Lagos Youth Should Avoid Bad Gang – Kasunmu

Youths in Lagos State have been enjoined to avoid joining bad gangs. A lawmaker in the Lagos State House of Assembly, who doubles as the Chairman of the House Committee on Youth, Sports and Social Development, Hon. Adedamola Richard Kasunmu urged the youths to engage in positive activities.

Kasunmu, who is representing Ikeja Constituency 1 in the Assembly, believes that one of the ways of developing the country is to develop the youth.

He speaks more on these and other matters in this interview.

What does the theme of this year’s International Youth Day, ‘Youth Building Peace,’ connote for the youth of the state?

I would like to thank God for yet another successful International Youth Day, which we celebrate every 3rd August. This year’s edition was celebrated in Lagos and all over the country and the talents of the youth were being showcased. We tried to encourage them in various activities, programmes and symposia, which was celebrated in colourful manner in various regards. The youths were able to showcase their talents at this year’s event. I would say that this year’s edition gave us a lot of joy. There has been a lot of agitation for youth emancipation and having said that I would say that the “Not Too Young To Run Bill,” that was recently passed by the National Assembly would give room for a lot of our youth to get engaged in the leadership position of the country. It would give them a chance to build the nation because if you build the youth, you are building a nation. But if the youth are not happy, you cannot build a nation. The theme of this year’s edition, which is “Youth Building Peace,” is very important because if there is no peace and harmony we would not have the kind of leadership structure that we want for this nation judging by what has happened in the country over the years.

My message to the youth of the nation is for them to build peace themselves. How do you do this, we need to join the bandwagon of leaders or else we will not achieve much. I am also a youth and I know what it means to give ourselves recognition to rebuild this nation. Now, one thing is that the youths should avoid hate speeches. Let us move together, let us live in peace to create a better nation for ourselves.

Of course, Lagos State is a pacesetter in many aspects. It is my responsibility to get across to as many Lagosians as possible within the state most of whom are youths. My advice to them is to get positively engaged, we must have a focus, we have to create a conducive environment to carve a niche for ourselves for the development of our character. If we you something doing there is no way someone can engage you to get involved in negative activities to be a miscreant or a thug for one reason or the other. The Lagos State Government, under our amiable Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, whom Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has tagged ‘Wonder Boy,’ has created a forum that a lot of youth can benefit from, which is the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF). This is where a lot of people, who have business ideas can have opportunity for loans. They can develop themselves and change the economic fortune of the state to be better than what we have currently, especially in the area of IGR.

Another way the youths can help themselves is in the area of information. They should get involved in volunteering and ensure that they perform their civic responsibilities, get yourself engaged. If one, two, hundreds, thousands and millions of youths do this, they would be creating a lot of wealth that would change this nation gradually. Having said that, a vital aspect of this is for them to take their education seriously, this would adequately prepare them for the future. Another aspect is that we find a lot of youth on the social media such as the Instagram, twitter, and Facebook, let us begin to use this positively and not negatively, let us use it to educate ourselves so that one way or the other if we are getting engaged and empowered, wilfully we will build peace and I can assure you it would be the beginning of securing our future as youths.

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo once said that the youth have not taken their position in the scheme of things and that they should stop complaining. Do you think the Nigerian political system is accommodating the youth?

If we consider the education, empowerment, civic responsibilities engagement, all these would give the youth the opportunity to participate in the scheme of things.

In practical terms what programmes do the Lagos State Government have in place to take youths away from the streets as we have youth restiveness all over the country?

There are a lot of vocational education that the state Ministry of Youths and Social Development is providing for the youth. Even if those out of school youth have nothing to do, they are engaged in things they can use their hands to do and things they can do with their passions. If you don’t have the cognitive requirements for you to get to a particular level educationally, you still have the opportunity to get to where you want. The Ministry of Youth and Social Development works hand in hand with the House Committee on Youth and Social Development to achieve this.

We have put policies in place that the Lagos State Government would implement. We have had youth talent shows for the benefits of the youths. We will continue to put programmes in place to ensure that the youths of our time are fully engaged and fully prepared for the future.

One area the youth need do much is education, but now, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is on strike. What message do you have for them and the Federal Government so that the time of the youth would not be wasted away?

I would not stop appealing to the Federal Government to get the youth back in school because they need the education and our co- operation and we would definitely do everything within our capacity to ensure that the strike does not last long. We would continue to work with the necessary ministries and the House Committee on Education to get our children back in schools.

What have been your achievements so far on sports development in the state?

There have been countless sporting activities in the state in conjunction with the Ministry of Sports, and the Sports Commission in the area of football, tennis, badminton and developing sports in schools in various localities in the five divisions in the state. We will continue to develop them as we know that stars can be produced through this.

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