WELCOME ADDRESS OF THE PERMANENT SECRETARY, FEDERAL MINISTRY OF YOUTH DEVELOPMENT, MRS. R.S. JIMETA, mni, DELIVERED ON THE OCCASION OF THE 2015 INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY CELEBRATION, ON 12TH AUGUST, 2015, AT THE OLD BANQUET HALL, STATE HOUSE, ABUJA.
I am indeed highly honoured and privileged to welcome Mr. President and Distinguished Guests here present to this special event on the Commemoration of the 2015 International Youth Day.
2. You may recall that in 1998, at Lisbon, Portugal, the United Nations General Assembly in one of its resolutions endorsed the recommendation by the World Conference of Ministers of Youth Development that 12th August of every year be declared as the International Youth Day. The International Youth Day therefore, constitutes parts of the United Nations’ broader World Programme of Action for Youth, an initiative targeted at promoting the general wellbeing and livelihood of young people.
3. This year’s theme as handed over to all member states is “Youth Civic Engagement”. There is no doubt that the theme is very apt at this stage of our national development as a nation since all efforts are being galvanized towards making young people an integral part of our socio-economic development.
4. The 2015 commemoration is unique in many perspectives. Firstly, it is the first International Youth Day to be celebrated under the newly elected President Muhammadu Buhari who since his campaign days has demonstrated great passion for tackling youth challenges.
5. Secondly, this year’s event is giving an opportunity to representatives of Nigerian Youth to congregate and come up with a position that they will subsequently communicate to Mr. President directly on what they feel the incoming political regime will do for them in order to mitigate the challenges they are facing. We believe that he who wears the shoe knows better where it pinches. The youth forum which was held yesterday, 11th August, 2015, was solely sponsored by one of our partners, the International Republican Institute (IRI) for which we are immensely grateful.
6. Thirdly, a provision has been made for a few Federal Government job creation Institutions to exhibit the abundant opportunities available in their organizations with a view to interacting with existing and potential youth entrepreneurs. In this category, we have the Bank of Industry (BOI), Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria SMEDAN) and Institute of Mining and Geosciences. Some youth entrepreneurs have also exhibited products from their enterprises.
7. Fourthly, we planned to showcase to Mr. President and other Distinguished Guests the achievements of a few Nigerian youth as role models, who have excelled in their various endeavours outside the shores of this country and are making the country proud. The Ministry of Youth Development strongly feels that these talented four (4) individuals and one (1) singing group should be recognized and celebrated at the highest political level so that other young people will be encouraged with a view to emulating them. They have conquered the world against all odds in the fields of entertainment, innovation and invention, medicine and literary arts. We believe that these are only a few examples of the Nigerian youth that have distinguished themselves across the world. Mr. President, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, you will agree with me that with this evidence, the Nigerian Youth if given the right support and conducive environment will definitely put Nigeria’s quest for economic development on the fast track.
8. Before I conclude my welcome remarks, let me specially appreciate Mr. President for graciously accepting to grace this occasion in person despite his tight schedule. I will also use the opportunity to express gratitude to our Development Partners including the International Republican Institute (IRI), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Development Programme/Democratic Governance for Development (UNDP/DGD II), and some Civil Society Organizations like Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement, Youngstars Foundation and Mind the Gap for their technical, financial and moral support towards successful hosting of this programme.
9. On this note, Mr. President, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I once again welcome you all to the 2015 International Youth Day Celebration. Thank you for honouring our invitation in spite of the short notice.
10. Thank you and May God bless you all.