Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has urged the Nigerian youths to work hard to achieve a younger generation of leaders.
Obasanjo stated this in his reply to Olisa Agbakoba’s July 20, 2017 letter requesting that Obasanjo helps to establish a new generation of leaders in Nigeria.
Obasanjo said the younger generation with its large number in the population just needs to take advantage of that edge, and add a sense of nationalism and patriotism to arrive at their goal.
In his words: “The generational shift will need to be worked for and worked at. The time is now.
“Let the young people organise themselves around positive core values. Let them become ideological in the sense of nationalism and patriotism in this struggle.
“This is a democracy. Politics is a game of numbers at the end of the day. The youth are in majority. What is the excuse? So long as the older generation do not have the incentive to step down, for so long will they continue to reinvent and reappoint and resurface. ”
Obasanjo, therefore, charged Agbakoba to make himself available to build the framework for the desired leadership shift.
He noted at this point that although the younger generation of leaders failed in performance and commitment when they got the support, he was still prepared to support Agbakoba on the way forward for leadership.
He said: “I ask you dear Olisa, you are at a point where you should step forward and develop a mobilization framework that seeks to rearrange Nigeria on a different basis of legitimacy. Late Chief Awolowo and the great Zik were younger than you when they threw their hats in the ring. It is time to take the hard road.
“Olisa, it is time to jump down from the fence and the siddon look corner. It is your fatherland. I personally hold myself available to mentor and to guide, but I cannot jump over the democratic system or put democracy aside,” Obasanjo said.
He also made a case for a continued inclusion of the older generation to be in leadership in spite of the clamour for a crop of young people. He said: ” So, while these failed young men and women should not be a disincentive to support other young people, I don’t think that the older people should be excluded from our leadership recruitment process.
“For me, if I find men and women who have shown profound commitment and exemplary service to our fatherland, I will, of course, give such both my support and inspiration, notwithstanding their age , circumstances or place of birth. ”
According to Obasanjo, the old generation of leaders, while they were young and serving in their younger days, were rugged and zealous for workable governance when the need fell on them.
He said:” “I am actually not oblivious of the points you raised concerning how General Gowon, myself and some others you mentioned became prominent figures in the running of the affairs of this country at a rather young age.
“Be that as it may, what you must not lose sight of is the fact that some of us were thrown up and brought into limelight by circumstances which were not of our own making, having been thrown into the deeper end of the pool, so to speak. Some of us made great efforts with determination, commitment, broad national outlook, integrity and uncommon zeal to shoulder the responsibilities thrust on us. We recorded varying degrees of successes.”
Comparing the achievements in leadership between the old and the younger generation, Obasanjo said his generation of leaders was dynamic and made uncommon contributions to the socio-political development of Nigeria, while according to him, ” most members of the younger generation of Nigerians are mostly contented with waiting for the dead men’s shoes and are unwilling to beat an alternative path to leadership.”
He said that taking leadership can only be achieved as the world does, by “shrewd, hard-headed calculating individuals, and the cornucopia of their mercy is decidedly thin and it is unlike God’s rain that falls on the just and the wicked alike. ”
Obasanjo ponders with a rhetorical question, “the point to ponder is, how have the successor generation positioned themselves to lead?”