The Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed on Friday, said it is wrong for people to tag President Muhammadu Buhari or his government as anti – youths.
Mohammed said Buhari-led administration is committed to youth development, stressing that this informed why the government has engaged 100,000 unemployed graduates and feeds 7.5 million people daily.
The Minister who made this known while fielding questions from reporters in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, during the on- going African Drum Festival, wondered why a government that is doing all of these should be deemed anti – youths.
He dismissed reports quoting President Muhammadu Buhari as describing all Nigerian youths as lazy, saying the spinning is the work of people who have made twisting of whatever the President says, as their “full – time job.”
He noted that the social investment programme of Buhari’s administration has continued to generate jobs and created opportunities for the increasing youth population while the empowerment programmes have also been providing soft loans to over 400,000 youths.
“Some people have just made it their full-time job these days to scrutinise and twist whatever the president says out of context.
“I wonder how a government that has employed 100,000 unemployed graduates and also feeds about 7.5 million people daily could be tagged anti-youth.
“Our social investment programme have continued to generate jobs and created opportunities for our teeming youths while our empowerment programmes have been providing soft loans to over 400,000 youths.
“Millons of families and individuals have also continued to benefit from our Conditional Cash Transfer initiative.
“This is a government that is so concerned and passionate about youth development and it is not right for people to begin to quote Mr President out of context and thereby incite the youths against the government.
“Critics should judge us by our actions and not by their emotions, ” he said.
The minister noted that the drum festival had continued to grow better and larger since its first edition in 2016.
“The festival which started in 2016 as solely Nigerian affair is now drawing participants from African countrie.
“I am sure that with the complexities and nature of those in attendance this year, the festival will soon become a global affair,” he said.
On the drum festival, Mohammed described drum as a connecting cord that binds the African continent together.
He said the festival would ensure that the continent did not completely lose touch with its past.
He said Africa should consider ways of adding values to drum for preservation in the light of the incursion of other musical instruments from the western world.
“We have learnt from this festival that drum is not just for music but there is something deeper and connecting about drum as far as Africa is concerned.
“It is so central and significant to the lives of various communities in Africa because it serves as an instrument used to herald different situations like wars and festivities and people can interpreted it when it is beaten.
“What we are doing with this festival is to go behind and beyond drum and see what exactly it means for Africa.
“As I look at the drums from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Ghana and others, I see something connecting us by their shapes, build and other features.
“We will continue to spend time, energy, funds and other resources to explore the role and importance of drums, particularly in the African context.
The festival commenced on Thursday with 20 states, 40 African countries as well as about 30 individual cultural groups in attendance. It would end this Saturday.