Nigeria’s former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has lamented the failure of young Nigerians in political leadership.
Obasanjo decried that young people had in the recent past been a complete disappointment and failure in various appointed or elected positions they had been privileged to occupy.
According to him, the young generation of Nigerian leaders had mostly pushed down the drains some semblance of infrastructure development the so-called older generation facilitated.
Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Olisa Agbakoba had written a letter to Obasanjo on the need to effect a generational shift in the country’s political leadership.
Agbakoba had asked Obasanjo to take up the challenge of raising a new generation of political leaders that could bring meaningful change in economy, politty and society at large.
According to Agbakoba, “Nigeria is held back by a crop of leadership that have outlived usefulness and effectiveness as a result of old age. It beggars that there is no culture among political elite to encourage younger people with new ideas to aspire to positions of leadership, particularly the office of the President.”
Responding, the former president stated that his generation of Nigerian leaders were thrown up and brought into limelight by circumstances which were not of their own making.
He said what those early leaders and “some of us, who assumed the mantle of leadership in public offices at relatively early age, lost in advanced age, was more than made up for in dynamism, nationalism, commitment and lofty ideas.”
Obasanjo, however, lamented that most members of the younger generation of Nigerians “are mostly contended with waiting for dead men’s shoes and are unwilling to beat an alternative path to leadership.”
“The world is powered by shrewd hard-headed calculating individuals and the cornucopia of their mercy is decidedly thin and it is unlike God’s rains that falls on the just and the wicked alike. The point to ponder is how have the successor generation positioned themselves to lead?
“I look back at some members of the younger generation and I am miffed at the missed opportunities. I am equally saddened that although we, the so-called older generation did facilitate some semblance of infrastructure development, today the gains made have been mostly pushed down the drains by some of those privileged young people saddled with similar responsibilities in the recent past.
“Some of the young people, who interest we canvass, have in the recent past been a complete disappointment and failures in their various appointed or elected positions.
“Some of these young people in public or private sector have frittered the prospect of being at the vanguard of sustainable development of us, the earlier generation of leaders, pioneered on the altar of their crass materialism, self-centredness and opportunism,” he said.
Obasanjo added that the failed young men and women should not be a disincentive “to support other young people. I do not think that the older people should be excluded in our leadership recruitment process.”
“For me, if I find men and women who have shown profound commitment and exemplary integrity in their various chosen careers or professions as well as zeal for the service of our fatherland, I will, of course, give such both my support and inspiration, notwithstanding their age, circumstances or place of birth,” he said.