The National Coordinator, New Nigeria Movement, Alhaji Mohammed Ibrahim Ajia, has said that the forthcoming general elections remain a defining moment in the clamour for generational change in the leadership of the country.
He explained that it behooves on old political class to quit active politics, offer guide and mentorship and allow young people to preside, and thus expeditiously pushing Nigeria to her dream land.
In a statement he personally signed and issued to commemorate International Senior Citizens Day, Ajia, a former gubernatorial aspirant in Kwara State urged old politicians to emulate a former South African President, Nelson Mandela, who resisted temptation to have another shot in office following his old age.
He admonished members of the old political class to retire from active politics and instead play advisory role to show their patriotism and love for the continuous existence of the country.
Ajia, a security expert, thanked leaders for sustaining the nation’s democratic space over two decades of her civilian rule, insisted that it is high time for the young leaders to be allowed to fix the daunting challenges.
He expressed confidence in the ability of the young people to get the country working again contrary to erroneous insinuation in some quarters.
“We congratulate our senior citizens on this day, especially for the role they have played in Nigerian Democracy since 1999 till date. They have tried and we appreciate them. All their efforts are visible including the fruits produced therein.
“However, they need to realize that they have offered their best. We use this moment to advise them to honourably retire and take advisory role for the emergence of young leaders in 2023.
“It is in the interest of our dear country that they change their role in politics and take advisory role so as to allow the young people to take the lead in the forthcoming general elections so that the best among us can emerge and rewrite the history of the country better and navigate us to our dream land.
“In a situation where they failed to yield to this advice, it shows that they are not patriotic about the country. The only patriotic role they need to play at this moment is for all of them to resign from active political role, but guide, give mentorship and play advisory role to the young emerging politicians so that we can build the country that all of them will be proud of.
“We know that it would be very difficult for them (old politicians) to take that decision, but they should emulate patriotic leaders like Nelson Mandela of South Africa, who despite the humiliation he faced during the struggle for his country and after being in jail for a very long time, came out and ruled South Africa for one term when he realized that his age was no longer in tandem with the reality of life.
“Our old politicians should also be patriotic like the then Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, who having realized that his continued stay in power might lead to end of Nigeria, stepped aside. And today, we see him as being patriotic for that singular act. We are not talking about how he came in. But that singular role of stepping aside and leaving the country for another person to take over, shows patriotism.
“We use this medium to admonish all old politicians and senior citizens that for the sake of continuous existence of Nigeria, adopt and accept our proposal of becoming advisers in the political arena and allow the young people to take charge come 2023.
“Finally, as we celebrate our senior citizens on this day, we assure you of our support and respect and also hope that you will all yield to our humble advise for your names to be written in gold”, Ajia said.