Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former Lagos state governor and national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday said he committed an accidental verbal mistake when he asked the Federal Government to recruit 50 million youths into the Nigerian Army in a bid to oust the insurgents and miscreants threatening the nation’s peace.
In a statement issued by his media office, Tinubu said he meant 50,000 youths and not 50 million youths, which is about a quarter of Nigeria’s population.
In his address at the 12 Bola Tinubu Colloquium held in Kano, Tinubu had said the insurgents and bandits are taking advantage of the high unemployment in the country and are recruiting the youths to indulge in their criminal activities.
He emphasized that the nation is under-policed, adding that drafting the youth into various national security agencies should not be based solely on educational qualification or literacy.
We are under-policed and we are competing with armed robbers and bandits to recruit from the youths who are unemployed —33 per cent unemployed? Recruit 50 million youths into the army, what they will eat —cassava, corn, yam, will grow here.
However on Wednesday, the APC leader said what he canvassed for was engaging 5 million youths in all aspects of nation-building, ranging from infrastructural development to agricultural modernization, and recruitment of 50,000 youths into the military.
The full statement reads “The 12th Bola Tinubu Colloquium marking Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s birthday was a well-attended event that focused on the important theme of national cohesion during these challenging times”.
“This was the first time the colloquium was held in the ancient and important city of Kano. The choice of venue was most appropriate given the theme and the underlying objective of highlighting the oneness of the country and the need for unity so that Nigeria may attain its best destiny”.
“Speaking at the event, Asiwaju Tinubu canvassed the urgent need to combine employment and national security policy by the recruitment of 50 million youths in all aspects of nation-building, ranging from infrastructural development to agricultural modernization.