It is very obvious that several posers are at stake that queries the importance and relevance of the National Youth Council of Nigeria to resolutions of numerous challenges confronting Nigeria Youths, considering the deepened economic maladies and relative insensitivities of government to their general plights. Oftentimes, government agents or agencies claims recognition of palpable problems confronting Nigeria Youths and echoes government initiatives at putting the problems at bay, but the realities are the unabated social malaise, high poverty rate and employment crisis.
The creed of the Youths is an assurance of brighter future, where their basic needs will be derived not only with ease, but through lesser efforts that ultimately guarantees the achievements of these noble expectations, it is absolutely compelling for strong synergy to exist between government and representatives of Nigeria Youths for productive engagements leading to pragmatic Youth Developments. Since 1964, Nigeria Youths are majorly represented by the leadership of National Youth Council of Nigeria as fronts for genuine aspirations of Nigeria Youths.
The most successful government policy aimed towards reuniting the Country after disintegration from the Civil War in 1967 was an initiative of the then leadership of the National Youth Council of Nigeria. It is not common knowledge, but substantive evidences and records exist that proved that the establishment of the National Youth Service Corps occurred via wisdom of leaders of National Youth Council of Nigeria that recommended the Scheme to the Federal Government, suffice to say the synergy between the leadership of the Council and Government aided several Youth Oriented Policies formulation and implementation, the impact of those initiatives on partakers and communities are sufficient enough to weigh the usefulness of a vibrant National Youth Council of Nigeria to Youth Developments in Nigeria.
It is not out of place to link the neglects of general interest of Nigeria Youths by government to the loss of vibrancy and politicization of the activities of the National Youth Council of Nigeria. It is easy for people to allege Youths of outright indiscipline and misdemeanours without investigating the causes of the rots, unfortunately, our society is only fair to the affluent and political class that commits offences and escape commensurable sanctions, the commoners are subjected to extreme punishment without creating appropriate measures to debar them from further committals.
Drawing motivations from good intents and purpose, the organizations affiliated to the National Youth Council of Nigeria offers voluntary services to Nigeria Youths at large by equipping them with sound ideological and worthy moral trainings required to become good citizens. In past eras, it was difficult to find any young educated Nigerian without membership of outstanding organizations like Man ’O’ War, Boys Scouts, Sheriff Guards of Nigeria, Girls Brigade and their likes, these organizations provided enabling platforms for Youth orientations, training, guidance and counseling with due monitoring by the leadership of NYCN aided by availability of subventions from relevant government agencies and aids from both domestic and international donors, but today, those glories have eroded partly due to failure of government to provide the subventions to assist the voluntary workers as done in the past.
The supportive efforts of these organizations impacted positively on the modeling of disciplined, contented and morally conscious Youths with inherent spirit of sacrifice and volunteerism obtainable in the past, a circumstance that is grossly at variance with the current realities of vast population of misguided, poorly oriented and desperate Youths occupying public space in Nigeria of today. These Voluntary Youth Organizations formed the source of strength for National Youth Council of Nigeria at Local, States and National Levels, their membership inductions follows detailed procedures that commandeer good manners among members that prioritize showcasing of the good ideals of their organizations as good ambassadors.
To be qualified to contest an elective position in National Youth Council of Nigeria, an aspirant must be sponsored by an affiliate organization and must have passed through series of leadership training, invariably; such person must have held a leadership position in his organization. These criteria created credible platform that enhanced vibrancy of the National Youth Council of Nigeria where unity of purpose was second to none among the fore bearers, but on the contrary, the shift from that trend to a retrogressive point is ultimately responsible for the unwarranted leadership tussle among gladiators in the Council.
A brief trace of the leadership impasse in the Council can be sufficiently linked to the NYCN National Congress in 2007, certain issues that arose from the election guidelines and conduct became subject of litigations where Court judgments eventually crashed the mandate of the Olawale James Ajani led National Executive Council among other factors that hindered the successful completion of their term of office, upon which a consent judgment among gladiators gave birth to a National Transition Committee headed by the same Ajani in 2010 with the mandate to unite all warring factions and facilitate the conduct of a credible election to reposition NYCN for greatness.
The National Transition Committee was time bound at conceptions, but logistics and necessities hindered the smooth transition that got shattered with parallel congresses that gave birth to different factions in the National Youth Council of Nigeria from 2010 till 2014 before the interventions of the Board of Trustees and other stakeholders that conveyed a message of hope for a Unity National Congress in 2015.
Due to bickering and tussles among the gladiators, high level degeneration occurred when people of doubtable characters and ill trainings without familiarities with the norms and core values of NYCN infiltrated the fold by trading their organizations with some jobbers and handed over their platforms to these elements to contest elections in the Council. These charlatans with dubious characters under heavy sponsorship of politicians attempted severally to hijack NYCN for political gains, but the resilience of the frontline leaders of the Council has aided the sustenance of the Council even in the face of invasions by the political mercenaries.
In the build up to the 2015 National Congress, one political mercenary that was on top of his game to hijack the Council for political gains is one Imo Ugochinyere Ikenga with no link whatsoever with NYCN other than fraudulently acquisition of an organization as platform to contest. He rallied support of most of his kinsmen with just few exemptions that confronted his dubious attempt to denigrate the image of the Council with his desperation under the conspiratorial guise that his kinsmen has never emerged as National President of NYCN.
Upon receiving series of reports over unholy plots between John Wakama, Chairman of the Electoral Committee and Imo Ugochinyere Ikenga who sought to be declared as president against all odds, the Board of Trustees removed John Wakama as the Chairman of Electoral Committee and put the Congress Conduct on hold, but the removed Chairman went ahead to fraudulently declared Ikenga without a proper congress. The event became a subject of litigation once again and the cases are still under legal struggles at the moment.
To avoid unnecessary vacuum in the leadership of NYCN, the board of trustees conveyed a Non-Elective Congress on 7th to 9th April at Benin City in Edo State, the Congress was presided by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees with most compositions of the Council in attendance. The Congress appraised motions for the composition of a Caretaker Committee to undertake responsibilities of the National Executive Council for a period of three months and organize an Elective Congress to put up legitimate leadership in consonance with the letters, spirits and dictates of NYCN Constitution.
The membership of the Caretaker Committee comprises of veteran youth leaders with worthy experience and versatilities in the activities of NYCN under the Chairmanship of Ibukunoluwa Oluwole - Former Chairman of Ekiti State Chapter of NYCN and Balarabe Rufai – Former Chairman of Kano State Chapter of NYCN as Secretary.
The immediate task undertook by the Caretaker Committee that rattled the usurper - Imo Ugochinyere Ikenga was the representation of NYCN by the Chairman, Caretaker Committee at both the House of Representatives and Senate Committee on Interiors on A Bill for An Act to Establish Nigeria Peace Corps. Imo Ugochinyere Ikenga is an aide to the Senate President, Federal Republic of Nigeria as Special Assistant on Youth, which expose his deceitful claim to the leadership of NYCN, a grave contradiction and an affront to the image of National Youth Council of Nigeria.
Imo Ugochinyere Ikenga eventually landed himself in the custody of the Department of State Security Services for offences not yet in public coffer but his kinsmen and collaborators have hyped the media war to misinform the general public by alleging the DSS of detaining NYCN President claiming a Court Judgment recognized him as such without confessing his dubious practices that invited the wrath of law against him.
A study of the purported judgment being branded as their alibi revealed the Ruling of the Presiding Judge that he lacked jurisdiction to compel the Federal Ministry of Youths to recognize him, which brings to nullity whatever declarations the judge gave him as a respite for asking to be declared as a President of NYCN even without a legitimate Congress in line with the Traditions, Conventions and Constitution of NYCN.
To put the record straight, the reality of NYCN is the fact of her legal registration and existence of a board of trustees comprising of former National Presidents as Members, the Council is under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Youths and the National Congress is supreme. The legitimacy of any leadership of NYCN is legally verifiable with the Board of Trustees and it was under the supervision of the board of trustees that conveyed the Non-Elective Congress that the National Caretaker Committee was constituted, a resolution that is supreme over and above any other claim or self declarations.
The onus of responsibilities of the National Caretaker Committee as constituted is to undertake all necessary tasks required to frontally reposition National Youth Council of Nigeria to her envious position of honour aimed at fulfilling the lofty ideals, visions and missions of NYCN. The Council must be returned to the path of sound advocacy for the advancement of the general interest of Youths in Nigeria. NYCN must regain her strength which is only attainable through unity of purpose among all the 104 affiliates Organizations, 37 State Chapters and 774 Local Chapters in the best interest of Nigeria Youths at large.
The role of National Youth Council of Nigeria in modeling the characters of Youths as good citizens of Nigeria can never be underestimated; the resolutions of challenges hindering the effective discharge of required services to the Youths by NYCN through reputable affiliate’s organizations must be topmost on the agenda for the rebranding of NYCN for optimum productivities while the restoration of subventions by government to these organizations as done in the past must be sacrosanct.
Comrade AbdulRahman Agboola
National Publicity Secretary, Sheriff Guards of Nigeria.
Sheriff Guards of Nigeria is an Affiliate of NYCN since 1970
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