Beyond the Moral Panic: the Good Governance Option to Youth

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Beyond the Moral Panic: The Good Governance Option to Youth
Socio-Economic Empowerment in Nigeria
By
Toyin Abe
Department of Political Science
University of Ado-Ekiti
Ekiti State, Nigeria
Email: toyinabe777@yahoo.com
Phone: +234-803-860-9848
Abstract
The protracted economic crisis that plaque Nigeria since the early 1980s has impacted negatively on the well-being of youth in the country. The situation is further exacerbated by the high incidence of state failure and the crisis of governance, characterised by the massive deterioration of government institutions, pervasive poverty, corruption and the near total collapse of moral and ethical standards in the country. This has occasioned the worsening and continued deterioration of the socio-economic condition of youth thereby, creating a myriad of problems ranging from poverty, unemployment, drug and substance abuse, family disintegration, crime, violence, frustration and despair. While several attempts have been made to solve youth problems in Nigeria, the outcomes of these initiatives have been sub-optimal, as most existing policies designed to empower youth are borne out of ‘moral panicky’ measures, rather than being genuinely geared towards solving the problem. These policies emanate more out of fear of the negative consequences of youth responses to their poor situation, than in fundamentally addressing the factors responsible for the situation. The good governance option thus, becomes imperative; owing to the prominence it accords structures and processes in achieving outcomes. Its propensity to generate trust and reciprocity in the exercise of authority facilitates order, stability and continuity in state-society interaction that in turn guarantees the sustainability of these outcomes in the long-run. Utilizing secondary data, the study examines the nature and causes of the deteriorating conditions of youth socio-economic situation in Nigeria. It also explores the option of good governance as a panacea, with particular emphasis on active youth participation in policy initiatives, accountability, transparency and effective service delivery.

Introduction
The protracted economic crisis that plagued Nigeria since the early 1980s, characterised by a decline in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate, Balance of Payment deficits, high cost of production, occasioned by the poor implementation of the various development plans and acute mismanagement of the country’s abundant material resources, led to a significant increase in lending rates, prevalence of unviable State-owned enterprises, multiple taxes\levies, depreciation of the local currency, debt burden, e.t.c., that invariably, impacted negatively on the well-being of the vast majority of the population, with the youth being the worst hit. The situation is further exacerbated by the high incidence of state failure and the crisis of governance, which is manifested by the massive deterioration of government institutions, pervasive poverty, corruption and the near total collapse of moral and ethical standards in the country.

The attendant implication of the above situation was the worsening and continued deterioration of the socio-economic predicament of the youth. This gave rise to a myriad of problems ranging from poverty, unemployment, drug and substance abuse, family disintegration, crime, violence, frustration and despair. While several attempts have been made to address youth related problems in Nigeria, the outcomes of these initiatives have been sub-optimal, as most existing policies designed for this purpose were borne out of ‘moral panicky’ measures. Specifically, these policies emanate more out of the fear of the negative consequences of youth responses to their poor situation, than in fundamentally addressing the factor responsible for their poor socio-economic predicaments.

This study, therefore, examines...
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