By Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, National Publicity Secretary , All Progressives Congress (APC)
Nigerian youths are taking the lead as the key drivers of President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s efforts to foster national unity, integration and home grown development — the resilience, industry, patriotism and accomplishments of Reston Tedheke, an ex-Niger Delta militant turned successful farmer in Nasarawa State is a clear testimony.
Inspired by the APC administration’s economic recovery policies, Tedheke in 2017 relocated from the creeks of Bayelsa State to Ga’ate in Nasarawa state. He started a farm on a free 3-hectare land given to him by the community. A farm he started with N1.5 million, with three hectares expanding to 3,000 hectares within two years, is currently worth about N1 billion. Tedheke went on to found a farmer’s group/cooperative society in Ga’ate that currently supports over 500 farmers and 400 workers.
Tedheke, in words and actions, embodies the progressive, indomitable, patriotic and changing orientation of the Nigerian youth to succeed and rise above perceived faultlines. From being a relatively unknown community, Ga’ate is now on the lips of many Nigerians, courtesy of the hard work of Tedheke and several other young Nigerians that have embraced the administration’s agricultural drive and made it a success.
As Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo rightly noted during his recent visit to Ga’ate, the story of Tedheke and the farm he runs, is testament that any hard-working and patriotic Nigerian can take advantage of the positive environment for business being put in place by President Buhari.
The focus of the APC administration is to continue to implement policies that enable any willing Nigerian to live and work peacefully and freely in any part of the country and achieve their dreams. The Ga’ate example shows that many of our youths are already refocusing their energies in line with the objectives of our government.
That the agricultural drive of the current administration is a huge success is obvious as the facts on ground speaks for itself. Just four years ago, Nigeria was one of the biggest importers of rice. Today, the country is literally self sufficient and Africa’s largest producer of rice. For other crops, we are making giant strides, resulting in the sector recording year-on-year growth in the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
It is on this premise that government’s decision to temporarily close the country’s land borders must be lauded and supported. While our farmers are protected and the agricultural and manufacturing sectors continue to grow, the country is saving huge sums of money.
Youths changing roles
Youth constitute the largest percentage of our population, hence their youthful energies should be harnessed positively.
As a direct result of the administration’s national reorientation drive, social interventions and supports for the development of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs), many of our youths are now activating their entrepreneurship spirit. Perhaps, these youths can inspire those who still waste productive hours helping the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spread fake news and spurious tales.
The APC administration is opening up opportunities for Nigerians in entrepreneurship, music, innovation, arts, sports, academics, and a lot more. We now have an army of refocused youth setting the pace – locally and internationally- in their different endeavours and contributing their quota towards national development.
In our political and democratic space, the Nigerian youth are instrumental in improving the integrity of our elections. For instance, youth corpers continue to play important and commendable roles in our elections and voter education.
We are gradually moving away from the wasted 16 years of the PDP’s rule and their ‘do or die’ politics when they used to mobilise, drug and arm our youths to perpetrate violence and rig elections. Under the President Buhari-led administration, the youths have become drivers of socio-political change through their demand for good governance. Our votes are beginning to count and the general electioneering process becoming more credible.
The President Buhari-led APC administration has kept faith with the Nigerian youth particularly by opening up the political and democratic space. The signing into law of the #NotTooYoungToRun bill — a legislation that has relaxed some of the stringent and discriminatory provisions of the constitution, remains a landmark achievement.
The APC tasks the Nigerian youth to emulate Retson Tedheke’s and many other youth’s patriotic zeal and can do spirit. It would take good policies from government and collaboration from the citizens to take our country to the Next Level.