Vice President Kashim Shettima has challenged graduates to embrace their potential and contribute to building a brighter future for Nigeria instead of jolting out of the country in search of greener pastures.

He gave the charge when the Chief of Staff to the President and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila led the graduating class of the second cohort of the Legislative Mentorship Initiative on a visit to him at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“I believe passionately that in this room, there are future Presidents, Vice Presidents, Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, and governors. We also have future drivers and captains of industry,” Senator Shettima noted.

The VP struck a chord of empowerment when he urged the graduates to reject disillusionment and embrace their potential within Nigeria.

“Let no one make you feel inferior as a Nigerian. One out of every four black men is a Nigerian. Let no one deceive you that the grass is greener at the other end. Certainly, we can make it green on our home turf,” he noted.

The Vice President acknowledged the country’s current challenges, offering a resolute vision for overcoming them.

He said, “Our country is going through some difficulties and challenges, but we are going to surmount it. We are going to cross the Rubicon. We are going to cross the Red Sea and take you to the land of opportunities and blessings.”

VP Shettima specifically praised the graduates’ digital prowess, encouraging them to leverage their skills for national development. “Most of you here are digital Wizkids – you are digitally savvy. Let no one deceive you about careering out of this country. Let’s stay here and make this country work. This is our country. The future belongs to you.”

He further challenged their perception of leadership, shifting the focus from physical strength to intellectual agility, even as he stated that “the hallmark of true leadership is not the ability to lift a bag of cement, but the ability to come up with robust solutions to a nation’s problems.

“Give us a couple of months. This country will bounce back. Say no to the naysayers and to the prophets of doom. It doesn’t serve any purpose. Our ability to accept each other; and our tolerance threshold will determine how far we can go as a nation. And the quality of governance is crucial to the goal and trajectory of our nation,” he added.

The Vice President called on the LMI graduates to become active participants in shaping Nigeria’s destiny.

“Their digital skills, combined with their newfound sense of purpose and national pride, have the potential to transform the nation’s landscape and certainly, we can make it green on our home turf,” he added.

Responding, the founder of the LMI programme, Hon. Gbajabiamila said the generation of young men and women in the cohort is a generation like no other.

He said, “Things have changed and we of the older generation have to change along with the time. These young people here came from a pot of over 5,000 applicants. These young men and women before us are going to be doing greater and mightier things than those who came before them last year. I wish I had somebody to mentor me when I was growing up. You guys are lucky.”


Stanley Nkwocha
Senior Special Assistant to The President on Media and Communications
(Office of The Vice President)
20th December, 2023