Nigeria needs generational shift in political leadership – Olisa Agbakoba

Worried by poor state of affairs in Nigeria, Olisa Agbakoba, a legal practitioner and former national president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has written Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president, for a possible urgent intervention.

In a letter dated July 20, 2017 and posted to the Abeokuta, Ogun State residential home of the former president, a reply of which was also solicited, Agbakoba noted that Nigeria had drifted from the dream of the founding fathers and that the older generation had continued to sideline the younger ones in the business of political leadership.

“I am concerned about the quality of leadership in Nigeria. Corruption is endemic. Poverty is high. Life expectancy is low. Nigeria ranks poorly on all international human development indicators. Chinua Achebe in his book ‘The Trouble with Nigeria’ pointed out the situation of Nigeria is directly linked to failure of leadership. Our country is held back by a crop of leadership that has outlived its usefulness and effectiveness as a result of old age,” he recalled.

He further said, “It beggars belief that there is no culture among our political elite, to encourage younger people with new ideas to aspire to positions of leadership, in particular the office of the President.”

It was his belief that the “modern history of Nigeria was shaped by young people. Your Excellency was 39 years when you became Head of State. Zik was 40 when he founded the NCNC. Awolowo was 43 when he became Premier of Western Region. Ahmadu Bello was 40 when he co-founded the NPC. Ojukwu and Gowon were in their 30s when they took centre stage in Nigerian politics.

“It seems to me a great contradiction that after a young vibrant set of leaders got Nigeria off the ground in the early 60’s, Nigeria has steadily descended into chaos and is probably now ranked as one of the most ungovernable countries in the world.”

On why he chose to write to Obasanjo, the senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said: “I feel compelled to request your intervention because you are one of few past leaders with enough clout to galvanise the political elite to produce like in France, a Macron or in Canada, a Trudeau. I believe it is time for our elder statesmen to give way to a young new vibrant political leadership.”

According to Agbakoba, “I am also convinced that with your support this can be achieved and expanded to become high policy amongst all political parties in Nigeria. Nigeria will greatly benefit. I strongly feel that a radical change in political leadership from old to new will be transformational.”


Source: Business Day

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