FORMER Nigerian president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has called on younger Africans to participate actively in politics and force out the older generation urging them not to vote for anyone over the age of 80.
Like many other African countries, Nigeria has seen her politics dominated by an elite that has a firm grip on power, who are hostile to new ideas. This has resulted in economic stagnation as many government policies remain outdated and governments fail to cash in on the opportunities in new areas such as the digital revolution and clean energy.
Speaking yesterday while delivering a keynote address at a virtual interactive session, held to mark this year’s International Youth Day, organised by the Youth Development Centre, Chief Obasanjo said unless the leaders are forced out, they would continue to occupy the political offices. This seminar had participants from Nigeria, Mali, the US, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa in attendance.
Chief Obasanjo said: “Unless you squeeze out those who are in the office and those who want to remain in office perpetually, some after the age of 80. Unless you squeeze them out they will not want to be out.”
He added that for youths to influence the political structure, they have to start at the party level. Chief Obasanjo, 82, served as Nigeria’s leader twice, first as a military general between 1976 and 1979 and then as a civilian president between 1999 and 2007.