Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday urged youth in the country to join political parties ahead of the 2019 elections to enable them to be voted into political offices.
Mr. Osinbajo, who was represented by Babafemi Ojudu, Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, made the call at the Emerging Political Leaders Summit in Abuja.
He said that it was not enough for youth to always complain about bad leaders, but that they needed to break the status quo by taking the chance to be elected and create the transformation they needed for a change.
“Youth have a challenge in their hands for the future of our country; so, I advise you not to sit down and fold your hands and be lamenting over bad leadership or politicians.
“Get down to business, organise and do something to become elected political youth; after all, Enahoro became a leader in this country at the age of 23 and later moved a motion for the nation’s independence at the age of 27.
“The leaders there today will vacate the place tomorrow. So if you the youth don’t start preparing today by getting mentored and learning the ropes, there is no way you will perform very well if the mantle of leadership falls on you tomorrow. So there is need for you to go in there and participate,’’ he said.
Mr. Osinbajo, however, advised youth not to expect that from the day they start participating in politics they would become the president of Nigeria.
He said that it was not realistic and could not happen, but that they needed to start gradually from the ward level and move up to local government level and to state “before the presidency’’.
Kingsley Moghalu, former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said that youth had the power to change their destiny to a better future by participating in politics from the grassroots.
Mr. Moghalu said that what the country needed was a democratic revolution at the polling units, adding that for it to happen the citizens should recognise that they had the power to change and improve governance.
“If they don’t exercise that power, if they keep selling their votes for N2, 000 so that they will eat today, their children will have no jobs in the future.
“It is high time Nigerians stopped seeking immediate gratification; they always love what they can get now and that is killing us as a nation.
“If this continues, then the citizens are just as irresponsible as the leadership they condemn,’’ he said.
Mr. Moghalu said that the next line of action lay with the citizens, adding that “we have talked enough, the politicians don’t listen, they keep carrying on in their old ways.
“We have had enough but if that is true, then we must act like we have had enough and take up the challenge to change the status quo.’’
The convener of the summit, Wale Ajani, said the event was organised to brainstorm ahead of the 2019 elections towards problem-solving both economically and politically for country’s development.
Mr. Ajani said that the summit became imperative at this auspicious moment in the nation’s history because Nigeria had remained a country of enormous potentials for several decades but unable to perform better in human development and economic indices.
“Leadership failure is largely at the heart of the current woes bedevilling Nigeria, with little being done to build a new crop of leaders.
“The nation seems fixated; the citizens have come to have very low expectations of their leaders. The summit provides a platform for qualitative conversations and discourse about Nigeria.’’
He said that it was time for Nigeria to have a paradigm shift as an alternative to the current system where there already existed a disconnection between citizens’ expectations and service delivery by politicians.