By Saheed Ibrahim
Nigeria must have proper youth index to monitor, plan and develop her adolescents and youth for them to contribute meaningfully to national development.
She must also get her data collection, supply and base right for youth development and other forms of developmental efforts not to be hindered.
The government must prioritise data for effective planning and implementation while the people must also show good attitude towards supplying the right data for collectors.
These are the submissions of academics, statisticians, policy makers, government agencies, youth representatives and others at the stakeholders meeting on development of youth index, held in Akure Ondo State.
The Strengthening Programming for Adolescents and Youths through Resource and Knowledge Generation and Link to Evidence, SPARKLE project is targeted to promote the health and development of youths and adolescents in Nigeria through effective use of evidence to inform programmes and policy decisions.
Funded by Ford Foundation and domiciled in the Centre for Adolescent Health and Development of the School of Public Health, University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, the meeting was to reach a concensus on key indicators for tracking youth health and development and define the critical steps regarding the Youth Index.
Speaking, the Vice Chancellor, UNIMED, Professor Adesegun Fatusi stressed that the youth are very critical to the development of a country, but they must be monitored in order to plan and design programmes for their development and this could not be done with reliable data.
That is what drove us, the University of Medical Sciences because we have have a historical responsibility in this country’s first specialized medical sciences university to show the light where there is no light.
Also speaking Ondo State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr Femi Agagu described the programme as very important as it would go a long way to help the federal and state governments in formulating relevant youth oriented policies
Represented by his Special Assistant, Dr. Yomi Akinrinmade, Agagu identified the need for proper orientation of the populace o the importance of data collection.
In his contribution, the Head of Department, Demography and Social Statistics, Federal University of Oye Ekiti, Associate Professor Sunday Adedini stated that having a proper youth index would have positive impacts on youth development in Nigeria because not tracking the development at all is a problem.
The Deputy Director, Gender Statistics Division of the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, Mrs. Oluyemi Oloyede lamented the negative attitude of many Nigerians towards data collectors.
She advised that people should cooperate with any data collecting agency, “because the data we are generating from the questions we are asking them is to formulate policies and programs of the government that would benefit the citizens.
One of the youth representatives and a member of Stand With A Girl Initiative, Mercy Bolaji said the programme would help identify and address key issues relating to youth and having a template for youth development in the country.