- Shettims Yerima, on Tuesday, February 2, said that any age above 60 years should not contest in the coming 2023 elections
- The Arewa youth leader is of the opinion that Nigeria should align with global best practices on the age of politicians
- He said governor Yahaya Bello is a good example of a young but competent politician who has done very well in Kogi state and can be given a chance
Abuja, Nigeria - Shettima Yerima, President of the Arewa Youths Forum, on Tuesday, February 1, cautioned Nigerian youths against voting for older politicians, stating that any young Nigerian in support of the older generation of Nigerians in the coming election is “on a self-destructive mission.”
In an exclusive chat with Legit.ng, Shettima said that he has always maintained that the youths cannot afford to support any age beyond 60 years of age, stating that any age beyond the range of 60 is unacceptable.
Recently, debates on the age of politicians have become major political topics at different fora, particularly since the declaration by some politicians that they are running in the 2023 presidential election.
Shettima chides older politicians
According to Shettima:
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“Globally, if you look at the trend of things in the world today, you realize that even the world powers have taken cognizance of this fact. That’s why most of the leaders today are within that range and categories. Going thoroughly into the reality of today globally, the youths are more sound and more sincere than these old and recycled politicians.
“Everything has a time and this is the time for the younger generation to take responsibility if we must make anything meaningful in the best interest of this country."
Shettima applauds youths’ leadership capacity
When asked on how reliable the youths are in terms of taking up leadership roles, Shettima said:
“We have them in millions. They are reliable. When it comes to entrepreneurship, we have them, when it comes to politics today, you have the younger elements who are very sound, vast and they are doing very well. Even within the governors, you can find them. Specifically, you can look at Yahaya Bello.
"He has done very very well. Yes, he was unstable in his first tenure but right now, he is getting it right. If you are not going to give him credit for anything, at least for security. Without security, there will be no meaningful development. Let us now make Kogi State a case study."
He argued that Nigerian youths have the ability to take over power despite the current strength of the nation’s political leaders who have refused to give way to the younger generation. According to him, the youths constitute 70 percent of the entire population in the country.
“I have no doubt in my mind because of the consciousness and the awareness we have created and still creating. We have tried over and over again with these older people, but they are not good enough. We can’t continue to keep trying and expect something different. They will continue to give you the same result. Someone can only give you what he has. He cannot give you what he does not have."
The youths leader further said:
“And from all indications today, with the development and advancement in the world, certainly, they cannot fit in. Some of them do not deserve to be given any advice because they are failures themselves. They have been failing all their lives. They have failed both in their private and public lives.
“So we can do it. We have young men who are brilliant and sound and can do better. Imagine bringing in the likes of Jack Rich and the rest of them. Those are young people you can bring to the fore.‘’
Youths desperately need a change
Asked about the level of awareness and sensitization among young Nigerians, he said:
“So far, we have gone far, and we are consulting and talking with the younger elements and they know that we cannot continue to work with these dead horses. Dead horses cannot move anywhere. Let us not fool ourselves. We can do better."
Old politicians should retire
“If some of them had the opportunity, and at the age of Fifty-something they were Ministers, and at the age of 30, some of them were governors and even heads of state. What is wrong with this generation that we cannot do better? Some of them, because of their myopic thinking, believe that they must always have their ways when an issue like this comes up.
"We demand a new order. Nobody can stand in our way. If civil servants can go on retirement, what happens to politicians? Is he not supposed to go on retirement. You are already fading out. Any young person that stands on the side of this older generation is committing suicide against our generation and we will never forgive him, and posterity won’t forgive him,’’ Shettima fumes.
Recall Legit.ng had reported President Muhammadu Buhari complaining that age was telling on him and he was waiting patiently to pass the baton to another leader.
The president was, however, quick to say he won’t give up on the numerous assignments before him as they were part of the job he had signed to do.