How Buhari’s Ministerial #TheList Robs A Generation Of Leadership Opportunities (READ)

How Buhari’s Ministerial #TheList Robs A Generation Of Leadership Opportunities (READ)

By Azuka Onwuka | Op-Ed Contributor on October 7, 2015
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Presidential Muhammadu Buhari Nigeria APC
Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari, shown here on June 14 in Johannesburg, South Africa. | Mujahid Safodien/AFP/Getty Images

In 1982, Senator Olusola Saraki screened Chief Audu Ogbeh, who was then 35 years, and Ogbeh became the Minister of Communications. In 2015, Senator Saraki’s son, Senator Bukola Saraki, is about to screen Chief Audu Ogbeh as a minister again (33 years after).

In 1975, Buhari was trusted to be made the governor of Northeastern State at the age of 32 years. That brought him to prominence and he was able to prove that he can lead, which made him to be appointed a minister of petroleum the next year. Today, he is the President.

From the 21-man ministerial list released yesterday, the only under 50 in the list is Kemi Adeosun (48 years).
Experience is fantastic. Integrity is wonderful. Old age is a blessing. But if the world is identifying people in their 30s and 40s and early 50s and making them leaders and drivers of change, why must we be seeking out people in retirement to lead us?

Is old age synonymous with integrity and capability? No. Why then does the nation have 55 years as retirement age? Why not make it 80 years, since only the elderly have wisdom, experience, integrity?

There are thousands of young, vibrant, intelligent, visionary, honest, IT-savvy and patriotic Nigerians across the country and the world burning with the desire to get the opportunity to join in transforming Nigeria.

How were Akunyili, Ribadu, El-Rufai, Soludo, Ezekwesili, Adesina, etc discovered? Were they known nationally before they were given appointments? No.

And why should there be only 3 women in a list of 21 (14.2%) when we had achieved up to 35% before? Have men proved better in governance in Nigeria? If there have been bad women in governance, have there not been even more bad men in governance, using the names of those who have been jailed for corruption as a yardstick?

Let nobody talk of merit or integrity or the like. If you need people that have the qualities to transform this nation, you can get them from all parts of the country, from men and women, from young and old.

The young shall not continue to grow only in proverbs and wise sayings. Also equity for women should not continue to be trivialised as not being critical.

A generation that does not empower the next generation is not just a failure but greedy.

Azuka Onwuka is a veteran journalist and writer. He is also a social commentator and public affairs analyst. Connect with him on Facebook.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

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