There are 3.5 million young people in Katsina state, and majority of them born around the period when Katsina state got independence. This means that Katsina state is as young as its youth demography. The current youth generation in Katsina state is the largest generation the state has ever recorded in history, making it the 4th state with the largest youth demography in Nigeria. Today we celebrate one of the most peaceful and prosperous state in the Africa most powerful country. As we celebrate Katsina @27, let us reflect on the core values and principles that Katsina state stands for, the values of unity, tolerance, peace and hospitality. These are the values Katsina state was built upon, and we, the young people, have to be the champions and custodians of these values.
Young people have made Katsina state proud; a young person from Katsina state became the Nigerian Vice President at the age of 33; another young man from Katsina state became governor of Northern Nigeria at the age of 33, at the age of 32, another young man from Katsina state became the Northern Nigerian minister of justice. These are few among many young men and women who were instrumental in building our country Nigeria. If we can stand here and name many successful young people from our state; the question we ask ourselves today is how many more young people are we going to celebrate in the next 27 years to come, when a different generation of young people will gather to celebrate Katsina at 54?
We have to acknowledge the plight of young people nowadays, ranging from unemployment to low quality education, which I am sure might bedevilled the youth participation in nation building, but I am proud to say, Katsina state has become a centre of knowledge. According to the National Literacy survey, more than 70% of Katsina state youths are formally educated. However, the quality of education need to be strengthen, and this can only be addressed by making the teaching carrier at primary and secondary school levels more competitive just like in the tertiary institutions. The Primary and Secondary schools are the foundations, and it have to be strengthened.
Young people in Katsina state have to be entrepreneurial; opening a kiosk to sell provisions is not entrepreneurship. Carpentry, welding, tailoring, poultry, are not entrepreneurship. These can only be entrepreneurial if there is innovation or improvement in them. Entrepreneurship is about engaging into a business that solves a problem which no any other business solves. Some alleged that we are not as entrepreneurial like the ordinary young people from Kano, if we can embrace the culture of entrepreneurship, we can be better than our counterparts in other states.
It was widely circulated that in every 10 graduates in Katsina state, at least 7 of them await government jobs. Government cannot provide employment for all graduates, and that’s why at this turning point, we have to make some adjustments. Our school curriculums must prepare students to be self-reliant and skilful, so that, when they graduate, they will set up businesses and employ other people. This is what will help reduce the level of unemployment.
Young people are the future of this state, and the best way to prepare the future is to prepare the young people. Young people are partners and leaders of today. How many young people in Katsina state below the age of 35 are holding elected or appointed political positions at National and state levels? Very few of them, and we want that numbers to be increased, and that is why young people are asking for 30% allocation of political positions in return for their votes.
As we celebrate today, let us make commitment to address one of the greatest challenge of our time: Child street begging: Let us resolve to totally remove children off street in the next 5 years. Children are not suppose to be on the street begging for whatever reason. The Almajiri menace is a serious issue that confront Katsina nowadays, and it has to be decisively approached. There are more than one million children on streets across the state, and this poses a great challenge to the security and prosperity of Katsina state in 27 years to come. At the interim, let us adopt Sardauna style of Almajiri School, where every itinerant mallam will be supported to keep, feed and clothe not more than 25 children.
Finally let me use this medium to call on young people in Katsina state to be more united and continue to be good ambassadors of the state wherever they found there self. I’m not in katsina state now indeed Nigeria but I will always make sure that I am not distracted from home. I also urge young people to engage in thematic youth organizations that concentrate on particular development issues, not just political organizations.
Happy 27th anniversary of Katsina State as an independent state.
Long live Katsina state
Long live federal republic of Nigeria.
Mal. Babangida Ruma
Co Founder, President Arewa Youth Awareness Initiative Forum (AYAIF)