—Charges APC youth to build grassroots base for party
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA–Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday told members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, not to assume that the bulk votes the party had in 2015 and 2019 would remain intact in 2023 as President Muhammadu Buhari whose personality attracted the votes will not be on the ballot
Consequently, Professor Osinbajo charged the youth arm of the party to work hard to build a stronger membership base, right from the grassroots.
The Vice President stated this when he received a delegation of the APC National Youth Lobby Group, who was at the Presidential Villa to present the report of the party’s Youth Conference in June this year.
A statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande, stated that the Vice President’s call for the building of a stronger grassroots base was because of the future.
Welcoming the idea of young people in the party forming the group, the Vice President said, “this lobby group will need to deal with the issue of inclusion at the grassroots first.”
According to him, “today, the APC can win elections, why not, we have a very popular President who can control significant votes, we have partners everywhere.
“Whereas, in the coming years, when we do not have such a political leader who is as popular as the President, you are going to need to do the hard work. We can’t assume that the votes will all come in.”
Speaking on the role of APC youths, Osinbajo said “I think that your group is more relevant today than ever before because you are not only representing young people, but you have the energy to make sure that this party actually works for all Nigerians.”
“One of the great opportunities that we have is that we have young people like yourselves who are interested enough in politics. All of you already have shown your capacities in various ways, those who are in government have shown that they can do stuff.
“So, the next hard work now is how to get the younger people in our communities, in our society into this party and to see themselves as part of this party, in their hundreds of thousands, in their millions, that is the next thing to do. I hope that you will apply your resources and energy to do this,” the VP urged.
Commending the successful conduct of the recently held APC Youth Conference, the VP said it demonstrated the ability of youths in the ruling party to take interest in the future of the party and the country.
He noted that “for once, young people showed that political party is not just a platform for contesting elections but a platform to debate ideas, it is about how the party can contribute to policy development.”
Osinbajo said though the political environment is complicated, the youths can get things done by their consistency and tenacity demonstrated in all aspects of political party engagements.
Earlier in his presentation, the leader of the APC National Youth Lobby Group, Barrister Ismail Ahmed thanked the Vice President for being a consistent voice and supporter of youths regardless of political affiliations but appealed for more youth integration in the affairs of the party across all levels.
He said, “You have always been an advocate for young people, we want you, sir, to be vociferous this time around. Please be our voice, be our advocate and champion in everything that you will be doing both in government and in the party.
“This party (APC) is ours, but how we will do as leaders tomorrow depends on how well we are trained as followers, today.”
Another member of the group and Director-General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Engr Inuwa Abdullahi observed that the VP “is a source of inspiration to the youths,” adding that the way he supports the youths in the country “is second to none.”
Also present at the meeting were the Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Sen. Babafemi Ojudu; Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure, Mr. Ahmad Zakari, and many youth leaders across the party including Hon. Asuquo Ekpenyong, Mr. Hakeem Shagaya, Dr. Etin Osa, Ms. Fatima Kakuri, Mr. Kabir Aregbesola among others.