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Africa will have good governance if youths send away older generation – Obasanjo

Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that it would take vibrant and creative youths to institute good governance in Africa, saying the youths could only replace older generation in leadership position by “squeezing them out of office”.

Obasanjo, who decried sit-tight syndrome and mentality of many African leaders, asked African and Nigerian youths to demand affirmative action enshrined in the constitution of political parties as part of systematic and gradual process to phase out the old generation of leaders on the continent.

Obasanjo made the statement on Wednesday in Abeokuta while delivering a keynote address at an interactive session held virtually to mark this year’s International Youth Day where participants were drawn from Nigeria, Mali, USA, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa.

The former president said unless the sit-tight African leaders were forced out of the stage, they would continue to occupy the leadership positions.

“Unless you squeeze out those who are in 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,” Obasanjo 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 youths. 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 percent 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 percent of executive office 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 percent 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,” he said.

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