FORMER President Goodluck Jonathan has advised Nigerian youths,
especially aspiring young leaders, not to repeat the mistakes of the
past, charging them to revolutionize a new paradigm shift in
leadership and citizenship.
Jonathan gave the charge yesterday in Yenagoa while receiving the New
Nigeria 2019 Group, (#NN-2019) and the Young Professionals of Nigeria,
YPN, led by Chima Nwafor and Moses Siasia. He also commended the youth
groups for trying to chart a new course for the socio-political
development of the country.
The former president, who described youths as the pillar of any
society, stressed that anybody who meant well for the society will not
downplay the role of the youths, noting that the political history of
the country was replete with youths who have played leadership
positions and performed creditably well.
He also went on to urge the youths not to make the fundamental
mistakes of past leaders which included mistakes of tribalism,
nepotism, and mistakes of religious intolerance.
He said: “I am happy that you cut across all parts of the country, you
are not here because you are Christians or Muslims, you are not here
because you are from the South-South, or from the North-East, or North
West or South West, but because you are Nigerian youths that are
committed to a particular cause and you want to make an impact for a
better society for us and the future generations.”
A statement issued by his media adviser also noted that Jonathan
identified himself with other leaders who had advocated for young
people to be fully involved in leadership. According to the statement,
former President Jonathan said further that he believed in the
philosophy of Late Maitama Sule who posited “that the young breed
without old breed will breed greed.” I believe that both old and young
people must come together.
He noted that there was a time young people played dominant roles in
the nation’s politics. He said: “All the big historical names you
hear; Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Sarduana of Sokoto, Michael
Okpara, all of them got involved in governance at very young age. Some
of them were ministers in their twenties.”
He stressed that the situation was similar up to the time of the
military heads of state, starting from Yakubu Gowon who was 32 and
Ibrahim Babangida and President Buhari who became heads of state as
He said further: “I am not envisioning a government that every actor
will be below thirty-five years old, but I share the aspiration of
those who want young people to be fully involved in governance.
“I remember when Alfred Diette Spiff was the military governor of the
then old Rivers State, though most of the members of his cabinet were
older than him and even referred to him as “my son,” together they
achieved much in infrastructure and human development.
Jonathan stated that during his political career as a governor and
president, he encouraged young people and women to play key roles in
“Before I leave let me charge the young people in two key areas; the
young must reform the young for us to grow positively. Some of the
challenges like cultism, kidnapping and terror that we are have in the
society are perpetrated by youths who have been used negatively.
“A group like yours constituting of CEOs must create platforms to re-
orientate the thinking of our young people. I am glad that you
mentioned setting up similar bodies, across the country. At least even
if you start from the universities and secondary schools, to change
the mindset of the youths. Youth movements like Boys Scout, Boys
Brigade and Girls Guide, developed from this kind of thinking. He went
on to note that the growth of society should not be marked by flashy
cars, sky scrapers and beautiful roads but by the people, the way they
think and the way they do things.
Earlier, the Convener of NN-2019, Dr. Chima Anyaso and Chairman NYPF
Moses Siasia, said they are consulting with elder statesmen all over
the country to seek their blessings and support, and mobilizing young
minds to advocate for democratic inclusion come 2019, stressing that
they have taken up the challenge to participate actively in the
democratic process of the country.