The former President Olusegun Obasanjo has advised the youth to democratically wrest leadership from the old guards since they are unwilling to quit the stage.
To Obasanjo, leadership positions are never given on a platter of gold. He urged the youth to work for them.
The ex – President, who spoke on Saturday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, at the Youth Governance Dialogue organised to mark this year’s International Youth Day, added that those seeking leadership positions must also carve a niche for themselves through hard work.
The programme was organised by the Youth Development Centre, an arm of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta.
Obasanjo noted that moral values had been eroded, unlike in the 50s and the 60s, adding that sound moral values were necessary ingredients for leadership.
In Obasanjo’s view, Nigeria is in dire need of leaders who are academically and spiritually sound.
He urged the youth to stop complaining “moaning and agonising”. He advised them to get ready to fit into elective offices as there were moves now to lower the age for President, Governor and National Assembly.
”I joined politics from the top. The only position I contested for is President, but I had a 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, and thanks to Abacha (the late Gen. Sani Abacha) for putting me in jail.
”Those were the reasons why I had the opportunity to come back as elected President. The point is this -how are you prepared? Are you really prepared?
”You should engage in things that will bring about unity and integration. You see yourselves as Nigerians and one family instead of pursuing things that could divide the country,” Obasanjo said.
Also, former Attoney-General of the Federation, Kanu Agabi (SAN), in his paper titled “The role of our youth in contributing to the Peace and stability of the nation,” asked youths to strive towards unity and peace of Nigeria.
”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,” Agabi said.
The chairman of the occasion, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN), advised youths to shun violence and “remain committed to Nigeria’s development”.