Olufemi Adediran, Abeokuta
Obasanjo who spoke at the “Youth Governance Dialogue”, organised to mark the “2017 International Youth Day” in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital at the weekend insisted that leadership wass never given on a platter of gold, but they have to work for it.
The programme was organised by Youth Development Centre of Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL).
The former President 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 position.
He also charged Nigerian youths, not only to aspire for leadership positions but to also be prepared for leadership, saying “When we talk about youth in leadership position, the point is, how are you prepared? Are you really prepared?
In Obasanjo’s view, Nigerian is in urgent need of good leaders who must be educationally and spiritually sound, adding “In Nigeria, We are religious but not spiritual.”
He called on youths to remain united and be patriotic citizens and contribute meaningfully to the development of their fatherland.
The former President 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 into that. Nobody will chose you, you have to chose yourself.
“People ask questions that what is the different between Nigeria of 1960 and Nigeria of today. In 1950, 1960, there were values but today, these values have been eroded.
“As a youth, you have to carve a niche for yourself and stop complaining. Don’t expect people to leave or shift. For instance, as I am standing, when you come to me and ask me to leave or shift, I may not respond. But when three or four of you come to me, two by my right hand side and two at my left and you press me together, you can actually force me out.”
The former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Kanu Agabi who delivered the lead paper, tasked Nigerian youths on unity and peace, urging them to be non-violence in pursuing their demands.
Agabi, in his paper titled “The role of our youth in contributing to the Peace and Stability of the Nation,” advised the youths to persevere and pursue unity and peace of Nigeria.
He described Obasanjo as an embodiment of perseverance and urged the youth to emulate him.
“If Obasanjo can make it, you can also make it. He went to army and survived. When was sent to prison and he survived. He was sentenced to death but here he is”, Agabi said.
The Chairman of the occasion, Chief Bayo Ojo, asked youths to eschew violence, but remain resolute and committed to Nigeria’ development.