The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Middle Belt Forum (MBF), and Afenifere have reacted to the comment by a former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), that the next President of Nigeria should be less than 70 years and that the country’s corruption index is worse now than what it was when he was Nigeria’s military ruler.
While the ACF backed Babangida’s position on the next president’s age limit, the MBF also supported the country’s former military leader that corruption was less during his regime than now.
On its part, the pan Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has also backed the former military president’s position on the age of the next president, citing the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo; and Chief Ladoke Akintola, who were in their 50s and 40s when they became premiers of the Western Region.
Afenifere also cited the cases of the former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama of the United States, who mounted the saddle when they were not up to 60 years of age.”We can’t have another president who will be hampered by age in 2023″ the group said
The socio-political group, however, maintained that a president’s performance does not depend on his age but his vision and the country’s political structure which they claim is their reason for clamouring for restructuring.
Speaking on ARISE NEWS Channel, the broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspaper, to mark his 80th birthday, Babangida had recommended that the next president would be in his 60s.
Babangida said the presidential hopefuls in 2023 should be persons in their 60s with contacts across the nation and who had been traversing the geo-political zones, marketing their acceptability and capacity.
The ACF also endorsed the suggestion by the former military president on the age limit of the next president.
Spokesman of the forum, Mr. Emmanuel Yawe said the suggestion for the younger generation to take over the leadership of the country should not be discarded.
Yawe, who did not comment on Babangida’s corruption claim, noted that he is an experienced military President, having ruled the country for eight years, stressing that whatever he suggests is for the good of the country.
Yawe said the ACF holds Babangida in very high esteem and urged Nigerians to take his ideas seriously.
We believe his suggestion that Nigerians of a younger generation should take over the presidency is worthwhile. This is the digital age and all over the world, it is the trend.
“IBB is an experienced military politician who ruled this country for eight years as the one and only military president. Additionally, he is one of the patrons of ACF.
“Whatever he suggests for this country we believe is for the good of the country, he is also a man imbued with patriotic ideas.
Meanwhile, the pan Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has also supported the idea of a youthful president, citing the case of Awolowo and Akintola, pointing out, however that a president’s performance does not depend on his age but his vision and the country’s political structure.
The organisation, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Jare Ajayi, said the crisis in Nigeria’s leadership and governance is not that of the age of the person in charge but rather with the political template on which the country is operating and the kind of vision that the person brings into the office.
According to him, “To us in Afenifere, the way Nigeria political template is structured, hardly can any person in a leadership position of the country achieve much.
“This is why we are clamouring for the immediate restructuring of the country – a restructured federation in which each constituent unit is in control of most of its affairs, including the resources within its jurisdiction – a restructured federation that allows institutions to operate freely as enshrined in the laws that established them.