The Ooni made the observation while confirming an award on the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta in Abuja.
He said the youths are much more important than any important dignitary in Nigeria, but were denied the opportunity by the same leaders who became leaders in their 30s and urged the youths to take every opportunity available to them to take back the leadership of the country from the ageing generation.
‘‘The youth of this country are neglected by the leaders because they were not factored in the constitution. It is left for them to hold that leadership mantle and for them to hold that sense of leadership.
‘‘Most of the leaders of today became leaders in their 30s. The youth of this country own this country because 60% of the population is under the age of 30 and 75% is under the age of 40, and the remaining 25% is others.
‘‘So, the youths (75%) own the country. The youths need to come together and come up with initiatives, hold one another, pull one another up, walk towards the betterment of the future. Don’t think you are too young. The problem with Nigerian leaders is that they do not give Nigerian youths 100 percent independence to run their initiatives.
‘‘It is about time for every youth to wake up from slumber .You are to tell the nation what should be done, not the other way round, not the minority telling you what to be done. The future is bright for you, work towards how to better this country.
‘‘Opportunities are what can bring wealth, not money. Think outside the box and don’t wait for anybody, rise up to the occasion of being independent. It is about time for us to see the good side of this country. I am here to encourage you that you are all important,’’ said the Ooni.
Presenting the award, the Ooni commended the NCC for initiating youth empowerment scheme, saying that the Commission was considered for the award because of the tremendous impact of its regulation of the nation’s telecom industry, leading to the creation of millions of jobs for Nigerian youths.
In his acceptance speech, Prof. Danbatta said the Commission is not only focused on regulating the telecom industry but is also making a lot of inputs to the growth, development and empowerment of Nigerian youths.
Danbatta who was represented at the occasion by the Director, Public Relations in the Commission, Mr. Reuben Muoka said the NCC is empowering the youths through the Digital Awareness Programme, DAP with which it deploys sets of computer facilities across schools in Nigeria to ensure that the youths are at par with the digital development and growth of broadband penetration.
Besides DAP, he also pointed out that the Commission introduced the Nigerian Tennis League, an annual tennis competition to engage interested youths and prepare them for continental and global championships.
Earlier in his address, the President of YEN, Chris Kohoh, the organizers of the programme, said the essence of the awards was to honour our living and dead heroes who have contributed meaningfully to the socio-economic development of the nation.