Monday, February 13, 2017

Yoruba And The Cog Of Gerontocracy

By Olukayode Ajulo
 As the world educates and initiates her young ones as modern species more aggressively attuned to the flexibilities of modernity as working antidote to rigid political antiquity which is largely Africa’s bane, Africa, yes, Nigeria, has ingloriously glued itself to gerontocracy. It wasn’t particularly bad for Nigeria at the get-go. Early nationalists who fought for, sought and got independence for the nation Nigeria did same in their youths.
Remember Herbert Macaulay, Al-Haji Aminu Kano, Al-Haji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Professor Eyo Ita, Al-Haji Sir Ahmadu Bello, Alvan Ikoku, Dennis Osadebay, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Egbert Udo Udoma, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Joseph Tarka, General Murtala Mohammed and the up and doing General Yakubu Gowon all called the shots as leaders of the country in their youth,an era Nigerians call golden, years that fanned radical changes and revolutionary ideologies that saw the country out of the woods. When it comes to mind that three of these prominent Nigerians, Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello, and Nnamdi Azikiwe, personally participated in negotiations for the independence from Britain, then you can dearly bemoan the political Egypt to which Nigeria has gladly returned.

 Today, our state and federal parliaments have become virtual permanent homes for docile and unproductive septuagenarians and lame octogenarians who do but deepen the depth of our doom as a country. We must hammer the truism that youth mainstreaming can allow young people to change the world by creating new awareness, opportunities, policies, systems and cultures that foster youth engagement. In political parties, youth mainstreaming could allow for children and youth to affect democratic representation even in parties that would deny them the right to vote or otherwise become engaged. Whatever age they are, young people can run for office anywhere in the world as an act of protest; to make a stand or to draw attention.

In my sojourn across my country -Nigera vis-a-vis the age demography of political leaders among the major ethic, I dare say there’s no denying that the predomination of these gerontocrats in Nigerian political space seems more prevalent among the Yoruba people of the Southwest, Nigeria. It would alarm one who’s initiated and rich enough of Yoruba’s culture to the effect that the youth of this tribe has always been it’s strength and a central part of its rich history. Its but alien to us (the Yorubas) for old men and women to be avaricious especially with political power and office. It was not so with the people and culture of the Yoruba at the various chapters and sagas in history, for instance, it wasn’t so when the late Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, the Awujale of Ijebu land was enthroned at age 26 in 1960.

This exemplar monarch, who has reigned for more than half a century has achieved so much for his domain and the Yoruba land as a constituency. The other day, a monarch in his youth ascended the throne of his forefathers as the Ooni of Ife and the first Oba on the soil of the Yoruba geographical space. Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, the 51st Ooni of Ife, who was enthroned barely over a year ago has been a toast to great kingship;   his reign has been marked by a modern outlook and a number of progressive policies, prince of which is his unification agenda and transformation moves of the illustrious king since he ascended the throne. He continues to initiate and coordinate lofty activities to advance the interest of his clan, the country and the black race around the world.

That is what one gets when muscles and mental might is present in leaders or representatives. In order to become engaged in politics in the most effective ways, young people should be encouraged to learn about political ideologies , political actions, political issues and other realities within and around the political system. They should be involved to change the date of a daily failing country and continent. Nigerian youths should be positioned across the various constituent ethic identities for leadership. We need more of Ogunwusis and Adetonas, Yoruba land needs not continue to waste the worth of her youth if it must prosper.

 If Yoruba must regain and retain its pride of place, if Nigeria must triumph over its today’s woes and travel beyond the socioeconomic boundaries that fetters it, such as those given above, we must begin to prevail on citizens to start to discourage fielding grandparents for political offices, a trend anticlockwise to the emerging new world.
*Ajulo is Principal Partner, Kayode Ajulo & Co. Castle of Law, Abuja 

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