Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday charged African youths to take active part in political activities in order to flush out older generation from office.
He also asked them to demand affirmative action as part of a gradual process to phase out the old generation of leaders in their various countries.
The ex-president stated these while delivering a keynote address at an interactive session to mark this year’s International Youth Day held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta.
Participants at the forum were drawn from Nigeria, Mali, the United States, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa.
He said unless the leaders were forced off the stage, they would continue to occupy the leadership positions in their various countries across the continent.
To influence the desired change, Obasanjo told the youth to make a bold move by participating actively in politics.
Obasanjo said: “Unless you squeeze out those who are in 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.
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“The type of change I am talking about, that I believe we can all embark upon is to subscribe into the constitution of political parties in favour of youth. Or if you like it you call it affirmative action in favour of youths.
“For instance, if you say, in the constitution of a political party, not less than 50 percent of those who hold executive office within the party will be less than 40 years of age.
“You’re just making sure that people that are 40 years of age will hold 50 percent of executive offices within the political party.
“You can even go beyond that and say that people who will be put up for election, not less than 50 percent of them, will be less than 40 years of age. That’s affirmative action. That is positive discrimination in favour of youths.
“I am saying this because if you leave it entirely for people to do it for you, nobody will do it for you. You have to do it for yourself.”
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