A coalition of northern youths has urged President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to forget their ambitions to contest for the 2019 presidential elections on account of their age.
The coalition in a communique issued at the end of a two-day summit in Kaduna said that the time for leaders above 70 years to pave way for younger leaders between 18 and 60 years had come.
While Buhari is 75, Atiku is 71.
The communique, which was read by the group’s spokesman, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, read in part, “We have advised him (Buhari) to look for a younger person who has the same integrity like his to run for the presidency.
“Anybody above 70 years of age should give way to the younger generation.”
“This is in recognition of the reality that Nigerians within this age bracket are growing worried that the nation has not fared well by being on the same political and economic lanes for 58 years (1960-date), resulting in no meaningful developmental impact.”
This shall, therefore, eventually form the cornerstone for a platform for Nigeria to deliberate, decide, design and develop a roadmap for an ultimate generational power transition.
“Frustrated young Nigerians, having paid their dues in the national developmental effort, have been left to suffer the suffocating consequences of the prevailing exclusive and defeatist leadership selection process being imposed on the country over the years, by successive ruling elite.
“It is time they formed a rallying point from which younger Nigerians can make a strong demand for a new political order, to usher in a generational power shift, as reparation for past marginalisation in the nation’s political leadership.”
He group also described as a “mistake” the recommendations of the committees on restructuring set up by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Northern Governors Forum (NGF).
The communique condemned “the mistake about to be committed by the present crop of northern political leaders in accepting a proposal that could mortgage the region’s coIlective interest and its future.
“The seeming endorsement by some northern leaders of a brand of restructuring that clearly places the region at a disadvantage is unacceptable and must be discountenanced.
For the avoidance of doubt, the North fully supports the restructuring of the country and shall be prepared to represent itself in any debate on the issue.
“The North shall, however, not settle for any restructuring plan that falls short of a total, comprehensive and wholistic reordering that should, first and foremost, include the peaceful, democratic and civil determination of the people or groups of people who truly and sincerely wish to remain part of the Nigerian federation.
“Any reorganisation process which fails to involve the discussion of the limits and extents of all the federating components, with regards to available space and resources, shall not be acceptable to the North.”