Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has warned African youths to note that leadership position would not come their way until they “squeeze older generation out of office”.
Obasanjo also advised the youths to demand that affirmative action is encapsulated in the constitution of political parties, as part of strategies to ease out old generation of leaders.
He spoke on Wednesday while delivering a keynote address at a virtual interactive session with youths to mark this year’s International Youth Day.
The programme was organised by the Youth Development Centre, an arm of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Oke – Mosan, Abeokuta.
Participants of the meeting cut across Nigeria, Mali, United States, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa.
He noted that unless the leaders were evicted from the stage, they would continue to occupy the leadership positions.
Obasanjo said: “Unless you squeeze out those who are in office and those who want to remain in office perpetually, some after the age of 80, they will not want to be out.
“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 office 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.”