force and the future itself determined thereof. It is this indubitable fact that makes it necessary for younger generations or the youth population to be groomed and trained in view of their future roles in sustaining and growing the country. To effectively do the foregoing, equal opportunities to education, health and other such indispensable utilities becomes cardinal to nurture a confident generation of future leaders. 

The youths population, thus, is an integral part of every society. While we would lay claims to several fundamental issues influencing the youth,  this discuss will fail in achieving it’s goals without underlining the definitions to various key words in this topical matter.

To start with, we are confronted with putting crystal clear definitions to keywords such as "positive impact", "vulnerable", "less privilege", and "youth". This is attempted as follows:

VULNERABLE: According to the Merriam Webster dictionary means, to be "open to attack or damage" i.e; for one to be capable of being physically or emotionally wounded.

➢ LESS PRIVILEGE: Is defined as social or economic deprivation of some of the fundamental rights of all members of a civilised society. 

➢ YOUTH : The definition of a youth has been interpreted in different ways by different people, but for the purpose of this discuss we shall define a youth as a young person with both strength and intellectual vibrancy. They are those class of people defined by exuberance, vitality and eagerness that is more a product of age than nurtured Furthermore, according to the National Bureau of Statistics in its 2012 National Youth Survey report; youths of working age, in the age bracket of 15 to 35 years are nearly 70 million persons in a population of 166 million Nigerians.


The youthful age is best understood as a period of transition from the dependence of childhood to adulthood independence and an awareness of our interdependence as members of a community. Youth is a more fluid category than a fixed age-group.

However, age is the easiest way to define this group, particularly in relation to education and employment. Therefore a youth is often indicated as a person between the age where he/she may leave compulsory education, and the age at which he/she finds his/her first employment. This latter age limit has been increasing, as higher levels of unemployment and the cost of setting up an independent household puts many young people into a prolonged period of dependency.
When carrying out its Youth Strategy, UNESCO used different definitions of youth depending on the context.

For activities at the national level, for example when implementing a local community youth programme, “youth” may be understood in a more flexible manner. UNESCO then adopts the definition of “youth” as used by a particular Member State. It can be based, for instance, on the definition given in the African Youth Charter where “youth” means “every person between the ages of 15 and 35 years” which we have adopted.

But again, let us have a preview of other definition by UNESCO on a different scale so as to have an overview on this all important subject, the “YOUTH”.

For activities at international or at regional level, such as the African Youth Forum, UNESCO uses the United Nations’ universal definition.
The UN, for statistical consistency across regions, defines ‘youth’, as those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years, without prejudice to other definitions by Member States. All UN statistics on youth are based on this definition, as illustrated by the annual yearbooks of statistics published by the United Nations system on demography, education, employment and health.

From the definitions of the concept of the subject matter the youth, we would realize that it cuts across the able bodied and most vibrant fulcrum of every society. Hence, for every society to survive it youths can not, and must never be unde-developed. In Nigeria today the youth forms a very large percentage of its population. Hence, there is little or no surprise over the recent agitation for youth inclusion in political stakes, condensed into the viral hashtag #NotTooYoungToRule. It is pivotal that a group such as this having formidable strength is an amazing part towards development and advancement. I make bold to assert today that every developed nation of the world has made meaningful contributions towards reducing the vulnerability of its youths. The roles of the youths in the society becomes the only alternative towards the determination of such society. If the youths, which you are a part of, leans towards the negative then the prospects are scary. However if it leans towards positives, we can be bold to say that our country is heading towards prosperity. I challenge you to accept this responsibility and stop shifting blames to what used to be the words of the younger generation few years ago, that the older generations are the cause of a failed Nigeria. Yes, you have a point to make and it emphatically made. But be reminded of the once popular word of a noble politician in this country, “we steal because they refuse to stone us”.  Now can you see the secret you need to unravel, stone them, so they can stop stealing your collective patrimony and resources. Take responsibility today.


For any society to survive in turbulent times with complex political instability, economic quagmire and the host of numerous problems commonplace in nation-states such as ours, investment must be made in its youth population. This task is in itself onerous but sacrosanct. It is a concern which must pre-occupy our national consciousness and be reflected in state policies and the social internalisation process. What is more, safeguarding the youths of today is safeguarding the very future of the country. 

It is regrettable that we live in a society where youths are a very much vulnerable group. Certain factors are responsible for this, ranging from an inept educational process or a lack thereof to exposure to crime, a bad value system, socio-economic neglect, bad leadership, amongst so much more. All these are summed up as the unavailability of basic needs and rights that should be inviolable. Education, is a right, security of lives and properties are rights of the individual among the host of many others. But sheer greed, official corruption and subtle corruption have degenerated basic needs to what we must pray hard or die to have.
For we to have a paradigm shift then, there is a need for all and sundry to invest into key sectors of the nation. For one, we must look towards making education affordable for the common man. Not just education but quality education. The very process of learning has to be made appealing and all encompassing. Accommodation must be made for indigent youths who, through monetary lack stand the risk of losing out on schooling and so become ready thugs and deviants in the society. All of this must be captured in the policy making process of all three tiers of government.

Politically, there is the need to revamp the system to be more youth friendly and accommodating. Programmes geared towards political education must be put together, as well as leadership training workshops. At certain levels, provision must be made for active participation of youths in leadership roles in view of more defining roles in the future as the older generation hand over the realms of government. It is important to state that youths are more than just a voting mass but people imbued with their own skill-set and a right to apply their areas of competence in public roles towards developing the country.

While enough cannot be said of the need to have a pronounced and effective education system, skill acquisition programmes must also be in place. Vocational aptitude must be encouraged and applauded as the society moves towards a more diverse approach in its millennial state goals. 


It was Ernesto Che Guevara, the revolutionise, who once said, and I quote: "Our youths must always be free, discussing and exchanging ideas  concerned with what is happening throughout the entire world".

I must state categorically in this speech, as I conclude, that the challenges of vulnerable youths are not unsolvable. Although there are many things left to say, suffice to say that by engaging all sectors in the society we can effectively work towards a youth force free from the temptation of crime and less inclined towards social anomies. To fail in this regard is to endanger the very future of the country.

Thank you.

Dr. Ajulo is the Principal Partner, Kayode Ajulo & Co. Castle of Law, Executive Director, Egalitarian Mission, Africa and was National Secretary, Labour Party.

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