Appraisal of the Role of Political Violence: The Development of Youths in Nigeria in the 21st Century
Towards the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century, the relationship between Nigerian youths and political violence has been one of the issues for discussion in many fora within and outside Nigeria. Youths are being associated with political violence. The question is why are youths the central theme of political violence when they are the future leaders? Why do we have political violence when politics is meant to create enabling environment for service? The answers, perhaps, rest on the institutional structure of the country. However, the sources for this essay come from primary and secondary sources – oral interviews, books, journals, newspapers, magazines. The paper uses historical analysis as its methodology. The findings indicate that youths are not given proper attention in the Nigerian project – they are unemployed and underemployed; they lack food, lack good and affordable education, do not have access to good and affordable medical facilities, are not always consulted in decision making that affects the nation, on account of inverted values in democratic governance, and they are part of the insecurity challenges where they are themselves insecure. Because they are helpless, they become willing tools in the hands of “money bag” politicians especially during elections. The paper concludes that for youths to be relevant in the 21st century development, and to reduce political violence, youths should be catered for adequately by governments at various levels; well-to-do private individuals should create enabling atmosphere for the youths to excel through creation of employment opportunities, provision of good and compulsory education, health facilities which should be free for all Nigerians, and provision of adequate shelter for all. Parents and the religious organisations should wake up and keep to their advisory roles. The government should create enabling environment for the practice of democracy based on the rule of law.