By Florence Ebebe, News Editor
Nigeria’s Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, on Thursday said he remained worried about the 13 million children who are out of school system in the country.
Obasanjo further stated that he was equally bothered by the growing number of youths, about 60 per cent of the country’s population, who he said have not yet found themselves in the nation’s leadership positions unlike what obtained in his time or elsewhere.
The ex -president who spoke in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, when the National Youths Council of Nigeria (NYCN) visited him at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), also noted that whatever he had achieved for himself or done for the country, were due to his having access to education.
The NYCN delegation, led by its National President, Mr. Niyi Oladele, was in Abeokuta to seek the ex – president’s help in finding a lasting solution to the menace insurgency, banditry, kidnappings and herdsmen attacks across the country.
The Council also used the occasion to confer an award of the ‘Father of the Nation’ on Obasanjo and gave him a gift of N1 million as a donation for the Presidential Library.
The elder statesman recalled that he started showing his leadership quality in Congo when he was less than 30 while on military mission there. He lamented that Nigerian youth of today have not been able to fit themselves into leadership positions.
He, however, urged the youth not to allow anybody to tell them they “are too young to lead,” saying those frustrating the youth are not better endowed than them.
Obasanjo said: “Whatever I have done, I have done it because I was educated and the love I have for Nigeria. If I didn’t have education, I would not have been able to do what I have done and today, it pains me that more than 13million Nigerian children who should be in school are out of school.
“We don’t need additional teachers; you will only increase what those teachers get maybe by 40 per cent or something, we can even do two streams if we prepare for that and start two years from now and those children would have become product that would be able to make contributions and make their own life better and as well making the life of their families too better.
“I am so much concerned about the youths, the truth is, over 60 percent of our populations are youths and under 30 years of age.
“Don’t let anybody tell you that you are too young, I started making contribution to the world when I was serving in Congo in 1960, I was only 24 years old. By the time I went to the war front, I was still under 35 years of age, by the time I became the Head of State, I was under 40 years of age,” he said.