Minister flays students’ ostentatious lifestyle
WITH the aim of effecting a complete reorientation of Nigerian youths and students towards the values of integrity and transparency, Minister of youth and sports, Barrister Solomon Dalong, has called on youths to stop surrendering their leadership to manipulations by older citizens, who use them to entrench corruption in the country.
Speaking to over 500 youths at the National Conference on Youths against Corruption, in Abuja yesterday, the minister noted that it is detrimental to the future of the country for youths to allow themselves to be used or manipulated to serve the selfish interests of the older generations because they are enticed by materialism and extravagant lifestyles.
At the event which was organized by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), Dalong was of the opinion that no society can attain its full potential without carrying along the most productive sector of the society, the youths. According to him, the youths are the victims of corruption, and therefore, should resist every manipulation to entrench corruption.
“Corruption is a reflection of deficit of governance, which affects the youths. Corruption is discriminatory in service delivery. The victim of corruption is the youth”, he said, adding however that the youths unfortunately offer themselves for manipulation in corruption. He questioned why the national youth body, the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) would have up to six persons claiming to be the president if not for corruption. “The way they carry themselves show they have people dictating to them what they should do”, he said.
He also questioned why student unions have variety of presidents, who drive cars worth nearly N10 million. Some of these students, he said have convoys larger than those of government officials.
“Youths have surrendered their leadership to a particular class. Where does a student get this kind of money? Students hold their national conventions at the Eagle Square instead of campuses. What is the connection between Eagle Square and school campuses? Instead of blaming our leaders of yesterday for not doing well for us, we should start by blaming ourselves”, he said.
The minister, who was a students’ leader in his time, recalled that then Head of State, late General Sanni Abacha offered the Students’ body a piece of land to build its secretariat in Abuja but the offer was turned down because it was viewed as a trap to muzzle students from standing against some ills. He therefore, lamented that today, student leaders are no longer playing their roles but are now committed to materialism rather than selfless service to the nation.
He enjoined the youths to “declare war against their conscience” in ensuring that all the setback he mentioned are stopped, and that they serve Nigeria selflessly, “so our children can remember us in posterity”.
Chairman of ICPC, Ekpo Nta, at the event, noted that majority of corrupt people in Nigeria today are not youths because they are mostly above 35 years. However, it is the youths that suffer most from the result of such corruption. He therefore, called on the youths to stand up against the ill.
Nta stated that it was important to hold such a youth conference against corruption in order to sensitise them against the ills that so much affect them and their future. He added that from the systems study review which was carried out by the iCPC in the education sector, 63 illegal degree awarding mills were closed down by the agency.
He also stated that the intention of ICPC is to ensure that the allocations yearly earmarked for the education sector is used for what they are meant for. “76 per cent of the infrastructure in our tertiary institutions are provided by TETFUND. So the huge balance of allocation going into education should be used for what they are meant for”, he said, adding that if TETFUND could do so much with so little, then the allocated funds should do much more.
Chairman of the conference organizing committee, and board member of the ICPC, Professor Olu Aina informed that the conference came about as a result of the feedback got by ICPC from the students body, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), who wanted Nigerian youths to be included in the fight against corruption. He added that this inclusion is part of the mandates of the ICPC, talking about engaging public participation in combating corruption.