“Look at the average age of our presidents, it’s about 63/64 years old…we are the only continent in the world where we have presidents at 90 years old starting new terms. You guys are crazy or what? (audience laughs)”. Well, those were some of the sentiments of Sudanese-British billionaire businessman Mohammed “Mo” Ibrahim.
The Founder and Chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation made those comments at an event in Kigali, Rwanda as a member of a panel alongside Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Ex-Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, William Ruto and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Take a look at the video below:
When Mo Ibrahim started off with “allow me to be frank”. I didnt realize that he was going to be this Frank. ??? pic.twitter.com/JYLVTPDNHk
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— #UpfrontAfrica (@UpfrontAfrica) March 8, 2018
I laughed hard when I watched the video but the truth of the matter is, this is beyond embarrassing. Sometimes the truth hurts but I couldn’t agree more with what he said considering Africa has a predominantly young population. It is rather unfortunate we are hardly given leadership roles or opportunities to manifest our God-given talents and capabilities. Some of our so-called leaders/elders always seem to jump on the “lack of experience” bandwagon as an excuse to sideline us for their own selfish interests.
I can even bet they wish they could posthumously hold on to those high ranking positions. Looking at some of the outdated and obsolete policies some of our ‘grandpa presidents’ who are guided by their ‘grandpa advisors’ make and implement, I can only conclude they are mere ceremonial leaders.
With Mo Ibrahim’s message clearly directed at the youth, it is incumbent upon us to take action and say “it’s enough” anytime a grandpa/grandma with primitive ideas is presented to us as a likely candidate to hold a high office. Let us grab the bull by the horn and let them know we are also capable of holding such positions. Afterall, how can we gain experience if we are not granted those opportunities they most at times refuse to let go?