Sudanese-British businessman and founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Mohammed Ibrahim, has lashed out at African youth for sitting by while aged, wrinkly ancient relics are voted in to rule their countries. At a recent event, the billionaire noted that countries that were way more developed than those in Africa opt for younger presidential candidates to lead them.
Mincing no words to an audience consisting of top dignitaries including former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, he is quoted, “Please allow me to be frank, don’t take offense. I wish to start from where President Obasanjo stopped about age. You have been president for so long that’s why you are careful with words…You see people at 90 years and about to start new terms, you guys are crazy or what?”, he asked the youth in attendance.
“We see people in wheelchairs unable to raise hands standing for election. This is a joke; you are free to laugh…the whole world is already laughing at us.”
“The US is the most important country in the world, like it or not…Obama who is half African anyway was 46, 47 years… If Obama was in Kenya, what would he be doing? He would be driving a bus maybe. ”
“And he was not the youngest president. Clinton and Kennedy were even younger. Why these big countries lead… men in their 40s are entrusted with their nuclear weapons, economies, all resources. And we only pick up men at 90s to lead us; to lead us where? To the grave?”
Good question and the answer is Yes, to the grave. Maybe the reason why most of Africa is developing at a very slow rate compared to the rest of the world is that we allow these old men with an ancestral mentality to lead us in an age where they find it hard to navigate. They neither have the strength nor the modern exuberance we need to drive the change we want to see in Africa.
They claim “what an old man sees lying down, a child on top of a tree can never see” and make it seem as if they’re the museums of knowledge but all they have done thus far is drive us further into poverty and make us the laughing stock of the world.
The old generation needs to relax and let their sons and daughters take over the mantle of leadership because Africa really needs to advance, and 80-year-olds are unlikely to be at the forefront of this battle.