“I believe that, in party politics, we must go beyond positions, whether elective or appointed, but we must be committed to something; the principles and beliefs of those who are the forebears of that party.”
These were the advice of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo when he addressed young aspirants under the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Vice President strongly believed that the future of the APC depends on people who are committed to see that “we build a party that is based on ideals that you and I think are important.”
He recalled that as a young person, he used to belong to several pressure groups after graduating at the age of 21.
“And when I graduated, I began to participate in various pressure groups, human rights organisations, anti-corruption, civil society groups of every kind. When political parties started forming, we could not aspire, but we remained involved. My first involvement in government was when I was appointed as Attorney General in Lagos State.
“For seven years – after serving as Lagos Attorney-General – I was part of the party, I did not have a board appointment or anything, but I kept working for the party. I kept working for the party as a lawyer. Most of those cases we were not paid a dime. But we went from place to place. Sometimes we didn’t even have a place to stay when we went to court the next morning. So, there is a measure of paying the price, it depends on how serious or committed we are to some of the things we say we are committed to.”
Professor Osinbajo therefore, called on young people to stay committed and remain within the party to help to build the party structures.
“We are in a place where we are the ones who can make the difference. Nothing is going to change overnight, but we can make efforts to change the process. We can do a lot more, but it depends on our commitment. I like the idea of young people getting a quota in the party structure to run for office on some level, such as the state houses of Assembly.”
Some of the aspirants had earlier raised the issue of allowing quotas to young people in elective offices, but the Vice President said: “it is up to us to fight at every stage to see the ideals that we desire; we will win, in the end, if we are consistent. Our party is stronger if our young people are determined to make a change and a difference, even from within. We would see what can be done to ensure that women and youths are more involved in party politics.”
Young aspirants in the APC across the country who attended the forum last night had requested for audience with the Vice President ahead of the party primaries later this month.