Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has hit out at politicians who use other people’s children as thugs while shielding theirs from trouble.
Obasanjo made the condemnation yesterday while delivering a paper at the Inauguration of King’s College London Global Leaders Engagement Series in London.
Speaking on ‘Demystifying Leadership Capacity Deficit of African Youths: Our Future is in their Hands’, the former president 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.”
He noted that African youths must put their acts together and vie for political offices despite obstacles such as expensive nomination forms and huge cost of political campaigns, Guardian writes.
According to him, hope is not lost as he foresees a continent where the “creative energies, intellectual prowess and ingenuity of the youth are capable of leading Africa to the Promised Land.”
“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 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 go 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 remember that the future is influenced by the present and the past. The present is a legacy of the past, handed over by the other generation. This legacy is a product of hard work, successes, failures and experience. It must be preserved. The youth must understand that today’s leaders are tomorrow’s seniors and the record of their leadership will also become a legacy to another generation,” he said.