By BIODUN Ogundipe
There was a mild drama in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on Saturday as former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, was seen riding a tricycle and later stopped to pick a passenger.
Obasanjo rode the tricycle, popularly called “Keke” from the premises of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), at Oke-Mosan in Abeokuta, through the popular Kuto under bridge.
Along the route, the former president stopped and picked a male passenger to demonstrate his expertise in riding tricycle.
The development led to jubilation by onlookers and commercial motorcycle riders popularly known as okada riders as some of them hailed him, shouting “Obj, Obj.”
Obasanjo had recently distributed 85 tricycles to 85 beneficiaries as part of activities marking his birthday.
The former president said he rode the tricycle as a way to demonstrate safety of the means of transportation.
Obasanjo however urged youths to embrace every opportunity with hard work and dedication.
He said with tricycles and other small scale businesses, youths could be self employed and ultimately, become economically independent.
He said he had employed not less than 5,000 youths working in his various establishments.
Obasanjo said, “There is nothing wrong with young people starting small. The Keke is secured and safe when handled professionally and with discipline.
“In fact, you can plan your business the way you wish and earn income that you can deploy to other investments. And 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.”
Obasanjo said he had remained committed to the economic empowerment of young people through initiatives that can generate employment. This is how we can increasingly address unemployment in Nigeria.
He said, “I have always had a passion for youth empowerment and employment. When I started establishing farms, do you think I could run the farm alone?
“The people I employed on the farms, some of them are as educated as PhD. There are veterinary doctors among them, an Agric economist and some people that are well educated, Some of my children that have PhD and 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’s symbolic passenger, simply identified as Lamidi express his delight, saying the day would be memorable in his life.
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