Osinbajo: 'This is the best time to be a young Nigerian'

The vice president says his office is brimming with young, smart people.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the launch of 'Politics That Works – What Schools And Seminars Won’t Teach You About Winning Elections' in Abuja

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says there's never been a better time to be young and hippie in Nigeria.

Speaking at the launch of a book on how politics works, authored by Babafemi Ojudu and Alex James, the vice president says a blend of youth and experience will solve some of Nigeria's endemic problems or challenges.

"We mustn’t give up and we mustn’t keep looking back. The challenges of today are meant for those of us who are here and alive today, and they are meant to be solved by young people, and as I always say, there is no better time to be alive. This is the best time to be young. This is the best time in Nigeria to be young.

"Those who are young today have the best opportunity ever. In my own day when I was a professor, if I had to research to write an article, it will take me weeks. Today, if I just take my iPad, I can get on to any library anywhere in the world and get all the information and write my article in hours instead of weeks, months or years.

"It was Fareed Zakaria, who was saying that our smartphone which we carry today, carry a hundred times more computing power than the Apollo Space Rocket that took men to the moon.

"Our generational challenges have the generational solutions, let’s stop complaining, let’s just face the issues and solve them. Whether we are in government or planning to get into government, however we want to do it, let’s just get to the table and solve the problem," Osinbajo says.

He adds that he's surrounded himself with young people at the presidency.

"I have so many brilliant young people working with me and they are not intimidated, (I must tell you) by anybody older than them.

"So, the youngest person working with me was just 22 years old, she just came out from the university and was very brilliant, and very assertive, she knew her onions.

"And Ahmad who is 37 years old is Special Adviser on Infrastructure, I have a Special Adviser on Political Affairs who is 60 years old, or the Economic Adviser, Ambassador Dipeolu who is over 60.

"There are so many young people, Balkisu Saidu who is SSA Legal, she has an interesting history – she was married-off at the age of 13, had her first child at the age of 14. Through all of that, her mum made sure she had her education. And she is a professor today, ( Associate Prof. of law) and she is still under the age of 40, with her three grown children.

"The truth of the matter is that she comes to the job with a lot of experience that nobody else has. She comes to the job with a variety of ideas. There is Tola Johnson, (Presidential Assistant on MSMES) and many of those who are here.

"I think we must focus our minds, a little more on what people bring to the table. I don’t engage on the basis of age. I met Rauf Aregbesola for the first time when we were in the transition committee of Lagos State in 1999, he was barely 42 years old and I was just about the same age.

"He was campaign manager for Bola Ahmed Tinubu at that time, he was 42 but he ran all the campaign at the time, but he has been at it since then. I had been adviser to the Attorney General of the Federation when I was 31, so I had some experience coming into this," he says.

Osinbajo adds that the kind of politics he prefers is liberal, free enterprise, democracy, individual freedom. The kind of politics that means that there can be no discrimination on the basis of age, gender or political persuasion.

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