The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has charged African youth to prepare themselves for ensuring good governance on the continent.
Mr. Dogara gave the counsel in his opening remark at a two-day regional conference of Youth of Africa holding at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja.
The conference, tagged “Empowering Youth: Enhancing Political Participation for More Inclusive and Peaceful Societies”, was organised by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Nigerian National Assembly.
Mr. Dogara said the theme of the conference was apt, as it speaks directly to the issues happening around the continent.
He said Africa is in dire need of selfless leadership and urged the youth to think on how best to provide it in their countries. He however stressed that it is pointless to fight for a political position unless one has the competence to perform in it.
Mr. Dogara said the youth can leverage technology to proffer solutions to Africa problems, adding that issues such as violent extremism in Africa must be addressed with every sense of urgency.
On African youth empowerment, he said Africa has the fastest growing youth population in the world and called on government at various levels to develop programmes for their political participation, warning that failing to do this would lead to dire social and political consequences.
Mr. Dogara urged participants not to only proffer solutions on paper but go back to their countries to implement resolutions made at the conference.
He admonished young persons to be sensitive to the fragile nature of democracy and not to allow themselves to be used for political thuggery.
He called on the youth present at the conference to build sustainable forces within their network so as to be able to address the retrogression affecting the African continent.
Mr. Dogara said the Nigeria parliament would continue to support youth forums in the country and urged other African parliaments to support the resolutions of the conference.
The conference drew attendance of youth parliaments from 20 African countries.