From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and presidential aspirant of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) for 2023 elections, Kingsley Moghalu, has warned that the country’s youths stand to inherit from the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration a bloated public debt of over N35 trillion.
In a statement entitled: “The Future of Nigeria’s Youths: The Promise of a Kingsley Moghalu Presidency,” he expressed sadness that the bravery of young Nigerians was met with even more brutality during the EndSars protest of last year.
“A year ago, Nigerian youths organised themselves in the peaceful #EndSARS protests to demand freedom from police brutality. Quite sadly, the bravery of the young compatriots was met with even more brutality. Like millions of fellow citizens, and, indeed, the youths, today, I especially remember those who paid the ultimate price for freedom during the protest. Their sacrifice will not be forgotten or in vain. Nigeria’s young men and women face many fundamental challenges. The strength of their numbers (nearly 70 percent of our population) is supposed to be the country’s most productive asset. But the failure of governance has turned this into a threat, and the EndSARS movement has witnessed efforts to silence the voices of our young people, physically and on social media, including the ‘Twitter ban’.
“What Nigeria’s youths stands to inherit from incompetent government is a bloated public debt of over N35 trillion and still rising. The national youth unemployment rate is above 40 per cent. Nigeria’s young people are leaving the country in droves (the “japa” phenomenon) in search of greener pastures, including in smaller African countries, which sometimes involves very dangerous trips. I note in particular the difficult conditions facing young people in Northern Nigeria, where economic opportunities are even more stifled, millions of children of school age are out of school (a potential breeding ground for recruitment to terrorism) and a drug pandemic poses a serious social threat. And, despite their dominant number, the youths are grossly under-represented in government.
“In solidarity with their struggles, today I unveil my agenda for the youths. If elected as President in 2023, I plan to execute the following plan specifically for the benefit of the youth: Start-ups funding scheme. My administration will establish a venture capital fund of an initial N1 trillion capitalisation, in partnership with the private sector, which will manage the fund.”