Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi has said youths must be allowed to participate actively in politics.
Speaking yesterday on “Youths and the Future of Nigerian Politics” at the 50th Anniversary Lecture of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Hall of the University of Ibadan, Ajimobi said: “Enough is enough of the system that makes our youths political thugs and bouncers. They must be effectively included in decision-making and the leadership structure of political parties.
“If the youths of this country must become leaders tomorrow, we must stop recycling grey-haired leaders. There is no gainsaying that the same set of people who had been ruling the country in the last 30-40 years are still the recurrent factors in rulership today.
“The present situation where youths are jobless makes it difficult to articulate a concise tomorrow for them. Efforts must thus be made to ensure that the youths are leaders of their stomachs today before we can consider them for the nation’s leadership tomorrow.”
The governor stressed the need to address youth restiveness, adding: “In a country with over 10 million unemployed graduates, their involvement in social vices, taking up arms and general restiveness, is a given. This has made entrusting them with political power difficult, as they are seen as politically immature.”
He urged the nation’s leaders to improve the quality of education, saying: “The education that is given to youths today cannot be compared to the one given to great nationalists. Substandard education hampers the youth’s intellect and ability to master the political terrain.
“If we do all these, our youths would be on their way to occupying positions that rightly belong to them and the political future of our great country would be assured.”
Chairman of the occasion and former Head of State Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) described the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, who the hall was named after, as the most out-spoken and internationally-recognised Nigerian nationalist.
He said: “Zik was a true Nigerian, a nationalist and an internationalist, whose vision extended beyond Nigeria or West Africa.”
The Guest Lecturer, Dr. Shettima Mustafa, said Nigerians need a proactive approach to governance, which would accommodate the interests of the majority, and not a nation whose politics and governance are based on suspicions and ethno-religious crisis.
Mustafa, a former Minister of Agriculture, called for the bridging of the gap between the older and younger generations of politicians.