By Ralph Madugu
The Northern Governors’ Forum has set up a special Committee on Youth and Civil Society to enhance engagement towards tackling the challenges of the region.
Inaugurating the committee in Kaduna, Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Bako Lalong, disclosed that the setting up of the committee became necessary so as to involve the youth and members of the civil society in the programmes aimed at resolving the problems of youth unemployment, illiteracy, crime and poverty, among others.
Lalong said the setting up of the Committee follows the decision reached at the last Consultative meeting of the NGF and members of the Northern Traditional Council and key stakeholders held recently in Kaduna.
Said he: “We are well aware that youths form a bulk of the population of the region and the nation, and as such have a great role to play in the destiny of the country. Their voices must not only be heard, but their opinions and views should always be carried along in governance.
“Here in the Northern Region, the challenges facing the youths are enormous and very well known to us. These include unemployment, illiteracy, crime, drug abuse among others. As leaders, we must not only address these challenges, but also engage the youths in a manner that they own the process to make any initiative successful and long-lasting”.
The NGF Chairman emphasized that the assignment of the committee is very crucial in Forum’s agenda of changing the fortunes of Northern youths from despondency to hope, and from few opportunities to vast windows for self-realization and wealth creation.
Responding on behalf of other members of the committee, the Emir of Zazzau, Ambassador Ahmed Nuhu Bamali, who is to serve as Chairman Committee, assured that the committee would face its assignment with vigour and passion and consult widely to arrive at a conclusion that will assist in finding lasting solution to youths’ restiveness in the region.
The monarch applauded the northern governors for conceiving the idea of the Committee which affirms the fact that sooner than later, the youths are going to be in the saddle of leadership.
The committee has 33 members drawn from the 19 northern states and is expected to complete its assignment within 8 weeks.
Among its terms of reference, the committee is to among other things work out ways of prioritizing different programmes for youth development and their inclusion in the governance architecture in Nigeria and the north in particular.
It has also been saddled with the responsibility of creating robust interface with the civil society in the region to facilitate engagement and dialogue on ways to address challenges confronting the region. The committee has also been mandated to make other recommendations it deemed necessary
Members of the committee include: Senator Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia, Women Affairs Minister, Dame Pauline Tallen, Kaduna State CAN Secretary, Rev. Sunday Ibrahim, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, JNI Secretary and Secretary to the Government of Kaduna State, Balarabe Abbas Lawal, who is to serve as Secretary.