Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has charged public office holders and political class to always engage the youths to foster development, peace and unity in the country.
Sanwo-Olu gave the advice in Ikeja at a lecture with the theme: ”Youths And The Sustenance Of Democracy: Issues And The Challenges”, to mark the 64th birthday of a renowned activist, lawyer and journalist, Mr Richard Akinnola.
He urged Nigerian youths to be actively involved in Nigeria’s democratic process for a better future, adding that Nigerians should join hands to strengthen and grow the country’s democracy.
The governor, who acknowledged that challenges abound in the country, with respect to political, ethnic, social and religious issues, said the real test of leadership remained the ability to rise up and surmount the myriad of challenges facing the nation.
According to him, the responsibility of government and as leaders, is to reduce the tendency of poverty and create opportunities to take people out of the shackles of poverty.
”Education happens to be one; knowledge and skill acquisition is another one. Once you are able to liberate yourself from the shackles of poverty, then you have a free mind, heart and soul to desire and design things for yourself.
”There is a huge opportunity in this country. I want to urge all of you as builders of the nation and leaders of tomorrow not to lose hope. People that lose hope are people that are doomed.
”You cannot lose hope. Every day you wake up is hope for you and that hope should be the thing that should drive you. That hope should be the thing that should propel you.
”You cannot give up because giving up is not an option. In the political, economic and social inclusion space, you cannot give up. Giving up is giving out and that is not the spirit and energy of the youth.
”The future is here, you are the future. Take hold of it because you need to be in the room to take over. It is important for the youths to participate in the democratic process,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu also urged the youths to make good use of social media, use it as a weapon for their own liberation, to be better persons in the future.
He said that his administration had involved the youths through the THEMES developmental agenda for Greater Lagos, urging them to take advantage of the many opportunities created by his government.
According to him, his administration will continue to use technology to deliver good governance.
Speaking earlier, the celebrant said that the participation of youths in the 2023 general elections would be a deciding factor in the outcome , hence, the theme of the lecture.
Akinnola said that Sanwo-Olu’s humility, willingness and readiness to engage the youths, in spite all odds, necessitated his choice as the ‘Guest Lecturer’ of the programme.
He commended the governor’s simplicity and for engaging the youths with calmness and levelheadedness during the October 2020 #EndSARS protest in Lagos state.
”Two years ago at the early stage of the EndSARS protest, I watched him (Sanwo-Olu) as he braved all odds to address the protesting youths with such calmness and levelheadedness even while some of the protesters were heckling him with insulting pejoratives.
”With such conduct, he won the hearts of many people,” Akinnola said. (NAN)