In keeping with tradition, the Head of State will draw the attention of his younger compatriots to the issues that concern them and their adherence to the national cause.
Every February 10, President Paul Biya addresses youths in prelude to the celebration of the Youth day on the 11th. Commemorated this year in a rather complex context marked by Covid-19, the usual march pass that stands out as the main activity nationwide has been prohibited. And so the father of the nation’s speech is highly awaited to answer to the concerns of young men and women on whom the country’s future is hinged. This year, the theme is “Youth, Resilience, Challenges and Opportunities in times of COVID-19”.
In previous years, President Biya has painstakingly called on youths to “dare” even as several measures have been put in place to assist them reach their full potential. It is not certain what his message will hold but as it stands, the country is faced with economic, security and social problems. The crisis in the North West and South West regions has resulted to the displacement of many youths and the derailment of others who have picked up arms against the state. Despite several calls for the latter to leave the bushes, join reintegration centres set up to accompany them and regain normal lives in society, many have remained unrepentant. For sure, the moment will be ripe for the President to reiterate this call as the reconstruction of these crisis-torn regions can only be done in a peaceful atmosphere.
The setting up of regional councils, which indicates the devolution of more powers to regions and consequently development, may be a talking point as Paul Biya has often asked the youths not to lose hope. “I am quite aware of your difficulties. I understand your aspiration for change and your desire to be more involved in taking decisions concerning your future. I wish to remind you that tomorrow’s Cameroon will be built with you” he said in 2020.
In this Covid-19 times era, many have lost jobs and the economy is not buoyant enough to absorb the tens of thousands of youths joining the labour market each year. With this gloomy perspective, the hope is for the president to outline a way out for this segment of the population.
Meanwhile, for the past week, information, training, and exchange activities have been taking place on various platforms and school milieus. There have been varied campaigns carried out by community mediators with many being sensitised on the respect of Covid-19 barrier measures and the respect of national symbols.