by Alexander O. Onukwue
There was a march by youths in Abuja today, in protest of the suppression of the Not Too Young To Run Bill in the National Assembly. It is being reported that the Senate will vote on the Bill tomorrow, leading to a push by concerned civil society groups that the wish for the age requirement be brought down to 35 be acceded to.
Making the youth stand significant chances of being elected into executive positions is laudable, but skeptics have also questioned the readiness of the young people in the country, in terms of managerial experience and the requisite knowledge for properly handling the job.
One person who seems to have both and is being buoyed by home support is Atiku Abubakar, the first Vice President of the fourth Republic. The PDP chapter from Yola want Atiku to return from his decade long absence from the Party he helped found, to potentially make him a name on the ballot come 2019.
It had been Atiku’s plan to gain straight promotion from Vice President to President between 2006 and 2007, but the influence of Olusegun Obasanjo in making him to leave the PDP for a Presidential ticket withered his chances. He would come third place behind Yar’adua and Buhari at the polls.
Another attempt in 2011 ended at the nomination stage, not making it to the INEC ballot papers. In 2015, there was virtually no noise from him, throwing his weight behind Buhari.
Between his time at Aso Rock and now, a downward trajectory seems to have developed, regressing by one step for every electoral cycle. Why should he be a viable choice in the coming year, given the other factors of age not being on his side?
He has made sure to package himself well on social media and has had a steady voice in the discourse on public affairs. But is Atiku not already too run down through the years to be the one to make Nigerians achieve their yearnings?