A former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has said his greatest fear is youth explosion which may be fuelled by anger and frustration.
He said this on Sunday at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library conference hall during a youth governance dialogue with the theme: ‘Preparing successor generation for effective participation in governance.’
He noted that a lot of Nigerian youths were disillusioned and had lost hope in the country, arguing that there were opportunities in the country while he was growing up as compared to what obtained now.
The former President, who charged the youth to believe in themselves, said he had rough beginning because he came from a poor background, adding that the condition did not deter him from achieving his aims in life.
He said, “My greatest worry for Africa and Nigeria are the anger and frustration of the youth that can lead to explosion. It will know no bounds. If you talk about Boko Haram, it’s limited to the North-East, MASSOB is limited to the South-East, militants to the Niger Delta and OPC is around the corner here.
“Believe in yourself, as an individual, as a community and a country. We must have this spirit that ‘I will do, I can do.’ In my time, when we had opportunities but there were no facilities, but in your own time, there are facilities but no opportunities. And government is not helping you, so, you have to help yourself.
“When I completed my secondary school education, I got letters of appointment from five places, and then there was an option of one university before me. Now with 152 universities, you have choices but the opportunities are limited.
“You must think of what you can do for yourself, stop complaining and moaning.”
The lead speaker and a former Minister of Aviation and Federal Road Safety Corps Marshall, Chief Osita Chidoka, while speaking on the theme, ‘Towards a Guiding Political Philosophy for a Democratic Nigeria,’ noted that for the country to grow, Nigerians must build a society that would harness human resources, provide equal opportunities and develop capacity for innovation.
He said, “Our national aspirations should inspire the next generation and provide them with the existential meaning of Nigeria; a meaning that transcends geography, natural resources and ethnicity.”
He proposed a new charter for the country, saying the charter should contain reasons for the country’s union, the purpose of the union and the guarantee of the basic rights, privileges and obligations of the citizens.
He said, “Our political parties can then build their ideologies around the strategies for the achievement of our national goals.”
On his part, the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, said anyone who did not see the intrinsic value of the Nigerian youth had never enjoyed the opportunity of working with them.
He added, “We cannot keep calling them the leaders of tomorrow without ensuring that we put in place deliberate measures that will aid their quest for public service.”
The governor argued that the youth should be given opportunity to contest elective positions and called on the National Assembly to amend the constitution to allow for youth participation in governance.
Tambuwal added, “We have to find the means to reduce unemployment there is no doubt that the current diversification policy of President Muhammadu Buhari government will eventually provide broader opportunities for self employment.”
The event attracted students from various higher institutions across the country and pupils from some secondary schools in Ogun State.
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