Editor's note: Seyi Gesinde, an award-winning journalist, political scientist and social commentator in this opinion writes on why the Nigerians youths have been fired by the vibrancy of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo SAN, is a staunch believer in the Nigerian youth. He sees the potential in them, probably more than the youth themselves see it.
Not too long ago, precisely on Thursday, January 13, 2022, as the host of the 2021 National Gold Award Presentation Ceremony, Osinbajo described the Nigerian youth as the country's most valuable asset, who must be supported in every way to excellence.
To bring out the best in them, the Vice President expressed the Federal Government's commitment to continue to support young Nigerians to reach their full potential. He has always been their No 1 country's cheerleader.
Speaking at the event organised by the International Award for Young People (IAYP) at the State House Conference Centre, Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja, Osinbajo particularly commended the youth's dexterity in providing technological solutions to stem the tide of Covid-19.
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At the IAYP event, the Nigerian version of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award for Young People, Osinbajo lauded the various ways through which the Nigerian youth have contributed to the nation’s wellbeing.
To drive home his point, Vice President Osinbajo cited the example of “young Nigerians in our armed forces leaving behind family and friends to serve our country in various internal security operations across the country."
“We have seen how young Nigerians rallied in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and designed various technology solutions to support the government.
“We have seen Nigerian youths break new ground and earn global acclaim in innovation, technology, sports, the arts, and entertainment.
“Clearly, our young people are our most valuable assets, and the Federal Government believes that they must be encouraged and supported in every way.”
To this end, on the government's interventionist agenda to support Nigerian youths in different sectors, Osinbajo spoke on the plans to raise $500 million to support the technology and creativity ecosystem.
He said the project was encouraged by the African Development Bank (AfDB), which he said had committed $170 million and will also be supported by the Nigerian government, the Islamic Development Bank, and the French Development Agency.
Similarly, Vice President Osinbajo had at a preceding event implored Nigerian youths not to dwell on the national challenges being faced, but to build the future they desire by focusing on what is right.
Prof Osinbajo gave the charge at the maiden National Youth Conference marking the 2021 African Youth Day in Abuja, with the theme: ‘Energising the Youth for Development: Inclusiveness, Governance, Security and Employment.’
At the conference organised by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, in collaboration with private sector partners, in activating the Africa Youth Day instituted by the Africa Union (AU), commissioned to hold on November 1st of each year, Osinbajo seized the opportunity to raise the hopes of the mass of Nigerian youth, while he also got them fired up.
Speaking to a gathering of about 400 youths gathered at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Osinbajo said: “The future will be what we make of it. Reject the temptation to inherit the biases and prejudice of your parents. Seize your opportunities to contribute your own quota to Nigeria. Seek the path of self-actualisation. Let the Nigerian dream be at the heart of what you do. Quit complaining. Move on. No matter what, move on!”
With certain developments within and even outside the country distracting the focus of many, Osinbajo's counsel and pragmatic approach to getting things done are the only needed encouragement, particularly for those belonging to the restless youthful generation for them to keep their focus and succeed in their daily endeavours.
Truly, the Vice President as a national leader is a source of inspiration to different categories of Nigerians all this while. And if this is the only reason he decided to pursue further his political career by deciding to contest for the country's presidency in 2023, but which now appears slowed down by his loss at the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election, Osinbajo is justified.
But he has already birthed his vision for a new Nigeria, where the youth also found their strength, especially in his address to the APC delegates at Eagle Square on the convention night.
Osinbajo said: "We can build drones, helicopters and planes. Our Air Force is already manufacturing air platforms. And God helping us, in two decades, we can become the first nation on earth to send a team of all black team of astronauts to the moon." These are all the ideas the youthful generations are turning into reality all over the world.
According to him, "We have the talent, the resources and the resourcefulness to be one of the world’s leading economies. We have the guts and the confidence to beat the world. We can run an open, honest and transparent government; we can ensure the rule of law, we can secure our nation from terrorism, we can provide good paying jobs for millions of young people." Everything about Osinbajo in what he represents in government creates life and opportunity for the youth.
Osinbajo has also spoken in the past about the government's encouraging the youth's contributions to the national economy, which he said informed a change of policy that resulted in FinTech companies emerging, seven of them in Nigeria, valued at $1 billion each. Another reason for his idea of national growth has been to encourage nation-building with youth empowerment through technology in 2023. He has always said this, he reiterated it at fora where he spoke of his aspiration to be Nigeria's president. They are on record.
All these have a way of building up the youth's confidence, forcing them to dare the impossibility. This level of support and charge from a leader of Osinbajo's repute has a way it psychologically empowers any young man or woman striving hard to succeed to do more. It is surely paving the way for our young men and women to excel.
With developments around, yes, one can now say this Osinbajo's dream, the can-do spirit of Nigerians he ignited is positively and gradually affecting our youths globally. It means his new Nigerian dream is alive and active irrespective of his loss at the APC Convention. The psychological effect of his cheers to the youth spurring them up to excellence is reflective in the latest feat of our track and field superstar, Tobi Amusan, a youthful Nigerian, who has done the country proud in far-away America, setting a world record in 100 meters hurdles.
One lively instance of where the seed was sown is this: on June 7, 2022, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo SAN, at Eagles Square, Abuja, shared his dreams with the APC delegates, and among many other things he said, interpreting his vision for a New Nigeria, the Vice President concluded, saying as Nigerians: "We have the guts and the confidence to beat the world." Now, it is happening!
The 25-year-old lady, Amusan, coincidentally from Osinbajo's Ogun State (just for emphasis, we are all Nigerians), has beaten the world! On Sunday, July 24, she became a new world record setter and holder in 100 meters hurdles at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, the United States, where she equally won a gold medal for her feat.
This in itself is an encouragement that the "Nigerian President" potential in Prof Osinbajo is very active and will later be realised when one remembers that Amusan two years ago at Tokyo Olympics could not even win a bronze medal as she came 4th. She is now a "Golden Girl," who with a new world record she set didn't only win a gold medal, she also became $100 thousand richer being a prize attached to her victory.
Congrats to every Nigerian patriot, it is a victory for all who believe in Nigeria. Congrats to Osinbajo's foresightedness and nationalism, his exemplary leadership is today building unusual confidence in the Nigerian youth. Congrats to Nigeria! We won!
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