Essay: Where Is Nigeria’s Emmanuel Macron?

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Yaaaaaaay!!!! Look at that energy!

I am proud of a nation that realised they need to be led by a man in his thirties. (Of course Emmanuel Macron did not just win on the singular basis of being young. There are other factors put together).

I have followed the election closely and at the point when it became evident that Macron was winning, I started feeling more excited ( make no mistake, I have nothing against Marine Le Pen). My excitement was based on the fact that a young man is taking up the leadership of a country like France.

And for a moment I wished I was a citizen. In a sudden flood of thoughts, I wondered to myself, can Nigeria possibly get an Emmanuel Macron? Where is Nigeria’s Emmanuel Macron?

Mr President jets out of the country for a medical follow up. He looked quite unwell while addressing the Chibok 82. And I say he truly needs his health back. That is just one situation.

As far as I know, the youngest leader Nigeria ever had was Yakubu Gowon, the third head of state who got in at the age of 31 in a military era. Since then Nigeria has graced the neighbourhood of 60’s and 70’s for their leaders and I am wondering what’s wrong with us?

For a country as large as Nigeria with a population of 182 million, more than half being young people under thirty of age, it is worrisome that her leaders are far from being young people. What are we doing with old men and women with idealogies that does not resonate with more than half the populace?

I am thirty now, and it excites me to think that the President elect of France is only 9 years older than me! You know what that means? His policies are more likely going to be resonant with the youth of his country and challenge the status quo of the old.

I want this for Nigeria.

I dream of a Nigeria with a vibrant young President and other leadership positions.

I desire a Nigeria with leaders my age grade.

I am for  the campaign “Not too young to run”.

Here are the youngest presidents in Africa:

9) John Dramani Mahama, Ghana (Age: 57 – born 29 November 1958

8) Ali Bongo Ondimba, Gabon (Age: 56 – born 9 February 1959

7) Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya (Age: 54 – born 26 October 1961

6) Macky Sall, Senegal (Age: 54 – born 11 December 1961

5) Pierre Nkurunziza, Burundi (Age: 51 – born 18 December 1963

4) Yahya Jammeh, The Gambia (Age: 50 – born 25 May 1965

3) Faure Gnassingbe, Togo (Age: 49 – born 6 June 1966

2) Mswati III, Swaziland (Age: 47) – Mswati III was born Prince Makhosetive Dlaminion on 19 April 1968

1) Joseph Kabila Kabange, D.R. Congo (Age: 44) – known commonly as Joseph Kabila, born 4 June 1971

You would notice the numbering is different. So the youngest is 44. Not too bad you would say. However, my desire is to see Nigeria in the list as number one and not even number nine.

There are a lot of Emmanuel Macron out here in Nigeria but our system needs a re-engineering of our thought pattern, challenging the young people to the forefront and allowing them assume their places without fear of intimidation of the old wine and recycling same people and reinventing the wheel syndrome in our political structure.

We need a media that would create that sensitization, reach out for the young and get them meaningfully involved.

I want my children to meet a younger President, ( I do not wish anyone dead. Don’t get it twisted), to meet younger governors, to experience younger generation of law makers.

I know it is possible.

If France did it, Nigeria can.

Where are we, the Emmanuel “Macrons”

I am here

Do I get ten more? 5 more? More more?


BY AMAKA OKOYE

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