By Bartholomew Madukwe
Former President, Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN, has called on former President Olusegun Obasanjo to intervene in the country’s politics for elder statesmen to give way to a young new vibrant political leadership.
In a letter titled, “Nigeria needs a Generational Shift in Political Leadership”, Agbakoba described Obasanjo as one of few past leaders with enough clout to galvanize the political elite to produce like in France, a Macron or in Canada, a Trudeau.
He asserted: “I am concerned about the quality of leadership in Nigeria. Corruption is endemic. Poverty is high. Life expectancy is low.
“Nigeria ranks poorly on all international human development indicators. Chinua Achebe in his book ‘The Trouble with Nigeria’ pointed out the situation of Nigeria is directly linked to failure of leadership”.
According to him, Nigeria is held back by a crop of leadership that have outlived usefulness and effectiveness as a result of old age.
“There is no culture among our political elite, to encourage younger people with new ideas to aspire to positions of leadership, in particular the office of the President. The modern history of Nigeria was shaped by young people,” Agbakoba stated.
The former NBA President noted that Obasanjo was 39 years when he became Head of State and Zik was 40 when he founded the NCNC, while Awolowo was 43 when he became Premier of Western Region.
He added: “Ahmadu Bello was 40 when he co-founded the NPC. Ojukwu and Gowan were in their 30s when they took centre stage in Nigerian politics.
“It seems to me a great contradiction that after a young vibrant set of leaders got Nigeria off the ground in the early 60’s, Nigeria has steadily descended into chaos and is probably now ranked as one of the most ungovernable countries in the world”.
Agbakoba said he was also convinced that with Obasanjo’s support this can be expanded to become high policy amongst all political parties in Nigeria. Nigeria will greatly benefit.
” I strongly feel that a radical change in political leadership from old to new will be transformational,” he opined.