By Rahman Taofeeq

Governor of Oyo State, ‘Seyi Makinde, on Wednesday, declared that Nigerian youths must become more actively involved in governance by increasing their participation and exposure in politics.
The governor equally noted that he would join others as a worthy ally to prepare Nigerian youths for the future, saying: “We may not be able to prepare the future for the youth, but we can prepare the youth for the future.
“Please, don’t see this event as just an opportunity to look at the issue of leadership in this country. And, in me, Seyi Makinde, the youth have an ally and we will prepare the leaders of the next generation amongst the youth.”
Governor Makinde made this known at the Students’ Legislative Summit organised by the Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly and chairman, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria, Rt. Honourable Adebo Ogundoyin, in conjunction with the Students’ Representative Council, University of Ibadan.
At the event held at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, which had in attendance the Minister of State for Youth, Ayodele Olawande, a former President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who was represented, and Speakers of Osun and Ekiti states’ Houses of Assembly, Makinde said that the issue of leadership is imperative in preparing the youth for the future and governance.
He said: “I am here this afternoon to encourage the youth. If you look at the history of Nigeria, we had our independence in 1960 and six years after, in 1966, the person that became the Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, was 31 years and some months old. After him, during the Second Republic, former President Obasanjo retired as a General at the age of 39.
“You should dream big; people have ruled this country at very tender ages. So, for you, don’t think that at 29 or 30, you are too young to rule and I am glad, because this is almost like catching them early.
“You have the students here and in about three years, some of you will be out there to move on. If I were you, I wouldn’t start looking for work; I would start doing my own thing at a very early age of 24 or 25. With the kind of energy you still have, you can pull down the kingdom of Satan.
“For the Speaker himself, the opportunity came in 2018 to replace a former Speaker from his Constituency. He became a member of the House of Assembly.
“Before the 2019 election, I told him that from the data available to us, Oyo State people would give us the opportunity, because they wanted to try something totally different. That we were coming from a background of no-godfather and the people wanted a change. I told him that was their mood and he agreed.
“I predicted that he would win and when the election came, it turned out to be what we predicted and he became the Speaker of the House. I can see that Osun State is following in our footsteps. You see, our people just want us to deliver.
“So, I am glad that with Debo’s trajectory and with this summit, we are moving towards the trajectory where young leaders are now thinking in terms of bridging the leadership vacuum in our country.”
The governor commended Ogundoyin for bringing leaders together to rub minds with youths to stimulate and produce the next set of leaders, noting that as an individual, he would always support the youth to get into leadership as he did with the Oyo State House of Assembly.
“So, I am eagerly looking out for the outcome of the Summit and supporting the entrenchment of this initiative so that Nigeria can be better in terms of leadership. If you go to advanced countries, they have a culture of how leaders evolve.
“For us here, we have seen the common situation where ‘who is your father’ was the order of the day but we have been able to break that in Oyo State. My father was a ‘nobody’ and the Oyo State people still gave me the opportunity to lead.”
The governor also used the opportunity to reassure Oyo State students of his administration’s commitment to their welfare, stating that he had signed all the documents for the payment of bursary awards to them and the disbursement would take place in due course.
Earlier in his address, the convener of the programme, Rt. Hon. Ogundoyin said his focus is to support youth development through education, provision of learning opportunities, mentorship, guidance and a strong belonging with community involvement, noting that this is essential for present and future national development.
Speaking on the theme of the Summit, “Roles of quality legislation in nation building,” he explained that the objectives are to educate students about the legislative process and its significance in shaping national development and to encourage them to critically analyse the impact of existing legislations on various aspects of the society, such as education, healthcare, and the economy.
Earlier, the Minister of State for Youths, Olawande charged Nigerian youths to maximise the opportunity they have and engage actively in governance with a view to changing the narratives.
In his keynote address, the President of the Senate, 8th National Assembly, Senator Bukola Saraki, who was represented by the Special Adviser on Strategic Communication to the Plateau State Governor, Dr Golu Timothy, emphasised the roles of quality legislation in nation-building.
In their separate remarks, the Chairman of Speakers, (South-West), who is also the Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt. Honourable Stephen Aribasoye, the Secretary to the Oyo State Government, Professor Olanike Adeyemo and the Director-General, Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN Commission) noted that all sectors must have quality and strong legislature for the nation to move forward.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Speaker of the University of Ibadan Students’ Union’s Students’ Representative Council, Rt. Honourable Olamide Omotunde, appreciated Governor Makinde for being a friendly governor and for his remarkable contributions to students union governments and students associations in the state with the recent donation of 28 buses.

Signed
Sulaimon Olanrewaju
Special Adviser (Media) to Oyo State Governor
April 24, 2024