Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has advocated for an electioneering policy across African countries which will allow youths to contest elective positions without exorbitant charges.
The former President said African youths are capable of taking charge and navigate the affairs of their respective countries to the desired levels provided they are provided with the right social, political and economic ambience.
Obasanjo made the call in a statement made available to journalists on Wednesday in Abeokuta, the state capital by his Media Aide, Kehinde Akinyemi.
Akinyemi quoted the former President to have spoken in London at the Inaugural edition of King’s College London Global Leaders Engagement Series.
He said the former President delivered a paper titled “Demystifying Leadership Capacity Deficit of African Youths: Our Future is in their Hands.”
Delivering his papers, Obasanjo lamented situations whereby laws guiding the electoral processes in some African countries such as Nigeria, stipulated hard conditions for the youths to meet before obtaining nomination forms for elective positions.
With particular reference to the Nigerian situation, the former president called for a constitutional amendment in such a way that will allow youths contest political offices without having to pay outrageously exorbitant cost of party nomination forms and campaign costs.
“If constitutional changes are required, let us begin now. If policies and political party structures have to change, let us begin now. Of what use is a law that allows young people contest for a particular office only to be confronted with the hurdle of outrageously exorbitant cost of party nomination forms and campaign costs?
The former president also called on African leaders to evolve a policy that will discourage politicians across the continent from using Nigerian youths as political thugs, while keeping their own children in “safe havens.”
He emphasised that despite challenges he was hopeful that Africa and indeed Nigeria have youths who possess, “intellectual prowess and ingenuity capable of leading Africa to promise land.
“Enough of using other people’s children as experimental subjects and keeping ours in safe havens. Enough of using other people’s children as political thugs and ballot box snuffers, while we send ours to Ivy League schools.
“Enough of thinking we know what is right for young people without their input or the courtesy of asking for their opinions”.
He identified lack of economic opportunity, inclusion and adoption of policies on education, skill acquisition, empowerment and employment as some of the obstacles hindering youth of Africa from playing active roles in leadership, development and peace building.
“I see hope that the future of Africa is in the hands of its youth. I see hope of a continent where the creative energies, intellectual prowess and ingenuity of our youth is capable to lead us to our promised land. I see hope in the courage of our youth to hold government accountable and their resistance to tyranny and despotism”.
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