By Ateko Usman Ejima
At the backdrop of leadership challenges confronting the nation without end in sight, a Youth Organisation under the aegis of United Youth Coalition of Nigeria has set a criteria for those that would govern Nigeria from 2019, saying, the nation requires a man that has knowledge of global economy to wriggle the state out of doldrums.
Speaking at a news conference in Abuja, Saturday, the Chairman of the umbrella body which comprises about 14 organisations , Engr. Robert Chenge noted that leadership in the last 20 years of democracy has failed; hence there was need to rejig the system with bright and focused minds.
He decried the loss of lives without prompt reaction from gov-ernment of the day, adding that there was gross abuse of demo-cratic norms which the youth could no longer sit supine watching things go wrong.
The organization explained that the original vision of the nation’s founding fathers have been misplaced by politicians who were interested in paraphernalia of office rather than the interest of citizens, a situation, they posited, gave credence to corruption, cronyism and nepotism.
“We totally condemn the soaring growth of pre-modernism, cronyism, and the shameful promotion of nepotism and violence against the citizens. Governance today has become a charade and a racket far removed from the original noble vision of found-ers”, the group said. Describing the situation which Nigeria youths and women found themselves as being consigned to the “the other room” of pow-powerlessness, they called on
youth, women and patriotic Nigerians to engage the political process in order to change the tide in 2019. The group urged youths to decline joining youth wings of political parties and refuse being used as thugs, but contest elections in 2019. “The youth must refrain from joining the youth wings of political parties and absolutely refuse to be paid thugs to any politician.”
The group faulted the constitutional requirements for the office of the President, saying that the complex nature of the economy deserved a man of repute with sound academic background, adding that the nation could no longer tolerate embarrassment of those with low educational qualifications. “Many of our past and present leaders are an embarrassment to the country due to their very low educational standards and lack of exposure”, the group maintained.
It added that the onus rested on Nigerians to disallow money-bags from being voted into office, but looked out for a man who has demonstrated maturity and a broad life experience among diverse local and global communities. “Nigeria next President must have demonstrated maturity and had a broad life experiences living and working among diverse local and global communities. His personal character must es-chew greed for materialism and must be a person of great humility”, they maintained. According to the group, the 21st century Nigeria needed to key into global economy by driving virtues which Africans were known for, while tipping a Playwright and a professor of Theatre for development, Iyorwuese Hagher to con-test 2019 elections.
The umbrella organisation further reasoned that Hagher would bring his wealth of experience to bear on the polity.
the statement in full:
Gentlemen of the press, it is more than a privilege for me to address you today on the state of the nation on behalf of the Nigerian youth; here represented by our umbrella organization the United Youth Coalition of Nigeria. We are here representing fifteen youth organizations across the nation. We wish to make the following statements:
- Twelve months from today, Nigerians will be electing a new president. A wrong choice could spell doom. A right choice will be our victory and celebration. We the youths of Nigeria have decided that enough is enough and we are no longer going to be passive observers in a nation whose leadership has failed to usher in development. We are no longer tolerant of the culture of silence when the nation is facing the wrong direction and almost all Nigerians are losing hope. The Nigerian unity that the youth sacrificed over a million lives, in the civil war and even now as servicemen fighting and dying in the armed forces is slipping through our fingers. On a daily basis our leaders watch helplessly or look the other way as citizens are being butchered in their homes, on farms and highways.
- We condemn in the strongest terms the willful abuse of democracy by the politicians of the ruling parties since 1999. We totally condemn the soaring growth of pre-modernism, cronyism, and the shameful promotion of nepotism and violence against the citizens. Governance today has become a mere charade and racket far removed from the original noble vision of the founders. It is not even close! We refuse to be passive recipients of the abuse of our leaders who remain out of touch with global trends and have instead dug their teeth in financial entitlements, nepotism, obduracy, corruption, and youth and women bashing.
These so called leaders have denigrated us. They consign the women, and us the youth to the “other room” of powerlessness, poverty and to be seen but not heard. This we cannot accept. Nigeria is our country too. In fact, the future of this country belongs more to us the youth and women. Much of our future and country have been stolen from us through corruption, abuse of power, exclusive politics and clueless leadership. This should not be so since the youth and women constitute 80% of the nation’s voting population.
- We stand here today, proud Nigerians as we look forward to taking back our country in the 2019 elections. We are convinced that a society that willfully maltreats its youth and women does not take long to die. Without our intervention, Nigeria is in its final moment and death throes and will go the way of all failed states. It is dying. To revive this entity, we call on all youth, women, and patriots to rise up and engage the political process. The youth must refrain from joining the youth wings of political parties and absolutely refuse to be paid thugs to any politician. Instead, we welcome a transitional period of mentoring as we seek elections into all political positions across all the states in executive and legislative positions across the nation.
- We wish to make our stand clear on the position of the 2019 presidential elections. We are aware that Nigeria does not belong to us the youth alone. We also do not seek to exclude anybody on the basis of age as doing so we amount to ageism and thus unconstitutional and undemocratic. And we must admit that due to lack of education, poverty and oppression, many of our youth are bad company and engage in anti-social behavior. We are equally concerned that the Nigerian constitution has set the educational qualification to be a Nigerian President as Diploma and not a university degree. In the modern, complex 21st Century World we live in today, we the youth look for much more!! Many of our past and present leaders are an embarrassment to the country due to their very low educational standards and lack of exposure. We have raised the bar above the minimum requirement in the constitution for an effective 21st Century Nigerian presidency. These criteria are listed as follows:
- The next president must demonstrate the ability to lead Nigeria from its present economic level of pre-modernity to hypermodernityby establishing the connection and linkages between education, human capital development and the global knowledge economy. Such a president must show the capacity to harness the greatest resource of this country (the youth) through a robust; science, technology, engineering and mathematics training combined with philosophy, ethics and history. He/She must build a new Nigerian society that is capable of a new mindset and right incentives, and provide a modern 21st century infrastructure for Nigeria to enter the knowledge and innovation economy and avoid bickering on derivation issues.
- The next president must have experience living in Nigeria and participating in both the Executive and Legislative arms of governance. Other previous governmental experiences at high levels will be considered.A developing country like Nigeria cannot afford a government with a sleepy snail speed that is almost always borne from lack of clarity in understanding complex administrative issues of governance.
- The next president must show evidence of youth mentoringas a teacher, business owner, non-governmental or community organizer, etc. He or she must have a robust testimony of youth resources developed by him/her. If in academia, he or she must have produced high-ranking manpower of former students occupying positions of responsibility across the nation and the world!
- The next president must show a deep understanding of the concept of leadershipand demonstrate through his/her writings or through practice how leadership of a country as Nigeria must be through humility and servant-hood and not hubris, arrogance nor dictatorship. The new president in 2019 must be a strong man of faith, and be a useful member of his community without being at the mercy of his ethnic nor religious identities. Nigerians must be guaranteed the right and freedom to practice any religion of their choice or even no religion anywhere they live.
- The next president must be a person with strong family values. He/She must also have demonstrated maturity and had a broad life experiences living and working among diverse local or global communities. His personal character must eschew greed for materialism and must be a person of great humility.
- The new Nigerian president must be a person with a healthy lifestyle.He or she must be prepared to work long hours and endure challenging routines in the service of the nation. Chain smokers and immoderate lovers of alcoholic beverages will not get our endorsement. The nation cannot afford them at this stage.
- The next Nigerian President should have a diplomatic experiencehaving served in any of the nation’s embassies as head of mission or in other capacities at the United Nations, African Union or ECOWAS. This is necessary to guarantee Nigeria an effective representation in the global community so that Nigeria’s position in the international community can be enhanced. Fatal flaws due to cluelessness of diplomatic protocol and conduct lead to embarrassing gaffes and undermine our national pride.
- He/she must demonstrate unusual courage in challenging public corruption and poor performancethrough his/her writings or life experiences. He/She must not be perceived to be corrupt nor engaged in any act of human rights abuse.
- No nation has ever progressed without recruiting their brightest minds to lead them. Our next president must be a public intellectual with the minimum qualification of graduate advanced degree(s) from recognized universities. In addition, he/she must be one who has published a body of works from where his social and political vision about Nigeria and the African condition are readily available. We need our next president to give us a new direction, a new declaration and affirmation of new goals and aspirations in the global competitive and technologically driven world.
He must show desire to restructure and redesign Nigeria with a common worldview and common goals and destiny. Such a “Philosopher King” president will truly build national unity and save us from the small worldview of ethnic and religious bigotry and exclusions. Only a brilliant mind will be above the evil of nepotism and can assemble a dream team of like-minded brilliant minds to get Nigeria out of the pit into which she is lying.
- We are aware that moneybags and political venture capitalists are planning to install their puppets in all the political parties. We call on the youth, women and patriotic Nigerians to reject money politics and to demonstrate that together we are richer and more powerful than those money mongers. We will support this new leadership recruitment by campaigning for only the best.
- We cannot end this press conference without telling you that our search has so far yielded one such presidential material. He has scored over 90% of our above set criteria. He is Ambassador Professor Iyorwuese Hagher who hails from Benue State of Central Zone (Middle Belt) of Nigeria that has so far not produced a democratic president. We accordingly endorse him to run for President in any party of his choice that will also accept our conditions. We the youth of Nigeria will campaign for him and God will hear our prayers to heal our nation from her bleeding wounds. Ambassador Hagher is a Playwright and distinguished Professor of Theatre for development. He is the Pro–Chancellor Afe Babalola University, who is passionately committed to good leadership.
He served as a Senator in the Second Republic and two times as Minister. His public service record is unblemished. Above all he is very humble and believes in youth development and the vision of a greater and united Nigeria. This is the type of president Nigeria needs to gain internal unity and global respect. We call on the youth, women and all patriotic Nigerians to support the erudite Scholar, Amb. Hagher; to run for the Nigerian presidency 2019.