Abiodun OBA

A former Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Usman Yusuf, said that the recent Abuja-Kaduna bound train attack was a mortal existential threat to the country.

Yusuf gave the charge, Saturday night, during a virtual youths summit organised by the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Americas (NIDO) and Nigeria Diaspora Network (NDN).

The event, which was monitored by newsmen in Abuja, was titled: “Youth and National Development in Nigeria.”

Yusuf lamented that it was disheartening that the elders are disconnected from the youths.

The ex-NHIS boss, who recalled the bond of love and understanding that existed among Muslim and Christian students while growing up, charged the youths to unite together irrespective of religious, ethnic, language or political barrier.

“This country, Nigeria, has given my generation so much that we can never give back.

“I am an optimist and wherever I go, I tell the youths my history.

“I attended a Catholic school and I was the only Muslim in my class.

“We went into the world and competed favourably. The so-called village school we went were better than the best school presently.

“This was the Nigeria of my time. We had bond of relationship between Christians, Muslims and different tribes,” Yusuf said.

The former NHIS boss who decried the rate of insecurity in the country, called on the youths to unite against it, recalling the time he went with

Sheik Ahmad Gumi into the forests to persuade the bandits to change from their bad ways.

He expressed concern at the rate the youths in Nigeria now get involved in criminalities like the Boko Haram, ISWAP, IPOB and the destruction that followed the #ENDSARS protest, among others.

“Nigeria has changed,” he said.

According to him, public service is seeing as a way to enrich our pocket and not for the interest of the country.

Yusuf, who emphasised the importance of youths’ involvement in nation building, urged them to be ready to actively participate in the political process.

“This is what I tell the youths everywhere I go. Life does not come like a remote control.

“We all know that it is the youths that bring every government into power but the youths think things will come to them just on a platter of gold. No!

“You have to mobilise yourselves, join political parties, choose candidates that are younger and vote.

“Nobody will give you power on a platter of gold; you have to vie for it through your PVC (permanent voter’s card),” he said.

He said the youths would not be counted on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc, but by coming out to participate in the election process.

According to him, your right as citizens does not end in balloting.

“You must ask questions. Youths must get involved in our political process for any meaningful change to take place,” he said.

Speaking at the event, a strategic leadership expert and certified management consultant, Dr Toye Sobande, said the focus about leadership position should be on the quality of ideas one possessed.

He said though people classified youthful age between 18 to 49, age could be physical or ideological.

“For me, you can be 39 years and have ideological age for governance,” he said.

Sobande enjoined the young people who plan to go into politics to be a person of character, have respect for time and people’s opinions.

“You cannot build character when you show disrespect and disregard to people.

“We must respect our elders and have mutual regards for each other,” he said.

He condemned the way and manner some youths conversed on social media.

According to him, you don’t wrestle power when you don’t have character.

The expert, who urged the young people to develop themselves to be competent in their careers, advised them to be ready to build network of friends.

Similarly, a former Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, Petra Onyegbule, said the youths must be respectful, resourceful and be a person of value to fit into political offices.

She said seeking for a political office was not all about money but being discipline.

Also speaking, 23-year old Destiny Asen, said Nigerian youths were ready to contribute their quota if the opportunity is given.

Asen, who is the chief executive officer of Perfect Asen Entertainment Ltd., said a lot of young people were scared to join politics because they feel it is a dirty game.

He said he decided to declare openly for the governorship position of Benue to inspire many youths.

While NIDOA’s mission is to promote the spirit of patriotism, networking and cooperation among Nigerians in Diaspora, for their individual and collective success in the countries they reside, NDN is an organisation for volunteer professionals of like mind working with accomplished patriotic Nigerian professionals striving for the development of the country.

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