Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has told Nigerian youths that nobody will hand over political powers to them willingly except they wake up and become active in politics.
The former Nigerian leader stated that youths need to be active in politics if they hope to have any meaningful representation in governance.
He, therefore, urged youths in Nigeria to actively take part in politics so as to take over governance from the older generation.
Obasanjo who made the submission while delivering a keynote address at a virtual interactive session to mark the 2020 International Youth Day which was organized by the Youth Development Centre, an arm of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, noted that the older generation may not willingly relinquish power to the youths except they are pushed out.
“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,” he said.
The former President added that active participation of youths in politics will ensure they can demand participation in government and influence decisions right from party levels to governance.
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 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.”
The 2020 International Youth Day was celebrated on Wednesday, 12th August with the theme “Youth Engagement for Global Action.”