Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has challenged Nigerian youths to engage in activities that would change the African narrative.
Apart from the participation guaranteeing a better future for the young generation, Obasanjo said it would also not allow those messing up the future of the youth to succeed.
He spoke Thursday in Abeokuta, Ogun state, at the third edition of the presidential youth mentorship retreat.
The event was organised by the Youth Development Center of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL).
Speaking on the theme “Removing Barriers Against Youth,” Obasanjo said: “In most parts of Africa, there are visible barriers and not so discernible barriers militating against the actualization of the latent potentials of the African youth.”
Represented by Deputy Chief Coordinator OOPL Dr Ayodele Aderinwale, the former president said the biggest obstacle to effectively removing the barrier “is the attitudinal disposition and orientation of the young people.”
The Nigerian leader challenged the youths to, as a matter of strategy, never allow others to determine their destiny or shape their space in society.
Obasano said: “If our youth can be desperate enough to agree to trek through the desert to get menial jobs in Europe, that energy, that spirit, that fortitude should be channeled to eradicating both physical and mental barriers.
“The villagization of the globe has rendered geographical barriers largely irrelevant. The movement towards a knowledge economy has also meant that proper nuancing eliminates barriers. In essence, economic opportunities have become transborder 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 must enhance enabling entrepreneurial environment for young people 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 yourself 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.”
Speaking earlier, Chairperson YDC-OOPL Dr Bisi Kolapo urged the youths to consistently improve on their leadership skills and development to take their rightful positions in governance.
Dr Kolapo said the “youths have a divine mandate to dominate, be fruitful and replenish in anywhere they find themselves.”