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Age and Nation Building: Will youths really make better Leaders?

Age and Nation Building: Will youths really make better Leaders?

In less than a year to go, the eagerly anticipated 2023 Presidential Election will be conducted and several political party stalwarts have already began slating for their preferred presidential candidates to contest and emerge victorious in the election. We have seen some of these party stalwarts and political groups back the likes of Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Asiwaju Bolaji Ahmed Tinubu, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and other politicians to crop up as the next president of our country.

Even before the 2023 presidential election became much talked about, we have been witnessing a clamour by many Nigerians for a young, vibrant and energetic individual to emerge as the country’s next president and lead the country to greater heights since the elites who are aged and have been at the upper echelon of power for over 2 decades have failed in achieving such. The old leaders were perceived to have failed due to their antiquated thinking, bad policy formulation and their ineptitude in salvaging the country socioeconomically, and this emanated the need for a youth at the helm of affairs.

But the question remains: Does Youthfulness determine one’s ability to lead and build up a country? A Youth could emerge as a President of the country and still perform far more worse than the previous, aged leaders we have had in the country. A youth emerging as the president of Nigeria could possibly take the country to a state of despair and unrest, because some of our youths are morally bereft, corrupt and inept. Age has nothing to do with one’s performance but one’s ideology. It is only leaders with good political and economic ideologies that will be able to lead a country to a state that every citizen would desire.

Our political system is one that has failed us, and is this the kind of system a youth would want to emerge as a president, a corrupt political system. Good leadership can only be feasible if there is a change in the political structure of this country, because the system is already in an egregious and malodorous state. This can only be made possible by people with ideologies, people who think radically and can build a country even though the citizens do not conform to their ideas.

Surprisingly, the only youth being popularly elevated for to become the President of the country, and which some Nigerians believe he’s not is the Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Adoza Yahaya Bello.

Yahaya Bello and the current president, Muhammadu Buhari

This is a man who has failed in almost all ramifications of governance. Despite his glaring failure in state administration, he is still being vouched for by some Nigerians to emerge as the president of the country. This is a man who is believed to have paid or persuaded some celebrities to sponsor him as a Youth to become the President. Recently, a group under the aegis of Rescue Nigeria Mission (RenMiss), along with thousands of Youths stormed Lagos State to urge Youths in the South-Western part of the country to back Yahaya Bello to become the President of Nigeria as he possessed the ability to fix the country’s security and economic problems. This is indeed dismal for a man who has a bad track record in governance. Why is he still being vouched for when his failure is even visible to the blind.

Look at most of the industrialised countries in the world which we look up to in terms of socioeconomic growth and development. Age was never the top priority for selecting the best candidates to emerge as the leaders of these countries, but the ability of these candidates to make their respective countries even more better. 

Countries like the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Russia and China did not get to where they are today on the basis of age. Most of the leaders in the history of the U.S. were old-aged with the youngest of them being Theodore Roosevelt, aged 42. Ronald Reagan, who is highly revered as the best president in the history of the U.S. became president at the age of 69. The current president of the U.S., Joe Biden, is the oldest president in the history of the U.S., aged 79. All the Heads of State that have governed the People’s Republic of China over the years were never below the age of 60, yet China has one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

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Xi Jinping – China’s leader

This goes on to show that age should never be a criteria for choosing a leader. A young or an old political candidate could be either bad or good. Age has nothing to do with corruption and gross incompetence. Ideology of a candidate should matter alot to the electorates.

Surely, this writer does not in anyway oppose the emergence of a youth as a President of our dearly beloved country, but desires to see in the words of Dele Momodu that not just a youth but “a well-exposed, educated and eloquent young president” emerges and leads the country to greater heights.

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