2019: Obasanjo Cautions Politicians

By Ikenga Chronicles November 16, 2018

2019: Obasanjo Cautions Politicians

Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, has cautioned politicians to desist from using other people’s children as political thugs during elections, while they keep theirs in ‘safe havens’.

Obasanjo made this known on Wednesday while presenting a paper: ‘Demystifying Leadership Capacity Deficit of African Youths: Our Future is in their Hands’, at the inauguration edition of King’s College London Global Leaders Engagement Series held in London, United Kingdom.

According to a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Kehinde Akinyemi, the former president lamented that many young people are systematically marginalised because of their young age, limited opportunities, and projected lack of experience.

According to him, “Let’s stop using other people’s children as experimental subjects, while we keep ours in safe havens. Enough of using other people’s children as political thugs and ballot box snuffers, while we send ours to Ivy League schools. Enough of thinking we know what is right for young people without their input or the courtesy of asking for their opinions.”

He also identified insurmountable barriers against youths seeking elective posts, and stressed that Africa must learn to train its youths to succeed their leaders.

“Succession planning is a culture that Africa needs to imbibe. It increases the number of people who are capable and available to assume leadership roles when the incumbent is no longer available to do so. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a deliberate process.

“We cannot continue to assume that by mere observation from afar, young people understand why we do what we do. We must introduce them to our networks and partners; set them up to represent us in important meetings while we can still guide and nurture them. An organisation should not be ruined because one person is no longer available to lead,” Obasanjo stated.

On the barriers against the not-too-young-to-rule policy, the former president said: “If constitutional changes are required, let us begin now. If policies and political party structures have to change, let us begin now. Of what use is a law that allows young people contest for a particular office only to be confronted with the hurdle of outrageously exorbitant cost of party nomination forms and campaign costs?” he asked.

Obasanjo, however, noted that young people must continue to engage political leaders “till they lower the cost of election and governance in Africa.”