By Iddi Muhayu-Deen
[dropcap]E[/dropcap]lsewhere in France, a 39-year old, has been elected as President of that country. France, if you care to know, is the 4th most powerful country in the World and one of the five permanent members of the omnipotent UN Security Council, which is the only body on earth that can veto all kinds of sanctions on any nation and can also change the sleeping place of any past or sitting President of any nation including Ghana. Today, the leader of this country (France) is only 39 years.
But if it were Ghana, a certain poor tiny country in the West Coast of Africa, that is as powerless as a day old baby, he (the 39-year old French [ads1]President) wouldn’t even qualify to contest for the presidency in the first place. We say, in our part of the world, you can’t be president if you are less than 40 years. We say, until you get to 40, you are too young to lead this country. No matter how intelligent you are; no matter how resourceful you are; no matter how discerning and knowledgeable you are; in Ghana, we say, you have to wait until you get to 40 years, before you can qualify to contest for the position of President.
That is the monstrous subculture and constitutional absurdity we have created for ourselves and we have been living in it for decades, forgetting that the World has been evolving, making CHANGE, the only permanent thing in life. Forgetting that wisdom is not the preserve of the old. Forgetting that the youth are increasingly taking over the baton of leadership across the globe and delivering with impeccable distinction. Forgetting that Ghana, is within the comity of nations.
Surprisingly however, Ghana, the very country that says you can’t be president until you attain the age of 40, allows people, as young as 20 years, to be Members of Parliament. So essentially, the country is saying that people who do not have the gravitas to be President, nonetheless, qualify to go to Parliament to make laws for the President to obey. How paradoxically funny! Surely, this logic doesn’t add up, at least, not in the circumstances.
We therefore need to, as urgently as possible, review our laws and embrace a new paradigm that would reflect the exigencies of time. Ghana CANNOT continue to “belittle” the intelligence and leadership prowess of its youthful population. We are not unintelligent. We also have the wherewithal to lead this country as Presidents, just as, we can lead our immediate constituents as MPs. If we can be MMDCEs; we can be MPs; we can be Ambassadors/High Commissioners; we can be Deputy Chiefs of Staff; we can be Deputy Ministers; we can be Ministers of State; we can be Vice Presidents; then SURELY, we can also be Presidents.
Fortunately in this current government under His Excellency President Nana Akufo-Addo, we have a lot of our compatriots (the youth) occupying key government positions and for that matter positions of influence. They are therefore in a position to effect the change we all yearn for. I therefore wish to use this opportunity to call on them including, in no particular order, the likes of the respected Hajia Samira Bawumia (the Second Lady), Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Perry Okudjeto and Ama Dokuah (Deputy Ministers of Information),
Abu Jinapore and Francis Asenso (Deputy Chiefs of Staff), Joseph Kpemka and Golfred Dame (Deputy Ministers of Justice and AGs), Afenyo Markin of the ECOWAS Parliament, Sammi Awuku (National Youth Organizer of the governing party), all of whom, per my checks (I stand to be corrected thou), are in their 30s, to work at changing this unjust narrative. I implore them and the other young people in leadership positions, whose names, I haven’t mentioned, for want of time and space, to, as immediate as possible, initiate the necessary national conversation that would lead to the reposition of leadership confidence in the young people of our country.
They should do that so that when history is told someday, just like the Nkrumahs and the J. B. Danquahs, it will be said that it was during their time and owing to their efforts that the youth of our country, attained their rightful position in society. It will also be said that they didn’t fail nor disappoint their constituents (the Ghanaian youth) when they had the opportunity to effect change. It would thus, be highly disappointing if they left office without charting this path for posterity. I also want to be able to beat my chest one day and say with pride that, YES, I belong to their generation.
I wish to conclude by reiterating the point that, we, the youth of this country, are not demanding for rocket science from the State. We are not asking the State to do something for us, which is unheard of. We are not asking for too much. All we ask for, is to be given an opportunity to serve our country along the leadership chain including occupying political positions at the highest echelon of government. Certainly, this is not too much to ask for, my fellow countrymen and women. And if our innocuous wish would ever be granted, then it has to be NOW or NEVER. The voice of a youth activist and a Ghanaian citizen NOT a spectator.