Former military president, retired General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, has called for expanded opportunities for youths to participate actively in the governance of Nigeria.

He made the call yesterday when he received 40-year-old presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adamu Garba, at his Hilltop Residence in Minna, Niger State.

Babangida said youths have the energy and capacity to run the country hence the need to face the reality.

He said, “As young people, you are in a position to make sure that the vision for Nigeria that our founding fathers believed in, is realised and I have always believed in your potential.”

Earlier, the presidential aspirant, Garba, said he was in Minna to seek Babangida’s blessing and guidance on his 2023 presidential ambition.

Following Babangida’s call, youth leaders of the APC from the six states in the North Central have asked the party’s top echelon to cede the national chairmanship and presidential slots to the youths ahead of the February 26 national convention and the 2023 general polls.

Speaking during a one-day sensitisation and capacity-building on ‘Active and meaningful participation in leadership’ yesterday in Abuja, the North-Central zonal youth leader of the APC, Comrade Terver Aginde, said the youths have paid their dues and should be compensated.

Aginde argued that time was ripe for APC youths to form a strong, united bloc within the party and wrest power from the old generation of politicians.

“The main aim of this meeting is for us to come together and build strategic methods, position ourselves in preparation to take up leadership of this country. There is no other time than now,” he said.

Meanwhile, a group called the Concerned Northern APC Youth Forum, has tasked leaders of the party to end all crises and bickering to ensure that the members are united.

The chairman of the forum, Hon Suleiman Liba, in a statement yesterday also called on the APC hierarchy to ensure that all modalities are put in place for the party to get it right at the February 26 national convention.

He said, “Since politics is a game of numbers, we need all our houses to be in order.

“Democracy is the only sure way to go for Africa, if our dear country and continent must grow.

“We must be on the same platform, condemn the spate of coup de’tat rocking some parts of the continent.”

The forum chairman also said, “We see Umahi as the next person to step into the shoes of President Muhammadu Buhari come 2023. Governor David Umahi’s antecedents of excellence are there for everyone to see.”