Ambode, who was represented by the Head of Service, Mrs Folashade Jaji, made the commitment at the commemoration of the International Youth Day, organised by the Ministry of Youth and Social Development (MYSD).
He said that educated, vibrant and committed youths were the greatest assets of any given society.
”Youth implies energy, ideas and innovation. Large businesses are being created by young people and I am positive that our youths have ideas and skills that can positively change our society.
”As a government, we set up Small Business Loan Guarantee Scheme, Ministry of Employment and Wealth Creation as well as the Employment Trust Fund for youth to launch their ideas.
”We also established the Office of Civic Engagement to ensure an inclusive government as well as serve as a channel through which every citizen of Lagos State can share ideas and opinion with the government.
”I urge youths to take advantage of these opportunities. We will listen and ensure that your opinions are taken into consideration in government policy design, ” he said.
Ambode advised youths to develop and sustain appropriate mindset and self-discipline, to achieve their set goals and become great leaders of tomorrow.
In a lecture entitled ‘ Engaging the Nigerian Youths for Sustainable National Development’, Mr Waheed Ishola, State Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), said that the youths were the engine room of societal development.
Ishola said that the issues relating to the youth should be given the desired attention in any society that seeks to develop and make good use of this productive and virile group.
He said such youth civic engagement would eradicate the problems of cybercrimes, robbery, kidnapping, cultism and insurgency in the country.
”The engagement of youths should not be left to the government alone; parents, religious leaders, private sector, non-governmental organisations and civil society groups should lend their support.
”I also advise the youths to shun all forms of vices that contribute to the problems of the country, but strive to be agents of positive change, ” he said
In his remarks, Mr Akeem Muri-Okunola, Permanent Secretary of MYSD said that the engagement and participation of the youth was essential to achieve sustainable human development.
He said that more efforts were needed to raise awareness about the importance of youth civic engagement and its benefits to the individual and to society.
According to him, youth civic engagement will make them lend support, ideas and energy that will drive sustainable societal development.
”I call on the private sector, philanthropists, academicians and civil society organisations to complement the State Government’s effort in engaging the youths to make their lives better.
”I also urge the youth to be focused, see themselves as able leaders of this nation, as well as reflect on what they can do to better Lagos State and not what the State can do for them, ” he said.
The programme also featured Match Past by the Red Cross Society, Man O’ War, National Youth Service Corps, Boys’ Scout, Girls’ Guides, Royal Rangers Brigade and the Royal Shepherd Brigade.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the International Youth Day was declared by the United Nations
General Assembly on Dec. 17, 1999 and is commemorated every Aug. 12.
It is a day set aside to reflect and proffer possible solutions to issues concerning the youth.
The theme for this year’s commemoration is ‘Youth Civic Engagement’ aimed at promoting civic engagement and participation of youth in politics and public life.
This is to enable the empowerment of young people, so that they can contribute fully to society, development and peace.