GOVERNANCE; How Old is too old? – Nwagwu Everest

Nigerians have previously been caught in the web of uncertainty and
maze of hopelessness. However, without pointing accusing fingers on
certain individuals, when it comes to youth empowerment and creating a
bridge to link the young to the old in the hierarchy of our leadership
system, the government have been consistently inconsistent. Am not of
the ideology that we should wipe out the old and bring in the young,
rather I am advocating a government where both the young and old work
parri passu with each other. Using the current President of the United
States of America Barack Obama as example, whose vice president Joseph
Biden became a member of the U.S Senate when he (Obama) was just 12
years old!!! Aging they say is golden, let the grey haired in Nigerian
political system use their wisdom to allow the younger generation to
have a say in the affairs of the nation and be given an opportunity to
also learn and be tutored the right way.

I sincerely feel age has a role to play in leadership; the slowest
developing state in Nigeria has one of the oldest governors in the
country, while states like Lagos can boast of great positive growth
and development due to the relative young age of the governor compared
with others. It is amusing and ridiculously perplexing when the
National youth leader of one of the biggest political party in Nigeria
is 62yrs!!! Where a youth leader is older than even the president of
the country. At this stage of our odyssey  on this planet, what
Nigeria need is technocrats, democracy and not gerontocracy. General
Yakubu Gowon, then a colonel became the youngest military chief of
staff and later Head of State at 32. The young military leader also
helped sew the country together after the civil war in 1970. With
youth come strength, vigour and that incorruptible and vibrant spirit,
which is what a nation like Nigeria that is at a crossroad of history
really need. The youth should be given a chance to play a role in
building a better Nigeria, our cherish rights of freedom; equality and
liberty depend on the active participation of the youth. According to
the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the youth
constitute about 62.4% of eligible voters in the country; this gives
the youth an overwhelming majority and therefore a stake in the
political unfoldings in the nation. Even in the holy book it is stated
that the young men shall see vision, little wonder we are yet to
achieve countless visions seen by these set of chronologically
advanced individuals. With all due respect to the few experienced
hands that has steadied the ship of our nation in this trouble waters.

Nigeria as a nation needs to rise above the politics
and principles of gerontocracy, and hand the touch over to the new
generation of Nigerians. With the return of democracy in 1999, shouts
of joy and voices of suspicion welcomed this great form of governance,
but what happened afterwards is yet to be comprehended, how all the
former military men dumped their camouflage and adorned their native
wears to benefit from this so called democracy. Youth empowerment is
not giving out tricycles to graduates, or organizing symposia that
cost millions of Naira; these are ways our corrupt leaders use to
rather empower their wives to also benefit from their ineptitude and
failure to fulfil their own side of the social contract.

Youth empowerment starts from making sure that youth corps members are
better paid, fed and safe wherever they might be posted to, it begins
by making sure that primary, secondary and tertiary education is
fulfilling their basic needs of producing eligible leaders of
tomorrow, by making sure stoves rather than Bursen-burner is not used
in our school laboratories.
Until the youth braced up to leadership challenge, we will still be
told we are leaders of tomorrow, while the old politicians are being
recycled. We will always need the guidance of elders in every society, what
we are asking for is incorporation of youths in Nation building.
Is Nigeria ready for this kind of youthful leadership? Definitely!
Have we been disappointed by the same recycling of tired and failed
hands? Obviously!! Are the youths ready for this pivotal role?…

Nwagwu Everest
400L Physiology student from College of Medicine  University of Lagos

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