22 August 2016
Liberia’s Vice-President Joseph Boakai, has charged African leaders to mentor youths on governance to ensure sustainable democratic rule on the continent.
Boakai made the call at the inauguration of Save Democracy Group (SDG)-Africa, Youth Parliament, in Abuja on Monday.
He said that it was disheartening to note that in spite of the numerous potential in African youths, they were not being mentored into becoming active participants in the process of governance.
He said that it was not enough for older politicians to convince youths into voting them into power, but to make it a point of duty to prepare them for leadership positions.
“Youths are not just future leaders, but participants in the process of governance; so they should be given a chance to govern.
“We have to begin to groom youths and help build confidence in them and to build their character.
“We have to be willing to expose our youths to the way governments are run to make them what they ought to be.
“I prepared myself as a youth to be where I am today. There are responsible young people yearning to find space and they must be given a chance.
“I believe that African youths, after all we have gone through in Africa, have developed to take up responsibilities but they need experience to be able to come to the fore-front.
“Unless youths are involved in the process of governance, the harmony of a country will be very risky and people are more secured when they involve youths,’’ Boakai said.
He urged youths to strive and acquire enough experience before aspiring to for positions of leadership.
The vice-president said that unless the youths prepared themselves for leadership positions, it would be difficult to deal with issues on women, the elderly and other matters of importance.
He advised youths to learn the process toward occupying leadership positions, adding that they ought to develop character in the process of becoming leaders.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Governing Council of SDG-Africa, Mr Ghali Na’abba, said that it was expedient for Africa to join the world in allowing the youth to contribute actively in deciding the type of future they want.
Na’abba, a former Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, called on youths to take their destiny in their hands by building enduring networks.
“We have brought you together from across Africa and going forward, you are to make friends with one another.
“This will help extensively in the African Union’s agenda for continental integration and will assist you in the promotion of your future aspiration.
“We look forward to having a number of you heading your countries’ legislatures and becoming presidents of your respective countries.
“At the Save Democracy Group Africa, a number of us have had the privilege of participating at very top levels in the reshaping of our polity and we have seen the necessary loopholes and mistakes of the past.
“These mistakes may not repeat themselves in the continent if we join our counterparts in Europe, America, Asia and the Oceania countries in their strides,’’ he said.
Na’abba said that SDG-Africa was established in 2014 to build a network of statesmen, leaders and consensus builders who would provide unbiased advice and counsel for sustainable development of African countries.
The Director-General of the group, Dr Ifedi Okwenna, said that the youth parliament was initiated in line with the provisions of the African Youth Charter (Banjul Declaration) of July, 2006.
He said that the charter served the continental framework, which underlined the rights, duties and freedoms of the youth.
Okwenna added that to achieve the paradigm shift needed to realise the African Union’s Agenda 2063, youths were central.
“The SDG-Africa Youth Parliament which we are here to inaugurate is a 120-member parliament.
“Membership shall in the interim be by identification and nomination of endowed youths across Africa and Africans in the Diaspora,’’ he said.