Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has urged African youths to actively participate in politics in order to pursue old politicians out of power.
Obasanjo stated this while delivering a keynote address at a virtual interactive session to mark this year’s International Youth Day on Wednesday.
The programme was organised by the Youth Development Centre, an arm of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
According to the former two-term president, the youth would continue to be in the periphery on the political stage except they make conscious efforts to occupy the leadership positions by forcing the old generation out.
He also said the youth should endeavour to make an influence in party politics and demand “positive discrimination in favour of youth” in the constitution of political parties.
He said: “Unless you squeeze out those who are in the office and those who want to remain in office perpetually, some after the age of 80. Unless you squeeze them out 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 offices 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.”
Participants of the session attended from Nigeria, Mali, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and the United States of America.