Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River state has said the future of Nigerian youth to take over political leadership should begin now, not tomorrow as some people would want them to believe.
He said this in Calabar weekend during the maiden All Progressives Congress (APC) youth summit, organised by the state chapter of the APC lobby group.
Reiterating that youth were an essential component of Nigeria, Ayade said the country could only make meaningful progress with youth’s full involvement and participation in the social and political calculations in the country. He therefore urged them to believe in themselves.
“I am here to tell you that the future is now and as youth, you must not be limited by the circumstances of your birth. As a government, we are going to commence a social welfare scheme that will see to the needs of the youth in the state,” he stated.
The Commissioner for Finance, Mr Asuquo Ekpenyong, in his remarks, said the governor appointed him into the state executive council at the age of 29, being the youngest in the country as at 2015. He lauded Ayade for being youth friendly going by the number of youth in government.
“Life is a relay race. The athlete with the baton runs with all his strength on the track with his focus to handover to next athlete who is set on his marks to take over the baton and complete the race. The youth are ready on their marks to take over governance,” he stated.
In a chat, Special Assistant to the Governor on Social Housing, Ekpenyong Akiba, disagreed, saying Nigerian youth were not yet ready for political leadership going by socio-political indices on ground.
He said: “It is important that youth continue to engage and interact, but in terms of taking over political leadership, for me, they are not yet ready.”