Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Use your clout to find young leader for Nigeria, Agbakoba tells Obasanjo

Use your clout to find young leader for Nigeria, Agbakoba tells Obasanjo

Former president of Civil liberty Organisation (CLO), Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has called on former President Olusegun Obasanjo to use his clout as an elder statesman to galvanize the political elite and cause a process that would give way to a young new vibrant political leadership in the country.

Agbakoba made this request on Monday in a personal letter he wrote to the former president, copy of which he made available to the Nigerian Tribune, lamenting the poor quality leadership as the bane of the country.

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In the letter, titled, Nigeria needs a Generational Shift in political Leadership,” Agbakoba, who is also former president, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), expressed concerned about the quality of leadership in Nigeria, noting that corruption was endemic and poverty was high, while life expectancy was low.

According to him, Nigeria ranks poorly on all international human development indicators, even as he recalled the word of the late writer of repute, Chinua Achebe, in his book “The Trouble with Nigeria,” where he pointed out the situation of Nigeria was directly linked to failure of leadership.

Agbakoba further lamented that Nigeria was held back by a crop of leadership that had outlived its usefulness and effectiveness as a result of old age, whereas the modern history of the country  was shaped by young people, including the likes of the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, who were still quite young then.

“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.

“Our country is held back by a crop of leadership that have outlived usefulness and effectiveness as a result of old age. It beggars belief that 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. Your Excellency was 39 years when you became Head of State. Zik was 40 when he founded the NCNC. Awolowo was 43 when he became Premier of Western Region. 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,” Agbakoba said.

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The former NBA president said it appeared a contradiction that after a young vibrant set of leaders got Nigeria off the ground in the early 60’s, Nigeria had steadily descended into chaos and was probably now ranked as one of the most ungovernable countries in the world.

Agbakoba said it was due to this that he felt compelled to request for Obasanjo’s intervention, who he posited had enough clout to galvanize the political elite to bring about the needed change, declaring that Nigeria should by now “produce the like in France, a Macron or in Canada, a Trudeau.”

“I believe it is time for our elder statesmen to give way to a young new vibrant political leadership. I am also convinced that with your support this can be achieved and 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 informational,” Agbakoba posited.


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