Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has hailed youths for their desire to contribute to nation building through involvement in politics.
He urged them to ensure the ideals they want to see in the country are realised.
Prof. Osinbajo, who spoke during a meeting with young aspirants in the All Progressives Congress (APC), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the country’s future depended on the commitment of youths, who were willing to play their part and make a positive difference.
He said it was important to encourage young people to participate at all levels in the party.
Osinbajo said: “I want to comment that your courage is exceptional. If you aspire to be anything in a country of about 200 million people, you are a courageous person, no question about that, because when you count the number of people who hold elective offices in this country, they are very few when compared to the population.
“So, what you are searching for is really coveted. It is not a walk in the park. I salute your courage.”
He congratulated the aspirants “for having gone this far in the game.”
“That you are not just sitting at home, not just getting upset with yourself in the social media. You are putting your money, resources and time where your mouth is. So, consider yourself in very exceptional company.
“These are people who have not lost hope, but are determined to ensure things work,” the vice-president said.
He said youths should not lose hope, as things would improve if they remained committed to the ideals.
Osinbajo added: “I believe the future of our party depends on people who are committed to its development. People who want to build a party based on ideals.
“As a young person, I belonged to pressure groups. I graduated at 21. When I graduated, I began to participate in pressure groups, human rights organisations, anti-corruption, civil society groups of every kind.
“When parties were founded, we could not aspire, but we remained involved. My first involvement in government was when I was appointed as the attorney-general in Lagos State.
“For seven years – after serving as the attorney-general – I was part of the party. I did not have a board appointment or anything, but I kept working for the party. I kept working for the party as a lawyer.
“Most of those cases, we were not paid a dime. But we went from place to place. Sometimes we didn’t even have a place to stay when we went to court the next morning. So, there is a measure of paying the price, it depends on how serious or committed we are to some of the things we say we are committed to.”
He advised youths to be committed and remain in the party to build its structures.
According to him, “in party politics, we must go beyond positions, whether elective or appointed. But we must be committed to something, the principles and beliefs of those who are the forebears of that party.”
The vice-president said: “We are in a place where we are the ones who can make the difference. Nothing is going to change overnight, but we can make efforts to change the process. We can do a lot more, but it depends on our commitment.
“I like the idea of young people getting a quota in the party structure to run for office at a level such as the houses of assembly.”