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Serve before demanding, minister tells youths

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By Abraham Adekunle

Environment minister says the youths must engage in nation building.

Minister of State for Environment and Ecological Management, Dr. Iziaq Kunle Salako, has called on Nigerian youths to be more committed to serving the country before demanding from it. The minister gave the charge while speaking at the 2023 Ayetoro-Yewa Day, which was held in Ayetoro, Yewa North Local government area of Ogun state. Salako was also honoured at the event for his appointment as the first Minister to emerge from the Yewa region of the state since 1999.

Salako said that the youths must engage in nation building by serving the country diligently and passionately anywhere they find themselves. He insisted that it is only when the youths serve Nigeria that the country can serve them in return. According to him, Nigerian youths must not only commit themselves to working for the success of the country but also shun every act that can destroy the unity and peace of Nigeria. He insisted that, for Nigerians, particularly the youths to benefit from Nigeria, they must serve the country before demanding anything in return.

It is a responsibility to serve one’s country, minister says.

In his words, “If you serve your land, your land will serve you. It is like a farmer, if you do not till the land, if you do not plant produce, there is no way you can harvest anything.” He further said that what was being celebrated at the event was a testimony that if any Nigerian serves their land, the land will serve them. Everywhere he goes, he always takes it as a responsibility to serve his land and he is happy today that the land is serving him in return.

Hence, he admonished the younger ones to believe in serving the country first before demanding of it. “Let us serve Ogun state first,” he said, “before we demand of Ogun state; let us serve Ogun West first, before we demand of Ogun West; let us serve Ayetoro first.” He assured that Ogun State, just like other parts of the country, will enjoy the priority attention of the Federal government and that of the Federal Ministry of Environment.

Nigerian youths have attained remarkable feats.

As well, he assured the people that the infrastructure and the human capital development and the town’s holistic development will move to the next level. At the event, there was a launching of a N500 million endowment fund for the development of Aiyetoro town. The event was attended by esteemed Nigerians, including the Minister of Environment, Balarabe Abbas Lawal; the Secretary to the Ogun State Government, Tokunbo Talabi; member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Gboyega Nasir Isiaka; and the Alaye of Ayetoro, Oba Azeez Adelakun, among others.

Meanwhile, young Nigerians are hardworking, creative, resilient and passionate about what they do. Many youths in their twenties have achieved feats in academics, entrepreneurship, trade, tech, construction, real estate, and many other sectors. One of these youths is Hilda Baci who recently won a Guinness Book Award for the longest hours of non-stop cooking. In academics, youths have graduated with First Class CGPAs. And in fact, youths dominate the tech industry in the country. The youths are also the driving force of the economy—ready to work and get something going.

Do the youths have to really serve the country first?

However, is it really true that the youths have to serve the country before demanding of it? Are the youths not constantly serving the country every day, even though they may not be happy about it? The idea that Nigerians have to give to the country is somewhat disingenuous. First, the country’s politicians are one of the highest paid in the world. Instead of pay cuts, they moved a motion for salary increase. Recently, members of the Senate were bought brand new vehicles even though the economy is taking a nosedive. Perhaps it is the political class, not the masses, who should serve the country first before demanding that the youths do so.

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