Abeokuta — Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday asked politicians to stop using youths as thugs.
A statement yesterday in Abeokuta by Obasanjo's media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, quoted him to have spoken in London at the Inauguration Edition of King's College London Global Leaders Engagement Series where he delivered a paper titled "Demystifying Leadership Capacity Deficit of African Youths: Our Future is in their Hands."
Obasanjo identified lack of economic opportunity, inclusion and adoption of policies on education, skill acquisition, empowerment and employment as some of the obstacles hindering African youths from playing active roles in leadership, development and peace building.
"Enough of using other people's children as experimental subjects and keeping ours in safe havens. Enough of using other people's children as political thugs and ballot box snuffers, while we send ours to Ivy League schools.
"Enough of thinking we know what is right for young people without their input or the courtesy of asking for their opinions", he said.
Obasanjo backed constitutional amendment to give room for youths' contest in political offices, saying "If constitutional changes are required, let us begin now. If policies and political party structures have to change, let us begin now. Of what use is a law that allows young people contest for a particular office only to be confronted with the hurdle of outrageously exorbitant cost of party nomination forms and campaign costs?
"I see hope in that the future of Africa is in the hands of its youth. I see hope of a continent where the creative energies, intellectual prowess and ingenuity of our youth is capable to lead us to our promised land. I see hope in the courage of our youth to hold government accountable and their resistance to tyranny and despotism."