Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has urged the youths to eschew divisive, ethnic and religious narratives about the country, and actively advocate for causes and issues that will deepen national unity, progress and development.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement, said the vice president made the call on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, when he received a delegation from ONE Campaign, Nigeria Chapter.
The delegation was led by its Country Director, Ms Serah Makka-Ugbabe.
The delegation comprised members of the ONE Campaign, champions, and policy advocates representing the country’s six geo-political zones who were selected to present the vice president a Youth Declaration.
Osinbajo said that young people should focus their energies on championing causes that unite the country rather than divide it, adding that ethnic and religious divisions and corruption were major issues that impeded the development of any nation.
“There is no Muslim, Christian fighting in this country; it is not true at all. That is not the issue.
“ A lot of you who are here are Muslims and Christians, and young people want the same things, the same jobs. If you allow such false narratives, it would destroy and divide the country.
“Some people don’t care what they say or do, so long as they can get into power. And it is a very dangerous thing. And we have to preach against it openly.”
The vice president Osinbajo said that when it came to stealing of resources, there were people of different religions and tribes involved.
“So, people don’t talk about ethnicity and religion when they are stealing resources, why? Why don’t they say that it is an attempt to islamise Nigeria?
“The same way you have Nigerians cooperating in business across everything, across ethnicity or religion. But when it is convenient for some, the person pushes an ethnic agenda.”
He said that the issues of ethnic and religious divisions and corruption must be addressed frontally by all Nigerians, including young Nigerians.
Referring to the composition of the Federal Executive Council of the administration in the first term, the Osinbajo said the cabinet had 20 Christians and 18 Muslims.
“The President is a Muslim. How does he want to Islamise the country?
“How, when we are all sitting down there?
“They make those stories up, just to push an agenda,” he said.
Osinbajo also stressed the impact of the Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) and the plan to take more Nigerians out of poverty and create jobs for young Nigerians through programmes like the N-Power job scheme.
The vice president said that the SIPs would be expanded to further improve the welfare of youths and Nigerians generally, while the Federal Government would also focus on improving areas such as healthcare, education and agriculture.
In her remarks, Makka-Ugbabe, said the group’s members and champions were honoured to present the Youth Declaration to the vice president.
She also commended the spirit of openness and dialogue with which Osinbajo received the delegation