1. I am delighted to be part of this gathering of talented young people at this year’s National Youth Convention organised by the National Progressive Youth Forum of Nigeria (NPYFN). Many of you will be aware of my dedication and passion for youth empowerment and the involvement of Nigerian youth in every aspect of the Nigerian economy. It gives me great pleasure, therefore, to address you all today.

2. Let me take this opportunity to commend the organisers and partners of this event; and to thank the National President of the National Progressive Youth Forum of Nigeria, Hon. Balogun Abiodun Azeez, for the kind invitation he extended to me to be Special Guest of Honour at this event. Let me say that I truly appreciate the clamour for youth awareness and inclusion in governance. Events like this create the necessary platform for engaging the youth and ensuring a foundation for sustained development in Nigeria.

3. The theme of the convention, ‘Unity of Nigeria, The Role of the Youth in Forthcoming General Elections in Nigeria’,is very apt and germane to the frontal issues in the polity at this time. Available data posits that the youth constitute some 60 percent of the voting population of Nigeria. What does this tell us? It tells us that young people not only have the power to decide the fate of leadership in the upcoming elections, but also that the success of those elections and the resultant leadership will vest largely on the involvement and participation of the youth at all levels.

4. This, in effect, demonstrates the importance of youth engagement not only in the electoral process itself, but also in terms of policy formation, and manifestos at individual and party levels. The time has come for you all to ask pertinent questions of those who aspire to lead our country. These will include questions along these lines:

·  What skill sets do candidates possess, and do these meet the requirement for the role?

· What plans are put in place for those sectors that are crucial to repositioning Nigeria as the giant of Africa and a global competitor?

· What investment objectives are earmarked for the identified sectors to achieve their goals?

· What are the challenges confronting the Education and Health sectors which are so crucial for our country to grow and meet the challenge of the future?

5. As you ponder on some of these questions, it is worth remembering that all efforts must remain focused on building a new Nigeria that will benefit this generation and the ones to come.

6. This is why, in the 8th National Assembly, we have worked assiduously to equip you – the leaders of tomorrow – with the requisite tools to make an impact today. The #NotTooYoungToRun Billwhich has been passed by the legislature and signed into law, is one such initiative. It sends a clear message to the youth – and indeed to all Nigerians – on the importance of political inclusion.

7. Looking beyond the theme of this convention, it is my firm belief that participation cannot remain limited to the end-stages of the political process, namely the elections. I therefore call on you to look to the future of our country and involve yourself at those points where it truly matters. Do not fixate on voting alone; aspire to stand for elective positions without fear or doubt.

8. Great Youth of Nigeria, we are at a historic time in our political journey, and the responsibility laid on you is now greater than ever. You cannot afford to surrender yourselves to vices such as thuggery, drugs and other acts of criminality which can mar the successful conduct of elections. This is a time for engagement with community groups, Civil Society Organisations, NGOs and other stakeholders to dialogue, formulate policies and chart a new course for our great country.

9. I also enjoin the talented entrepreneurs among us who are masters of their fields – successful businessmen and women with requisite leadership skills – to work together with candidates to ensure policies are fit for the purpose and built to last.

10. To all of you here today, I want you to ask yourselves this question: How do I change the narrative of those around me to be more responsive to the task ahead? The answer should frame your decisions and actions as we approach the upcoming general elections.

11. At this juncture, let me state my belief in the urgent need for the youth to heed the call thrust upon them to revive the nation. I must say that, looking at the enthusiastic and determined participants we have here at this Convention, I am filled with confidence that you are ready to heed the call.

12. Once again, I thank the organisers on the initiative, and align with the NPYFN on political inclusivity for the youth. I wish you all a successful convention and look forward to a continued partnership hinged on sustainable development spear-headed by the youth.

Thank you


Abubakar Bukola Saraki MBBS CON (pronunciationⓘ; born on 19 December 1962) is a Nigerian politician who served as the 13th president of the Nigerian Senate from 2015 to 2019.[1][2] He previously served as the governor of Kwara State from 2003 to 2011; and was elected to the Senate in 2011, under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), representing the Kwara Central Senatorial District, and then re-elected in the 2015 general elections