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Editorial

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President Muhammadu Buhari's nomination of retired Justice Sylvanus Nsofor, an 82-year-old retired Justice of the Court of Appeal, JCA, as Nigeria's Ambassador to the United States of America has evoked vexed reactions from the public. While it was widely expected that the Senate would insist on rejecting his nomination, its turn-around confirmation of the frail-looking man had further complicated the matter.

President Muhammadu Buhari's nomination of retired Justice Sylvanus Nsofor, an 82-year-old retired Justice of the Court of Appeal, JCA, as Nigeria's Ambassador to the United States of America has evoked vexed reactions from the public. While it was widely expected that the Senate would insist on rejecting his nomination, its turn-around confirmation of the frail-looking man had further complicated the matter.


We acknowledge the fact that every Nigerian has the constitutional right to serve his country. But, appointing an octogenarian in the midst of young and talented Nigerians is retrogressive and a huge disservice to the country. Bearing in mind that the clamour for younger and cerebral generations to be appointed into leadership positions has been intense, it is insensitive that Buhari could ignore these yearnings and continue to tow this unproductive and destructive path.
At a time also, when dynamism is driving the election and appointment of young leaders across the world, Nsofor's appointment has again brought to the fore, Buhari's pathetic antiquated views in matters of good governance. It is ironic that Nigeria is still playing this old brigade ideology simply to satisfy loyalists and relations to the chagrin of the people and an economy begging for swift revival. The President's insistence on Nsofor, despite his initial rejection by the Senate due to his age, clearly confirms narratives that the president's mindset is frozen in time. How else could one explain his knack for appointing old tired men into political posts ahead of enterprising and multitalented young minds? His disposition on matters of public concern is even more worrisome as the Department of State Service (DSS) had advised that Nsofor “will not be able to perform the duty of an officer due to his advanced age.”
The likes of Nsofor, who have successfully served their term in public office into retirement, have no further active role in government, except to sit back and provide fatherly advice to energetic and youthful leaders who are needed to strategically move the country forward.
We therefore urge the president to recall the octogenarian and replace him with someone with capacity to represent Nigeria in the world's most powerful nation. The National Assembly should as a matter of necessity amend the extant laws to provide enforceable age limit for the country's top jobs, including ambassadorial positions. To continue to recycle tired brains into governance, especially in sensitive positions is not in the best interest of the country. At 74, Buhari himself is being criticized for being too old to handle the multifarious challenges facing the country. Therefore, to appoint someone much older than him, is dumbfounding. It will be recalled that during his screening at the Senate, Nsofor's response to a question on his competence in Information Communications Technology, ICT, was that “its for your age, nor mine.” In further dismissing age limit as a barrier to his appointment, he chided the lawmakers to “go and ask Robert Mugabe who is still working.” Gladly, Mugabe has been forced out of office.


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