A non- governmental organization (NGO), Youth Development Cluster, YDC, Akwa Ibom State, on Wednesday, raised an alarm over what it described as lack of a sustainable youth policy framework after an analysis of the manifestos of the YPP, PDP, and APC governorship candidates in the state.
The organization raised the concern in a press conference while presenting the outcomes and recommendations of the analysis it conducted on these three frontline governorship candidates’ manifestos held at Uranus House, Uyo.
YDC said it was most worrisome to see gaps existing in these manifestos which suggested that the thinking that went into the documents completely neglected all the realities facing the youths in the state, and how they can build an environment where their dreams and aspirations would be vigorously pursued.
“ None of the three parties reviewed offered a sustainable policy framework that could be said to have a clear and comprehensive framework or plan to actually expect different and better outcomes for youth development as at the time of review of their manifestos.
“ The cluster particularly finds these gaps worrisome as it would suggest that the thinking that goes into developing campaign manifestos seems to be far detached from the realities of the people with respect to the peculiarities of citizens’ challenges and aspirations in a bid to create an equitable, productive, and an enabling society where young people can pursue and achieve their dreams”.
According to the Youth Development Cluster Project Lead, Ndifreke Patrick, the organization was inspired into the analysis of the manifestos to see what youth policy the parties had crafted for Akwa Ibom youths that can address the challenges of unemployment and underemployment which he said had placed the state number six highest in the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, ranking in the last seven years.
The organization said it was also motivated into the project to see if the candidates’ manifestos could offer the youths opportunities to aspire, following the failure of the state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, to sign into law, Akwa Ibom Youth Development Fund (AKYDF) Bill which was passed by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly in 2019.
The Project Lead revealed that it had been discovered that politicians would make litany of promises when seeking political offices which never materialized in tangible forms and therefore, it became expedient to subject their blueprints to allow the public up to speed with this development and the way forward.
“ It is a usual practice that for political candidates seeking public offices, especially the office of the governor to base their campaigns around lofty promises for young people.
“ However, the youth development cluster is concerned that these promises are never implemented and have continually lacked the right structure, strategy, political will, and legal framework to be implemented on a relevant scale and in a sustainable way”.
On how the organization selected the three political parties’ manifestos out of many others for the analysis, Mr. Patrick explained that it was based on public opinion through a poll which showed that the YPP, PDP and APC are the leading political parties in Akwa Ibom State.
He further disclosed that the selected manifestos were analysed based on Global Youth Development Index ( YDI) and the Akwa Ibom Youth Development Fund (AKYDF) Bill.
The Project Lead said as a responsible organization that is primarily concerned with issues that border on youth development, recommendations were therefore made to help these parties realize their flaws, with a view to reassessing their manifestos to factor in a sustainable youth policy plan.
“ The manifestos analysis review team recommends that in the event of any concerns nursed about these policy instruments being proposed, the gubernatorial candidates of these political parties should be at liberty to have a roundtable policy dialogue designed to propose superior solutions for the good and profiting of young persons in Akwa Ibom State”.