Minister of Youth Development and Sports, Solomon Dalung, has stated that past leaders in the country never saw the youths as the future of Nigeria.
He said the failure of the leaders to empower the youth was reason behind the current rate of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
Dalung said leaders who ruled the country from 1999 till date neglected the youths because they (leaders) never considered them as future leaders of Nigeria.
He stated this in Abuja at a national stakeholders’ meeting on youth employment with the theme: “Cross-sectoral Collaboration for Youths Skills Development and Entrepreneurship Training” organised by The Education Partnership Centre (TEP).
The minister said: “Personally I do not stand in the zone of those who shower blames on the young people, but even as who I am today, I will still stand with them with the way they think and reason because we have not been fair to them and I am saying this without apology.
“As leaders, we have never been fair to the future, we have been very hypocritical with the question of youth development and it is this spirit of hypocrisy that graduated into a policy of a sort that explains some of the various issues the keynote speaker analysed.
“Youths are national assets if we invest in them, we are sure of a country tomorrow. If we neglect them, we are also sure of what the country will be tomorrow, there is no pretence about this.
“Sadly, we have decided to turn the tide against the young people and I believe that it is a deliberate conspiracy. It is a conspiracy because the majority of our leaders since 1999 till date have their children studying out of this country.
“This deliberate neglect which in my opinion is a criminal measure is responsible for the enormous challenges we are facing today. Instead of innovation on how to develop this country, the young people have now misdirected their destiny to kidnapping, robbery and insurgency.
“There is a need for us to come back and address the issue of youth development sincerely. That informed why we decided to resuscitate this particular committee to come back and look at all that we have been discussing theoretically in the past without seeing the effect of how we can move youth development forward.
“The absence of synergy and data in the evaluation and assessment of youth empowerment programmes in this country is the bane of the insincerity and commitment of the government to youth empowerment programmes, we need to streamline.”
“The absence of this synergy, fraudsters have taken over the issue of youth empowerment programmes, thereby casting credibility questions on credible partners who have been working in this particular sector. So our partners have just had the imposition of incredibility because of the actions of some very dubious people who have taken advantage,” he added.