Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called on the youths to make conscious efforts in taking over political power from the older generation.
Obasanjo made the call on Wednesday while delivering a keynote address at an interactive session held virtually to mark the 2020 International Youth Day.
He asked the youth to take over leadership positions by “squeezing older generation out of office”, adding that the leaders would not vacate their offices except they are forced out.
He further enjoined the youth to demand affirmative action with “positive discrimination in favour of youth” enshrined in the constitution of political parties.
According to him, it is easier to influence changes at the party level.
“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,” 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 session was organised by the Youth Development Centre, an arm of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), and attended by participants from Nigeria, Mali, USA, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa.