Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Don’t become govt stooges, Bhuari challenges Youth

By dolly okoruwa
ABUJA – President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged youths in the country to refuse to be used as an instrument of manipulation by some people in authority.
The President said it was so unfortunate that some people enticed youth with materialism and extravagant life style to manipulate them for selfish interest at the expense of the country.
Buhari was addressing over 500 youths at the National Conference on Youths against Corruption, with the aim of effecting a complete reorientation of Nigerian youths and students towards the values of integrity and transparency, in Abuja.
The three days conference tagged; Mobilizing the Nigerian youth against corruption’ was organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
The President, represented by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Bar. Solomon Dalong, said though there is no society that could attain its full potential without carrying along the most productive sector, which is youth.
But he lamented that today; student leaders are no longer playing their roles but are now committed to materialism rather than selfless service to the nation.
Citing factionalisation in the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), the minister wondered why the national youth body would have up to six persons claiming to be the president if not for corruption.
“The way they carry themselves show they have people dictating to them what they should do,” he said.
Buhari also questioned why student unions have variety of presidents, who drive cars worth nearly N10 million. Some of these students, he said have convoys larger than those of government officials.
“Youths have surrendered their leadership to a particular class. Where does a student get this kind of money? Students hold their national conventions at the Eagle Square instead of campuses. What is the connection between Eagle Square and school campuses? Instead of blaming our leaders of yesterday for not doing well for us, we should start by blaming ourselves,” he said.
The minister, who was a students’ leader in his time, recalled that then Head of State, late General Sanni Abacha offered the Students’ body a piece of land to build its secretariat in Abuja but the offer was turned down because it was viewed as a trap to muzzle students from standing against some ills.
He enjoined the youths to “declare war against their conscience” in ensuring that the entire setback he mentioned are stopped, and that they serve Nigeria selflessly, “so our children can remember us in posterity”.
In his remarks, the Chairman of ICPC, Ekpo Nta, noted that majority of corrupt people in Nigeria today are not youths because they are mostly above 35 years. However, it is the youths that suffer most from the result of such corruption, calling on the youths to stand up against the ill.
Nta stated that it was important to hold such a youth conference against corruption in order to sensitise them against the ills that so much affect them and their future.
He added that from the systems study review which was carried out by the ICPC in the education sector, 63 illegal degrees awarding mills were closed down by the agency.
He also stated that the intention of ICPC is to ensure that the allocations yearly earmarked for the education sector is used for what they are meant for.
According to him, “76 per cent of the infrastructure in our tertiary institutions is provided by TETFUND. So, the huge balance of allocation going into education should be used for what they are meant for.”
Also speaking, the Chairman of the conference organizing committee, and board member of the ICPC, Professor Olu Aina informed that the conference came about as a result of the feedback got by ICPC from the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), who wanted Nigerian youths to be included in the fight against corruption.
“The average Nigerian relates more with the arrest and prosecution mandate of the ICPC, but this is more costly. So the ICPC, without neglecting the enforcement and prosecution mandate, sought to pursue a more sustainable approach, which is to prevent corruption.
“The ICPC makes it a strong priority to obtain strong commitment to transparency by catching them young. Fight against corruption involves a teamwork which must involve the youths. It requires fighters who have the feel of Nigeria first instead of money.”