Former Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday challenged the Nigerian youth not to abandon the country to “those who are messing it up.”
He told them to hold their future in their hands with a firm belief that “today is their day”, as against the famous cliché – youths are the leaders of tomorrow.
Obasanjo spoke in Abeokuta, Ogun State, at an event tagged “OBJ @85 Free Keke Programme,” where 85 tricycles (Keke) were distributed to beneficiaries as part of the activities marking the former President’s 85th birthday.
The tricycles were donated through the Youth Development Centre of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) with beneficiaries drawn from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
In his remarks, Obasanjo said despite many challenges confronting Nigeria, there are “opportunities galore” and asked the younger generation to take advantage of them.
He also charged them to roll up their sleeves and make necessary contributions towards addressing challenges of the nation.
According to him, If the youth leave things to those who are messing it up, and who are saying they are the leaders of tomorrow, they will never have that tomorrow.
He said ” The first thing we want to prove is that there are opportunities galore in this country. Yes, things are not what they should be but you, as youths, individually and collectively, must make up your mind, make contributions in order to make things the way they should be.
“If you leave things to those who are messing it up for you and who are saying you are the leaders of tomorrow, you will never have that tomorrow. Today is your day.
“Then the third point is; yes, sometime you may get people who would help you and a times you may not even get who would help you; you must remember God has given you innate ability to be what He wants you to be and if you make up your mind on what you want to be, God will help you and He would provide those people who would help you to reach the sky which should be your limit.”
The Chairperson of the Centre, Dr Bisi Kolapo implored the youth to emulate Obasanjo’s passion and commitment in an effort to build “Nigeria of our dreams.”
Kolapo also warned them against corruption and greed, saying it would be difficult to fight those menaces if you’re a culprit.
She harped on courage, fortitude, forthrightness, respectability, knowledge, loyalty, passion and responsibility as some of the virtues expected of the youths in order to move the country forward.
Responding, two of the beneficiaries, Bashir Alimodu and Asembe Ngumimi, respectively from Borno and Benue States, applauded the centre for the donation, which they said would enhance growth and development of their trades.
They also promised to make judicious use of the tricycles, just as they urged other wealthy Nigerians to take a clue from the gesture in order to lift young entrepreneurs across the country.