Olisa Agbakoba, SAN

“Help! Nigeria needs younger, vibrant political leadership,” Agbakoba writes Obasanjo

Human Rights Lawyer and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN, has called on former President Olusegun Obasanjo to support the need for a new breed of a younger political leadership for Nigeria.

Agbakoba who made the call in his letter dated July 20, 2017 and addressed to the former president, said that Nigeria is suffering setbacks due to an aged political leadership by a generation of political leaders who have outlived their usefulness.

He said that the modern history of Nigeria was shaped by a leadership of young people in the likes of Obasanjo when he was yet 40 years of age, the late Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Ahmadu Bello and others when they were in their early 40s.

He said the choice of seeking Obasanjo’s intervention is hinged on the fact that he understands the power of a young and vibrant crop of political leadership, citing examples of France and Canada with young political leaders.

See full text of Agbakoba’s letter:

July 20, 2017
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR
Agbe L’oba House, Quarry Road, Ibara
P. O. Box 2286
Abeokuta, Ogun State.

Your Excellency,

NIGERIA NEEDS A GENERATIONAL SHIFT IN 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 usefulness and effectiveness as a result of old age.

It is 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.

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 Gowan 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.

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.
I look forward to hearing from you on this matter.
Accept assurances of my highest regard.

Sincerely,
Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN.


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