Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has urged young Nigerians to join politics to transform the society and make a difference.

The vice president spoke on Wednesday at a virtual forum where he interacted with Nigerian Fellows of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

Osinbajo, who recalled his days in civil society engagements and later in politics as Lagos State Attorney-General, said: “It took public office for me to be able to get the scale of change that is required to make a difference.”

“Without a public office, I would have remained a pressure group activist, I would have done some nice things, but I wouldn’t have been able to make the changes that my country required,” he added in a statement issued by his spokesman, Laolu Akande.

He said: “The way to transform society is largely dependent on the actions and decisions of those who occupy public offices. This is why young people in Nigeria must get involved in politics.

“You need to go the extra length if you are not already involved, get involved in politics—while a lot can be achieved in civil society, government still holds the ace in terms of capacity and resources to bring social goods to the largest numbers.

“The consummation of our great ideas to transform our societies ultimately will depend on ‘those politicians’ as we sometimes derisively describe them.

“African nations and especially our country, cannot afford to have its best minds and most committed social activists remain only in the civil space. No, we simply can’t afford it, you have to get involved in politics. You have to be in the position to make the difference on the scale that is required.

“Of course, there are many who will not be involved in politics but those that are inclined should, and there will be many challenges even in the winning or getting heard in politics. But I want to say to you that it should be an objective that you should set for yourselves, to get involved at whatever level of politics so that you can make the difference on the scale that is required,” he added.

On the concerns about the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test, he said relevant government ministries and agencies would work on making things easier for Nigerians.

The Fellowship is the flagship program of the U.S. Government’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Since 2014, nearly 5,100 young leaders from every country in Sub-Saharan Africa have participated in the Fellowship.

Besides the Fellows of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, other participants at the meeting were the United States of America’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Mary Beth Leonard and the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, Mrs Maryam Uwais, among others.

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