Samuel Awoyinfa, Abeokuta
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has told youths that unless they contest elective positions, old politicians will not quit the stage for them.
The former President spoke on Saturday in Abeokuta, Ogun State at the Youth Governance Dialogue organised to mark the International Youth Day, 2017.
The programme was organised by the Youth Development Centre of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta.
The former President, however, added that youths, who would attain leadership positions in the country, must distinguish themselves through hard work.
Obasanjo, who noted that moral values had been eroded in the society when compared to what obtained in the 50s and the 60s, said those moral values were required for leadership positions.
He added that Nigeria was in need of leaders that were academically and spiritually sound, and urged the youths to prepare for elective offices.
He said, “I joined politics from the top. The only position I contested for in Nigeria is the Presidency, but I had 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. The point is: Are you really prepared?”
The former President also spoke about unity and integration, urging Nigerians to see themselves as one family instead of pursuing things that could divide the country.
The former Attorney General of the Federation, Kanu Agabi (SAN), who spoke on the roles of youths in peace and stability of a nation, urged Nigerian youths not to allow artificial boundaries to split them, but to work on things that unite them as a people.
In his paper titled, ‘The role of our youths in contributing to the peace and stability of the nation,” Agabi asked youths to persevere and pursue unity and peace of Nigeria.
He described Obasanjo as an embodiment of perseverance and urged the youths to emulate him.
“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,” he said.
Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN), who chaired the occasion, urged the youths to shun violence and “remain resolute and committed to Nigeria’s development.”
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