Former Nigeria President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has urged all African youths to participate in political activities in their various countries, in order to replace the older generation who are still in office.
He made this known during a keynote address at a virtual interactive session held in Abeokuta, to mark this year’s International Youth Day, which was organised by the Youth Development Centre, which is an arm of Obasanjo’s Presidential library.
He told the youth to demand the inclusion of youths in political parties which must Aldo be enshrined in the constitution and should be seen as a gradual process of removing the older generation of leaders in Africa.
According to him, until the leaders are forced out of the political arena, they would continue to hold leadership positions.
He said, “Unless you squeeze out those who are in the office and those who want to remain in office perpetually, some after the age of 80. Unless you squeeze them out they will not want to be out.”
The former president also said the youth can bring about change by participating actively in political parties.
He said that it is more easier to bring about change at the party level than governance level.
He said “The type of change I am talking about, that I believe we can all embark upon is to subscribe into the constitution of political parties in favour of youth. Or if you like it you call it affirmative action in favour of youths. For instance, if you say, in the constitution of a political party, not less than 50 per cent of those who hold executive office within the party will be less than 40 years of age.
“You’re just making sure that people that are 40 years of age will hold 50 per cent of executive offices within the political party.
“You can even go beyond that and say that people who will be put up for election, not less than 50 per cent of them, will be less than 40 years of age. That’s affirmative action. That’s positive discrimination in favour of youths.
“I am saying this because if you leave it entirely for people to do it for you, nobody will do it for you. You have to do it for yourself.”
Those who participated in the interactive session were from from Nigeria, Mali, USA, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa.