Throughout history, young people have actively sought to bring social, political, technological, and economic change to their societies or countries. In doing so, they are sometimes credited with changing business as usual and for this they are portrayed as being rebellious, destructive of outdated conventional norms, reckless or violent. Certainly, young people are today and tomorrow’s lifeline through entrepreneurship, education, innovation, professionals, political and civil leaders who are vital to governance, economic growth and peace.
Therefore, the concept of youths being leaders of tomorrow is an outdated old order barrier planted against the youths in their quest for leadership.
As part of the audience and an invited observer at the March 06, 2018 ‘’Awo Conversations’’ with the theme: The Youth and Nigeria’s Leadership; The Awo Example, organised by the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation to commemorate the birthday of the Sage; the symbol and architect of modern western Nigeria, I observed a growing mindset of divisive tendencies in an average Nigerian which must be discouraged because it abuses whatever revolutionary ideas since its core principle is anchored against a group; be it on demography or gender.
Issues like war against old people in leadership, feminism, youth-ism, etc are needless distractions that may solve a problem and create others. For instance, of all the panelists that spoke at the conversation, the most articulate and perhaps the only woman in the row was the most articulate who earned a standing ovation after her first speech to the admiration and acceptance of even her co-panelists. Yes, she was a woman but proved her worth as a person not in the capacity of her gender. This invariably means leadership allocation should not be out of quota system, but through a system of meritocracy irrespective of creed, tribe, gender or age.
The conversation was lucky to have as its Chairman, Professor Banji Akintoye; who is one of the few surviving member of the Awolowo’s progressive assembly, he stated that Awo’s priorities is majorly capacity building, enlightenment and development of human capital for the development of key sectors under the principle of Life More Abundant.
Could this be the Human Capital Index Edge of the South-West over other regions? Did his priorities revolt against the older generation? Was it as a result of the foresight of the great leader Awo was? Was it an accident of time or the necessity of time?
- Akinola Iwilade,
Iwo, Osun State
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