By Dapo Akinrefon
PRESIDENT of Newstime and veteran journalist, Mr Tony Oyatedor has urged Nigerians to ensure they vote for leaders with integrity and character in the 2023 general elections warning that failure to do so may affect the fortunes of the country.
Oyatedor, in a chat with select journalists, urged the present crop of leaders to tackle unemployment among the youths saying unemployment is responsible for the insecurity affecting the country.
His words: “We have millions of Nigerian youths who are unemployed, jobless, broke, hungry and angry.
“While others are writing about the general elections alone, we implore you to fully concentrate on the employment of the youths of Nigeria that is causing the problems of Nigeria: religious crisis and militancy. Those are the two major crisis of Nigeria that we must focus on. If not, this nation is heading towards disaster. We are asking the youths and leadership of Nigeria to rise up. Every citizen of Nigeria is asking, which way Nigeria? Sink or swim. Should you want to sink, go ahead and vote in the bad, failed leadership of the past?
“Then Nigeria would have no choice than to sink. But if you want Nigeria to swim, vote in capable leaders who reverently fear God, leaders who love this nation, who want to unity and peace of this nation. Not sectional leadership who will concentrate on Katsina, Bayelsa, Ogun and other states. But a leadership who cares about the nation called Nigeria because we have all intermarried and borne children. If you want this nation to break up and sink, where will you put these children?
“It is God who created Nigeria, not Lord Lugard or the white people and Nigeria is the most blessed nation on earth.
“The way forward for Nigeria is for leadership to roll up their sleeves and help the poor masses and youths of this nation. Give them employment, access to loans. The United States of America that we are talking about today, it is not God that came down to make America great and the best nation in the world. It is people like you and I that did it. I am sick and tired of Nigerians blaming everything on the government. It is not them, it is we the people. How many of our people are helping each other? When are we going to hold the people in power accountable? The president alone cannot do everything so he has appointed people. It is incumbent on these people to carry out the work, not just to enjoy the office.
“As we speak, all the Leaders in the country: from the presidency to the least, are just enjoying the office. Nobody wants to work. The nation needs people who are working.”
Accusing leaders of not creating opportunities for the youths, he said: “When they do not have jobs, they will engage in stealing and all forms of criminal activities. We, the parents of these children, are not creating opportunities for them. We need to come together to give the youths of this nation gainful employment, give them access to loans and help them to uplift them from poverty.”
Besides, Oyatedor said: “When you give the youths opportunities, then they will work. When you give them loans to start businesses, they will use it judiciously.
It doesn’t start overnight, that is why we have churches and mosques. They should teach the youths about working, not only about miracles. Each of these institutions must now start teaching the Nigerian youths the benefits of work, and then Nigeria will move forward.”
On the 2023 general elections, he said the solution to Nigeria’s problems is not about zoning of political offices but competence.
He said: “It is not about zoning, it is about competency. If anybody from any part of the country runs for office. The people want to see what you will do for them. They don’t want to see what part of the zonal part of Nigeria you are from. A true Nigerian from the north, when he sees another man or woman from another part come to them with sincerity and understands the culture, they will vote for such person. Even in the United States, there is zoning in presidency. But within that framework, whoever emerges from whichever zone is the president of the United States of America, not President of one state.
“It is now up to the youths, who are unemployed, jobless, broke, hungry and angry to give a crushing defeat to bad leadership in Nigeria. The way you will vote out bad leadership in Nigeria is not by their words when they come out and tell lies. You can see it in their character. Do not vote any candidate based on political party.
“We are at the crossroads now. All Nigerians, especially the youths should open their eyes and their ears. Sink or swim is left for Nigeria. Play around with this election cycle and bring back the old, wicked, evil leadership; or get up and vote in new and responsible, God fearing leadership and bring this nation back to where it was as giant of Africa.”