November 1st, 2020.
Distinguished Youths of Ogun State,
2020 NATIONAL YOUTH DAY: YOUTH LIVES MATTER!
Early September of this year, President Muhammad Buhari approved November 1st of every year as the National Youth Day to celebrate, draw attention to and find solutions to the issues affecting us as youths.
2. Early October of this same year, genuine concerns on the welfare of our future, as youths, generated wide spread agitations across the country. What began as a peaceful demand over an end to police brutality and infringement of our human rights metamorphosed into violence leading to the loss of innocent lives of our dear youths, policemen, and fellow countrymen, and unwarranted damages to our public infrastructures and facilities.
3. As progressive as the vision behind our struggle was, it is regretted that the later end of our demonstration was not only unfortunate, it also does not represent who we are as Nigerian Youths. I reiterate that we are young and resilient citizens with patriotic love for our fatherland - as we've displayed at the beginning of our protest.
4. Today, November 1st, 2020, I request that we observe a minute silence for the souls of all Nigerian Youths that have been lost to one struggle or another; from the most recent #EndSARS protest on police brutality to bad governance, massacres, religious and ethnic wars, and other several inhumane developments that demean the true essence of life.
5. You will recall earlier this year, the tragic but avoidable death of our rising football star from Sagamu, Tiamiyu Kazeem Kaka who died in the custody of men of the Nigerian Police Force; the death of 15 year old Master Rilwan Bello and Sekinat Agbelade both who fell to the bullets of men of the Nigerian Customs Service; the killings of unarmed youths at Lekki by the Nigerian Army are not only pathetic, these are further signs that, aside the usual lamentation on bad governance, importance are no longer placed on the lives of our youths by those in positions of authority. A case of false allegation of being an armed robber to justify the killing of our young and innocent Felix Oladokun, by a Divisional Police Officer at Atan, makes it more traumatizing to take cognizance of other notable and unnoticed killings happening across our country day in day out.
6. It is therefore imperative that on the maiden celebration of this National Youth Day, I proclaim and appeal that you join voices to say enough is enough, and that youth lives matter!
7. To begin with, may we employ as a tool of justice the Judicial Panel of Investigation already set up to seek redress on the excesses of our security men, while we continue work out a nation of renewed social and moral values.
8. I pay tribute to our dear Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, for his unusual drive for youth capacity building since the beginning of his administration. The youths of Ogun State, notable for our industrious attitude, indeed do no expect less of any leadership to believe in our ability to deliver the future.
9. Aside the appointments and inclusion of youths in governance, Prince Dapo Abiodun's public admittance and condemnation of successive governments to have taken we youths for granted, for too long, remains exemplary, noble, factual and a warm display of fatherly affection done without fear or favour of political implications.
10. The several innovations of our Governor on ICT, Agriculture, Skills Acquisition, and Empowerment remain commendable. However, like the legendary Oliver Twist, there is not yet enough to considerably meet our yearnings. We anticipate the best in your assurance to continue build our future together.
11. Towards the new Nigeria of our dream, I urge us all to be more of active citizens, and that we begin come together as one to formulate ideas towards positioning ourselves as the true drivers of our society.
12. Regardless of how challenging this year has been I put it to every one of us that there is light at the end of our tunnel; and that the only way out remains through.
13. May we take a pledge to be faithful, loyal and honest to causes of posterity; there can be no better time to awaken the conscience of our society that truly, youth lives matter!
14. Yours in youth development,
Com. Abdul-Jabar Ayelaagbe
Ogun State Chairman
National Youth Council of Nigeria