Sunday, 10 May 2015

Youth For 30%

By Dr. Ahmed Adamu

If 60% of the Nigerian population can ask for only 30% level of inclusion, then they must be given, because that is too small to ask given their sacrifices toward sustaining the constitutional democracy and economic development. Youth in Nigeria made up of at least 60% of the labour force and constitute majority of the eligible voters, with whose votes, leaders emerge.

Looking back at the role young people played in the country’s leadership since independence, many believe that the current youth generation are short-changed, as the old generation keep recycling themselves in the same leadership positions they occupied when they were young.

Tafawa Balewa became Prime Minister at the age of 48, Aguiyi Ironsi 42, Yakubu Gowon 32, Murtala Muhammad 37, Olusegun Obasanjo 38, , Shehu Musa Yar’adua 32, Shehu Shagari 54, Muhammadu Buhari 41 , IBB 44, Sani Abatch 50 etc. The cabinet minsters in their regimes were largely made up of youth below the age of 35. We had a minister of petroleum at the age of 26. There were young people who were then very active in moving this country who are numerous to mention here.

Looking beyond the shores of the country, we had the following young leaders with their ages when the become leaders:

Jean-Claude Duvalier, President of Haiti, 19 years of age.
Valentine Strasser, President of Sierra Leone, 25 Years of age
Dogsomyn Bodoo, Prime Minister of Mongolia, 26 Years of age
Michel Micombero, President of Burundi, 26 Years of age
Maria Lea Pedini-Angelini, Captain Regent of San Marino, 26 Years of age
Amet Zogu, Prime Minister of Albania, 27 Years of age
Muammar Gaddafi, Guide of the Revolution, 27 Years of age
Gloriana Ranocchini, Captain Regent of San Marino, 27 Years of age
Giovanni Lonfernini, Captain Regent of San Marino, 27 Years of age
Abdessalam Jalloud, Prime Minister of Libya, 27 Years of age
Andrea Zafferani, Captain Regent of San Marino, 27 Years of age
Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, 28 Years of age
Mario Frick, Prime Minister of Liechtenstein, 28 Years of age
Kim Jong-Un, Supreme Leader of North Korea, 28 Years of age
Giuliano Gozi, Captain Regent of San Marino, 28 years of age
Ieremia Tabai, President of Kiribati, 28 Years of age
Samuel Doe, President of Liberia, 28 Years of age
Jamtsangiyn Damdinsüren, Chairman of the Presidium of Mongolia, 2 Years of age
Lhendup Dorji, Prime Minister of Bhutan, 29 Years of age
Muhammad Ali Haitham,Prime Minister of South Yemen, 29 Years of age
Milo Đukanović, Prime Minister of Montenegro, 29 Years of age
Yahya Jammeh, President of the Gambia, 29 Years of age
Souley Abdoulaye, Prime Minister of Niger, 29 Years of age
Roque González Garza, President of Mexico, 29 years of age
Gnassingbé Eyadéma, President of Togo, 29 years of age 
Branko Crvenkovski, Prime Minister of Macedonia, 29 years of age 
Joseph Kabila, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 29 years of age 
David Dacko, President of the Central African Republic, 30 years of age 
Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, President of Burundi, 30 years of age
Bernard Dowiyogo, President of Nauru, 30 years of age
Ilir Meta, Prime Minister of Albania, 30 years of age 
Sadiq al-Mahdi, Prime Minister of Sudan, 30 years of age 
Marien Ngouabi, President of the Republic of the Congo, 30 years of age 
Pandeli Majko, Prime Minister of Albania, 30 years of age

If these young people can lead their countries, it means young people are still capable and should be given space to contribute in nation building. 
The Nigerian constitution has limited youth participation in governance, where it says a person must be 30 years of age before he/she can become a cabinet minister or member of federal House of Representatives, which means 71% of young people in the country cannot become a cabinet minister even if they are qualified by virtue of experience and qualification. The same constitution says, no young person (as defined in Nigerian youth policy) can become senator or a governor or president. Therefore, the constitution should be reviewed to accommodate more space for young people.

Finally, Nigerian youth should rise and demand for inclusion in governance at all levels, as there is nothing for them without them. They should take charge, not only in voting but in governance. Their voices can only be heard if their representatives sit on the table to decide on issues that affect you. The 30% affirmative action for youth participation is non-negotiable. This movement/campaign should be visible and strengthen at every state. Let us get united and pursue 30% level of participation. This movement is not about one person, or personal interest, it is about protecting and empowering the youth.

Ahmed Adamu

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