A group of youths in the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Sunday said the 2023 presidential ambition of the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will have their blessing if a much younger candidate emerges as the National Chairman of the party.
The group under the aegis of the Coalition of Progressive Youths and Student Leaders at a press conference in Lagos said having Tinubu as the party’s presidential candidate and a youthful party’s Chairman would meet the yearning and aspiration of the youth for greater inclusion in the democratic space.
Convener of the coalition, Olalere Moshood Owoseni, who addressed the conference also declared that Tinubu has met all the criteria and is well qualified to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
But he said Asiwaju must support one of the young aspirants that have indicated interest to become the national chairman of the APC ahead of the February 2022 National Convention.
The coalition, however, recommended three young candidates, including Mallam Saliu Mustapha, 48 from Kwara state, Muhammad Etsu, 50, from Niger State and Muhammed Bello, 50, from Taraba.
Asked who among the three aspirants the group would prefer since the three cannot be the chairman, he said, “For me, I will go for the youngest one among them.”
Owoseni said, “By all standards imaginable, Asiwaju is the ‘political lion’ of the South West, who stepped into regional leadership after his tenure as a governor, helping many innovative and reform-minded individuals to attain political leadership in their States; and as a result entrenching almost a total progressive politics within the South-West geopolitical zone.
“But as much as we believe that Asiwaju possesses the right mix of experience and network to give Nigeria the right type of leadership, it is our considered opinion that he, Asiwaju and by extension, the APC must strike a generational balance between the leader of the government and the head of the party.
“Considering the age of Asiwaju, the interest of the youth of party, with our sustained agitation for inclusion in the last few years, would have to be catered for in the emerging 2023 political arrangements in order to attain a good generational balance in the power equation.
“The population of Nigerian youth, which has been said to be so huge that it’s more than the population of some countries as a whole, cannot be disregarded in any political calculation. This is why, in our considered opinion, the prospect of an Asiwaju presidency recommend that the party must be headed by a younger person of less than 50 years of age.
“This is therefore a direct charge to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to not only lend support but also lead the way for our legitimate agitations for a younger National chairman of the APC at the February 2022 convention.”
The group further assured the three shortlisted aspirants of unconditional support of the youths of the APC spread across the states of the federation.
“We ask them not to give up, rather they should consolidate and align in order to achieve a united front.
“In February, we are ready to turn out in our large numbers and mobilize with our full strength to drive home our hopes and aspirations as critical bloc in the party. We will use what we have, which is our number, to get what we want and demand,” the convener added.