Pope Francis recently gave a good definition of “youth” during a visit to Mexico. The Pope told them: “You are the wealth of your country.” Thus, ahead of the synod on youth this October, the Holy Father opened the pre-synod on March 19 in the Eternal City, whose outcomes will be taken into consideration during the October synod.

The youth cannot be underrated. According to Psalm 127:4, children are like arrows in the hand of a warrior, and youth generally are a blessing to the world. Similarly, when our fathers, in their wisdom posit that “Owo omode ko to pepe, ti agbalagba ko wo keregbe,” they mean that children or youth, as well as adults, have their respective usefulness and they must be accorded respect for their human dignity as well as the fantastic feats they accomplish for the world.

The future of the world largely depends on the young generation. When they are properly catered for and invested in, they are able to effect the desired change in the situation of our world.

We commend the Holy Father for his charismatic leadership in this regard. Surely, the upcoming synod is another gesture of closeness. It will demonstrate the Church’s interest to listen to and give the young people an opportunity to express their concerns; thus find a way of supporting them.

This altruistic attitude must trickle down so that the rest of the Church will learn from it. We must treasure our youth and accompany them in the challenges that they face in the contemporary world.

This posture of the Pope, should motivate all of us to proactively invest in the youth and help them to discover their God-given potential.

Sadly, what obtains in the network of corruption called Nigeria, is a far cry from the above. Rather than giving adequate attention to youth development and welfare, our leaders engage in erecting structures they hardly use and promoting frivolities in the name of entertainment, behaving like the biblical rich fool. 

The youth in Nigeria need to be part of the world’s story of unprecedented achievements by youth. The government must have a real agenda for the youth and stop paying lip service to youth development so that we also can realise the benefit of the youth in our land.

The Nigerian youth continue to pay the ultimate price for our sorry past. They are being tossed around by the myriads of challenges in the land. The kind of education that they receive is just a shadow of itself. Because the system is warped, our society simply does business and plays games with the destiny of the young generation. The education sector has become a lucrative business which the corrupt leaders use to siphon billions of naira while claiming some animals made away with them.

Ours is a nation that consumes her youth by frustrating them and eventually killing their potential. They are incessantly thrown out of school, abducted, imprisoned (home and abroad) and killed. They are mostly victims of the system’s anomalies.

If we must move forward as a country, we must have a rethink about the way our youth are treated.It is only with the youth that our nation can have a hope of a better tomorrow. The care of our young ones should be our collective and ultimate priority for it is essential to bring about a positive change to our body-polity. We must invest in them now to get a better tomorrow.

The best legacy we can give the upcoming generation is education which is presently uninspiritng and dejecting.. Education is suffering in the southern part of the country and almost non-existent in the North.

As a  Church, we also  need to provide the succour which is lacking in the family and the society. Indeed, we must do everything within our power to assist the youth. Apart from arming our youth with knowledge of our most cherished faith, we need to help them fit well into the society so that they can fend for themselves.

Our youth need to be protected from corrupt politicians who eagerly take advantage of them. We demand responsible governance and ask that the educational system, sports among others for youth development, be resuscitated and made vibrant. The government cannot pretend to be deaf to our cries.

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