Former governor of Delta State, James Ibori has blamed the Nigerian youth for the problems that the country continued to grapple with.
Citing the case of Chukwuma Nzeogwu — who was 28 years old when he masterminded the January 15, 1966 coup, Ibori said, “ironically, the problem of Nigeria has been caused, in large part, by exuberant young men who were at the helm of affairs in the first decade of the nation’s independence”.
Ibori made this comment while arguing that the clamour for youth in political positions was not a given. He argued that Nigerians should be more concerned with whether the youth are ready to lead, than a mere replacement of the older generation with the younger one.
According to him, what the nation needs is courage and vision as “age has nothing to do with good leadership”.
In an article he wrote, Ibori said politics is a “game of ideas and numbers” and that the Nigerian youth needs to pay “the required price.”
He argued that the call for President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek re-election so as to allow for a youth to lead the country was unjustified.
“The choice we face is not that of ‘paedarchy’ or ‘paedocracy’ versus gerontocracy,” he said.
“This age-related argument should not be aimed at Buhari. The constitution gives him the right to seek the presidency for two terms. The argument for and against him should be based on his record of achievement.
“The young ones need to make the necessary sacrifice, study the problems facing the society, master how to solve the problems of the various parts of the Nigerian federation.
“Has the youth trumped the old in behaviour, morality, leadership, integrity and frugality? How have our youth fared in the professions, the military and the civil service? Do they even hold out any hope for the nation?”
Ibori said unlike the Nigerian youth, some of the world’s leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron —who was 39 years old when he emerged — and former US president Barack Obama had something to offer before coming on board.
“The election of a Macron in France may have galvanised a section of Nigerians to think that the time is now, he said, adding, “Macron did not contest for office solely on the basis of being a ‘youth’; he ran in a national election based on concrete ideas.”
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