Nigeria’s Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, has called on Nigerian youth to be wary of ‘old politicians’ who have been part of the problems of the country and have failed to find solutions to it.
Soyinka spoke at Elizade University, Ilara Mokin, Ondo State, while delivering the institution’s 2nd convocation lecture.
Speaking on the topic: “Tending the Tree of Commencement”, the literary professor, urged Nigerian youth to be dedicated and remain active in politics.
He advised them to participate actively in the coming general elections to ensure they had representatives in government in the next dispensation.
He lamented that older politicians, who had dominated the political space and were still in power, have failed the country over the years.
In extolling the virtues displayed by some youth, he highlighted the stand of Leah Shuiab, one of the female secondary school students kidnapped in Dapchi, Yobe state by Boko Haram insurgents.
He praised her firmness, comparing her to the likes of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, who chose to remain in prison despite the offer of freedom by the government of South Africa.
“All I can just tell you is this, don’t make the mistake of following those who failed you before, those who are pretending that they have nothing to do with the disaster that has overtaken Nigeria.
“They are very quick to smell failure, they are very quick to shout it, but then, they exculpate themselves, whereas they are the founding malfeasance of the Nigerian condition. That is what I am warning the youth against. Mobilise, get your representatives and stop bothering geriatrics like myself. ”
In his remarks, the chairman on the occasion, and a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Ayo Banjo, said there was the need for the country to pay attention to the training of teachers.
According to him, teachers should be well paid, to encourage them for better service delivery.
“If you want education to improve in Nigeria, there should be more funding, more money to provide conducive environment, more money for training of teachers,” he said.
“For instance, you cannot be in the army without having frequent training. The Army do not joke with training. Every three or four years, they go for (an) update on their training.”
Banjo urged Elizade University students to use Soyinka’s lecture for intellectual development.