The President, National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Mr Ikenga Ugochinyere, has blamed the ineffectiveness of the body over the years on leadership crisis instigated by external political forces.
Ugochinyere, in an interview with the News Men in Abuja on Monday, agreed with critics that that the council had abandoned its mandate of galvanising the youth for national development.
He said that the situation was due to over a decade of internal leadership crisis that had robbed the body of its sense of purpose and direction.
“The crisis you have seen us going through over time is as a result of interference by political interest groups and even people in government at different levels.
“Politics has crept into everything in Nigeria, whereby, government officials and other political interests want to determine who heads youth and student bodies.
“This has actually become a national problem because no group, association or union is spared; not even religious bodies like the Christian Association of Nigeria and Muslim groups.
“Over the past 15 years, NYCN leadership aspirants align with these external political forces and rely on their help to clinch power instead of presenting themselves to those they want to lead.
“This has led to the council abandoning its core objectives and running around politicians looking for how to survive.’’
The NYCN president, whose emergence in August 2015 is still being dogged by controversy, advised his opponents to respect an FCT High Court ruling that affirmed his election.
He urged them to join hands with him in repositioning the council to effectively play its role as the mouthpiece and rallying point for all Nigerian youths.
Meanwhile, Ugochinyere said the body would embark on a nationwide campaign aimed at restoring family values and promoting child education, especially at the grassroots.
He said the proposed campaign would be launched in March 2017 as part of activities marking the 54th anniversary of the NYCN.
“To drive President Muhammadu Buhari’s change agenda, the youth council is launching a nationwide advocacy campaign that focuses on restoring family values and proper child upbringing.
“We have come to the conclusion that no matter what the government is doing at the centre, if the message is not taken to the grassroots, the problem will remain.
“I believe that catching them young at the family unit with values such as honesty, love, hard work, respect for elders and constituted authorities, is the best way to go,” he said.
He said the council would drive the campaign using its network in 36 states and 774 local government chapters as well as community and village heads.