By Tony Ogunlowo
2023 is just around the corner and very soon Nigerians will be trooping to the polling stations to cast their votes to elect a new President.
It’ll be a defining election that will determine whether the country will remain as one or whether the chaos, anarchy and hardship will continue.
Their options, unfortunately, will be very limited.
All the major presidential candidates are over the age of seventy suffering from incontinence problems, dementia and other old-age ailments and have at one time or another been in government or involved in it. A majority of them don’t have clean slates and their past achievements are subject to debate.
‘Agbaya’ is a Yoruba word that describes an older person – mostly men – who don’t act their age, thinking they are perpetual Man-Childs and not knowing when to quit – even after they’ve got the T-shirt!
To move the country, forward the nation needs a new young vibrant leader: all over the world, with the exception of a few, young leaders in their forties are being elected to take their countries forward into the 21st century.
In Nigeria the constitution needs to be amended: nobody over the age of 65 should be allowed to contest; a presidential candidate needs to be in touch with the modern world around him.
And that means being physically and mentally fit and how to be part of it. There’s no point in electing an old Baba who can’t even operate a smartphone, let alone know what a gym is!
Second on the list should be education: a slew of previous leaders haven’t had the educational qualifications to string a sentence together let alone a paragraph or an entire speech.
Minimum qualifications for a person wishing to be President should be at least a Master’s degree (- preferably not in Theatre Arts or Religious Studies!).
In addition to educational qualifications the candidate should be made to do an I.Q Test – no room for dullards!
Previous criminal convictions or indictments will have to be third on my list. I’m a great believer in forgiveness and believe if you’ve done your time for your crime you should be given a second chance. This, however, in my books, does not extend to Treasury looters.
If you’ve been convicted for corruption or at one-time or another been a guest of the EFCC chances are if elected to high office again the looting will continue especially when all of them believe in the maxim of an ex-President who doesn’t believe corruption is a crime. So, if you have a conviction or the EFCC has paid you a visit you shouldn’t be allowed to stand for office.
So, if my conditions are followed 95% of the Presidential candidates will have to step aside – and finally retire!
With all the Babas (- aka ‘agbayas’) gone it’ll pave the way for a new generation of young leaders to emerge who won’t keep on reminiscing about how great they were during the civil war and will get to grips with the task of nation re-building.
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