By Ononye VC
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has explained the reason why he chose to ride a tricycle and picked a male passenger around the Kuto area of Abeokuta.
The former president made his reasons known in a statement through his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi.
According to Obasanjo, he rode from his Pent House residence at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), through the Kuto area, amidst greetings and jubilation from shocked onlookers along the road because he wanted to demonstrate how people can start small and grow their craft.
He added that it was wrongful for society to consider all keke riders as miscreants, noting that such notions have led many young people to avoid the virtue of starting a small business.
The statement reads:“The president, along the route, stopped and picked a male passenger to demonstrate that riding in the tricycle is safe if used properly and for people to learn how to start small and grow their craft.
“When I recently gave out tricycles to 85 young people across the nation, I received some feedback that they were sort of inappropriate gifts and some wondered if they were the best and suitable for young people.
“I have embarked on riding the tricycle to demonstrate to people that there is nothing bad in riding it and using same for commercial purpose.
“With tricycles and other small scale businesses, youths can be self-employed and ultimately, become economically independent.
“There is nothing wrong in young people starting small. The Keke is secure and safe when handled professionally and with discipline.
“It is a wrongful societal classification to consider all keke riders as miscreants and this has led many young people to avoid the virtue of starting small business.
“In fact, you can plan your business the way you wish and earn income that you can deploy to other investments.
“If you are able to get a second one, you can give that to someone else. So you become self-employed and you have also employed somebody.
“I remain committed to the economic empowerment of young people through initiatives that can generate employment. This is how we can increasingly address unemployment in Nigeria.
“I have always have passion for youth empowerment and employment. When I started establishing farms, do you think I can run the farm alone?
“Some of the people I employed on my farms are PhD. holders.
“There are Veterinary Doctors among them, Agric economists and many more that are well educated, including some of my children that have Doctorate Degrees who are still working with me.
“The other time I checked the people that are working with us directly on our various establishments, we have over 5,000 and most of them are youths.
“I have always had passion for youths because there is no substitute for employment,”Obasanjo was quoted as saying after the ride.