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Tinubu’s Integration of Youths in His Govt’ll Help Revive Economy –Audu

Mustapha Audu is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and son of a former governor of Kogi State, the late Prince Abubakar Audu. In this interview monitored on Arise Television, he speaks on appointments made by President Bola Tinubu so far and the inclusion of women and youths in his administration, among other issues, ANAYO EZUGWU reports

Apart from the emphasis on young people, what do you think generally about the appointments made by President Bola Tinubu so far?

It’s been great appointments and we are very happy to see that those who have worked very hard for the party, young people and women are being appointed to the cabinet and given significant roles. This is a new era are young people are occupying positions that are made for young people and where women are also carried along, hardworking women, hardworking young people and familiar faces who have worked very hard for the party.

I think the appointments are great selections because the people are hardworking individuals and they have worked for the party. There is nothing absolutely wrong with rewarding hard work. When you work hard for the party, you should be rewarded. That has been the problem of political parties over the years, when people work hard, there are sets of people who are the beneficiaries that are completely different from those who worked for the party.

But that is not the case in this administration because we are putting round pegs in round holes and square pegs in square holes. A lot of other young people have also been brought on board and if you look at what the President is doing, he is bringing in a lot of people. And if you say that it is only the people who worked hard for the party, I don’t think so because we have the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, who is from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

So, it is an all-inclusive government but we are focused inward and those who have worked very hard. If you look at the special advisers as well, you will see people who have worked hard and these are people and faces we have seen to have worked very hard for the party over the years. It is very important to reward them and their hard work. And it is not just Mr. President but those who are close to the President as well, who must take the credit for their hard work and inclusion.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), the Chief of Staff and other people close to the presidency, including young people who have worked hard for the party and have vision for a better Nigeria, is the way forward. That is why young people like me fought very hard to make sure that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu emerged as president simply because he understands the inclusion of capable and competent young people, which is what Nigeria is looking for.

So, if we previously had young people that are disillusioned, that is not anymore because everybody is now working hard for the betterment of the country and betterment of the party and to present a party that Nigerians can actually be very proud of.

But someone who is said to have been sidelined is Dayo Israel; he hasn’t been considered for any position. Is he going to be considered under this administration or he hasn’t done enough work to merit any form of appointment?

I don’t think that information is exactly accurate. I think that Dayo Israel, who I know very well, has worked extremely hard for the party, and he is a valued member of the party. He is the National Youth Leader, so that shows that he is occupying a very competent position and for those who have worked so hard and haven’t been rewarded yet, there are thousands of positions available.

It doesn’t mean that this first set of positions that have gone out is the end of it. There are so many positions across board and there is an opportunity for people to move from one position to another. There are opportunities for those who are not currently occupying positions to move to one position. The newly appointed Minister of State for Youth was previously APC youth leader in Ondo State.

We cherish Dayo Israel and we understand the work he has done for the party. So, to say that he is not appreciated or he needs to work hard is not true but not everybody can go at the same time. Gradually, as time goes on, other people will occupy other critical positions. And I have to say that the positions that have gone out are not the most important po- sitions in the country.

Yes, some of them are critical but there are lots of other parastatals that have not been occupied. There are lots of board and chairmanship positions available. Anyone who has not gotten a position yet, it is not because his or her work is not appreciated. Patience is critical and it is important to know that all of us cannot occupy the same position at the same time. Though some are going forward now, it is not a 100-metre race but a marathon. Some will have to go first.

I understand the way President Tinubu works; he works based on performance. Those that have positions that are going to be available shortly because there are a lot of parastatals’ positions that would be expiring shortly, so those positions will become available and other critical stakeholders of the party and other well-meaning Nigerians, you don’t have to be from the party. But it is critical to reward party members first and it goes to everything you do in life.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that and that is why we have been encouraging people to participate in party activities. By participating and understanding that if you work hard for your party, you can become part of nation-building.

The Woman Leader of the party was made a minister, why didn’t that apply to Dayo Israel?

It is politics and it plays in the minds of the people. But as I just mentioned, the time will come shortly when people will be rewarded for their efforts. There are many other people that you haven’t mentioned. There are many other people apart from Dayo Israel, who worked hard for the party and have not yet been rewarded. But the time will come for that and we have to be patient.

All the positions cannot be occupied at the same time. I have sacrificed and worked so hard for the party but I’m not saying that because the reward system hasn’t come to me or those close to me first, that I should complain. Some have to go before others and it will come when it is your turn. Everybody has their time. Like Mr. President said, what is yours will never pass you by.

So, whatever it is that is meant to be for you as a young person, as someone who have worked so hard, whether you are young or not, if you have contributed your quota and you have not been rewarded, I seek your indulgence in being patience because a time will come when your hard work and effort will be rewarded.

But not everyone can go at the same time. Not just Betta Edu, who has moved from the party to become minister, but also the current minister of agriculture moved from the party to occupy a ministerial position. But there are other people who are also in the party who have higher or lower positions and have not moved from the party to ministerial positions.

It is simply not possible and logically it doesn’t make any sense to appoint everyone in the party. This message is to Dayo Israel and all those who have worked very hard and sacrificed their time, and efforts and have not yet been compensated or seen the reward they believed they actually deserve, I plead with you to be patient with the government and all those around the President.

Is appointment a reward system for people who worked for the party and job for the boys or national service?

We have to be honest to ourselves; it requires a political party to win an election and it requires people with competence in a political movement to win an election. But if you look across the board, there are people who are in the cabinet, who are not necessarily politicians. My brother, for example, has been a banker all his life but today he is a minister. There are people who have worked for the party but from different fields.

It is critical to know that when you have people of competence, why look outside? You must first look at the people who helped you win the election before others. A political party has a vision and when the APC won the election, it was on a premise of a vision. That vision is called Renewed Hope and you don’t want to bring strangers that don’t understand the value of Renewed Hope.

You want to bring people who know the value and contribute their quota to the success of the party and who have helped to bring the idea of Renewed Hope to Nigerians. These are the people who will succeed and understand the agreement that has been made between the people and the leaders.

If you don’t have people who understand the commitment and sacrifices that have been made and you bring strangers to occupy these positions, they are not going to do a good job. And I have to say that looking at the combination of people so far, all the ministers deserve to be there and they have worked very hard for the party.

What do you think should be the priorities with regard to youth interest in the Tinubu administration?

I think that the position of Youth minister is critical because the position cuts across every single sector. We have youths involved in agriculture, healthcare, humanitarian services, finance and technology. And because we have the youth involved in every single sector of governance, I think it is critical and there will be integration between that office and sports, finance and agriculture.

So, integrating these offices and making them work together will create many opportunities for the youths. Because of these, young people will be involved in reviving our economy because our nation needs all hands on the deck. Honestly, I’m very happy with the leaders selected by the President and I honestly believe that they have what it takes to deliver.

They understand what it is like to work together with others. They understand that building this nation requires all hands to be on deck. So far, you can see that there is an attempt to include other parties, just that some people are not willing to join.

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