Yahaya Bello of Kogi has called on Nigerian youths to make their numbers count and not be political spectators in the country’s 2023 general elections and democratic processes.
Mr Onogwu Muhammed, Chief Press Secretary to Bello in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja said the governor made this known while speaking at the National Youth Summit/Book Launch in Abuja.
Muhammed said Bello was represented by his Chief of Staff, Jamiu Asuku, at the event titled, “It’s Youth O’clock In Nigeria”.
Bello in his address told the youths that in spite of them representing the largest demography of the nation’s population, their numbers would not count if they refused to participate actively in politics and the 2023 general elections.
“Nigerian youths no longer have any excuse not to take over the nation’s leadership considering the exploits of some young Nigerians in every sector of the nation’s economy.
“Nigeria is waiting for young people to steer the country towards the dreams of its founding fathers because those who gave their lives for the formation of this nation did so at their youthful age.
“Youth no longer have any excuse not to take the lead. We are not just youthful, we are useful and purposeful. This is the time for you to mobilize yourselves and begin an advocacy for youths involvement in governance.
“Most of you sitting down here are above 30 years of age. At 32, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) was already Head of State. He fought the civil war just for Nigeria survival as an indivisible and united entity.
“General Murtala was also pretty young when he became the Head of State and he also made meaningful contributions to the development of our dear state.
“The youth must begin to see themselves as critical stakeholders whose time has come to take over the leadership of this country.
“Achieving this will remain a tall order if the new song of ‘Youth O’clock’ ends on your lips without concerted effort and commitment to participate in politics and electioneering processes in this country”, Bello said.
Bello said that his political life had been a chronicle of doing what people said could not be done, when he threw his hat into the ring as a young Nigerian to run for governorship of Kogi in 2015.
“A lot of people saw me as a joker and a lot of people thought it was impossible; some called me an outsider because I had no godfather,” he added.
He said his legacies and achievements in office should not be difficult for anyone to search.
According to him, the clamour for youth takeover of leadership will be encouraged and boosted by the sterling performance of those already in the corridors of power.
He urged young Nigerians already leading to promote themselves, advertise their work, record of performance and achievements.
“In like manner, as we think of 2023 – the question of the next leadership of Nigeria, may I challenge you to deploy your considerable resources of office and influence toward crafting the Nigeria of our dreams.
“The youth O’clock song must be heard in every nook and cranny of this country, it is an advocacy that the youth must take to every corner of this great nation,” he said.
He said political leadership was by the virtue of organisation and alliance and commended the Youth Council of Nigeria for realising that the ‘Youth O’clock’ was actually time for the youths in this country to prepare for leadership.
Bello said it is however not enough to be a member of a political party, urging the youth to make themselves visible by having structures all over the country.