- The Catholic archbishop of the Abuja diocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, says Nigeria actually needs a younger leader, but some given the opportunities have failed
- Onaiyekan says what is paramount now is ruling the country and serving the people in the name of God
- He eulogised the late MT Mbu, a former foreign affairs minister
The Catholic archbishop of the Abuja diocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, reportedly said on Tuesday, April 10, that age may not matter as President Muhammadu Buhari seeks a return to office in the forthcoming 2019 election.
The Nation reports Onaiyekan as saying that what should be paramount is the concern for others and service to the people in the name of God. He, however, said there was need to give opportunity to younger people to rule, but reportedly expressed regret that from experience, the young people put in office had not performed.
Speaking at the post-humous launching of the autobiography of a former foreign affairs minister, Chief Mathew Mbu, Onaiyekan said those seeking re-election must give cogent reasons.
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“At the end of the day, maybe it is not a matter of the age but a matter of your own mind, your intention, your love for doing the right thing, especially concern for others, politics and service to the people in the name of God.
“If we start to take these things seriously, then probably, it would not matter whether we declare to seek reelection at 79 or whether we don’t.
“The important thing is: what do we want power for? Why do you want to seek re-election? We are waiting to see because we are told that we are going to see new things in the next year, I am looking forward. New things can come from old people, you know and people can change. People can have a change of heart. We are looking forward to that.
Notwithstanding, Onaiyekan sought opportunity for younger people to be in power in the country.
“MT Mbu is a good Catholic and you know we Catholics love ourselves very much. In 1953 when he was a young minister, I was in standard three in primary school and we all knew MT Mbu as a minister.
“There were not too many ministers then unlike today where you have to cover the whole 36 states. In those days, we didn’t have such problem. The point I want to make is this, today, when you hear that a young boy was a minister, my mind always goes to those days too and I ask, how many people were old then?
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“The people we now see as ancestors were all young people. I will like to find out the age of Tafawa Balewa and even Awolowo at that time.
“They were all relatively young and when Awolowo and Azikiwe broke grounds then, they were young. I think this is the story we need to tell to our younger people but the question is, where is the space for our younger people when old people like me are still hanging around?
“We have to find a way of giving room to younger people to show what they can do also. Mbu has shown that young people can perform but we have also had experiences of young people who have not performed," he said.
NAIJ.com earlier reported that President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, April 9, in Abuja declared his intention to seek re-election in 2019.
Malam Garba Shehu, the president’s senior special assistant on media and Publicity confirmed this development in a statement in Abuja on Monday.
President Buhari on 2019 presidential election: will you vote for him? | NAIJ.com TV