By ‘Dotun Akintomide
The Coalition of Northern Youths has asked President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar to bow out of the 2019 presidential race and support younger politicians to take the stage.
The group in a communiqué issued at the end of their summit in Kaduna Monday, worried that older people who have dominated the political stage since independence have not moved the country forward.
Reading the communiqué, spokesman of the group, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said they had previously advised Buhari to leave the stage for younger people between the ages of 18 and 60.
“We had advised him (Buhari) to look for a younger person who has the integrity like him to run for the presidency.
“Anybody above 70 years of age should give way to the younger generation,” the group, which last year issued an ultimatum to Nigerians of South-east origin to leave the North, said.
The Northern youth coalition explained that the advice became imperative in view of the fact that Buhari and Abubakar who are both in their 70s “participated in debates that gave birth to the current national arrangement that is largely acknowledged as having failed our national aspirations”.
The communiqué called on Nigerians to insist on a generational change in the leadership of the country.
“Frustrated young Nigerians, having paid their dues in the national development efforts, have been manifestly left to suffer from the suffocating consequences of the prevailing exclusive and defeatist leadership selection process that has been imposed on the country over the years, by succeeding 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,” the group said.
It also frowned on what it described as “the seeming endorsement by some Northern leaders of a brand of restructuring that clearly places the region at a disadvantage”, declaring that it was unacceptable and must be discountenanced.
The group said the North will “not settle for any restructuring plan that is not total, comprehensive and wholistic.”