The Upper East Regional Minister, Stephen Yakubu, has stated that the introduction of youth parliaments is key to giving the youth a voice to contribute to the nation’s growth and development.
“This platform given to the youth is very essential and it has offered them the opportunity to contribute towards shaping and implementing government policies and programmes for the general progress of the nation.”
According to him, the youth parliament, a replica of the national parliament, had been institutionalised and decentralised to enable the youth engage in healthy discourse to transform their local areas.
Mr Yakubu said this at the official inauguration of the Upper East Regional Youth Parliament in Bolgatanga.
“I urge all stakeholders to re-commit themselves to the youth parliament and do their utmost best to take it to the next level, while the state is mandated to provide an enabling policy and social environment for the youth,” he said.
The minister said the inauguration of the youth parliament was a clear indication of the government's commitment to enhancing the frontiers of democracy, saying “this is an indication the rights of the youth were being protected as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution and the children’s Act 1998.
“As a country touted as the beacon of democracy on the African continent, the government would continue to give opportunities to every institution, bodies and individuals to fully develop their potentials” he said.
He, therefore, charged the youth to make themselves available and position themselves to take advantage of interventions and opportunities introduced by the government and other institutions to improve upon their lives.
Mr Yakubu bemoaned the high level of intolerance among the youth which had led to several violent attacks during chieftaincy and election periods resulting in the loss of lives of innocent people in the region.
“The essence of the youth parliament is to instil in the youth the spirit of cooperation and non-aggression in pursuing any perceived injustice to ensure peace and harmony in the society,” he stated.
He appealed to the youth to ensure that the state of education in the region featured prominently in their discourse so as to reverse the poor academic performance among students, noting “the issue of teenage pregnancy should also attract your attention in terms of sensitising the youth to stay away from premarital sex”.
Speaking on the theme: “Negative influence from the youth on the peace required for the socio-economic development of the Upper East Region—the forms, effects and remedies”, the Bolgatanga Divisional Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Dela K. Dzansi, urged members of the youth parliament to serve as role models and educate their peers within their respective communities to desist from social vices.
For his part, the Upper Regional Director of the National Youth Authority (NYA), Francis Takyi-Koranteng, said the youth parliament would give the youth the platform to express their views and concerns on issues affecting them.