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Young people, have often been referred to as leaders of tomorrow or say, future leaders. Indeed, this is true because in recent times, the youth have been preparing and building their capacities in various spheres to effectively take over the reins of responsibilities and leadership and, efficiently man it. Honestly, we can come to a consensus that for some young folks, the future can be described as: one second away, one minute away, an hour away or less than twenty-four hours. Sadly, for some, this future and tomorrow have turned out to be forever, an endless wait that has no intention of meeting their schedule irrespective of their competencies and preparedness. Yes! forever because those who are supposed to hand over these reins of responsibilities and leadership have somehow found ways to successfully manipulate the systems and institutions to enable them stay put past their time without any intention to transition.

This is partly because, a class of people mostly at the helm of affairs in both state and private institutions are of the view that, young people lack the experience and know-how to efficiently spur development or achieve “certain targets”. This flawed conception is being fueled by the malicious blanket linkages of various forms of vices to the youth in addition to being profiled as immature, having weak train of thoughts and other flawed reasons that are bereft of logic among others. Laughable among the lots is the tag of being “Young” as a criterion to short-change the said “young person” of what is rightfully due him or her, particularly in regards to participation in governance, decision making and other spheres of nation building.

But for the institutional, structural and systemic deficiencies woven deeply in our country [forcing the youth to practice vices]; the bottlenecks and red tapes that have held the youth back in their quest to explore, get involved, be innovative and grow, I believe that young people would have been the highest contributors to economic, social and political development.

We have come to a point in time where all the systemic bottlenecks, institutional red tapes, structural deficiencies and social constructs that have prevented and denied youths the opportunities to be well meaning contributors of development and at the fore of same need to be relooked at and eradicated completely. This is incumbent because, we can attest to the gradual but steady rise of youths through the lowest ebbs to become relevant in the fields of politics, community development, healthcare, education, science and technology, farming, innovation, social entrepreneurship among others. I am of the firm belief that when red tapes and bottlenecks inhibiting and restricting the involvement, innovations, contributions and growth of young people are taken off, the youth can achieve more and proportionately contribute their quota to social change within their respective communities and spur national development.

More importantly, the onus also lies with the youth to make ourselves relevant by inspiring and leading change in the little ways we can at any given moment we find. This onus also implores that we do not idle around and play the blame game for our marginalization in national discourses and governance. You cannot influence decisions on the table if you don’t have a seat at the table. Don’t just complain about bad leadership, get involved and hold leaders accountable. It is time to take our chair to and create space for ourselves at the table of decision making at all levels of governance and processes of development. The power to create the future we desire is within us, we can change the narrative if we unite our efforts.

Hitherto, as youth our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try one more time. It is a new dawn for the youths. There must be New Determination, New Desire and a New Will to Succeed. We must Believe, we must Plan, we must be willing to Learn, Unlearn and Relearn because we are in a dispensation of fast paced evolvement with new knowledge and innovations, we must be audacious to challenge the status quo, We must be Prepared and anticipate to leverage on any given opportunity and above all, we must Begin to make ourselves relevant and unalienable stakeholders of development. We are made for this opportune time and with our comparative skills, knowledge and strengths can be catalyst for national and world development. YES, WE CAN!!!

Conclusively, as an intern at YEFL GHANA, I must admit that this is an organization that transcends pseudo youth participation. Indeed, not only are young people working with and having ties with the organization equipped with the requisite skills and logistics and given the freedom to explore in a thriving environment, they are thrust [with the philosophy of knowing by doing] into the front lines as catalysts for change and holistic development through Youth Participation, Leadership and Mainstreaming. This I perceive and strongly acknowledge as opportunity and hope for young people like myself who strive for success through experience.

© Emmanuel Tochukwu Ndukwe

Project Intern | YEFL Ghana


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