The Leader Austria wants. You?

Photo Credit: CNN

The winds of change in the world of 21st Century politics bring with it a younger vibe into the system.

A 39 year old French man married to a woman twice his age becomes president, and New Zealand is buzzing with the news that Jacinda Ardern is poised to become its new prime minister. In Austria, early results suggest that 31 year old Sebastian Kurtz is Austria’s next chancellor and back in 2015 we’d thought Justin Trudeau was young! In retrospect, the world probably has him to thank for the new trend of voting in young leaders. I recall when Trudeau became Prime Minister, we could not believe it. He was 43 years old and was already at the helm of Canada’s affairs. Barack Obama was 48 when he became president in 2009, years younger than George W Bush. Little did we know that his was only the beginning…

I can’t help but route all these developments home.

Nigeria.

On the 26th of July 2017, the Nigerian National Assembly passed into law a bill that proposes 35 as the minimum age for the office of the president. Hottest news of the day without a doubt. It trended on Social Media for days! Now however I , like many other Nigerian, am wondering if we dare hope that 2019 will bring with it Fresh blood. I have seen posters of people and I am googling to know more about them: some I’m impressed by and others have made my heart whisper, ‘ You too?’

Don’t get me wrong, I’m pleased by the show of new faces but I’m also wondering what skills and changes they will bring to the table. A lot of manifestos are hinged on the candidate’s youth. But you see, it is not just youth we need. Even Chinua Achebe explained what is required for a youth to lead in any society. He said and I paraphrase, ‘When a child washes his hands well he can sit and eat with the elders.’

It’s about the manifesto and how much they commit to executing it once they get into power.

According to CNN, Sebastian is offering the people of Austria a crackdown on immigration and they want him for that. I can think of a number of things I want my future Nigerian President to focus on and trust me when I say it will not be a one point agenda!

Over the next few weeks I’ll write about the sort of person I will be casting my vote for. My vote is just one but it is very powerful. Just to be clear: I’m not voting for anyone who is above a certain age- we need fresh blood in our system but those coming in need to bring in the change Nigeria needs. What kind of leader do you want? Do tell!

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