No fewer than 85 youths, drawn from across the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja have benefited from tricycles distributed by the former president Olusegun Obasanjo as part of the activities to mark his 85th birthday celebration.
The tricycles, valued at N1million each, were donated through the Youths Development Centre of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) and were targeted towards ensuring that unengaged youths are kept busy and self-reliant without necessarily depending on anyone for survival.
Speaking at the event tagged, ‘OBJ @85 Free Keke Programme’, Chief Obasanjo charged the Nigerian youths not to abandon the country for those messing it up, but brace up and make necessary contributions towards addressing the plethora of challenges confronting the nation.
Admonishing them to reject the famous cliché that, “youths are the leaders of tomorrow”, the former president said the youths needed to hold the firm belief that “today is their day” and as such, the younger generation must to take advantage of the opportunities galore, which abound in the country to better their lots.
He emphasised that If the youths leave things to those who are messing it up, and who are saying they (youths) are the leaders of tomorrow, they will never have that tomorrow.
“The first thing we want to prove is that there are opportunities galore in this country. Yes, things are not what they should be but you as youths, individually and collectively, must make up your mind, make contributions in order to make things the way they should be.
“If you leave things to those who are messing it up for you and who are saying you are the leaders of tomorrow, you will never have that tomorrow. Today is your day.
“Then the third point is; yes, sometime you may get people who would help you and a times you may not even get who would help you; you must remember God has given you innate ability to be what He wants you to be and if you make up your mind on what you want to be, God will help you and He will provide those people who would help you to reach the sky which should be your limit,” the former president said.
Obasanjo charged those in charge of the project to monitor the progress of the beneficiaries, citing the popular Biblical parable of stewards, who were given talents by their master.
He charged the youths that it is not the opportunities that was given to them that matter, but what use to put the opportunities into.
In her own remarks, the chairperson of the Centre, Dr. Bisi Kolapo, implored the youth to emulate Obasanjo’s passion and commitment in an effort to build “Nigeria of our dreams”.
Kolapo also warned them against corruption and greed, saying it would be difficult to fight those menaces if they are culprit.
She harped on courage, fortitude, forthrightness, respectability, knowledge, loyalty, passion and responsibility as some of the virtues expected of the youths in order to move the country forward.
Responding, two of the beneficiaries, Bashir Ali Modu and Asembe Ngumimi, from Borno and Benue States respectively, commended the centre for the donation, which they said would enhance growth and development of their trades.
They also promised to make judicious use of the tricycles given them, just as they urged other wealthy Nigerians to take a cue from the gesture in order to lift young entrepreneurs across the country.