The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Saturday downplayed the chances of a youth becoming the president of Nigeria.
The law professor said this while explaining the rationale behind the high cost of nomination forms of the All Progressive Congress (APC) for the office of the president.
The APC charged N45 million for its presidential nomination forms, and comparatively high fees for other offices, a move condemned by activists and civic groups.
Mr Osinbajo spoke during the 9th Sigma Club Public Lecture held Saturday at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan. His lecture was titled, “Developing the nation through youth empowerment.”
Mr Osinbajo advised young people to start from grassroots and gradually move up the ladder.
But as for the federal level, “don’t worry yourself about running for president; it will take a while,” he said.
He added that: “Anybody who wants a career in political positions should also make an attempt to get involved in public service.
“Since there are less than 2000 of such (political) positions. Get involved in public service,” he said.
Mr Osinbajo called on the youth to always hold the government accountable. He stressed that though “the government’s role is to create an enabling environment for the youth to be empowered,” but for this to happen, the youth must “take time to scrutinise their [the government’s] arguments.”
“You are the leaders of tomorrow. No one should doubt that. However, that future would only be guaranteed if you hold your leaders to account,” he said.
While admitting that the poverty in the country is a major concern to the government, he faulted the grand corruption and high rate of borrowing of the past administration “despite earning more.”
“The most important drain to our public revenue is grand corruption: which is simply going to the treasury and withdrawing money — stealing it in short,” he stressed
“No nation can possibly prosper when its commonwealth is spent in that manner. So, we need to deal with grand corruption if we are to move forward as a nation.”
Mr Osinbajo then advised the youth to focus on technology saying that was the future of job creation.
“Everybody must pay attention to the nation’s growth. No nation is built by one person.
“The future of jobs is in technology and innovations. It is where the real opportunities are. Young people have an edge where technology is concerned,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Idowu Olayinka, said funding of education should not be left to the government alone.
Represented by the university’s Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Kayode Adebowale, the don said the paucity of funds was a major challenge of the institution.
“One of the challenges we face is funding. When the concept of university was been conceived, how it will be funded was designed. It is 70% will come from Nigeria and 30% from the British.”
He called on the private sector to assist Nigeria’s tertiary institutions.
“The public and private sectors must come together to fund the university,” he said.
“Private universities constitute less than six per cent of total enrolment of university students. This means that the private sector has a lot to do.”
He however called on the management of universities to ensure graduating students are good enough to be employed.
“The challenge to the university is to be able to develop students so that when they graduate they will be able to be independent,” he advised.