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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

ONDO LAWMAKER, HON. TOLU BOROKINI SPEAKS ON "CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS OF YOUTH LEADERSHIP IN AFRICA" AT THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PARLIAMENTARIANISM

 



(PRESENTATION DELIVERED BY HON. SIMEON TOLUWANI BOROKINI,

VICE CHAIRMAN, AFRICAN YPN &

MEMBER REPRESENTING AKURE SOUTH 1,

CHAIR, HOUSE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION , SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY,

VICE CHAIR, COMMITTEE ON INTER- PARLIAMENTARY RELATIONS)


Preamble


Africa is considered a youthful continent whose youth population is on the rise 

compared to other regions of the world where this proportion has stagnated or is in decline (UN 

Economic Commission for Africa, 2017).


Young people make up more than half of the population in every Country. Youth constitute a fifth of the World’s population.


 In Kenya, the youth and young people aged below 

35years comprise 75% of the total population. And although this community constitutes a 

significant proportion essential for economic growth and development, the youth struggle to find relevance in a society that offers disappointing employment and life prospects, undermines their self-expression, and systematically marginalises its citizens (World Bank).


 Policies that address youth aspirations have mostly faltered at weaving their agenda into the national fabric, 

and this has further exacerbated the situation, fuelling frustration, desperation and 

disillusionment, and driving youth into criminal behaviour, violence, substance abuse, and 

commercial sex work and other social vices.



The Kenya Youth Development Policy 2018 recognises that ‘the youth are an essential 

component of Kenya’s development and a key driver in the realization of The Big Four Agenda, 

Vision 2030, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 


The youth policy has been designed 

to ‘provide opportunities for improving the quality of life for Kenyan youth through their 

participation in economic and democratic processes, as well as in community and civic affairs’. 


It also advocates for creation of a ‘supportive social, cultural, economic and political 

environment that will empower the youth to be partners in national development’, which is also 

a principle of the bill of rights in The Constitution of Kenya 2010 (PSYG, 2018)



From its demographic importance, it is unquestionable that youth

deserve a huge share of developmental investments. So, addressing

issues concerning the youth should remain salient in Africa in

particular and the global community in general. 


 It is often believed that young people are estranged from conventional politics and are becoming increasingly political apathetic. 

Their participation in the political discourses is very limited. 


 Young people often find themselves marginalized from mainstream politics and leadership positions. It is an unfortunate reality that Globally,

the average age of parliamentarians is 53. 


 Young people struggle to gain the respect of public officials and are seen as lacking the skills and experience to engage in  political activity and lead positive change in their communities. 


 Most often than not,

governments and policy makers in Africa are reluctant to include

youths in the formal political systems. 


 However, lately, a marginal

improvement has been shown in Africa, partly because of the rising

consciousness of states and the external pressures including

globalization and democratizations, which give due emphasis for the

youth participation in the political and economic spheres of influences.


 Moving forward, there is need for a

favorable legal ground for youths because this will go a long way in helping them invest their efforts

knowledge, and skills appropriately.


 The recent #EndSars protest embarked upon by  youths in Nigeria who feel they can no longer condone lots of abnormalies existing in the political space of the country is an eye opener on the feelings of young ones who feel excluded and not getting proper dividends of democracy.


Adopting a youth-inclusive legal framework is an essential and

primary step in mainstreaming the youth in the political aspects of a

country. It would allow youth to participate formally and improve their

political roles in their societies.


However, it is pertinent to note that it goes beyond social media uproar. Youths need to understand the modus operandi of the political system and what leadership entails to bridge  the existing marginalisation gap.


 In conclusion, inclusive participation remains a fundamental political and democratic right thus it is important for a Nation to be proactive towards her youth population.


Young people should have a voice in their own future.  But actively promoting the inclusion of youth in the political process is not only about norms, values and rights. It is also about practical politics.


 I must commend the efforts of Africa Young Parliamentarians Network (AYPN) under the leadership of Jon CPA Francis Kuria Kimani in giving an umbrella to shield young Africa Parliamentarians and also ensure our relevance is felt at the International scene. This I must say has served as a shield for we young parliamentarians and I want to use this opportunity to task International bodies to partner more with us and incorporate us when neccesary in their programs and other operations.


Its been a pleasure sharing this time with you.


Thanks and God bless.

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