*Level playing field important for political participation, says VP
*Adds: The quality of contributions is not necessarily defined by age
No doubt Nigeria’s problems are surmountable, but the solutions require the coming together of like minds especially the best hands because “our generational challenges have generational solutions”, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this in Abuja on Monday evening at the public presentation of a book titled ‘Politics that Works – What Schools and Seminars won’t Teach You about Winning Elections’, co-authored by Sen. Babafemi Ojudu and Mr. Alex James.
According to the Vice President, “our generational challenges have the generational solutions, let’s just face the issues and solve them, whether we are in government or planning to get into government.
“We mustn’t give up and we mustn’t keep looking back. The challenges of today are meant for those of us who are here and alive today. And they are meant to be solved by young people, and as I always say, there is no better time to be alive. This is the best time in Nigeria to be young. Those who are young today have the best opportunity ever.”
“I think this country needs the best minds. If you look at the variety of talents that we have, we have everything that it takes for a great country but it is the coming together of like minds, coming together of people who agree on the same things, old or young.
“I don’t think we should divide ourselves along these lines because this country can be great but we need that coming together of the best minds whether male or female,” the VP added.
“For me, my central concern is how do we get the very best people to work in the interest of this country, how do we get the best people to project the image of the country?”
Speaking further, Prof. Osinbajo noted that “my view is that we must continue to work at it, we must continue to make the sacrifice that is required to be able to get our views across and we must continue to organize to do so. We can’t give up, we can’t say things are so difficult, it is so difficult to enter the space. If we keep at it, one day, we will get the right result, we will get the right mix.
“Every country deserves excellent leadership; it deserves the best it can get. But excellent leadership doesn’t come by accident. It doesn’t come by lack of effort; you just have to keep making the effort.”
Emphasizing the need for a level-pIaying field for all aspiring politicians, the VP said “I am very strongly of the view that everyone must be invited to the party. The important thing is that we have, as well as possible, a level playing field.”
His words: “the problem also with liberal politics is money. Who has the resources? Because resources will to a large extent determine who can play the game. So, there are barriers.
“I think what is important is to see how we can remove those barriers as much as possible so there is a level playing field. What I have experienced serving in the position as Vice President in the past few years and having the opportunity to bring on board young people, some elderly people in relative terms, is that the quality of the contributions is not necessarily defined by age.”
The VP clarified the impression that a level playing field should be defined by age. He noted that “…we must focus our minds, a little more on what people bring to the table. I don’t engage on the basis of age.”
Making the point about experience, Prof. Osinbajo opined that “there is a place for preparation, a place for getting ready. There is no point saying that I have become Minister of Finance at the age of 25 because I am a smart kid. It takes more than that.”
Said the VP: “I don’t agree that a special assistant or special adviser is not a somewhat serious position. Every special assistant or special adviser that I have, take very important decisions. And they take those very important decisions on their own.
“The truth is that, the way governments are set up, everybody there can play a very serious role. It depends on how very serious you are. My experience is that there is such a variety of talents, some are old, some are young, male or female. I really will like us to zero in on the real needs of our nation.”
Other dignitaries present at the event include former Governors of Edo, Adams Oshiomhole; Osun, Rauf Aregbesola; Zamfara, Ahmed Yerima; Kano, Ibrahim Shekarau, and former Senate Leader, Sen. Ndoma Egba, among others.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
5th October, 2021