This writing has nothing to do with the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) allegation that people were pulling off the displayed list of registered voters from the walls because they resent their ages being displayed publicly. No. It’s not about that. It is not also about the much-orchestrated paradigm or generational shift that some of our politicians have canvassed these days. These people who do this canvassing believe that in the determination of who runs our national patrimony, behold old things must pass away and all things must become new. They are not altogether convinced that young people are leaders of tomorrow, rather hinging their gospel of paradigm or generational shift on the conviction that youths are today’s veritable leaders. It is my guess that this was what informed the decision of a certain military leader to ban what was referred to as the ‘old brigade’ from the political arena. He began to cultivate a ‘new breed’ of politicians whom he hoped would bring the full weight of their youthful ideas and antecedents to bear on our political culture and disposition. But there was a serious flaw in that arrangement, noble and novel as it was. First, it is not a normal thing in a democracy to ban people from a method of governance said to be for, of and by the people. Second, nearly all of the ‘new breed’ were cross-bred and cross pollinated from the loins of the man in power or that they were scions of the banned ‘old brigade’.
We are not here to discuss any of that even though our first paragraph dwelt on that a little bit. What is of interest to us however is something I suspect you already must have noticed. But if you’ve not noticed it, you would find out as you think about it that about 85% of those seeking political office mostly as governors were people who claim their ages fall within the era of
At the onset of
There are many unfortunate things about the forty somethingish people who aspire to lead today: one, it does seem that too many of them are scions of the ‘old brigade’, sired from loins of greed and are now acolytes of the culture of corruption. Two, it does seem too that they have the sort of political mentality that was prevalent in Nigeria’s Second Republic, where politicians were so immature and so reckless despite their ages that their recklessness and immaturity paved the way for soldiers to truncate our growth as a nation. If indeed at the age of forty or thereabouts, a person is considered mature enough to handle situations as they arise, our politicians’ antics then was what you would observe to know why our nation is forty-something but still an infant.
This is why I have had to shift from that old position of mine, that those who have messed up this nation are the ‘old brigade’. The way things are now, I don’t think it is a generational change we need, as it were. Knowing what to do has nothing to do with your age. The Bible gives a relevant example with the comparative ages of a Solomon and a Methuselah. At the same time too, if you ignore me awhile and read from the book of Job 32 from verses six through to verse nine, you would read something like this:
I am young in years
and you are aged
therefore I was timid and afraid
to declare my opinion to you
I said, ‘Let days speak and many days
But it is the spirit in a man,
the breath of the Almighty
that makes him understand.
What we need therefore, are people in whatever age bracket imbued with the sort of ideas that empower our people. We need people today with ideas that generate the kind of opportunities that build our people. We need people who’ll bring back our groundnut pyramids, our cocoa farms, our coal and our palm oil. And they could be whatever age. We’re not interested any more in any one who’ll depend solely on the structures and financial handout from