By Grace Alegba
Lagos – Immediate past Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, on Friday appealed to youths to not just criticise leaders, but also commend them when they achieve progress.
Fashola gave the advice during the third GABFEST program organised by a youth group to honor him at the annual event, which coincided with his 56th birthday, in Victoria Island, Lagos.
Speaking at the event with the theme “Generational Gap: Youth Inclusion and the Leadership Question in Nigeria”, he said that good leadership should not be taken for granted as leadership was a “lonely place”.
He explained that leaders were usually confronted with huge societal problems and needed fresh ideas from the youth, who also needed metorship of the older generation.
Fashola said that the older generation and the youth needed one another in complementary roles, adding that young people were achieving several things they should begin to showcase.
” Everybody has a role to play. There are things older generation cannot do and there are things younger ones cannot do. So, we need that compromise to work together.
“Young people are taking more responsibilities that we care to acknowledge,” he said.
He commended the youth who used their huge population to deliver the victory at the polls to President Muhammadu Buhari during the 2019 general elections.
The former governor of Lagos State advised youths to rise up to challenges of active participation in politics, to take over leadership like the older generation who began to rule in their prime.
Fashola advised youths to spend less time on social media, saying a recent survey revealed that people spend about 72 hours a week on tablets or phones.
He said that cultural orientation censored youths, but with humility, the younger generation could learn principles that would benefit their lives and the nation as a whole.
Fashola said leadership was about making sacrifices for the masses while upholding societal values, and commended both Buhari and Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos for their good representation.
Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Dr Bola Balogun, said “the desired future seems like a mirage if youths decide to remain passive”.
The governor commended the Buhari administration for signing the Not Too Young to Run Bill into law but stressed the need for more youth inclusiveness in national issues.
He said that the right knowledge, mentorship and insights were important in grooming youths.
The governor appealed to youths to actively participate in politics to gain knowledge for power transfer.
Sanwo-Olu said that the state government would continue to invest hugely in education while creating enabling environment for youth development in the state.
Earlier, panelists at the event which included popular artist and politician Banky W; Mr Babajide Obanikoro, Lagos lawmaker representing Eti-Osa Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives; and Mr Seyi Tinubu, an entrepreneur, took turns to proffer solutions.
The panelists talked on the vacuum created in business and political circles because the younger and older generation misunderstood themselves.
They called for improved communication and humility on both sides, to bridge the gap toward rapid development in the nation.
Sen. Gbenga Ashafa and some other All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwarts, as well as the Deputy Governor of Lagos, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, who left early, were among those that graced the event.
Some participants took turns to give their goodwill messages and concluded the programme with a birthday song for Fashola as he added another year.