By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who is eyeing the presidency in 2019, has stressed the need for the youths to be properly mentored before venturing into politics.
Atiku spoke as a special guest of honour at a symposium tagged “The Man Atiku’’ organized by Turaki Youth Ambassadors (TURAYA) on Saturday in Abuja.
The Vice President from 1999 ft0 2007 on the platform of PDP, identified poor quality of education as one of the factors affecting youths’ participation in high quality politics in Nigeria.
The presidential aspirant who defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to his former PDP again, was represented by the Chairman, All Atiku, Support Group, Mr. Oladimeji Fabiyi, at the Symposium with the topic “Politics qua politic: Atiku Abubakar, the Youths and the Nigerian state’’.
Atiku said that in developed countries, young people who had the potential of being politicians were identified in schools and exposed to political activities along their academic programmes.
According to him, “By the time they graduate from school they have mastered the political terrains of their countries. They also try to empower themselves before going full blast into politics.’’
He noted said that in Nigeria, a large chunk of youths get involved in politics by accident, adding that they ventured into politics because politics was seen as a quick way to make money.
He said that a lot of them crashed in and crashed out of politics because they failed to achieve their targets within a short period.
Continuing, Atiku said, “I have come to realise that the damage that poor quality of education has done to Nigerian youths.
“This is a matter that has to be addressed to raise high number of intellectually sound youths to play high quality politics.
“They also need exposure and financial empowerment in their quest to wrestle power from the older generation who have mastered the game over time.
“Remember, the older generation of Nigerian politicians ventured into politics when they were young and since politics is addictive it is not usually easy to quit.
“The reality is that young persons must work hard and should device superior arguments and strategies to send the older generation into retirement and to achieve their political targets,’’ Atiku said.
He noted that a lot of mentorship is required in the country’s clime to come out of smoky political terrain.
“I did mine with the late Shehu Yar’Adua just as am impacting my knowledge, skills and experience on young persons I come across.’’
He advised Nigerian youths interested in politics to subject themselves to mentorship.
Earlier, the president TURAYA, Mr Ayo Akinrimisi, said that Abubakar has paid his dues to be the next president of Nigeria, saying he has empowered many Nigerian youths.
He pledged that TURAYA formed in 2003 would work with over 500 support groups now working and other available groups to elect Abubakar in 2019.