Ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo has replied Olisa Agbakoba on his call that the former should help Nigeria search for young leaders ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Obasanjo said Agbakoba, his peers and younger ones should rather take the bull by the horn and seek elective positions.
He said this in response to an earlier memo by Agbakoba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN.
Agbakoba had begged former Obasanjo to look for “young and vibrant leaders” to run the political affairs of country.
He decried the lack of culture among the political elite to encourage inspired young people to run for political leadership, especially the presidency.
“Our country is held back by a crop of leadership that has outlived usefulness and effectiveness as a result of old age”, the SAN wrote.
“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.”
In his response, Obasanjo said Agbakoba should understand that political leaders in his generation made “great efforts with determination, commitment, broad national outlook” to shoulder their responsibilities.
Obasanjo recalled that said some of them were thrown into limelight by circumstances not of their own making but were able to record varying degrees of successes.
He, however, lamented that the younger generation “have in most cases resorted to work avoidance in the quest for leadership”.
“The point to ponder is how have the successor generation positioned themselves to lead?” Obasanjo quipped.
“Most members of the younger generation of Nigerians are mostly contented with waiting for dead men’s shoes and are unwilling to beat an alternative path to leadership.
“In such a situation, it is to be expected and actually it is human that those with some head start in life will not concede such advantages freely and based on their innate goodness.
“Some of these young people whose interest we canvass , have in the recent past been a complete disappointment and failures in their various appointed or elected positions.
“So while these failed young men and women should not be a disincentive to support other young people, I don’t think that the older people should be excluded in our leadership recruitment process.
“For me if I find young men and women who have shown profound commitment and exemplary integrity in their various chosen careers and professions as well as zeal for the service of our fatherland, I will, of course, give such both my support and inspiration, not withstanding their age, circumstances or place of birth.
“Late Chief Awolowo and great Zik were younger than you when they threw their hats in the ring. It’s time to take the hard road. Olisa, it’s time to jump down from the fence and the siddon look corner.”