2019 Polls : Don't Use Other People's Children As Thugs - Obasanjo Tells Politicians - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Wednesday, November 14, 2018

2019 Polls : Don't Use Other People's Children As Thugs - Obasanjo Tells Politicians

Nezzy Nae

Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo,  has advised the country's politicians to desist from using other people's children as "thugs" and "hirelings" during elections while  keeping theirs in "safe havens" abroad.

Obasanjo also deplored the many barriers making it difficult for Nigerian youths to assume leadership position in  the country, citing the outrageously exorbitant cost of party nomination forms and campaign costs as hurdles most young may never be able to cross.

The elder statesman made this known in London, United Kingdom, on Wednesday while delivering a public lecture in a paper titled: "Demystifying Leadership Capacity Deficit of African Youths: Our Future is in their Hands" at the Inauguration of the maiden edition of King’s College London Global Leaders Engagement Series.

He charged  African leaders to partner with young people, harness  their strength and channel it appropriately to steer them away from violence or recruitment into violent and extremist groups.

The ex - President also urged young people to take advantage of the social media to organise themselves for productive ventures.

He, however, expresses confidence in the emerging spirit of the young people today and their courage to hold government accountable as well as their resistance to tyranny and despotism.

 He said: "enough of using other people’s children as experimental subjects and keeping ours in safe havens. Enough of using other people’s children as political thugs and ballot box snuffers, while we send ours to Ivy League schools. Enough of thinking we know what is right for young people without their input or the courtesy of asking for their opinions.

"Succession planning is a culture that Africa needs to imbibe. It increases the number of people who are capable and available to assume leadership roles when the incumbent is no longer available to do so. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a deliberate process.

"We cannot continue to assume that by mere observation from afar, young people understand why we do what we do. We must introduce them to our networks and partners; set them up to represent us in important meetings while we can still guide and nurture them. An organisation should not kaput because one person is no longer available to lead.

"If constitutional changes are required, let us begin now. If policies and political party structures have to change, let us begin now. Of what use is a law that allows young people contest for a particular office only to be confronted with the hurdle of outrageously exorbitant cost of party nomination forms and campaign costs? 

"The Young people must continue to engage political leaders till they lower the cost of election and governance in Africa. Young people are not too young to run for political offices but insurmountable barriers are put against them.  Adults running for elective offices to be octogenarians or over in such offices are also barriers to the young in getting to political leadership.

"Special attention and consideration must be given to the girl child. We have to ensure that they have equal opportunities as boys and see them collectively as our ‘tomorrow’, not a part of it. Understand that a girl can learn to be homely and still be a great scientist. A child is first human before his or her gender. Like the male child, girls have dreams and the wherewithal to achieve them.

"I will also like to talk about entrepreneurship. It is the buzz word on the street. And I am glad that our youth have been bitten by the bug. They are building businesses and not all waiting to be employees. This paradigm is much needed at a time like this.  I, however, urge them to do more than create businesses that will cater only for their personal survival. At the onset, they must broaden their mind and vision for their businesses to grow from micro to small and from medium-scale ventures to corporations. 

"They must deploy technology to make friends and meet business associates across the globe to build international brands. They must think global and begin by acting local. Government needs to also come to their aid –another reason they must be actively involved in governance. Government must make policies that encourage their businesses and expand their horizon.

"This is one of the major reasons I set up the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library especially its Youth Development Centre and the Centre for Human Security and Dialogue to serve as nursery for training Africa’s future leaders through formal and informal debates, dialogues, interactions, discussion, research and visits."

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