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Retirement from active service is usually a period that people in paid employment look forward to during the life of their career. It is a time when they are expected to rest after having a fulfilled vocation. Regrettably in Nigeria, what obtains is that retired public officials are eagerly recycled into governance.

Retirement from active service is usually a period that people in paid employment look forward to during the life of their career. It is a time when they are expected to rest after having a fulfilled vocation. Regrettably in Nigeria, what obtains is that retired public officials are eagerly recycled into governance.

The situation is so pervasive that these tired hands are allowed to be running the show in different arms of government. Worthy of note is the presidency, governorship and legislature, which since the return of democracy have witnessed an avalanche of this class of people, as if gerontocracy is the adopted system of government in Nigeria. It is thought provoking that while the retirement age in the civil service is 65years, most of the country's leaders are mainly those who had long retired from either the civil service, military or para-military organizations.
In the past 18 years, Nigeria has had presidents and governors who came into office long after they had retired from public service. This is without taking into consideration those who had repeatedly falsified their age. Younger Nigerians should be given an opportunity to serve in these top executive offices, the demands of which have been found to be too tasking for these elder statesmen. Lowering the age requirement to run for these offices is not just enough, there should be a review of relevant sections of the Constitution and the Electoral Act to give younger Nigerians a level-playing field with these aged people who go all out to get into office using their strong grip on the organs of their political party. In the light of this, independent candidacy should be an option.
It is abnormal for the Constitution to be clear about the minimum age limit for eligibility into office of the president, governor, etc but be silent on the maximum age limit at which one can no longer contest to be voted into office. The very challenging office of the president, governor or indeed, other top government positions should not be dumping ground for people who had retired after contributing their best in their respective callings. A case in point is last week's clearing of an octogenarian nominated by President Buhari to serve as an Ambassador. This nominee was confirmed by the Senate in defiance to a report by the Department of State Services, DSS, that age may affect his performance in that position. Indeed, appointment of elderly persons into position can only be made by elected public officials who are not young either.
Therefore it is imperative that the National Assembly should immediately commence the process of amending the relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution as well as the Electoral Act to stipulate the age limit (minimum and maximum) for contesting and holding public offices. This is critical to allow the country tap into the pool of highly resourceful younger generation whose energy and vitality are needed to take the country to greater heights. These class of persons would not be prone to breaking down intermittently, necessitating long medical vacations during which state resources are expended, even as governance takes a back seat.
At a time when there is a wave of cerebral younger citizens taking over government in the developed clime, Nigeria cannot continue to be governed by frail older persons whose hay days are long gone.
If these senior citizens feel the society still has a lot to benefit from their experience, they can play advisory roles rather than holding executive positions in the different cadres of government.
It is lamentable that these crops of retired officials have ruined the vision of the nation's quintessential founding fathers like the late Tafawa Balewa, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo and Michael Okpara and others. Frankly speaking, the high level of corruption in the system has continued unabated because it is those who had over the years been in the system that are now still running the show.
If the country must enjoy good governance and maximize its potential, it must key into the wave of wind of change across some countries like France and Canada where the system has encouraged those of the younger generation to be elected into government.
Recently, a 39-year old Emmanuel Macron was elected as President of France. In 2015, a 43-year Justin Pierre James Trudeau was elected as the youngest Prime Minister of Canada, among others. We are aware that this feat is possible in advanced countries because their governments take conscious steps in developing their youths and horning their leadership potentials. Nigeria must do likewise by developing and implementing similar programmes for its young citizens. The ministry of youth development must get about championing this very crucial developmental effort. It is unfortunate to note that Nigeria appears to be one of the very few countries in the world which still appoint people in their 80's into sensitive positions, and reappoints Minister into positions that they previously held decades ago when they were younger. It is the opinion of Nigeria Moment that power would not just be dropped in the laps of Nigerian youths but must be angled for. Instead of dissipating energy spewing bile, following the European Championships and involving themselves in other inanities, the youths must take up leadership wherever they find themselves and be interested in the political process. It is only when youths arise and get their acts together that these yesterday's men will realize that their time in government is up.

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