On that day, I felt I needed to speak up for the many youths in this country whose voices may not be heard especially the students who may be affected by the policy change. Just when I was wondering how I could boldly put up my hand to catch the attention of the Minister, in the eminent presence of the Chief of Staff, educationists, attorneys, a couple of civil societies and directors of the educational institutions therein present, the Minister of Education, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, called me shortly after the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, had spoken. “Since we have a student leader here, it is important to hear from him”, he said.
My submission was emphatic - the state should try as much as possible to always bring the youth along in every policy. The student leaders should be used as a fulcrum to get to them, I added. And it is even more non-negotiable if the initiative has everything to do with them.
Months later, a week ago, I read an interesting story on Africafeeds. The president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, met with some three thousand (3000) youth of his country to discuss the future of Rwanda. The national forum was called #YouthMeetthePresident. It was “aimed at providing the opportunity for Kagame to engage with the young generation on the national aspirations for the next 25 years”, the report captured. It was also to motivate the youth of Rwandan to work hard to help in achieving a national development plan dubbed vision 2030.
Alluding to the above, in the Ghanaian setting, where elections are held after every four years, you could say in only in imagination, the meeting was to fashion out a political framework in which national leadership could tap from the ideas of the youth as well as to motivate them to give off their best in ensuring the success of the ruling government in the next four years in power. But can my imagination be real for my country?
I acknowledge the meet the press dialogues organized almost every month where sector ministers take turns to answer questions from pressmen and women. I take note of the upcoming International Youth Empowerment Summit (IYES) aimed at (only) empowering the youth with quotient and drive a positive mindset and attitude in business, academia, religion, governance and leadership. I appreciate the Presidential Pitch contest which saw one of its editions end a few weeks ago with KNUST students wining with a business and socially responsive idea of manufacturing sanitary pads from banana and plantain peels. I also am aware most of these gatherings may have the youth attending but pause and take a second read back and note the sole aims of these meetings between the state, the press and the public. There are specific aims with little or no exclusivity to listening to the youth and factoring their viewpoints in national policies and directions. I also take cognizance of another excuse - the divided student front with NUGS as a classic example, however, their fractured front and fracas, do not and should wipe away the existence of the very youth they are to represent on the corridors of leadership
Again I appreciate efforts by the state through programs like Youth for Planting for Food and Job, the NABCO. But can you also notice the policy has come under fierce criticism and even rejection by a cross-section of the youth? Yes, government cannot please all the youth in this country, but I am sure just by Paul Kagame meeting a chunk of them if not all, he has pleased every youth in that country? Whether or not his one-party rule will factor their views into the national policies for the future is another question for another day but the first step has been done, and it is pleasing in thy sights
How about meeting the youth in a mega forum at the beginning of every government, not to award them, but to listen to the individual and group brilliance of these future leaders. They will display talents, they will goof, they will excite as well as annoying, but there will always be that spark, click or idea, to some of the major problems facing the country, say Agric and why they shy away from the sector, the dumsor, etc. All we need to do as a nation is to put the challenge before them and meet them not only when it becomes a coincidence.
Mr. President or future president, Mr. Minister or future minister, Mr/s. MP, aside from this mega gathering of the youth regularly to tap from that I have proposed in this epistle, I entreat you to try as much as practicable to engage them before IMPLEMENTING POLICIES – they account for about 57 percent of the ruled.
…For our next-door, Rwanda, is taking a positive lead.
The writer (Kabu Nartey) is the 2019/2020 best graduating student in print journalism and the 2019 most promising student journalist of GIJ.