SPEECH BY THE AREWA CONSULTATIVE FORUM CHAIRMAN, Retired Inspector-General Alhaji Ibrahim Coomassie, CON, at THE AREWA YOUTH ECONOMIC AND SECURITY SUMMIT
It gives me great pleasure to be here this morning and to welcome all of you to the second round of Arewa Youth Summit within a short interval of time. To me this signals the rejuvenation of Arewa Youths and their rising to the challenge of nation building and national development in a time when Arewa and Nigeria in the collective is seriously assailed by the vicissitudes of political, economic and social turbulence. Most disturbing of the nagging challenges of Nigeria in contemporary time is the national insecurity occasioned by the activities of Boko Haram and the radicalization of our youths which appear to be happeningin droves. A much more disturbing dimension of terrorism in our climes in contemporary times is the emergence of the gender dimension in its operations where our young girls are been radicalized and used for suicide mission. This has remained a source of great concern and worry to the government and every well meaning Nigerian. However, government has demonstrated its commitment to route out Boko Haram with much feats recorded by our troops already.
National security has long outlived its contrived definition as mere use and monopoly of instrument of coercion and control by the state for the state through the use of conventional military and arms and ammunition. National security is all encompassing and inclusive with the central theme of development, economic, social and political empowerment of citizens. Furthermore, Nigerians are mistaken to think that security is a business of and for the government alone. Security is the business of everybody and all citizens of Nigeria are duty bound to be security conscious and vigilant at all times, not only to secure themselves and their property but even security and defense of national interests (critical assets of the state) and information supply to security personnel.
Nigeria’s current national security challenge is a threat to national development. The factors which led our nation to this path include high poverty rate, high unemployment rate which has left hordes of Nigerian youths in the job market across the nation with dire consequences such as the MASSOB/IPOB are doing now, poor governance and bad leadership over the years, religious fanatism and impact of globalization among others. The North is worst hit with insurgency which has left carnage of devastations in human lives and properties and essential infrastructures leaving a misery of humanitarian crisis. There is no doubt that youth are the most essential assets of a nation because the survival and future of any nation depends. If they are well cultivated and harnessed, they can be productive in nation building but if neglected, abused and abandoned, they will be destabilizers to nation building and national development. Nigerian youths have had a good share of these neglect, marginalization, abandonment and deprivation with many living on nothing nor have dream for the future neither are assured of any stake in our nation.
Karl Mark in his political economic theory underscored the critical importance of the material well being of a person as a mark of recognition of his existence both to others and to himself. Therefore, one of the ways we can quickly arrest the tide of conflicts and insecurity is to radically address the social and economic conditions of our youth to make them come to themselves and begin to think as social and human beings without whose contribution our nation cannot develop or matter in this 21st century.
This is where the import of the Northern Youth security and economic Summit is a highly welcome development. The Northern Youth Summit which was borne out of the consciousness and drive of Northern Youths who out of experience have come into term with their social-economic and political realities have determinably agreed to take their destiny in their hands and are branding in conformity with the 21st century agenda of building a society and nation which is empowered, competitive, innovative, and right skill sets for the transformation of their environment in line with the Change Agenda of the Federal Government. The Northern Youths are therefore aggressively rebranding in line with the Change Mantra.
As Chairman of Arewa Consultative Forum, it is our joy to see these new positive developments come out of our youths and we are glad to support and partner them on any agenda that will promote peace, economic growth and inclusivity and national development. I want to use this medium to commend and thank our youths for choosing this path of greatness after the foot print of our founding fathers and I call on the federal Government of Nigeria and their Excellencies, the 19 Northern States’Governors to rally round our youths who are demonstrating commitment to the cause of nation building and national development. With what I have seen here today and with expectation for greater things tomorrow on the main day which will run in full, Northern Youths will lead the drive for national transformation and re-fixing of Nigeria under President Buhari’s government of Change.
Our very important guests, members of the high table, distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, I implore you all especially our youths to enjoy, explore and maximize the opportunity these two days of this summit will offer. I can bet you, you will never regret you did.
At this juncture, I like to formally declare this two-day Northern Youth Security and Economic Summit open. I thank you all for your attendance and attention.
Sanu da zuwa