Four years ago in the rocky town of Abeokuta, South West Nigeria, 10 young people came together to share their passion for creating a better future for Nigeria. They worked tirelessly for two days to come up with a declaration of the change they wanted to see happen in Nigeria.
After mulling over what they should call this new declaration, it was unanimously agreed that it was written on behalf of over 80 million young Nigerians, so it became the “Youth Declaration.”
What was needed then
The Youth Declaration was born out of their desire for a better and different Nigeria. One which they yearned for accountability on the part of political leaders and accountability on the need for Nigeria’s political leadership to commit to creating more jobs. They also asked for accountability in addressing gender inequality, extreme poverty, and broken promises.
They hoped the country would thrive in the next four years, to see Nigeria “go beta.” But to see that happen, there would have had to have been an end to insecurity, the government would have had to commit to creating 3 million jobs every year, health systems would have had to be strengthened, investment in agriculture would have had to help address food security, and the potential of young Nigerians would have been unlocked. These young people promised to hold leaders accountable for their words and actions. They insisted they won’t be ignored and that they would vote for their future because they are the future and the future is now.
Where are we now and what can we do?
That was four years ago. Today, Nigeria’s young populace is still asking the same questions. They are still asking for basic needs to be met, decent jobs for young people are still a mirage, hospitals are in a constant state of disrepair, and the promises made four years ago were broken.
However, in our Naija spirit, we will not give up. We are ready to go at it again. This time we will raise our voices to ask for accountability, demand that leaders across the country listen to us, and ask them to collaborate with us.
We are ready to vote. We are the future, and the future is now.