Former Vice President Atiku Abubaka has advocated increased public and private investment in youth development and empowerment to break the vicious circle of illiteracy, unemployment, poverty, and insecurity in the nation.
Abubakar made the call in his remarks at the official inauguration of the Abubakar Kawu Baraje Foundation (AKBF) in Abuja on Thursday.
The former vice president, who was the chairman of the occasion, represented by Jamil Mohammed, said the greatness of any nation was tied to the quality of investment in its youth population.
He added that education remained the gateway for enabling inclusive and sustainable development.
“I have always been an advocate of youth-focused policies aimed at empowering and providing them with opportunities to add value to themselves, family, and society at large.
“This is key as most of the leaders that are being celebrated today made their impact at their youthful age largely because they had quality education and opportunities were provided, where such did not exist they were empowered to create them.
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“A typical case in point was the Nigeria Youth Movement (NYM), which assembled young Nigerians in their 20s and 30s who played critical leadership roles in accelerating the attainment of our independence.
“I strongly believe that we can still produce the same quality of young leaders who will equally play critical roles in regaining Nigeria’s place as the giant of Africa,” Abubakar said.
While commending the initiative, he said the foundation represented hope for many potential beneficiaries, “while it also takes away potential recruits for thuggery, armed robbery, banditry, and terrorism.”
Abubakar said that the inauguration of the foundation gave him hope that young people would have the needed support mechanism, which would empower them to bring their dreams to reality and add value to the nation-building journey.
“Instructively, the fact that the foundation is not only visioning to produce just leaders, but those that are morally and spiritually upright is laudable and unique.
“Equally worthy of commendation are the key support areas of the foundation which speaks to Interventions we are in dire need of as a nation.
“They are in the areas of educational support, care for the vulnerable, entrepreneurship support, skills acquisition support, environmental sustainability, public health support, and peace and conflict resolution,” he said.
Abubakar said that providing the above intervention would go a long way in addressing the challenges of unemployment, social exclusion, poverty, criminality, and insecurity.