The national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has clarified his statement on the recruitment of 50 million youths into the armed forces.
The former governor of Lagos in a statement by his spokesperson, Tunde Rahman, on Tuesday said it was an “accidental verbal mistake” when he said so at a colloquium to celebrate his 69th birthday on Monday.
He disclosed that he meant 50,000 youths recruitment into the security architecture of the country.
It was widely reported that Mr Tinubu on Monday called for massive recruitment in the military to tackle unemployment.
“Recruit 50 million youths into the army, take away from their (the insurgents)recruitment source,” he said.
The statement generated controversy on social media as many Nigerians wondered how that would be a solution to the country’s crisis.
In the statement clarifying his principal’s position, Mr Rahman said “Asiwaju Tinubu canvassed the urgent need to combine employment and national security policy by the recruitment of five million youths in all aspects of nation-building, ranging from infrastructural development to agricultural modernisation.”
“He believes that the more job opportunities are presented to our youth the less some of them will be tempted into illegal and dangerous activities.
“As part of this overall approach, he believes that eligible youth should be recruited into the armed forces, police and other security agencies to augment the functional capacity of our security apparatus thus ensuring the better security and safety of our people.
“Asiwaju seeks the expansion of security personnel by 50,000 for the armed forces, not the 50 million that was mentioned in error. It was an accidental verbal mistake of which we all commit from time to time especially when reciting a series of large numerical figures.
“He did not mean 50 million, which is almost a quarter of our total population. The crucial matter is that Asiwaju rightly observed that such strong recruitment would serve the twin-purpose of helping to tackle unemployment while at the same time enhancing the security of every Nigerian.
“Please forgive any confusion due to this innocent error. The most vital thing is that he set forth a wise and timely approach that would help us face two of today’s stiffest challenges. It is in the spirit that we hope you view and assess his proposal for it seeks to provide a way for more youths to participate in building a greater, safer and more prosperous country.”
Mr Tinubu, who is widely believed to be nursing a presidential ambition in 2023 was instrumental to the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
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