By Danladi Al-Hassan
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has stated that those who talk about the “good old days” are suffering from memory loss.
Osinbajo said this in his remarks at the founder’s presidential dialogue of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) forum in Abuja on Saturday.
Encouraging entrepreneurs who had gathered from across Africa for the event, Osinbajo said there have been stories about the continent which do not represent the reality.
“Permit me a word to you, young entrepreneurs, I want to say to you that you live in the best of times. Always be suspicious of those who remind us of the ‘good old days’. They are probably suffering from a bit of memory loss,” he said.
“Our continent continues to be defined by unsavoury and unwholesome stories, which do not often accurately represent the reality of life and opportunity. The people in this room are the perfect and long-awaited counterpoints to those one-dimensional narratives of Africa that have sadly gained ground over the years.
“Outside on the streets of every village, town and city in Africa, are many more individual embodiment of the potentials of this great continent. But we can change some of the false and some of the true but unfortunate narratives of Africa. We must find young entrepreneurs and provide opportunities for capacity building. Our school curriculum must emphasise, not just Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics which we are doing now, but Critical Thinking and Entrepreneurship. And the promises that we have made of establishing Entrepreneurship Banks must be kept.
“By birthing this particular intervention, TEEP, Tony Elumelu has compelled us to focus on what really matters, our youth and their dreams. The message to Africa’s emerging business giants is a clear one, how and what can you contribute, like Tony Elumelu, to empowering the next generation, helping them to realize their own dreams? And you gathered here in this room, helping you write, rewrite and revise the next chapter of your continent-changing stories.”
He said the inspirational stories of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program (TEEP) are just a fraction of what is out there across the continent.
The vice president said multitudes of young people in Africa have refused to wallow in self-pity or frustration, rather they have realised that conquering the challenges of their environments are the milestones for outstanding success.
He added that the program is a representation of what the private sector can accomplish, as it is also hugely inspiring to them as governments.