Nigeria’s Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, has called on Nigerian youth to be wary of old politicians who have been part of the problems of Nigeria and have failed to find solutions to the problems of the nation.
Mr. Soyinka spoke at Elizade University, Ilara Mokin, Ondo State, on Thursday, while delivering the institution’s 2nd convocation lecture.
Addressing the topic, Tending the Tree of Commencement, the literary professor, urged Nigerian youth to be dedicated and remain active in politics.
While urging the youth to participate actively in the coming general elections, Mr Soyinka urged them to ensure they had representatives in government in the coming dispensation.
He lamented that old politicians who had dominated the political space and are still in power, have failed the country over the years.
In extolling the virtues displayed by some youth, he highlighted the stand of Leah Shuiab, one of the female secondary school students kidnapped in Dapchi, Yobe State, by Boko Haram insurgents.
He praised her firmness, comparing her to the likes of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, who chose to remain in prison despite the offer of freedom by the government of South Africa.
“All I can just tell you is this; don’t make the mistake of following those who failed you before; those who are pretending that they have nothing to do with the disaster that has overtaken Nigeria,” he said.
“They are very quick to smell failure, they are very quick to shout it; but then, they exculpate themselves, whereas they are the founding malfeasance of the Nigerian condition: that is what I am warning (the) youth against. Mobilize, get your representatives and stop bothering geriatrics like myself. ”
He also lamented the scrapping of history in the curriculum of secondary schools in the country, saying it has made people forget their historical backgrounds.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the occasion, and a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Ayo Banjo, said there was a need for the country to pay attention to the training of teachers.
According to him, teachers should be well paid, to encourage them for better service delivery.
“If you want education to improve in Nigeria, there should be more funding, more money to provide conducive environment, more money for training of teachers,” he said.
“For instance, you cannot be in the army without having frequent training. The Army do not joke with training. Every three or four years, they go for (an) update on their training.”
Mr Banjo urged Elizade University students to use Mr Soyinka’s lecture for intellectual development.