Obasanjo Charges Youths to Participate in Political, Economic Activities

James Sowole in Abeokuta

Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday challenged Nigerian youths to engage in activities that would change the African narrative by participating fully in all the socio-economic and political activities in the country.

Obasanjo submitted that such participation would also guarantee a better future for the young generation as it would not allow those who are messing up their future to succeed.

The former president stated this in Abeokuta, Ogun State, during the third edition of the presidential youth mentorship retreat organised by the Youth Development Centre of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL).

Speaking on the theme: ‘Removing Barriers Against Youth’, Obasanjo noted that “in most parts of Africa, there are visible barriers and not so discernible barriers militating against the actualisation of the latent potential of the African youths.”

The former leader, who was represented by the Deputy Chief Coordinator of OOPL, Dr. Ayodele Aderinwale, said the biggest obstacle to effectively removing the barrier “is the attitudinal disposition and orientation of the young people.”

He, therefore, challenged youths to as a matter of strategy never allow another person to determine or shape their space in the society.

According to him, “If our youths can be desperate enough to agree to trek through the desert to get menial jobs in Europe, that energy, that spirit, and that fortitude should be channeled to the eradication of both physical and mental barriers.

“The globalization of the world has rendered geographical barriers largely irrelevant. The movement towards a knowledge-based economy has also meant that proper nuancing eliminates barriers. In essence, economic opportunities have become trans-border in nature and manifestation. There are enormous opportunities for private initiatives at the national and global economic space.

“The young people should demand vociferously that our governments enhance enabling entrepreneurial environment for young people which is also a key to unleashing a culture of entrepreneurship among the youth. As this will have a broader impact in promoting sustainable development and addressing the barriers that specifically hinder young people like yourselves to be economically empowered. Such empowerment will not only improve the individual life but also affect their community positively as they will serve as an agent of wealth creation.

“In conclusion, I am challenging you as young Africans to engage in activities that would change the African narrative by participating fully in all the socio-economic and political activities that guarantee a better future for you and not allowing those who are messing up your future to succeed.”

In her welcome address, the Chairperson of YDC-OOPL, Dr. Bisi Kolapo, urged the youths to consistently improve on leadership skills and development in order to take their rightful positions in governance.

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