By Ugo Onyeka
Peter Obi has now acquired a reputation as an advocate of youth participation in governance. The entire “Obidient movement” is a creation of young people, nearly 100%. But, since when did Peter Obi realise that “young people should take back their country”? At what point in his life did he suddenly start advocating for expansion of the stake of youths in the governance processes of their country? The answers to these questions lies in what Peter Obi did to youths when he was governor of Anambra State.
Obi became Anambra’s governor at a youthful age of 45 years and by 53 years, he had already completed his two terms of eight years as Governor. So during his eight years as Anambra State Governor, how did Obi empower young people politically?
One of the people Obi had in his cabinet was his Uncle, Sylvester Nwaobualor, who at the time, was about 70 years. Chief Nwaobualor was born in 1937. But today, out of political expediency or desperation, Peter Obi is now appealing to youths to take their country. How many youths did Obi appoint into his cabinet of nearly 40 people? The SSG at the time was Oseloka Obaze, a man nearly ten years older than Peter Obi. He came to Anambra after his retirement. More than 95% of Obi’s Commissioners were people born in 1950s. The only Commissioner younger than Obi was Emeka Ojukwu Jnr, who later resigned and left Obi because of how Obi was micro-managing his cabinet members. Key Obi’s cabinet members like Joe Martins Uzodike, was born in 1954. Callistus Ilozumba was born in 1950. Prof. Stella Okunna was born in 1951.
For complete eight years, Obi did not take young people seriously and did not give them any opportunity to “take back their country”. But all of a sudden, he sees the clamour for Youth inclusion in governance and wants to take advantage of it. When he had the chance to include youths in government, did he do that? Instead, he went for people much older than he was. To crown it all, although Obi became Governor at 45 years, he brought a 59 years old man to succeed him. If Obi was honest and true to his new found message of youth inclusiveness, why did he not experiment it in Anambra under his watch?
These are realities that people must face. Obi is not a newbie. He has been in government. So, he has record that can be traced. Like he usually say, I challenge anyone who thinks that Peter Obi is a champion of youth inclusion in governance to go and verify his appointments during his time as Anambra’s governor. This will basically tell if Obi is convinced about this his new fanciful advocacy for youth inclusion, or just doing it to hoodwink and mislead undiscerning Nigerian Youths.
Peter Obi had absolute no confidence in young people’s skills and abilities. There is no other reason he ignored youths with such a loud silence. Consequently, it was difficult for him to produce leaders suitable to occupy various elective political offices. Obi for eight years failed to produce a senator in Anambra State. He could not also produce a successor, hence he had to ‘import’ Obiano, who had already retired from his banking job. It is such an irony that an advocate of youth inclusiveness had to revive a retiree and brought him back to succeed him. Out of millions of educated, skillful and exposed Anambra youths, not one of them was suitable to be mentored by Peter Obi as his successor. But the same man is now parading himself as Nigerian youths’ gateway to political power. If Obi could not grant Anambra youths access to his own cabinet, how then can he possibly be trusted with Nigeria’s youth demand for a higher stake in their government?
It is therefore of utmost importance, that people sit and have a critical look at Obi’s pattern. Peter Obi has a penchant for abandoning his own conviction, while playing a script that looks good in the public’s eyes. He does this just for optics and only with the sole intention of presenting a false impression of himself, thereby deceiving people into believing same as his true and accurate nature.
Peter Obi is not and can never be a youth friendly leader. Any young person supporting Obi on the assumption that he will expand opportunities for young people in governance, is doing so, totally on his or her own, as there is nothing that points to that, in reality.
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