By Steve Oni, Ilorin.
Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and Kwara state governor, Alhaji AbdulFattah Ahmed at the weekend urged christian youths to be more involved in politics and serve as agents of positive change in the country.
The two leaders made the call at a summit organised for Christian youths in Kwara state by the office of the Special Assistant to Ahmed on Religion, Christian Affairs, Reverend Cornelius Fawenu with the theme: “Christian youths as agents of peace and good governance.”
The youths had at the summit demanded greater inclusion and recognition by government and called on the state government to shun lopsidedness in employment, admission into tertiary institutions in the state, segregation between Christian and Muslim and work with sincerity of purpose with all stakeholders.
While appreciating the forum as an opportunity to interact with state officials, the youths had also expressed concern that they had not been given opportunity to have such interaction much earlier. They however pledged to promote peace and good governance in the state, in line with the theme of the summit.
Saraki who was represented by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Hon Gbenga Makojuola also stressed the need for the youths to use their permanent voters card PVC to do the right thing.
“It is time for Christian to do the right thing” he said, warning however that they should not to allow themselves to be used as thugs in the 2019 general election.
Governor Ahmed who was represented by Fawenu equally tressed the need for the youths to shun religious bigotry, desist from inflicting pain on others, warning them not to be used by desperate politicians who are only interested in exploiting their youthfulness.
Ahmed counseled the youths to renew their commitment to peace and development of the state as they should not see themselves as second class citizens.
His words: “Our government since inception had recognized the place of youth in our drive for development and thus we mounted several programs aimed at ensuring that we bring out the best in our youths, knowing full well that such will translate into peace and peace will allow for development.
“As we are in election period, I appeal to you not to allow yourself to be used by desperate politicians; people who have no value for your lives but only want yo use you to achieve their selfish goals.
“There are politicians who do not care about where you were yesterday or where you should be tomorrow. All they want is that you stand with then today when they are seeking to exploit you. You don’t need such people because they cannot help you. They cannot help our state.”
Guest speaker at the event, Professor Peter Awojobi, Former Provost, UMCATC, Ilorin stressed the need for believers to know their rights if they want to avoid being cheated. He also stressed that the involvement of clean people, would make politics interesting.
While fielding questions from newsmen, Fawenu said the programme was a build up to the 2019 election as a way of reducing the tension being created in the state polity by some politicians
“Kwara state has a reputation as the state of harmony, in sincerity you will agree with me that Kwara use to be a haven for peace and security but we discovered that politics is being heated up unnecessarily , so we organise this first to promote peace and sensitise them that after the election, we still have a Kwara State, we still have a Nigeria.
“We want us to enjoy a good Nigeria after election, it is also an opportunity, for the Christian to ventilate what are their expectations, their agenda from the candidate of the ruling party, governance needs to be inclusive, everybody needs to be given a sense of belonging
“It is not everything about politics that can be done on a campaign ground, like this eminent youths and gentle men in the cleric, they are not the type that will go and gather on the campaign ground, and so in an honourable way, they are also being addressed, and they have also succeeded in advising those potential leaders come 2019.
“A communique committee has been set up and we will put all these issues together and it will be presented to our political leader, the Senate President and of course, to the incoming governor whose running mate was on ground today to be part to the discussion.”