Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo charged the Nigerian youth to challenge the leadership of the Country from the old guards who are unwilling to quit the stage.
He made this call at the Youth Governance Dialogue organized to mark this year’s International Youth Day, Youth Governance Dialogue organized to mark this year’s International Youth Day, added that those seeking leadership positions must also carve a niche for themselves through hard work.
The program was organized by the Youth Development Centre, an arm of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, OOPL, Abeokuta.
He noted that he and another former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, made it to the top Nigerian political office at 39 and 33 respectively.
He stated that leadership positions are never presented on a platter of gold and admonished the Nigerian youths to work tirelessly for them.
Chief Obasanjo hinted that the country needs leaders who are academically and spiritually sound, urging the youths to stop moaning and agonizing.
He advised them urged them to position themselves to fit into electives offices as there were moves now to lower the age for President, Governor and National Assembly.
”I joined politics from the top. The only position I contested for as President, but I had a track record of achievements, which led to that.
”Nobody will choose you; you have to choose yourself. Why should you have to become president at the age of 40? “Why can’t you become president at the age of 35? Why can’t you become president at the age of 30?
”General Gowon became Head of State at 33. I became Head of State at 39. And it is because of my track record, and thanks to Abacha (the late Gen. Sani Abacha)for putting me in jail.
”Those were the reasons why I had the opportunity to come back as elected President. The point is this -how are you prepared? Are you really prepared?
”You should engage in things that will bring about unity and integration. You see yourselves as Nigerians and one family instead of pursuing things that could divide the country,” Obasanjo said.
Also, former Attorney-General of the Federation, Kanu Agabi (SAN), in his paper titled “The role of our youth in contributing to the Peace and stability of the nation,” asked youths to strive towards unity and peace of Nigeria.
”If Obasanjo can make it, you can also make it. He joined the army and survived. When he was sent to prison, he survived. He was sentenced to death but here he is,” Agabi said.
The chairman of the occasion, Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN, advised youths to shun violence and “remain committed to Nigeria’s development”.