Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called on Nigerian youths to get involved in politics, as the way to transform society is largely dependent on the actions and decisions of those who occupy public offices.

Osinbajo, who declared that he became an active civil society campaigner at the age of 24 when he was a teacher, gave the charge yesterday at a virtual forum, where he interacted with Nigerian Fellows of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

He said while a lot could be achieved in civil society, government still held the ace in terms of capacity and resources to bring social goods to the largest numbers.

“Besides, being deciders instead of pressure groups at the table in policy formulation are hugely different positions. The consummation of our great ideas to transform our societies ultimately will depend on “those politicians” as we sometimes derisively describe them.

“African nations and especially our country, cannot afford to have its best minds and most committed social activists remain only in the civil space. No, we simply can’t afford it, you have to get involved in politics. You have to be in the position to make the difference on the scale that is required.

“Of course, there are many who will not be involved in politics but those that are inclined should, and there will be many challenges even in the winning or getting heard in politics. But I want to say to you that it should be an objective that you should set for yourselves, to get involved at whatever level of politics so that you can make the difference on the scale that is required,” he said.

Recalling his days in civil society and later in politics beginning as Lagos State Attorney-General in 1999, the Vice President noted that it took public office for him to be able to get the scale of change that was required to make a difference.

His words: “Without public office, I would have remained a pressure group activist, I would have done some nice things, but I wouldn’t have been able to make the changes that my country required. I was once where you were. I was part of several civil society groups at the time.

“I joined the first civil society group when I was 24. I was teaching at the time. I also co-founded the anti-corruption group, Integrity, and then Convention on Business Integrity (which is still existing today and they function out of Abuja and Lagos).

“I was chair of the Legal Research and Development Centre, where we worked on civil rights issues and legal defence for the poor. We did a couple of legal defence initiatives, we got funding from donors and tried to do the best we could.”

Responding to concerns about the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test, the VP said relevant government ministries and agencies would work on making things easier for Nigerians.