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24 Jul 2017

Obasanjo urged to find young leaders for Nigeria

A former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has urged former President Olusegun Obasanjo to lead a search for “young and vibrant political leaders” to run the country.
Agbakoba lamented that there was no culture among the political elite to encourage inspired young people to run for political leadership, especially the presidency.

In a July 20, 2017 letter to the former President, Agbakoba said the country was held back by an aged political class.

He said: “Our country is held back by a crop of leadership that has outlived usefulness and effectiveness as a result of old age.

“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.”

Agbakoba noted that the modern history of Nigeria was shaped by young people.

He added: “Your Excellency was 39 years when you became Head of State. Nnamdi Azikiwe was 40 when he founded the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC). Obafemi Awolowo was 43 when he became Premier of Western Region. Ahmadu Bello was 40 when he co-founded the NPC. Odumegwu Ojukwu and Yakubu 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.

“I feel compelled to request your intervention because you are one of few past leaders with enough clout to galvanize the political elite to produce like in France, a Macron or in Canada, a Trudeau.”

He suggested that the time had come for a generational change in national political leadership.

“I believe it is time for our elder statesmen to give way to a young new vibrant political leadership.

“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,” the former NBA president concluded.

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