The Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalong, on Tuesday passed a damning verdict on the Nigerian youth as he blamed them for aiding and abetting corruption.
Mr. Dalong said the youth submit themselves to people with questionable wealth, most especially those in government and charged them to play key roles in the fight against corruption rather than submitting themselves to people with questionable characters.
Speaking at the opening session of a two-day National Conference on Youths Against Corruption organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, the minister urged them to declare war against corruption in all ramifications.
He condemned what he observed as the inordinate crave for wealth by the Nigerian youth, expressing regrets that some of the youths now prefer to live large by owning expensive cars, with love to display affluence even as student leaders.
Mr. Dalong called on the youth to emulate past leaders, who he said operated as the conscience of the society by speaking against bad policies of successive governments.
He recalled his days in the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, when students rejected a parcel of land in a choice area of Abuja to prove they were not for sale to the highest bidder.
Also speaking, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, told students to take possession of the fight against corruption as they had always been the victim of the vices of corruption at all times.
He said the role of the youth in the fight against corruption must be paramount, reminding them to always constitute themselves into a vanguard of change for a better Nigeria.
“The fight against corruption cannot be won until we adopt a different social, political, economic and religious path to living a life free of corruption.
“The failures of the older generation to instill the right morals and ethics must give way to a new perspective on doing things.
“Corruption must be regarded for the evil that it is and the short term benefits it provides, rejected as toxic to the stability of Nigeria”, he said.
The chairman of ICPC, Ekpo Nta, expressed happiness that the Nigerian youth were now being integrated into the fight against corruption.
He charged them to explore the collaboration of ICPC with them to define the role they want to play in the fight against corruption.
Mr. Nta said ICPC was pleased to have the youth team up with against corruption, recalling that the decision to hold the conference emanated from the youth in the first instance.
The National President of the NANS, Tijani Shehu, suggested that the conference be replicated at the zonal level to enhance a wider participation by youth across the country.